Photos courtesy of the Blue Island Historical Society.
2427 Grove Street, Blue Island, IL
Built in 1897; destroyed by fire in 1918
Built for Blue Island’s award-winning German music troupe, the Blue Island Liederkranz, this structure replaced the group’s previous wood-frame headquarters – ironically, a structure which also succumbed to a fire. The building was Maher’s first work in Blue Island, leading to the design of two homes, the William Weber and Henry Klein houses, and Sanders School. Likely designed concurrent with his work on Pleasant Home in Oak Park, it marks a turning point in Maher’s career, setting up his Prairie-School-leaning works.
Though a bit more ornate, the design is reminiscent of Sanders School; it’s essentially a large rectangular box, with what appears to be similar brick used for its facade. Both designs feature central, arched entrances, with similar segmented transom windows above double doors. An inset, colonnaded balcony looks like a more ornate take on what the architect would employ for Sanders School, and a design choice that Maher goes on to use in much of his work in the following period.