When driving north along Rossmore, The Mauretania stands out as one of the area’s best examples of Streamline Moderne/Art Deco architecture. And right now…there’s penthouse space available in this neighborhood favorite.
The Streamline Moderne style emerged in the 1930s as an expression of the modern aerodynamic principles developed for aviation and ballistics to reduce air friction at high speed. During the ’30s, designers applied the same principles to lots of things never intended to move – including buildings.
In 1934, Architect Milton J. Black was commissioned by Actor Jack Haley, best known as the Tin Man in ‘The Wizard of Oz’ (1939), to design the 10-unit apartment building. Black was well known in the area – he designed the nineteen-unit Chateau Rossmore (at 555 North Rossmore, just south of Clinton) around the same time. Haley and his wife, Flo, lived in penthouse of The Mauretania from 1934-1954.
In the summer of 1960, John F. Kennedy stayed in Jack Haley’s penthouse apartment during the Democratic National Convention which was held downtown at the Sports Arena. In fact, Kennedy was on Rossmore when the Democratic delegates named him their nominee.
Over the years, the building has served as home to many actors, musicians and writers. The Mauretenia was purchased by preservationist and restorer Dave Goldstein about 15 years ago and is the flagship Art Deco building in his large portfolio. Goldstein’s appreciation for the Art Deco style translates into satisfied tenants…“Remember, when people are happy where they live, it brings out the creative side in them and it nourishes their soul. For those of you without a creative side – we’re interested in nourishing your soul as well!” — The Art Deco Man – Dave Goldstein
There’s not a lot written about the building’s name – but it’s pretty clear that either Jack Haley or Milton J. Black were influenced by the under-construction ocean liner Mauretania. According to the Cunard website:The Mauretania was the first ship to be built for the newly formed Cunard-White Star Line and was laid down on 24th May 1937 as SS No. 1029. She was the largest ship ever to be constructed in an English shipyard at the time. She was launched on 28th July 1938 by Lady Bates, wife of the Cunard chairman, Sir Percy. The ship was designed for the London to New York service and was the largest vessel ever to navigate the Thames and use the Royal Docks.
By 1940, the ship was converted for war duty. It’s likely that the designer of this Streamline Moderne building, with it’s nautical influence, chose the name of a state-of-the-art ship to christen his new apartment building.
It’s unusual that there’s availability in this historical 1930s gem…and so we felt it was time to celebrate the building’s history.
See the listing for a 1-bedroom penthouse-style apartment at The Maurentania – $2,250/month.
Craigslist – 520 North Rossmore Avenue
Owner Website – Art Deco Apartments
Video Tour Courtesy of Art Deco Apartments –