Washington Porter's Museum

Street Address: 
4044 Oakenwald
Chicago, IL

I'm researching "Washington Porter's Museum and Kiosk" which was located at 4044 S. Oakenwald. If anyone has information about it, I'd appreciate hearing from you.

On September 18, 1957, the Chicago Tribune reported on the final demolition of the Museum: Begin Razing Fabled Kiosk Sphinx Tower

The First Demolition Blow was struck Yesterday against the 150 foot steel tower of Kiosk Sphinx, fabled home built by Wasthington Porter II at 4044 Oakenwald Av. The $350,000 "museum" with its round, square, octogonal and crescent shaped sections is being razed to make way for Chicago housing authority apartment building. The tower was built by Porter, onetime society figure, as a site from which his guests could watch the World's Fair of 1933.

Charles Cushman photographed this structure in 1949: http://purl.dlib.indiana.edu/iudl/archives/cushman/P04232




1933 - 1957



CURIO HOUSES (5:28 et al.). A man named George Washington Porter II heir to a considerable fortune in Chicago and said at one time to have been a Secretary to the American Legation in Copenhagen massed a considerable amount of extremely heterogeneous material and I believe converted an old house at 4043 Lake Park Avenue Chicago into a so-called museum of very bizarre appearance and of flimsy construction which he called the Sphinx Kiosk. Among his objects was a considerable amount of table silver marked with an "N" which he has claimed be- longed to the first Napoleon. The variety of the collection is indicated by the fact that he maintained that his goldfish had a value of four or five thousand dollars. In September 1942 after some small fire the building seems to have been condemned and the collections bought at Sheriffs Sale according to the newspapers by Mrs. Frank G. Logan who has headed a society for what she terms "Sanity in Art" and has conducted a campaign against modernism in various Chicago galleries. She has also published several volumes of rather sentimental verse and has received considerable newspaper attention. The Sphinx Kiosk is I believe now unoccupied and after some litigation with Mrs. Logan regarding her possession of the collection an arrangement was made by which Mr. Porter some- how shared in the disposition of the items. He has not had public notice now for several years. http://www.archive.org/stream/americannotesand011474mbp

In a footnote on page 339 of "Black on the Block" author Mary Patillo notes that Porter's museum was demolished to make way for the 2nd phase of Lakefront properties a housing project. She cites an article in a CHA newsletter Chicago Public Housing Today June 1 1957.

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