Lambert Tree

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Lambert Tree
United States Ambassador to Belgium
In office
President Grover Cleveland
Preceded by Nicolas Fish
Succeeded by John G. Parkhurst
United States Ambassador to Russia
In office
President Grover Cleveland
Preceded by George V. N. Lothrop
Succeeded by Allen Thorndike Rice

Lambert Tree (1832 – 1910), was a circuit court judge, ambassador, and patron of the arts. Judge Lambert Tree was a Chicago Circuit Court judge who achieved fame by presiding over the indictment, trial, and conviction of corrupt City Council members. He lost the 1882 U.S. Senate race by one vote, but in 1885 accepted an appointment from President Grover Cleveland as minister to Belgium. He then served the shortest tour, less than one month, of all U.S. Ministers to Russia: after his presentation of credentials on January 4, 1889, he left post on February 2, 1889, not long before the inauguration of President Cleveland's successor, Benjamin Harrison, a Republican.

A patron of the arts, Judge Tree and his wife had an artists studio constructed in 1894 at 603-621 N. State St., to provide low cost housing and space for artists. The Tree Studio Building is important architecturally for its picturesque details of the period. After its original construction, two wings (located on Ohio and Ontario) were added during 1912-1913, forming a distinctive courtyard. This U-shaped complex is now closed off at the other end by the Medinah Temple. Tree Studios is one of the nation's oldest such studios, the original portion being designated a Chicago landmark February 26, 1997.

In 1887, Lambert Tree and Chicago Mayor Carter H. Harrison put up the funding for civilian awards given annually to an individual member of the Police and Fire Departments who demonstrate outstanding bravery in the line of duty. Currently, the medal presentations are rotated from year to year, so neither award is perceived as better than the other. The awards are given out during Fire Prevention Week in October each year for the preceding twelve months. In 1999, the Fire Department designee received the Lambert Tree Award, thus in October, 2000, the department recipient will receive the Carter H. Harrison Award. These awards have been presented annually (with the exception of the years 1890-1896) since March 4, 1887.

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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Nicolas Fish
United States Minister to Belgium
1885 – 1888
Succeeded by
John G. Parkhurst
Preceded by
George V. N. Lothrop
United States Minister to Russia
September 25, 1888 – February 2, 1889
Succeeded by
Allen Thorndike Rice