Reclaimed Products & Chicago History in Savage Smyth

Upon reaching the Savage Smyth rooftop, it’s hard not to be inspired by Chicago and its impressive skyline view. Savage Smyth intentionally draws inspiration from Chicago, infusing art and history into its foundation through the innovators, makers and creatives that influence and work within the space.

One such maker is Great Lakes Yard, a Chicago-based reclaimed lumber and salvage business, whose mission is to sustainably harvest lumber through deconstruction for sustainable reuse.

Savage Smyth owners Gabrielle Martinez and Fergus Rooney partnered with Great Lakes Yard to reclaim materials from Chicago demolition projects for use in the venue’s construction and restoration. The final product is a focal point in Savage Smyth, a wood landing for the staircase that takes guests to the venue’s rooftop.

The lumber is fittingly named the ‘motorcycle wood,’ alluding to the materials’ history whose previous home was a Hell’s Henchmen clubhouse, located on 1734 W. Grand Ave.

In 1994, rival motorcycle gang the Outlaws set off an explosive device in front of the clubhouse, destroying the building. Burn marks on the wood nod to its interesting past and now create a unique feature in Savage Smyth’s staircase landing.

Use of local products, including the motorcycle wood, was important to Rooney and Martinez, who also tapped into Great Lakes Yard network to repurpose discarded materials during construction of Savage Smyth. Glass panels from the original building can be seen at El Che Bar.