Halloween Haunts: Dracula Lives in Chicago's Gold Coast
Apparently, the Count prefers Chicago's monied enclave. But there's something else, something hidden, about this house that you'd never guess.
The gigantic replica of Count Dracula peering above a graveyard of skulls, tombstones, cornstalks and pumpkins stops foot traffic nightly, as locals and tourists Instagram it, Facebook it and tweet photos of the elaborate Halloween ensemble.
Behind the spooky facade is a treat of trivia: The homeowner is philanthropist and financier Richard Driehaus of Driehaus Capital Management, a firm that oversees a portfolio worth about $10 billion. Barron's named Driehaus one of the 25 most influential people in the mutual fund industry, a shortlist that covers the last 100 years.
The 71-year-old businessman is an architecture enthusiast and he's serious about his stuff. The Chicago native created the $200,000 Richard H. Driehaus Prize for Classical Architecture at the University of Notre Dame and the $50,000 Rafael Manzano Martos Prize honoring an architect furthering restoration and the classical tradition in Spain.
Driehaus' foundation donates around $4 million each year to Chicago projects, and he's probably best known for the 20-room Richard H. Driehaus Museum in River North's landmark, palatial 24,000-square-foot Samuel M. Nickerson Mansion, a survivor of the Gilded Age meticulously restored. The 1883 "marble palace" houses his personal collection of Tiffany pieces, one of the largest in the world.
The Dracula House hidden story is a treat and pretty good trick.