The Crain & Morlan building is an imposing 1927 terra cotta building that adeptly holds down the corner of 63rd & Central Avenue, across from Midway Airport. It hasn’t got much competition nearby, as this is the opposite corner.
Designed by Edward G. McClellan, it is lovely in itself, but all the more remarkable because of the general blandness and more recent vintage of the surrounding Clearing neighborhood (see today’s House of the Day). Its next-door neighbor is a similarly beautiful terra cotta building, longtime home of La Petite Pastry, which I don’t believe is under threat.
Unfortunately, it is threatened with demolition because of its proximity to one of Midway’s runways. Demolition would remove one of the few landmark-quality buildings in the neighborhood, and displace a number of resident individuals and businesses who might not be able to find other accomodations nearby.
Here’s hoping efforts to have the building landmarked will succeed. I don’t know what historical value it possesses other than its immediately obvious charm (my neophyte searches revealed only that it housed a George Slater Shoes in 1958, and that Central Drugs has been in its present corner location since at least 1975). Surely much more of interest can be learned about this beautiful building, an outpost of classic Chicago urbanism on the edge of postwar suburbia.
Update 2/8/2012: The Tribune covers the story. It seems that the preservation lobby is washing their hands of this building.