Chicago in 1910 was still a largely Nineteenth Century City. Charles Ives Cobb's Federal Center, completed in 1905, stood in the heart of the City. Up the street, Burnham and Root's Great Northern Hotel, built in 1892 still stood at Dearborn and Jackson. And on Michigan Avenue, Holabird and Roche's University Club had just been completed.
The People's Gas Light and Coke Building was clearly something new. Different. A change of scale, proportion, and mass, foreshadowing even larger changes to come.
For more remarkable photographs of Chicago, visit the highly recommended Daily News Collection of Photographs at the Chicago History Museum. Credits for images above as follows: The Federal Center: Wikepedia. The University Club: Wikepedia. And Peoples Gas: Chicago PC Info (Don't miss this site!)