Family and guest bedrooms occupied this floor during the Medill and McCormick years but this area was extensively remodeled under terms left in McCormicks will. For many years a caretaker lived here and rooms were remodeled to provide a kitchen, dining room, and other living spaces on this floor. In the 1990s, these spaces were restored to their original appearance.
Amy McCormick’s Bedroom and Sitting Room
Amy and Robert began using this house after they returned from France during WWI. This bedroom and dressing/sitting room became Amy’s, while Robert used other rooms on this floor. In the 1930s, they planned to move their personal spaces to the new addition but Amy became ill. She stayed in these rooms until her death in 1939, occupying a space where she was most comfortable. Today the rooms are furnished with pieces Amy owned and used both here and at a house they owned in Aiken, South Carolina.
Other rooms on this floor became guest bedrooms after 1936. The McCormick’s entertained often. Guests who made the 35-mile trek from Chicago frequently spent the night. This distinguished list includes aviator Charles Lindbergh and his wife Ann, actress Gloria Swanson, actor Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and columnist Hedda Hopper.
Robert McCormick was particularly concerned with fireproofing his home as part of the 1930s remodeling effort. He built the East and West additions completely of brick and lined each interior wall with fireproof clay tiles. The original house gained a brick façade to replace the wooden siding.
McCormick added interior features designed to slow a fire’s spread and to help occupants escape quickly. Each time a hallway connects the original 1896 house with the new addition, McCormick installed automatically-closing steel fire doors. Each bedroom opens directly to the outside and dining room window was converted to a door, providing a quick escape route to through the South Porch.