Built in 1887 by clothing merchants August and Charles Yondorf, the imposing building serves as a reminder of Chicago's large turn-of-the-century German enclave on the city's north side. In particular, the building stood at center of what became a thriving retail district, mostly catering to German-Americans. A tour brochure of 1938 called the street "the Unter den Linden of Chicago," referring to Berlin's famous boulevard of fashion and culture.
Backstory and Context
In 1919, the building was bought by the Prudential Savings State Bank, who occupied it for ten years. The Great Depression, World War II, and urban blight took its toll on the building so that by the 1950s the building looked old and worn down. However, by the 1950s, Sam Rosen purchased the building and opened up the large "warehouse of wine" known as Sam's Cut-Rate Liquors, a sign of the changing nature of the neighborhood -- urban blight dominated the area by the 1970s. Plans in the 1980s to resurrect the community included tearing down the historic building. In 1984, though, the hall was nominated to the National Register of Historic Places and subsequently benefited from it when a team chose to renovate it under the National Park Service's renovation tax credit program.
Finally, after passing hands many times, Chicago's Steppenwolf Theater purchased the building in 1998 and used it for various purposes, saving the building through the 2000s. But, in 2018, the Theater company decided to sell it -- seeking nearly $20 million -- rendering its future uncertain.
Terry Tatum, "Landmark Designation Report: Yondorf Hall." Chicago Department of Planning: Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Accessed August 8, 2018. https://archive.org/stream/CityOfChicagoLandmarkDesignationReports/YondorfBlockAndHall#page/n0
"Yondorf Hall, Chicago, Illinois." Vinci | Hamp Architects. Accessed August 08, 2018. http://www.vinci-hamp.com/projects/yondorf-hall/.
758 North Ave: By Zol87 from Chicago, IL, USA - Yondorf Block & Hall, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9868821
Yondorf Hall in the 1970s: Chuck Edmonson, from Forgotten Chicago, a Facebook group, and found at http://www.chicagonow.com/look-back-chicago/2015/05/yondorf-hall-from-locality-to-liquor-store-to-la...
"In 1990..": Picture and caption provided by the Vinci | Hamp Architectural Firm, found at http://www.vinci-hamp.com/projects/yondorf-hall/