Otto Strack

Personal Data

Otto Strack was born on October 29, 1856, in Roebel, Mecklenburg, Germany, the son of August Strack and his wife, Emma Unger.

He married on October 10, 1891, in Green Lake Co., Wisconsin, to Carrie Yahr (b. May1867 in WI; d. 18Nov1945 in New York City), daughter of Ferdinand Theodore Yahr and his wife, Emilie Charlotte Schaal.

Otto Strack died on October 10, 1935, in his penthouse in the Strack Building, 220 E. 23rd Street, New York City.


Otto Strack was trained as a carpenter, mason, and blacksmith in Germany. He studied at the building school in Hamburg, and then at the polytechnic schools in Berlin and Vienna, receiving a degree in 1879.

He immigrated to the United States in 1879 and by 1881 had settled in Chicago, where he worked as an architect and civil engineer, opening his own office in 1886. He received his citizenship in October of 1888.

He moved soon thereafter to Milwaukee and became supervising architect for the Pabst Brewing Company. He remained in that position for about four years, and then opened his own architecture and building firm, with the Pabst company and family as a principal client. In about 1899, he moved to New York City, where he continued as an architect and builder.

In 1893, he designed the Pabst Brewing Company’s pavilion at the Chicago World’s Fair. After the exhibition, Frederick Pabst had the building dismantled and moved to his Milwaukee residence as a conservatory.

Primarily known for his commercial work, Otto Strack designed (among other buildings) the Pabst Theatre (1895) in Milwaukee; the Pabst Union Hotel (1897) in Chicago; the Pabst Hotel (1899) in New York City (designed with Henry F. Kilburn in what was then Longacre Square; it was demolished in 1902 and replaced by the New York Times building, Longacre Square becoming Times Square); the Pabst Harlem Restaurant and Dance Hall (1900) on 125th Street in New York City (1900); the Pabst Grand Circle Hotel (1903) on Columbus Circle in New York City (demolished in 1954); and the Empire State Dairy Building (1913) on Atlantic Avenue in New York City.

His residential work included the Milwaukee homes of Marie (Pabst) Goodrich, daughter of Frederick Pabst (1893), and the Joseph B. Kalvelage home (1896).

Back Bay Work

1909 130 Commonwealth (Remodeling)