Sunday, February 6, 2011


I'll admit it. 

Imagining internationally known architect Daniel Burnham..... chasing cutting-edge astronomer George Ellery Hale..... on the shores of turn-of-the-century Lake Geneva .....for a potential Architectural commission in Pasadena..... (for the Wilson Observatory, no less).... sent me "back to the books."  To reorganize what I know and find out what I don't. 

The results surprised even me: We know surprisingly little of Daniel Burnham.  (In the City that invented architecture)   Even the basics.  A complete list of commissions would be a nice start.  ((I learned of the "Stewart" not from Hines'  authoritative "Burnham," but from T W Leslie's "ArchitectureFarm")).  Which buildings were built. (Which were not) Their date.  The address (not too much to ask).  Which buildings are extant. Golleee.  Maybe a little about each one. The clients. A picture. A drawing.  Credits as to design and staff.  What we have is conflicting information and second hand opinion reprinted as fact.  (Trust me).

I have blogged every Burnham Building that remains in Chicago's LOOP -- starting with what I know and adding to that.  (Most Burnham builidngs are not landmarked and have been "updated" with critical components removed).  And, of course, except for that once...... I have been polite.

But it seems that it is time for a change in strategy -- to really understand Daniel Burnham.  Going outside the LOOP.  Starting with what we don't know.  More Burnhams have been destroyed than remain. The list below is a partial compilation of downtown Chicago's "lost" Burnhams --demolished -- and for the most part removed from memory.   

Merchant's Loan and Trust
Adams Street at Clark

First National Bank of Chicago
Monroe Street at Dearborn

Goddard Building
Monroe Street at Wabash

Hill Building
West Van Buren

Society Brand Building
416 South Franklin

Stewart Building
108 North State Street

Art Institute of Chicago
Van Buren Street at Michigan Avenue

Rialto Building
Van Buren Street

Calumet Building
111 South LaSalle

Rand McNally Building
La Salle at Adams

Central Market
State Street at Market

Chicago Herald
158 West Washington

Chicago Daily News

Grannis Building
North Dearborn Street

115 West Monroe Street

111 West Jackson Boulevard

Keersarge Building
Jackson and Dearborn

Ashland Block
Clark Street at Randolph

Masonic Temple
State Street at Randolph

Women's Temple
LaSalle Street at Monroe

Majestic Hotel
Quincy Street at Dearborn

Peacock Cafe
114 West Madison Street

Great Northern
20 West Jackson Boulevard

Now.  How to begin?  NOT A CLUE.  But I've been told that its " in the details."


No comments:

Post a Comment