The long vacant Ashland Sixty-Third State Bank, located at 1536 W. 63rd Street, was issued an emergency demolition order by the City of Chicago Departments of Buildings on November 15, 2017. This neo-classical, highly ornamented, terra cotta bank building was designed by the prolific Chicago architect Karl Vitzthum in 1924.
Four of Vitzthum’s other bank buildings are Designated Chicago Landmarks including the Fullerton State Bank (1923), the Marquette Park State Bank (1924), Pioneer Trust and Savings Bank (1924), and the Hyde Park-Kenwood National Bank (1928).
Vitzthum designed many outstanding buildings during his career and is better known for his larger commissions which include three Designated Chicago Landmarks, specifically, the Old Republic Building at 307 N. Michigan, the Steuben Club Building at 188 W. Randolph, and the One North LaSalle Street Building.
During the long-period of vacancy, significant portions of the building’s decorative terra cotta cornice were removed, which further compromised the building’s integrity. It’s highly disappointing that the owner of the historic building allowed the deferred maintenance to get extreme enough to force an emergency demolition order for reasons of structural instability and safety.