burnham and root's edward e. ayer house as it looked shortly before its demolition in 1966

burnham and root's house for edward e. ayer, a wealthy chicagoan who made his wealth as a supplier of railroad ties. the exterior rubble walls were comprised of split granite boulders. the ironwork was truly remarkable as seen in the hinged gate, massive strap hinges on the entrance doors, and stair railings flaring out from the arched entrance. the oak paneled stair hall, art glass windows, and stone fireplaces with root-designed carved wood overmantels were equally stunning.

the majority of the images were taken by richard nickel in the early months of 1966. by then, the house had fallen in disrepair, with most of the interior left in shambles. it was demolished soon after.

at the very least, nickel made a thorough visual record of the exterior and interior before it was smashed. i'm not entirely sure what was salvaged, but i suspect john vinci, david norris, and nickel rescued some ornament.

images courtesy of habs and richard nickel archive, burnham and ryerson library, art institute of chicago.

FURTHER READING:

SELDOM SEEN RICHARD NICKEL PHOTOS DOCUMENTING THE DESTRUCTION OF BURNHAM AND ROOT'S CHURCH OF THE COVENANT

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