The “castle,” as it is commonly known, is clearly an Andersonville landmark. It was built in 1904 for C. Christiansen at a cost of $6,000. The architect was George Pfeiffer. In this eclectic building period in Chicago, buildings such as this one exhibit several architectural styles. Here we see elements of English Gothic and Romanesque style. The rusticated limestone exterior and the large turret create the feeling of a castle. The carved stonework and the cluster columns with carved capitals indicate the craftsmanship of the builder, James P. Flick. Ron Flores, owner from 1978-2010 embellished the site with his collections of architectural artifacts. Most of the stones in the yard were salvaged by Mr. Flores from Chicago buildings torn down from around 1970 to the 1990s.
Entering the building, you will go through a small oak-trimmed vestibule to the oak staircase. As you come up the stairs, you can see yourself, and a reflection of the hallway, framed in an ornate mirror salvaged from a Chicago property. Mr. Flores was a collector and fan of the Rococo style of 18th century France, and found the perfect setting for his collections. Beginning with the plaster moldings applied to the walls and carried through the striking color harmonies, the living room provides a setting which evokes the time of Louis XV. An original stained glass window with a floral design faces east in the living room. It was uncovered by the owner in the late 1970s. Other glass in the room is beveled and each has a story behind it.
The turret ceiling, embellished by the owner with applied angels and Beaux Arts detailing, shows clear glass in the top windows. Because of the damage to some of these windows, the faceted glass was removed, clear glass put in place, and then additional small stained glass pieces set in the windows. The turret itself is quite a curiosity since its main purpose seems to be to bring light into the area. Off the living room to the right is a small space – a sitting room. This room has come to be called “the music room” as Mr. Flores and his musician friends found it to have excellent acoustics while playing instruments in the room.
The apartment is designed without a circulating hallway; to reach the back of the house from the front you must go through each room in succession. Towards the back of the living room is a doorway that has been altered to accommodate a modern door. Originally, this doorway may have had a velvet drape to prevent drafts. Currently, this newer door is flanked by two carved busts of Mr. and Mrs. Christianson, the original owners of the building. They were given to Mr. Flores by the Christianson family. Through this door is another living room. The next doorway has the original pocket doors that open into the dining room. The crystal chandelier is not original and was hung in the late 1990s. The east window displays another unique stained glass in a floral design. The built-in buffet/hutch is accented by unusual geometric columns. All the woodwork, ceiling beams, buffet and window trim is oak and original.
From the dining room are two doorways. One leads to a sitting-room/bedroom which was once two bedrooms. This room’s ceiling light fixtures are original to the house and give an idea of what the others might have looked like. Originally these two-light fixtures were hung on the first floor but were moved to the second floor in the 1980s. The fixtures carry both gas and electric service which was necessary at this time since the reliability of electricity as a power source was not assured.
The second doorway leads to the kitchen and bathroom. The bathroom has been completely tiled in marble by Mr. Flores in the 1990s. All architectural items hung in the bathroom are part of Mr. Flores’ collection and were hung over the years. The kitchen has been remodeled and redecorated but the pantry is still intact.
The owner invites you to walk through the yard to view the beautiful stone fountain and other patio areas. The original garage was torn down in the late 1990s. PLEASE STEP CAREFULLY AS NOT ALL WALKWAYS ARE LEVEL. The building is considered a potential landmark by the City of Chicago Landmarks Commission.