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Midway Gardens

Midway Gardens was designed to be a European–style concert garden with space for year-round dining, drinking, and performances.

Built

1913

Client

Edward C. Waller, Jr.

Address

Cottage Grove at 60th St.

Status

Demolished in 1929.

In its brief existence, it hosted several notable performers and entertainers. Built of yellow brick and patterned concrete block, the entire complex was adorned with intricate geometric ornament. Stretching the length of a double city block, its southwest corner was enclosed to create the Summer Garden, an open interior courtyard for dancing and eating. A band shell at one end and the Winter Garden at the opposite were flanked by low arcades with cantilevered balconies. The Winter Garden was enclosed for year-round activity and capped by a roof garden. Wright designed every detail of the complex down to the napkin rings and he commissioned Alfonso Ianelli to create sculptures to punctuate the property. In 1929, having passed through multiple hands and greatly affected by World War I and prohibition, Midway Gardens closed permanently and was demolished. A testament to the solidity of Wright’s construction, the process of tearing it down proved so difficult that it sent the demolition company into bankruptcy.

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