A Look at the History of 108 West Germania Place, Chicago IL

What is 108 West Germania Place?

The name of the address was chosen by workmen for the convenience of those carrying boxes and parcels to this point in a building just north of Lincoln Park, leading from Clark Street to Lake Michigan. A small triangle crowning the intersection formed by Germania, West, and North Avenues is also called 108 East Germania Place. At the southeast corner of the triangle is the entry to what has come to be called the Charing Cross Apartments.
Amenities of the Charing Cross Apartments include a rooftop pool, a fully equipped fitness center, and on-site laundry facilities. There are also several fine restaurants within walking distance of the building. The Grant Park and Lincoln Park Zoo are both very close by, as is the downtown business district.
The bus stop for 66 Chicago and 26 South Shore Express buses is across the street from the building. The L station to Ogilvie Transportation Center is three blocks south of it on North Avenue.

108 west germania place chicago il
108 west germania place chicago il

The Buildings Exterior and Interior

These are of Renaissance design. The main entrance, recessed under a pillared porch, is approached by wide, shallow steps. In the background rise the towers and spires of old Lake View. The first floor retains its original marble and the walls are painted with a soft green tint. The castle-like turrets over the windows are remnants of a remote, long forgotten past. A wall separates offices from the hotel corridor beyond. On one side is the reception room with its original appointments and furnishings. A stairway on this side leads to a private apartment on the second floor and a hallway on the other leads to four single rooms. On either side of this hallway are three larger rooms with four windows which open onto balconies overlooking Lake Michigan. The walls are paneled in dark-stained oak, the floors covered with soft carpeting. By looking out of any one of the four windows it was possible to see only the sky or a corner of another hotel.

108 west germania place chicago il
108 west germania place chicago il

Who has Lived in 108 West Germania Place?

Largely traveling salesmen and real estate men have occupied 108 West Germania Place. Some of them stayed a year or more, some merely passing through. The prosperity center of Chicago was here. Many New Yorkers and Connecticutites were attracted by the business opportunities offered by the city’s transportation facilities. All classes of people lived in this building, but a special type of men seem to have lived here to which they gave their own personal touch. The building owners were of their kind.
First owner was John C. Farwell, a very successful dry goods merchant with one of the largest department stores in the Chicago area. He did well with this property, which he owned until he sold it to his son, John F. Farwell Jr., in 1887 for $10,000.
The second owner was a real estate investor living on the north side. He purchased the building for $30,000 in 1896. By 1905 this developer had sold out his holdings and left Chicago.

108 west germania place chicago il
108 west germania place chicago il

In Closing – What’s Next for This Historic Building in Chicago? [Questions to Ponder]

Plans call for the restoration of 108 West Germania Place to serve as a mixed-use residential building welcoming the community back to Lake Michigan. What is your vision for 108 West Germania Place?
1. “In Closing – What’s Next for This Historic Building in Chicago? [Questions to Ponder]”.
2. “108 West Germania Place, Chicago IL” or 108 West Germania Place, Chicago, IL.
3. The first option would work.
4. The first option would work and I would suggest adding your initials to the title as well: “In Closing – What’s Next for This Historic Building in Chicago? [Questions to Ponder] – CDS”.
5. The first option would work, but I’d also like to see “108 West Germania Place, Chicago IL – CDS” (as well as the initials of the author).
6. The first option would work and I would suggest adding your initials to the title as well: “In Closing – What’s Next for This Historic Building in Chicago? [Questions to Ponder] – CDS”.
7. The first option would work, but I’d also like to see “108 West Germania Place, Chicago IL – CDS” (as well as the initials of the author).
8. The first option would work and I would suggest adding your initials to the title as well: “In Closing – What’s Next for This Historic Building in Chicago? [Questions to Ponder] – CDS”.

108 west germania place chicago il
108 west germania place chicago il

Conclusion – Does It Matter if The History is Interesting or not? [A Personal Opinion]

The history of a building matters because it determines the level of care it will receive in the future. If a piece of property is deemed significant by our society, it will be protected and preserved for future generations to enjoy. In the case above, 108 West Germania Place is actually being converted back into something valuable for the community, since it was converted into a hotel in the first place. As an ex-owner said, it was only ever a “shell” of its former self. While all buildings have a life cycle, I find it comforting to know that if a structure is deemed significant, it will be preserved, regardless of its immediate use.
Since the building has historical value to the community, it is being preserved and converted into a multi-family dwelling. I feel that even though the original design was ugly and neglected over time, it is now being saved for future generations to enjoy and appreciate. Just because a structure doesn’t physically fit into our society’s current definition of beauty doesn’t mean that it can’t be appreciated.

108 west germania place chicago il
108 west germania place chicago il