January 28, 2008

Chicago Athletic Association

chicago athletic association

The Chicago Athletic Association Building and Annex are excellent examples of early-20th-century progressive architectural trends. They housed the city's upscale athletic, dining, and social club. Founded in 1890 by Marshall Field, Henry Ives Cobb, Cyrus McCormick, A. G. Spalding, and others, the CAA was a not-for-profit organization providing a setting for athletic, business, and social endeavors. In 1915, when member William Wrigley bought the Chicago Cubs, the team adopted the CAA logo.

Update (2008-06-17): I gathered the above information about the Cubs’ and CAA logo from their own website. However, evidence has been presented which contradicts this information. According to the Uniform Database of the National Baseball Hall of Fame website, the 1915 and 1916 uniforms beared a logo which looked nothing like the CAA’s.

Unfortunately, its doors closed in August of 2007, and all the treasures inside (some worth millions of dollars) were auctioned off. Plans are being proposed to demolish the hundred-year-old annex to make way for a condominium tower. Developers would also like to tear down the back end of the original building (completed in 1893) and erect a glass rooftop in order to transform the building into a swanky hotel.

It looks like history will soon be lost.

chicago athletic association

Photo credit: (c/o Flickr) from1993, Atelier Teee

Chicago Athletic Association: 12 S Michigan Ave
Public trans: Bus # 3, 4, X4, 14, 20, X20, 26, 56, 60, 124, 127, 145, 147, 148, 151, 157
Orange/Pink/Green/Purple/Brown Line train (Madison)
Red/Blue Line train (Monroe)


6 comments to Chicago Athletic Association

  1. Dip and Pop
    February 6th, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    [...] & Pop is a tiny Loop spot (just west of the Chicago Athletic Association building) that offers 24 ice cream flavors, including coffee-toffee and apple cinnamon mingle. [...]

  2. jane eyre
    March 15th, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    It is such a sad sight to see — I was able to go inside the building in August about.. when they were selling off 100’s of old hotel items, the building had beautiful fireplaces…..and its fate is already known…I feel so sad that it will be lost — you can’t buy history back either — The outside is so fantastic!!! I wish they would at least keep the facade! — I still pass by it daily ….lots of dirt and debris caught around the turn style door — I wonder when it will happen? :(

  3. Matt B
    March 16th, 2008 at 2:21 am

    I agree, there are so few beautiful architectural works of art left from our past, especially one like this, which has so many tie-ins with our city’s history. It’s really unfortunate to see it all fade away.

  4. bmarlowe
    June 13th, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    “In 1915, when member William Wrigley bought the Chicago Cubs, the team adopted the CAA logo.”


    This is false. While the CAA logo resembles the current Cub’s logo, it does not at all resemble any Cub’s logo prior to the 1940’s

  5. Matt B
    June 13th, 2008 at 5:51 pm

    I will have to respectfully disagree though. According to the CAA’s very own website:

    “The history of the Club’s logo, often confused with the Cub’s [sic] logo, dates back to 1915 when CAA member William Wrigley and other members bought the Chicago team, thus adopting our logo.”

    Did I interpret this incorrectly?

  6. Mario
    July 6th, 2008 at 12:29 am

    This is really sad. I was a member at CAA a few years ago (before moving away from Chicago). It was an impressive and classy place to workout. Here’s hoping they keep the building around…

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