1014-16 South Michigan Avenue was built in 1912 by Christian A. Eckstorm. A red brick 4-story building with terra cotta detailing, this structure was erected by a developer as a speculative commercial building. During its first 30 years, it housed offices for a shingle distributor, a lumber company and an electrical parts manufacturer. In 1941, the building was rehabilitated for the Sherwood Conservatory of Music, founded in 1895 by William H. Sherwood, a piano virtuoso, teacher and composer. The school’s most famous alumna may be the comedienne Phyllis Diller, who was a piano student at the Sherwood School in the 1930s but did not graduate. The building was acquired by Columbia College Chicago in 1997 and now houses the school’s music department. The artistic, cultural and performance education tradition of this building, as it was adaptively reused since the 1940s, is continued today in the programs of the Music Department of Columbia College.


The 1014-16 South Michigan Building is a four story steel frame structure. On its principal facades, facing South Michigan Avenue and East 11th Street, it is faced with red brick and trimmed in white terra cotta that carries restrained classical detailing, mostly on the second and third floors. A cornice above the third floor supports the mansard roof of the fourth floor, which features pedimented dormers on its Michigan and 11th Street frontages. The west elevation is common brick.

Overall, it would be difficult to see the building as having a distinct style. The combination of its massing, in particular its mansard roof, with its classical revival detailing refer it generally to buildings built along Parisian boulevards during the nineteenth century, designed in the style of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts. The choice of brick, the modest scale, and restraint in ornament, however, make this a matter of influence more than one of high style imitation.

Quick Facts

  • Name: Columbia College Music Department
  • Address: 1014 – 1016 South Michigan Avenue
  • Size: 56 feet x 127 feet, 4 stories
  • Architect:
    • Christian A. Eckstorm, 1912-1913
    • Renovation architect: Robert C. Work, 1946-1947
  • Original Name: Sherwood School of Music
  • Acquired by College: 1998
  • Original Building Type: Office
  • Style: Classical Revival with Beaux Arts features

Information taken from the 2005 Campus Preservation Plan.