Green Mill Gardens

4806 North Broadway
Opened 1914
Architect: C.S. Michaelsen

Opened in 1914, the Green Mill Gardens, located at the northwest corner of Broadway and Lawrence Avenue, was one of Chicago’s hottest night spots during the height of jazz music’s popularity during the 1920s and 1930s.

The site of the Green Mill Gardens had a long history as an amusement center. In the early 1880s, long before Uptown became a fashionable and densely populated residential and commercial district, a roadhouse, commonly known as Pop Morse’s Gardens, operated at the location. It was a well-known stopover for travelers and a popular destination for day-trippers from the city of Chicago. Pop Morse’s consisted of a restaurant and outdoor beer gardens. As Uptown grew and prospered, the Pop Morse’s became an important neighborhood institution by providing a place for area residents to meet and mingle.

Green Mill Gardens, ca. 1915

Green Mill Gardens, ca. 1915

In the early 1910s, Pop Morse’s was purchased by Tom Chamales, who proposed tearing down the old roadhouse and building a high-class restaurant and leisure resort in its place. Chamales and his fellow investors put $250,000 into the project. When it opened in June 1914, Green Mill Gardens was one of the most elegant night spots in all of Chicago. Its elegant Della Robbia dining room offered patrons nightly cabaret performances while its 2,500-seat outdoor sunken gardens hosted band concerts during the summer months.

Today, the site is occupied by The Green Mill, one of Chicago’s premier jazz clubs.

Sources: Variety, 26 June 1914, 22; “Uptown Grows in 37 Years,” Uptown News, 9 June 1931, 4.

Image source:  “Green Mill Gardens, Broadway at Lawrence Ave., Chicago, Ill.,” postcard, E.C. Kropp Co. (n.d.), cropped.