Marshall Field Juniors’ restless spirit

By Caryl Clem

Chicago’s original shakers and movers who shaped commercial wealth, fashion and culture lived on a stretch of Prairie Avenue nicknamed. “Millionaires Row”. Marshall Field, the founder of Marshall Field & Company was Chicago’s number 1 wealthiest man, lived at 1905 South Prairie. Marshall Field proposed to his wife a day after meeting the attractive party girl.  Learning she was leaving town, he raced to the train station. He blurted out a marriage proposal demanding that she pursue love with him; soon afterwards they wed.  Beneath his success driven demure was an impulsive wild side he passed on to his son.

Marshall Field Jr. as a child constantly witnessed his parent’s quarrels.  Mother was a trailblazer, fiercely strong-willed constantly defying conservative norms. She introduced the “Tea Gown” a flowing, body hugging, sheer revealing dress for women.  She dared to invite celebrities and actors to stay with or without consent from her husband.  Later, she started to live overseas. Ironically, Marshall Field Senior had the business motto, “Give the Lady What They Want”, without reaching marital harmony at home.

While Marshall was in college, an elaborate 43 room mansion was built at 1919 South Prairie. Marshall graduated from Harvard, returned to Chicago to marry beautiful Albertine Huck in 1890. Well educated, husband Marshall Field Junior lived under his father’s shadow working as a clerk. When the high class brothel, The Eveleigh Club, opened in 1900, Marshall Field Junior was named as a regular patron.  He had a place to escape boredom. 

At 2131-33 S Dearborn the famous brothel had a ballroom, parlors and private suites.  Everywhere were  fountains, fresh flowers, musicians played gold gilded pianos, eloquent furnishings, fine liquor and food with lovely  lady  “butterflies” floating through the rooms. Men boasted about evening adventures that would cost $50 at the door and a $150 feast before you could court a female dessert for later in the evening.  Weekly wages were barely over $5 for the “common” man. On a fateful November night, Marshall Field Junior was shot by his love interest! 

Vera Scott had started as a stunning, leggy chorus girl.  She bragged about her powers of seduction with numerous men during an interview by a reporter for The Los Angeles Times on November 23, 1913.  She coyly mentioned she had killed 2 men with no arrests.  Her first victim was Marshall Field, Junior.  

Marshall Junior spotted Vera while she was sitting in a popular lunch grill. . He approached her, later inviting her to join him at the Eveleigh Club. She agreed. Later she felt harmed by an action in a private room with witnesses, and reached for her revolver. She claimed shooting him was an accident.  He ordered a taxi to drive him home to save the family’s reputation never admitting he was shot.

Marshall died on November 27, 1905, ironically starting his life at 1905 S. Prairie.   Reports of feeling an restless entity have been reported in the Prairie street condo’s once his home and at the relocated Eveleigh Bar, recently the Tonic Room at 2447 S. Halsted.

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