Rosenwald Courts Apartments (Michigan Boulevard Garden Apartments)
4643 S. Wabash Ave.
Ernest Grunsfeld, Jr., 1929
A footnote in the vast philanthropic legacy of Julius Rosenwald, president of Sears, Roebuck & Company, Rosenwald Courts Apartments opened in 1929 as a shining example of what an affordable urban housing block could be. Inspired by Vienna’s housing works, Rosenwald enlisted his nephew and architect of Adler Planetarium Ernest Grunsfeld, Jr. to design the 454-unit apartment project. The result was this Moderne complex with great care given to natural lighting, green spaces and play areas. Towering figures like boxer Joe Louis, author Gwendolyn Brooks and Nat “King” Cole shared the address with doctors, lawyers and other members of the black professional class. After a long decline, Rosenwald Courts closed in 1999. A collaborative capital campaign raised $132 million to redevelop the building as mixed-income housing with updated retail and office space. Reopened in 2016 with 239 apartments, Rosenwald Courts has arguably never looked better.