Wednesday, July 1, 2009

LaSALLE STREET. 1924. At Jackson

Eighty years and the changes they've held, have mellowed the corner of LaSalle and Jackson. We see what we expect to see. Have always seen. But when the Board of Trade was constructed at the end of LaSalle Street, flanked by the existing classicism of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Illinois Merchant's Bank, it was a violent statement of modernity. A stylized expression of verticality, and height, leaving its two classical "framers" at street level. Beneath the tallest building in Chicago. A title to keep until 1965. (See previous post.)

Blame it on the kids.

Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, Architects of the Merchants Bank and the Federal Reserve, not only continued Daniel Burnham's legacy of Classicism that won the Chicago World's Fair, they continued the almost unstoppably successful corporate culture that serves as a model of organization for architects today. They literally carried Daniel Burnham to the next generation. Peirce Anderson's dedication played no small part in this accomplishment. But time has a way of creeping up on us. The symmetrical porticoes of LaSalle Street were already "on their way out" at their time of completion. A generation late.

In 1923, William Holabird, revered, accomplished Chicago School partner at Holabird and Roche was dead. (See Chicago Sculpture in the Loop for recent developments at the Marquette Building.) In early 1924 Anderson died of cancer. It was time for John Holabird and John Root ("the kids"), architects of the Palmolive Building and 333 North Michigan to take center stage, unopposed, with a small assist from the 1924 Zoning Ordinance that allowed the Board of Trade to rise 605 feet above the street below.

A remarkable accomplishment. But the next few posts will belong to Peirce Anderson. We'll give the future to Holabird and Root.

Below are details of the Brass Marquis that stands in front of the Illinois Merchants Bank (completed 1924). Think nothing of the Great War. The Panic. The cancer. The astonishing growth of density within an already dense City. Think nothing of the passing of a generation that knew the Fire and the Fair. Or the Depression to come. Just - look at this brass.



  1. I love your website ... very artistic photography and immensely interesting commentary! It's always a pleasure visiting this place. Your eye for the details is so astute and is reflected in the way you frame your photos ...
    I'm so glad to have discovered this place.

    The gallery of thumbnail images on the left side is AMAZING!

    Keep it going .. you bring out the best what Chicago has to offer.

  2. Beautiful architecture .......

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