Chicago Landmarks

Essanay Studios

Argyle St. elevation     Address: 1333-45 W. Argyle St.
Year Built: 1908 - 1915
Architect: Jeremiah J. Cerny
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: March 26, 1996

Entry The most important structure connected to Chicago's role in the early history of motion pictures, Essanay produced hundreds of early motion pictures, featuring such stars as Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, and cinema's first cowboy hero--and a co-founder of Essanay--G.M. "Bronco Billy" Anderson. After its founding, the company also began making movies in California, where reliable weather facilitated outdoor filming. Changes in the movie industry, the defection of Chaplin as the company's star performer, and disputes between Anderson and his co-founder led to the collapse of the company in 1917. The fanciful terra-cotta Indian head at the building's entrance was Essanay's logo. The name is a combination of the initials of the two studio founders' last names: S & A.

# | A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | Y |