There simply aren’t enough superlatives to describe this place.
Back in the early 1880s, a remarkable home was built in Chicago. Today it sits amongst the skyscrapers of the Windy City and after being saved on two different occasions, provides the perfect backdrop for a popular museum. When you see the photos, you’ll go from adoring to amazed to mind-blown.
The museum backdrop is the Samuel H. Nickerson Mansion. It was built in 1883 by Samuel and Mathilda Nickerson. Samuel had come to Chicago in 1858 and after getting out of the distillery business he founded the First National Bank (FNB) in 1865. Two years later he was elected president of the bank, a position he would hold until 1898.
The Frick Collection says Nickerson was elected President of the Chicago City Horse Railway (CCHR) in 1865, the same year he founded FNB. The CCHR was the forerunner to the Chicago City Railway company.
According to the Library of Congress, the Nickerson House was called a “marble palace” “because of its elegant interior which was finished in marbles, rare woods, and other rich materials.” It was built at a cost of $ 450,000, approximately $ 12.6 million in today’s dollars. Three different companies were involved in the interior decorating of the 3-story, 24,000 square-foot structure.
The Driehaus Museum reports that at two different times, the home was saved. The first time was in 1919 when more than 100 Chicagoans came together to prevent its demise.
The University of Chicago Press says that in 2003 Chicago philanthropist Richard H. Driehaus made it a museum. It took five years for the restoration and museum to open, which happened in 2008. The museum includes decorations from 1880 to 1920 and one of America’s top private collections of the works of Louis Comfort Tiffany (stained glass).
The Samuel H. Nickerson Mansion was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Driehaus Museum inside the home is open Friday and Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm and Sunday from noon to 5. Tickets are $ 20 for adults. A guided tour is an additional $ 5.
After you see all of the “incredible” inside this home, I’m sure you’ll want to visit on your next visit to Chicago. The mansion and museum is located at 40 East Erie Street in Chicago. More information on the museum is available here.
The Richard H. Driehaus Museum / Samuel M. Nickerson Mansion in Chicago
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