Chess Pavilion, 1957
East of Lake Shore Drive, on the bike path just south of North Avenue Beach
North Avenue Beach has been a popular gathering place for chess players since the 1930s. Among the players who enjoyed games on the lakefront was Laurens Hammond, Chairman of the Board of the Hammond Organ Company, who conceived of having a place for people to play. He commissioned an architect friend, Maurice Webster, to design the pavilion and Hammond donated $90,000 toward the construction. Evanston-born Gibbertson (1907-1982) created the game boards, bas-relief components, incised carvings and three-dimensional, five-foot tall king and queen chess pieces that flank the pavilion.
During the Depression, Gilbertson worked as a New Deal artist through the U.S. Treasury Relief Art Project. Some of his other works may be viewed at the U.S. Post Office in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, as well as the Central Corridor of the U.S. Department of the Interior and permanent collections of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.