Benjamin Marshall’s Co-op Style

1550 North State Parkway





By Megan McKinney


In continuing our series on Chicago’s great co-op buildings we are suggesting that  the leading developer of these may well have been Benjamin Marshall.


Benjamin Marshall


Among Mr. Marshall’s loveliest designs is the glorious wedding cake building at 1550 North State Parkway, above.  Built in 1911 as a co-operative—with an individual unit, including servants’ quarters, to each floor—the building converted to condominium in 1977.


Mr. Marshall’s handsome buildings dominate what is possibly the city’s finest street of co-ops, with five of the eight residential buildings on East Lake Shore Drive—plus The Drake Hotel—bearing his design.  All are impressive, with number 209 widely acknowledged as one of the city’s ten great addresses. This circa 1929 building is the residence in which Mr. Marshall and his wife, the former Elizabeth Walton, chose to live and raise their family.


Benjamin and Elizabeth Marshall’s children: Ben, Jr., Betty, and baby Dorothy

Among other bold-face named Chicagoans who have lived in their own 209  co-ops through years are Joseph Medill Patterson, Marilynn Alsdorf, Shelley MacArthur, Helyn Goldenberg, and Gilda Buchbinder.

Shelley MacArthur

Benjamin Marshall and his family occupied the west half of the sixth floor of 209.

This is the view that greeted the Marshall family from windows in the west co-op on the sixth floor of 209 every morning.

Any north view from 209 East Lake Shore Drive out over the lake is magical.



It is a view for which a telescope in the dining room is an appropriate accessory.


The contrast of dark wood walls enhance the view from a library in 209.


This striking Benjamin Marshall structure, 999 East Lake Drive, dominates one of the city’s great sites.


A living room and library in 999 East Lake Shore Drive.


 A 999 dining area with enviable lake proximity.


 Lake Michigan lies just beyond every north and east window in this glorious curving structure.


 A living room in Mr, Marshall’s 199 East Lake Shore Drive


 The unit’s intimate dining alcove.


Author Photo; Robert F. Carl