Landmark Living with a
Originally constructed in 1907, the Graeme Stewart Elementary School was named after Graeme Stewart, a well-known businessman and philanthropist in Chicago. Most notably, Stewart served as the president of the school board, was a confidant of President McKinley, and ran for mayor against Carter Harrison in 1903.
The Stewart School opened at a time when Uptown was experiencing tremendous growth. The Northwestern Elevated train line (now the Red Line) had recently extended north to the neighborhood and the silent film industry, which was headquartered in Uptown, was Chicago’s most glamorous scene.
Built to accommodate the growing population, the Stewart School was designed by famed architect Dwight Perkins. Perkins served as the architect for the Chicago Board of Education from 1905–1910 and was known for his desire to better serve students by providing bright and sunny classrooms, social space, amenities, and programming into the traditional classroom mix.
Shortly after the school opened, the train expanded farther north to Evanston from Wilson Avenue, which attracted more people and development to the area. The school was home to students for more than 100 years, including actor Harrison Ford and director William Friedkin before closing in 2013 due to low enrollment.
The Stewart School’s revitalization began in 2016 when the Morningside Group purchased the school. The company then partnered with architecture firm Pappageorge Haymes Partners on the conversion of the former elementary school into a luxury apartment building. The building now consists of 64 apartment homes, ranging in size from studios to three bedrooms, and features 34 different floor plans.
Now renamed Stewart School Lofts, the building features a roof deck with views of Lake Michigan, heated indoor parking, elevator access, and bike storage. While most apartments were formerly classrooms, some were home to the school principal’s office, the gymnasium, and the two-story auditorium, making every floor plan unique.
Each home has a different blend of restored original historic details, such as wood trim, hardwood floors, exposed brick walls, chalkboards, original basketball court striping on the floor, and original doors. Every home also includes features that the modern resident desires — elegant bathrooms, gourmet kitchens with quartz countertops and stainless steel appliances, washer and dryer, and some homes even offer private balconies. Formerly unused attic space, the fifth floor of Stewart School Lofts has become home to some of the property’s most unique apartments, featuring soaring mansard clay tile ceilings, skylights, and oversize patios with lake views.