Edgeville Buzz

Andersonville’s Most Curious Places: 5400 N. Clark aka Hamburger Mary’s

5400-1Our next building in the Most Curious Places series is 5400 N. Clark suggested by William Collins. Currently the home of Hamburger Mary’s, it was originally built for the Swedish American State Bank in 1913. The architects were Ottenheimer, Stern, and Reichert, who only worked together in Chicago for a few years. Their most famous work is probably the Elk’s Club building in the loop.

5400 N. Clark is a great example of the beaux-arts architectural style, which was particularly popular in Chicago after the World’s Fair.


5400 Clark in 1913 and 2015.  Historical image thanks to Ashley Wright/Hamburger Mary’s

The building has gone through extensive renovations since being built. Sometime before 1940 the space was split into three store areas. This change involved adding several additional doors, awnings, and the extensive plate glass windows. Originally the second floor window arches continued down the entire building as can be seen to the left.

Luckily many of the building’s classical architectural details still remain. The façade is particularly impressive, made of glazed white terra cotta. The beaux-arts style can be seen in the Ionic-esque columns, the previously mentioned arched windows, and the pediment.

Close up of the pediment on 5400 Clark Beaux-Arts styleThere are a few ornamental details that I would be remiss to not point out. One feature that is mentioned particularly often is the keystone with an eagle crouched over a Y. The Y is actually a Chicago symbol – the three legs represent the three rivers in Chicago. Another aspect of note is the cornice tops reminiscent of tulips. The Edgewater Historical society notes that this is probably Ottenheimer’s influence from his education under Louis Sullivan. There are also more traditional beaux-arts decorations on the building such as the cornucopia that can be seen directly above the eagle and, of course, the columns.

Picture of skylight and stage in Hamburger Marys

One of the most interesting sets of renovations is the second floor – currently Mary’s Attic. Originally a mezzanine, at some point it was turned into its own floor. The skylights and their molding are original to the building, although they were tarred over sometime previous to Mary’s tenure. However, my favorite part is that of the stage. You might expect that it’s a feature added by Mary’s for their cabarets. Nope! It was added by a previous tenant who used the space as an apartment; the stage lead to his bedroom and kitchen.

One important thing to note is that Hamburger Mary’s sprawls out from the Swedish American State Bank building. The second dining room is, in fact, in the next-door Calo theatre, another Andersonville architectural treasure.

Should you be interested in seeing more historic photos, there’s quite a display in that second room near the bathrooms. I also want to extend a big thank you to Ashley Wright, one of the owners of Hamburger Mary’s, for giving me a tour and providing historical pictures.

Liked this?  Why don’t you check out: the Colvin HouseManor House, and the Uptown Bank Building.








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