Monday, August 31, 2009

PEOPLE'S GAS. The View from the Bridge

In 1917, Peirce Anderson listed what he considered to be the principal examples of his work. They included the Equitable Building in New York; Union Station, the Post Office and the Columbus Memorial in Washington DC; the Plan of Manila; and in Chicago, Union Station, the Continental and Commercial Bank, and the 1910 PEOPLE'S GAS LIGHT AND COKE COMPANY at the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams. (If that were ME talking I'd include Marshall Field and Company and the Field Museum, too. But, Peirce was known for his modesty.) The earlier buildings were completed with D.H. Burnham and Company. The later buildings, with Graham Anderson Probst and White.

One of the best views of People's Gas is from the Nichols Bridge, near the entrance to the Art Institute's third floor dining room (on top or their new addition, behind the main building). The Bridge allows a spectacular view of the Michigan Avenue Wall, and in particular, the People Gas Light and Coke Building. (See the view below.)

1908/1909 would have been pretty exciting times in Daniel Burnham's office. Ed Bennett and Daniel were completing the Plan of Chicago. Peirce Anderson and Daniel we preparing designs for the People's Gas Building, and wrapping up the plaza improvements for Union Station in Washington. Burnham's office at that time was in the Railway Exchange Building, overlooking Grant Park. Those lean years of the mid nineties were all but forgotten.

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