Image Provided By: Hanna Holborn Gray Special Collections Research Center, University of Chicago Library
A Rich History in the Heart of Campus
The Quadrangle Club was established in 1893 “for the association of members of the faculties of the University of Chicago and other persons interested in literature, science, or art.” Meetings were initially held at the Hotel Barry, later known as Hotel Del Prado. The Club was incorporated in 1895 and proceeded to build a three-story clubhouse on the corner of 58th Street and Lexington (University) Avenue, which opened in June 1896.
Fires destroyed much of the building in 1897, but it was completely remodeled in 1898. Facilities included dining rooms, a billiard room, library, card rooms, and sleeping quarters for members.
Membership grew with the University, and a new building was constructed in 1922 at the corner of 57th and University. Designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw, its domestic English style was intended to complement the grey stone of other University buildings. Venues were expanded to accommodate larger numbers, and the new location introduced a tennis program to the Club.
Throughout the 20th century, the Club took to hosting a wide variety of cultural and community events for its members, including “First Friday” Jazz Nights, banquets, lectures, musical programs, and the annual “Revels,” which began in 1904 as a Christmas pageant, evolving by the 1950s into a full-scale song-and-dance revue which poked fun at University life.
Today, the Quadrangle Club continues to play, an important role in the intellectual fabric and life of the University of Chicago. It remains a convenient meeting place for faculty, visitors to the University, and other members of the community, providing a social setting where many important University gatherings, formal and informal, take place.