Lincoln Park / Reebie Storage Warehouse

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Address: 2325-33 N.Clark St.

Year Built: 1921 – 1922

Architect: George S. Kingsley

Sculptor Fritz Albert

The moving company founders, John and William Reebie,
are represented by the two statues of Ramses II that flank the main entrance.

It was named to the National Register of Historic Places on March 21, 1979.

It was designated a Chicago Landmark on September 1, 1999

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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The REEBIE BUILDING: HIGHLIGHTS

William Reebie (1859-1921) founded the company in 1880.

The Reebie brothers wanted a building in a distinctive style, which would stand out and be noticed.  Sometime before the building was designed, John Reebie visited Egypt, and seen its ancient monuments.  He had also seen an Egyptian Revival storage building in Stockton, California, which was designed in 1918 by Glenn Allen for the Dawson-Mayflower Moving Company. The combined influence of  visiting Egypt and seeing the warehouse in California persuaded John Reebie to select an Egyptian theme for his new Chicago headquarters. 

The Egyptians were the first moving and storage men. They floated the grain down the Nile and stored it against the lean time of famine.
– Arthur Reebie.

A Pharaonic sphinx’s head with nemes headdress was adopted as logo of the company.

Architect George Kingsley and sculptor Fritz Albert designed the warehouse. George Kingsley had designed other storage warehouses in historical revival styles, including Classical revival and Italian Renaissance Revival styles.

The ornament of the building was carried out by Fritz Albert. He was trained in Berlin. He came to the US in 1893 to work for the World’s Columbian Exposition. He was knowledgeable about Egyptian architecture and design. He also designed the Egyptian art on the Cairo Supper Club Building [built 1920] at 4017 North Sheridan Road, and the Egyptian Lacquer Building [built 1928] at 3052 West Carroll Avenue. One of Fritz’s most famous work is the terra cotta ornament for Wrigley Building [1921-24].

The design for the Reebie building was based on two ancient Egyptian temples, erected about 200 BC, by Pharaoh Ramses II: Dendera and Edfu. The columns with lotus motifs are replica of Edfu. The entrance is flanked by two statues of Ramses II,  representing the company founders John and William Reebie. Their arms are crossed over their chests, they wear headdresses of the pharaohs and the belts at their waists say Ramses II. Above the Ramses figures are relief of two women’s heads. These are reproduction of authentic Egyptian sculpture of two women wearing serpent hats, embellished with lotus flowers. Throughout the building there are repetitive motifs of winged-disk with uraeus  and winged-scarabs which are typical of Egyptian style architecture. There are Egyptian architraves around the upper windows.

The hieroglyphs – read right to left- on the building read:
– I have put protection upon your furniture and all sealed things.
– I have guarded all your property every day warding off devouring flames and likewise robbery.
– The hieroglyphics on the side of the pedestals spell out Reebie Brothers.

The Reebie building is one of the country’s finest examples of the Academic Egyptian Revival style. The Egyptian iconography is said to be accurate and the terra cotta ornamentation outstanding. Revival styles were in vogue in the 1920s, but they were usually Greek or Italian Renaissance Revival styles. Egyptian Revival style was much rare.

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Winged-globe with uraei / Reebie Storage Warehouse

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The Egyptian Revival style and the Reebie building: Salient Points

– In the 1920s there was a wave of Egyptomania across the world. The discovery of King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1922, set a trend of the Egyptian Revival style. The major motifs of Egyptian art such as obelisks, hieroglyphs, the sphinx, pyramids, animal-headed gods and winged scarabs, were used in various artistic media including art, architecture, and fashion. The revival during the 1920s is sometimes considered to be part of the Art Deco decorative arts style.

– However, it is important to note that the Reebie building design was commissioned before King Tut’s tomb’s discovery in 1922. Construction of Reebie building began a year earlier in 1921. The Egyptian Revival style of Reebie building is pre-Tutankhamen phenomenon.

– There were other buildings in the US, in the Egyptian style, before King Tut’s tomb discovery. Perhaps the most famous is the Hollywood’s Grauman’s Egyptian Theater. It was designed, built, named and opened before the 1922 discovery of King Tut’s tomb. The news of the tomb’s discovery reached the US a few weeks after the theater opened.

– The decade of Egyptomania actually started about five years earlier than 1922. A major factor contributing to this was  the release of  movie “Cleopatra” in 1917, starring Theda Bara. It was one of the most elaborate  Hollywood films ever produced up to that time, with particularly lavish sets and costumes. The movie sparked an interest in the Egyptian art. Note that the other famous Cleopatra, starring Elizabeth Taylor was released in 1963.

– Interest in the Egyptian Revival style in Chicago occurred in the late 1910s and 1920s, and can be traced to the work of Egyptologist James Henry Breasted of the University of Chicago and the opening of the University’s Oriental Institute in 1919. Extant Egyptian Revival-style buildings in Chicago include Cairo Supper Club Building [1920], the Reebie Storage Building [1921-22], and the Egyptian Lacquer Manufacturing Company Building [1926].

– The early 1900s was NOT the first wave of  Egyptian Revival design.  The style became popular in two periods of American history, first in the mid-1800s, later in the 1920s. The First Revival was generated by Napoleon’s conquest of Egypt and Admiral Nelson’s defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of the Nile in 1798. In the 1920s, however, the style revived internationally with the discovery in 1922 of the tomb of King Tutankhamen.  Egyptian motives were often combined with the clean lines and bold forms favored by the Art Deco style of the late 1920s and 30s.

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Chicago Landmark
Reebie Storage Warehouse
George Kinsley, architect
1920-21

Noted for its highly accurate use of ancient Egyptian imagery and hieroglyphics, this building represents one of the nation’s best examples of pure academic-style Egyptian Revival commercial architecture. It was built by a storage and moving company founded by John and William Reebie, who are represented by the twin statues of Pharaoh Ramses II. The terra cotta ornament was crafted by sculptor Fritz Albert.

Designated on Sep 1, 1999.
Richard M. Daley, Mayor
Commission on Chicago Landmarks.

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

The moving company founders, John and William Reebie, are represented by the two statues of Ramses II that flank the main entrance / Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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The moving company founders, John and William Reebie, are represented by the two statues of Ramses II that flank the main entrance.
The hieroglyphs on the building read:
– I have put protection upon your furniture and all sealed things.
– I have guarded all your property every day warding off devouring flames and likewise robbery.

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Winged-disk with uraeus / Reebie Storage Warehouse.

 

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Winged disc with uraeus and winged-scarab motifs

A common feature in almost all Egyptian architecture is the the winged disc with uraeus.  Winged disk is essentially a circle to which two outstretched wings are attached. In Egypt, the winged disc was regarded as a symbol of the sun. The Egyptians often attached two coiling uraeus­-serpents to its sides or placed two little horns on top of the disc. Similar outstretched wings have been added to scarabs, or sacred beetles.

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Column with lotus motifs. Ramses II, winged-scarab motif, and relief of two women’s heads / Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Above the Ramses figures are relief of two women’s heads.
These are reproduction of authentic Egyptian sculpture of two women wearing serpent hats, embellished with lotus flowers

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Winged disk with uraeus and winged-scarab motifs / Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Winged disk with uraeus motif. / Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Lotus motifs at the base of the columns./ Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie Storage Warehouse

Reebie Storage Warehouse

 

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Reebie company logo

Reebie company logo

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RELATED LINKS

Chicago, Public Art in Lincoln Park .. click here..
Chicago, Art by Location.. click here..

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