Thursday, June 11, 2009

LaSALLE STREET. LaSalle at Jackson

There are special places in Chicago. The Marshall Field and Company Building on State Street. Union Station. The Field Museum. To name just a few. And of course, the foot of LaSalle Street at Jackson Boulevard. Each of these hold an undeniable attraction. And a few things in common. First, they all conceptually embrace Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan for the City of Chicago. Second they all seem to "fit" . ((Here at LaSalle Street and Jackson Boulevard cornices and ornament align. Most buildings are of comparable height and style. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago symmetrically faces the Illinois Merchants Bank to frame LaSalle Street's axial terminus at Jackson Boulevard.)) And third, and surely most important, each location exhibits the lifelong dedication to both Burnham and Beaux Arts design pricinples by GAP&W design partner, Peirce Anderson.
Below is Board of Trade building designed by William Boyington in 1885 that was to be demolished for the new structure on the site that could complete the Burnham Plan at the foot of LaSalle Street.

There was no place else in Chicago that had the potential for so completely fulfilling the visual component of Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan. Matching cornice heights, comparable building heights, neo-classic detail and contruction to the lot line predominates. In the immediate vicinity, The Insurance Exchange (1912), 208 South LaSalle (1914), the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (1922) the Illinois Merchants Bank (1924) all buildings designed by Graham Anderson Probst and White, set and framed the stage for the new Board of Trade Building to be commissioned in 1925. The new Board of Trade could complete the vision. Below is GAPW's rendering of the proposed structure.


But in 1925, the Board of Trade commissioned Holabird and Roche -- whose interest clearly was not being "part of a plan". They were about to construct the tallest building in Chicago. Above is the new Board of Trade Building photographed at street level. Anderson died on February 10, 1924. Hopefully, he never knew what had been lost.

Credits are due Sally A. Kitt Chappell for the LaSalle Street Rendering shown on page 46 of her really excellent work ARCHITECTURE AND PLANNING OF GRAHAM ANDERSON PROBST AND WHITE. And also -- a great Chicago website of postcard images and renderings. See the Three Eagles of LaSalle Street at CHICAGO SCULPTURE IN THE LOOP


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