I know, I know, there’s an unfinished, unfurnished penthouse in Trump Tower for sale for $30 million or something ridiculous. But the Nickerson Mansion cost millions to build in 1879-83. It was for years the second most expensive house in Chicago but the most expensive one has been demolished. So this house, now the Driehaus Museum, is the reigning champion.
The doors are now open to the public, so naturally Mevrouw T dragged me inside. I’m glad she did.
Samuel M. Nickerson made rather a lot of money selling alcohol for ‘medicinal purposes’ during the American Civil War. He invested his earnings wisely and had plenty of cash left over. So he started building a nice house.
For much of the 20th century the American College of Surgeons occupied it, doing little damage. Then in 2003 Chicago philanthropist Richard H Driehaus bought it, paid for its restoration and moved in his superb collection of objets d’art, including probably the world’s finest examples of Tiffany lamps.
Since 2008 it’s been open to the public, and we took the guided tour…and the photos.
Congratulations, Mr Driehaus, and our thanks for making this treasure available to the public.
Entry to the Driehaus Museum costs $20, or $25 with guided tour. For opening hours and further information, click here.
The writer was the guest of The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture.
3 responses to “DRIEHAUS MUSEUM – inside Chicago’s most expensive mansion”
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My dear daughter-in-law took me to visit the Driehaus Museum when I was in Chicago in July and it was spectacular. The guides obviously love their work and were well versed about all the details without being pedantic. What an experience!
Thanks, Dawn. Yes, you’re right about the guides – architecture tours are a huge bonus for visitors to Chicago, and the guides we had were all great. They’re volunteers, so enthusiasm is their bread and butter!