Slice of Life: A Landmark Neutered

Lawson House

It’s been more than a year since the iconic neon red YMCA sign was taken off of the Lawson House (30 West Chicago Avenue), but it’s still hard to get used to.  A Gold Coast spy recently sent in these photographs of the noble 1930’s skyscraper without its crown.

The YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago is moving its headquarters to 1030 West Van Buren in the West Loop.

Regarding the Lawson House building, spokeswoman Jill McDonnell says, “Our plans are to transfer ownership of the housing to a responsible organization, Holsten Real Estate Development Corporation, that is solely devoted to housing. We are confident that the Lawson House residents will be well-served as we continue to have a dialogue with Holsten to transfer ownership in May 2013.”

The YMCA doesn’t know what happened to the beloved neon sign that was a neighborhood landmark for decades.

We published the photograph below on this blog way back in 2004.  You can see the YMCA sign on the top of the building.

Lawson YMCA - Chicago, Illinois - October, 2004 - 006a

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

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