The City of Chicago's Official Site



Chicago Orphan Asylum Building

Chicago Orphan Asylum Building     Address: 5120 S. King Dr.
Year Built: 1898 - 1899
Architect: Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: May 13, 2009

sociologist Horace Cayton, Jr. Pediment detail The Chicago Orphan Asylum Building exemplifies several layers of Chicago's cultural history. It was built in 1898-99 by the Chicago Orphan Asylum, an organization founded in 1849 to assist orphaned and abandoned children. The building was finely designed in the Colonial Revival architectural style by architects Shepley, Rutan, and Coolidge, who also designed the original Chicago Public Library and the Allerton Wing of The Art Institute of Chicago. In 1940, the building was sold to the Good Shepherd Community Center and became a significant institutional anchor for the Bronzeville community, strongly associated with the literary and artistic movement of the 1930s and 1940s known as the "Chicago Black Renaissance." The center's director, sociologist Horace Cayton, Jr., was the co-author of Black Metropolis, a seminal sociological study of Chicago's African-American community that was published in 1945. In 1957, the Chicago Baptist Institute purchased the building and it has since become a noted center of religious education on Chicago's South Side.