Friday, May 21, 2010

Lolita Sheldon Marries J. Ogden Armour, May 12, 1891. What a Beginning for a Young Girl!

Ogden Armour was the oldest child of P.D. Armour. On May 12, 1891, he married Lolita H. Sheldon of Sufrield, Conn., in the Murray Hill Hotel of New York City. Lolita was 18 years of age and is described as an extremely pretty brunette. She was educated at Miss Porter’s school in Farmington and on a trip to Chicago had met Mr. Armour in 1890. The engagement was announced after a three weeks’ acquaintance.

By September, the Armours’ were building their new home in Chicago at the north-west corner of Michigan Avenue and 37th street. The house was to be eighty-two feet deep and a frontage of sixty feet, two stories with an attic and high roof. The walls would be of Bedford stone and steel beams would be used to make the home absolutely fire-proof. A broad hall, 20X42, will lead to the rooms on the first floor, “with a massive stairway leading to the second floor." In 1893, the house was finished and a large reception was held at 5:30 o’clock. “The marble vestibule of the house opened into a large square hall finished in solid mahogany. A broad stairway, with square landings, led to the second floor. To the left of the hall was a reception-room, which was hung in pale green silk. The draperies and most of the furnishings were of pink silk and brocade.” The library was painted India red. On the opposite side was the music room with bright rose-colored satin. The Hungarian orchestra played behind the stairway. Mrs. Armour was assisted by Mrs. W. Vernon Booth and Mrs. P.D. Armour.

In 1896, Mrs. Armour gave birth to a daughter. The baby would be given the name of Lolita, the same as her mother. She was the first granddaughter of Phillip Armour along with two grandsons. For each of the two grandsons, Mr. Armour had set aside $500,000 “to their individual credit.” “…speculation is now rife whether he will set aside $1,000,000 for the "ittle girl in order that there may be no disparity in the financial standing of the new little woman."

The child was of delicate health, and was kept in an incubator. Lolita would later be married in the great mansion in Lake Forest. On our history tour, July 17, 2010, we will see the marvelous stairs she descended on the day of her wedding.

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