the Greystone, 107 South Wright Street

The Greystone Apartment Building is located at the northwest corner of Wright Street and Clark Street in Champaign. The Greystone does not fit neatly into any particular category of architectural style. The building is reminiscent of the Richardsonian Romanesque style, albeit in a minimal vernacular form. It was constructed in 1924 by G.A. Swenson, the owner of the Illinois Cut Stone Company. The Illinois Cut Stone Company supplied cut stone material for a number of University and University-related buildings during the early decades of the 20th Century. At the time of this building’s construction, the company was experiencing a slow period of business; Mr. Swenson decided to build a stone clad building to keep his workers employed until orders for the company picked up. The Greystone is now a six-flat, but was originally built as a residence for the Swenson family with 4 apartments above.

View enlarged image of the "Mad Driver" relief.

A noteworthy feature of the Greystone is the “Mad Driver” relief over the garage.

The Commission determined that the Greystone Apartment Building meets the following historic criteria:

(c) Representative of the distinguishing characteristics of an architectural type inherently valuable for the study of a period, style, craftsmanship, method of construction, or use of indigenous materials.
The Greystone is an excellent example of stone masonry, which is a rare finish for apartment buildings of this era in Champaign, and used local Indiana limestone. The building showcases elegant detail work and impeccable mason’s skill in stonecutting and fitting.

(e) Identifiable as an established and familiar visual feature in the community owing to its unique location or physical characteristics.
There is nothing in town like the garage for the Greystone. As this building was constructed by a stone-cutting company, they did this one-of-a-kind carving of an apparently mad driver whose hair is blowing in the wind over the garage door entrance. The Greystone itself is familiar to campus residents as a uniquely stone-clad apartment building. The masonry work is an example stonecraft work at its best.

(f) One of the few remaining examples of a particular architectural style or use, or is an example which clearly represents a major architectural style, and has undergone little or no alteration since its construction.
The Greystone was constructed in 1924 by G.A. Swenson, who operated the Illinois Cut Stone Company. The Illinois Cut Stone Company supplied cut stone material for a number of University and University-related buildings during the early decades of the 20th Century. At the time of this building’s construction, the Company was experiencing a slow period of business; Mr. Swenson decided to build a stone clad building to keep his workers employed until orders for the company picked up. The Greystone is now a six-flat, but was originally built as a residence for the Swenson family with four apartments above.  Very few apartment buildings were built in Champaign that were clad in stone. This building is a unique example remaining of this style. As with many apartment buildings of the era in Champaign and elsewhere, even though the main body of the building is stone or brick, the rear portion was clad in other material, usually wood or stucco. This rear portion is now covered in siding which has the look of wood, this change does not alter the overall essential character or style of the building.

Historic Preservation Commission Report PL06-0084 (Graystone)

View enlarged image of the Greystone from the Southeast

The Greystone from the Southeast.

View enlarged image of the Front Door

The Front Door

View enlarged image of the Medallion

Medallion

View enlarged image of the Chimney

Chimney

View enlarged image of the view from Clark Street

The view from Clark Street

View enlarged image of the rear view.

The rear view.

View enlarged image of the former garage.

The garage has been converted to a unit with minimal exterior changes.