Here’s a glimpse of the long-gone Mecca Apartments: a massive 96-unit apartment building that began life among the city’s finer residences, then hit times hard enough to put it in the path of bulldozers making room for future landmark, IIT’s Crown Hall.
Built in 1891, the four-story Mecca spanned the north side of 34th Street from State to Dearborn. Made of brick and terra cotta, the building belonged to a class of large and ornate early apartment houses built around Chicago. Its most stunning feature can be seen in the photo above: Each of the building’s two wings feature a skylight interior court – 34 feet wide and 178 feet deep – ringed by apartments. When it opened, the Mecca was billed as the largest apartment house west of New York.