The building north of 1516 North Lake Shore Drive Chicago, IL 60610 also belongs to the International College of Surgeon and the U.S. Section of the International College of Surgeons. 1524 North Lake Shore Drive is twice the size of 1516 and operates as a Museum Dedicated to Surgical Science.
The historic lakeside mansion that is now the Museum was constructed in 1917, under the careful direction of Eleanor Robinson Countiss to house her family. Her father, an executive of the Diamond Match Company, generously provided the home building fund.
The elegant structure was designed to follow the historic lines of Le Petit Trianon, a French chateau on the grounds of Versailles completed in 1770 for Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette. The noted Chicago architect Howard Van Doren Shaw was hired to design the Countiss mansion with modifications including a fourth floor added to the original design, adding a door on the side street, and opening up the northernmost bay for a carriage drive.
Original interior finishes of Italian marble and cut stone; decorative plaster work, metal fixtures and hardware; eight marble fireplaces; and a gilded metal grand staircase are among the features which have been preserved.
The Countiss family was the sole owner of the building until 1950, when it was acquired by Dr. Max Thorek and the International College of Surgeons. After several years of renovating the building and forming the Museum collection, the Museum opened its doors to the public for the first time in 1954 under the direction of Dr. Max Thorek.
One of the few remaining lakefront mansions, and the only one open to the public, the building received historic status in 1988, and is listed in the National Register and the Illinois Register of Historic Places and is a City of Chicago Landmark.
- Click here to view interior photos of 1516 North Lake Shore Drive
- Click here to view floor plans of 1516 North Lake Shore Drive
- Click here to learn more about the Historic Gold Coast Neighborhood