Building At 241 W. Cermak
Building At 241 W. Cermak
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: March 28, 2015 01:49AM

It's obviously overshadowed by the On Leong building around the corner, but the building that makes up several addresses at about 241 W. Cermak obviously has some significance.

There are bands of terra cotta shaped like a dragon surrounding the windows and the cornice has more terra cotta with what looks like cypress tress on it. One part of the facade has lion heads that look like they used to hold stanchions for a canopy or marquee of some sort.

Here it was in 1916:

Polks Directory gave one of the addresses as offices for a newspaper, and the Quong Yuen Sing Kee store operated out of one or more of the storefronts.

Anyone have any more input on this building?

Re: Building At 241 W. Cermak
Posted by: nordsider ()
Date: March 28, 2015 09:37AM

This may be helpful:

The book, Chinese Chicago: Race, Transnational Migration, and Community Since 1870
By Huping Ling

Re: Building At 241 W. Cermak
Posted by: Mr Downtown ()
Date: March 28, 2015 12:19PM

After the On Leong tong moved its followers en masse to 22nd & Princeton, various property owners began to replace the little wooden structures that had served the predecessor vice district with more substantial buildings. I think the tong itself commissioned Michaelson & Rognstad to design the several "business block" buildings along the south side of 22nd with dragon terra-cotta surrounds. They probably weren't all built at once. The Arcadia book [i]Chinese in Chicago[/i] shows the building (with a now gone balcony, p. 56) in the 1920s as home to On Leong's offices.

As Chinatown prospered in the 1920s and the tong's fortunes grew, they built the new building that is now Pui Tak Center in 1928.

Re: Building At 241 W. Cermak
Posted by: WayOutWardell ()
Date: March 29, 2015 12:19AM

Thanks all. Interestingly, the Wikipedia page (!) for the Pui Tak Center also has some history of this building.

Mr. Downtown, lo and behold, the lion heads are right there in the photo on p. 56.
Thanks for pointing me in that direction.

Also - the Polks Directory shows a shop in the building with the Ming name. I assume this is related to the Ming's Enterprise sign that's currently hanging on the building.

Re: Building At 241 W. Cermak
Posted by: SWEDE ()
Date: March 29, 2015 12:41AM

In the early 50's my Dad and I would ride through China Town many Sundays. It was very interesting to see how different cultures lived. My eight grade tour was through China Town and then downtown to the Prudential building.

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