Lorado Taft Midway Studios

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Lorado Taft Midway Studios
20070601 Lorado Taft Midway Studio (3).JPG
View from northeast.
Lorado Taft Midway Studios is located in Chicago metropolitan area
Lorado Taft Midway Studios
Lorado Taft Midway Studios is located in Illinois
Lorado Taft Midway Studios
Lorado Taft Midway Studios is located in the United States
Lorado Taft Midway Studios
LocationSouth Ingleside Ave. and E. 60th St., Chicago, IL
Coordinates41°47′8″N 87°36′12.63″W / 41.78556°N 87.6035083°W / 41.78556; -87.6035083Coordinates: 41°47′8″N 87°36′12.63″W / 41.78556°N 87.6035083°W / 41.78556; -87.6035083
Arealess than one acre
Built1906 (1906)
ArchitectLorado Taft, Pond and Pond
NRHP reference #66000317
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHLDecember 21, 1965[2]
Designated CLDecember 1, 1993

The Lorado Taft Midway Studios are a historic artist studio complex at South Ingleside Avenue and East 60th Street, on the campus of the University of Chicago on the South Side of Chicago. The architecturally haphazard structure, originating as two converted barns and a Victorian house, was used from 1906 to 1929 as the studio of Lorado Taft (1860-1936), one of the most influential sculptors of the period.[3] A National Historic Landmark, it now houses the university's visual arts department.[2][4]

Description and history[edit]

The Lorado Taft Midway Studio is a conglomeration of structures standing on the south side of the University of Chicago campus, on the west side of South Ingleside Avenue at East 60th Street. The northern end of the structure is a two-story Victorian house, from which a series of single-story sections extend southward, joining the house to adjacent two-story barn structures, one with a gabled roof and the other with a hip roof. Historically, these elements framed a courtyard that was open to the west, except for a fringing hedge and fence; this has since been filled by additional studio space. The interior is as rambling as the exterior, much of it composed of a warren of smaller studio spaces.[4]

Lorado Taft was educated at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, receiving both a bachelor's (1879) and master's degree (1880) in art. In the 1880s he continued his studies in Paris, and returned to Chicago in 1885, joining the faculty of the Chicago Art Institute in 1886.[4] In 1906, Taft moved his main studio from the Chicago Loop to a brick barn near the Midway Plaisance. Later, he connected a pair of frame barns to the main building to serve as male and female dormitories. The structure was redesigned by the architectural firm of Pond and Pond to contain 13 studios for Taft and affiliated sculptors.[5][6]

The building was designated a National Historic Landmark on December 21, 1965, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, 1966.[1] It is one of the four Chicago Registered Historic Places from the original October 15, 1966 National Register of Historic Places list (along with Chicago Pile-1, Hull House & Robie House).[1] On December 1, 1993, it was named a Chicago Landmark.[3]

Today, the building is home to the university's Department of Visual Arts and Creative Writing program, and has been renovated to be classrooms, offices, and studios for students and faculty.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c National Park Service (January 23, 2007). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ a b "Taft, Lorado, Midway Studios". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved June 11, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Lorado Taft's Midway Studios". City of Chicago Department of Planning and Development, Landmarks Division. 2003. Archived from the original on January 3, 2009. Retrieved May 11, 2007.
  4. ^ a b c Blanche Higgins Schroer (April 3, 1976) National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: Lorado Taft Midway Studios, National Park Service and Accompanying 10 photos, exterior and interior, from 1975 and undated
  5. ^ "Guide to the University of Chicago Department of Building and Grounds Records: 1892-1965". University of Chicago Library, Series II, Subseries 3: Buildings (J-R, Box 13, Folder 3 ed.). University of Chicago. 2006.
  6. ^ Taft, Ada Bartlett (1946). Lorado Taft: Sculptor and Citizen. Mary Taft Smith. p. 28.