PICT0102 For years I've wanted to write about where I live – the building, I mean. It would have been unwise while I was still there, but as we've recently moved, I am now free to discuss the Farcroft Building, where Jan and I have lived for the last nine years – longer than I've lived anywhere else in my life.

PICT0132 Situated right at the edge of Lake Michigan, the Farcroft Building was designed and built in the 1920s as a men's hotel. The architect fancied himself a magician, and wanted the building to be a nexus for mystical energy. If you think of the Ghostbusters building you've got it right. He began by designing a thirteen story building at an address of 1337. As it's surrounded by four story buildings, the view is fantastic.

Next the architect built a turret on the upper left side of the building (left, facing out). This made the left side higher than the right, creating a "sinister" building. Our bedroom was just below that turret, as naturally we lived on the 13th floor. None of the rooms in the apartment had right angles, the better to funnel the "mystic" energy.

PICT0070 But that's not all. The ground floor entryway is not a mere lobby. It's a medieval feasting hall, complete with flagstone floors, a fireplace, and dark, carved wood posts. 

Over the fireplace are carved a series of decaptiated clergymen, and the ceiling is supported by colomns sporting hunchbacked monks literally being oppressed by the weight of the building.

PICT0055 Those same clergymen can be found outside, next to the mullioned windows and all up the buildings face.

The week we moved in, we met another resident in the elevator. He asked us if we were new to the building, then started fishing around for a card. We thought he was going to try to sell us insurance. Instead he handed over a card and said, "This is the name of my exorcist. He did a wonderful job."PICT0079

Despite fluctuating water pressure and inreliable elevators, we had no plans to leave the Farcroft. But it was sold this year, and the new owners decided to close the building down to give it a much-needed overhaul. Ironically, my uncle David Brininstool was the architect hired to do the work on the interior, and he says they're doing it right.

I know it'll take time, but we're already on the list to move back in when the overhaul is complete. It's rare to find a home with so much character. I got married, had two kids, co-founded a theatre company, and wrote three books while living there. A part of me will always think of it as home. 


(This is the view from our old living room, looking east.)