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Cliff Dwellers Club

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Cliff Dwellers Orchestra Hall

Orchestra Hall

200 South Michigan Avenue, 22nd Floor, Chicago

The Cliff Dwellers Club, founded in 1907 as the Attic Club by Hamlin Garland and Emmett Dedmon, is now known by the name it received in 1909. The Club was ultimately named after Henry Blake Fuller's novel The Cliff-Dwellers, which offered pessimistic views about the future of the arts community in a developing Chicago. Since its 1996 move from atop Symphony Center (formerly Orchestra Hall) next…  read more

The Cliff Dwellers Club, founded in 1907 as the Attic Club by Hamlin Garland and Emmett Dedmon, is now known by the name it received in 1909. The Club was ultimately named after Henry Blake Fuller's novel The Cliff-Dwellers, which offered pessimistic views about the future of the arts community in a developing Chicago. Since its 1996 move from atop Symphony Center (formerly Orchestra Hall) next door, all the facilities of The Cliff Dwellers Club are located in the 22nd floor penthouse of the office building at the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue at Adams Street. Its lakefront facilities overlook Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. Frank Lloyd Wright was a charter member, and Louis Sullivan, for whom the Club’s library is named, wrote his memoirs at a small oak desk that remains there today. George Ade, Carl Sandburg and James Whitcomb Riley all had associations with the Club. Poet William Butler Yeats was honored at a banquet attended by around 150 people at The Cliff Dwellers on March 1, 1914. Poetry magazine was two years old at the time, and acted as host of the affair. Cliff Dwellers was at the time (and until 1984) an all-male club. But Poetry editor Harriet Monroe used this occasion to gain access to the club and its wealthy donors. Monroe teamed Yeats with Nicolas Vachel Lindsay, the Springfield poet whom caused a stirring reaction when he read (for the first time publicly) The Congo. In more recent years, Chicago film critic Roger Ebert frequented the Club as a member. Honorary members include the likes of Scott Turow, Angela Jackson, Rick Kogan and Stuart Dybek, all whom have appeared at special events. In 2014, Cliff Dwellers started hosting monthly book club meetings centered around Chicago literature. The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame has partnered with Cliff Dwellers since its inception, and frequently collaborates on talks or presentations featuring CLHOF inductees and top-tier contemporary writers.

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Cliff Dwellers Club entrance

Floyd Sullivan, 2017

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