Monday, April 11, 2016

The Aquitania -- Windows on the World

click to enlarge
We heard from reader Rick Baer:

"Hey UU, I snapped this pic of the Aquitania apartment building at 5000 N Marine (NW corner of Marine & Argyle) this afternoon (Monday 4/11/2016).  I like the way the late afternoon sun lights up the the building's ridges and shows off the decorative festoons, plus there's some nice reflection of trees and sky in the windows.  I've been told that the the Aquitania was home to silent movie actors while they filmed at Essanay Studios (now St. Augustine College) in the 1300 block of West Argyle."

For more on the history of the Aquitania, which was lakefront property when it was built in 1923, click here.

To see a previous post of Rick's photos, click here.


  1. It really is a beautiful building.

    I have to wonder if at one time there was an upscale restaurant, and, after repeal of prohibition, a cocktail lounge in it. Anyone know details?

  2. Essanay was already disbanded and they were doing industrials at the old studios by the time the Aquitania was built. It was the next money-making venture for former Essanay head Geo. K. Spoor - one of 5 similar buildings he had envisioned for what is now Marine Dr between Ainslie and Winona. And no, Charlie Chaplin did not live there. He was only in Chicago for 6 months at the beginning of 1915 and stayed at the Lawrence Avenue apartment of the other Essanay head Bronco Billy Armstrong.

  3. Very beautiful building that caught my eye when I was first in this city 30 years ago.It is one of the north lake front's most beautiful ornaments. The apartments themselves are very attractive and spacious, and the selling prices reasonable.

    Love this photograph.
    The HOA fees are murder, though- this is one very costly building to run.

  4. We live in the building and have for the past year -- yes our HOA's are high, $1300 but they include every utility -- electricity, gas, water, garbage pick up, Internet/Cable, 24-hour doorman AND our property taxes so it balances out quite nicely. I've lived in Chicago 40 years and this is by far my absolute favorite home ever -- how can you beat living on the park with beach front access? And as one person has pointed out, The Aquitania was built in 1923 so Chaplin and Gloria Swanson, both famed to have lived here, never actually did. The history of our building does not suggest that there's ever been a restaurant inside.

    1. Are they allowing washers and dryers in unit yet?

  5. When was outer Lake Shore Dr in that area built? Was the street (where the Aquitania) is located already called Marine Dr at that time?