Monday, May 2, 2011


Summarizing Daniel Burnham's move toward, and education in Architecture --1) At Chicago's Central High he learns he can draw (thank you Miss Starr for noticing). 2) At the New Church Academy in Waltham, Mass, he is taught by  young Swedenborgian Harvard graduate Joseph Worcester (who, later, becomes central to the Arts and Crafts Movement in San Fransisco. 3) In Cambridge, he is tutored by Hayward Brown Tilley who introduces him to the philosophies of William Morris, John Ruskin and WPP Longfellow. 4) In Chicago, he works for Sanford Loring (terra cotta expert and later, president of Chicago Terra Cotta) and William LeBaron Jenney (structural innovator and classmate at the Ecole Centrale of Gustave Eiffel. 5) He works for John van Osdel (Chicago's first architect) and W.B. Wheelock (Chicago old school architect and sometime partner of W. W. Boyington). 6) He works for Asher Carter (architect of Old St. Pat's) William Drake and Peter B. Wight (inventor of multiple advanced fire proofing systems.)

Art. Inspiration. Philosphy.  Building Materials. Structural Engineering.  A grounding in Chicago's Culture of Architecture.  And a course in advanced Fire Proofing. 

If this is attributable to his luck, Daniel Burnham was a lucky man. And if to his Faith, its time to learn to spell (correctly) Emanuel Swedenborg!  And there was more good fortune to follow:  Margaret Sherman and John Wellborn Root --- and that elusive Harvard Degree.


I've spent some weeks researching Daniel Burnham's early life and education --   Next week I'll begin again with his Architecture -- and a discussion of the FISHER BUILDING. 
Chicago School vs. a Classic renovaton.  Structural Innovations and Fireproofing Systems.  Elevators.  Handcrafted ornament.  The amazing kindness of Daniel Burnham.  Lucius Fisher. Misplaced credits.....and rumors of a Hookah Pipe. 

So, what's not to like?


  1. Thanks for your continuing scholarly homage to Daniel Burnham. For decades now it has been fashionable to dismiss him. But from the riotous glass and terra cotta of the Fisher Building to a National Mall with out the railroad tracks of the Pennsylvania Railroad, his reach and influence was worldwide. A really, really amazing, larger-than-life figure.

  2. This is fantastic! Writing paper (White City/Dark Side:The Architecture of Racism at the World Columbian Exposition) and hit the jackpot with your section on Daniel Burnham's education and link to Eiffel. Approaching it from anthro/archaeo pov. How should I cite you? Can't wait to spend some time with the rest. Many thanks.

    Sylvia VT Calabrese