Saturday, January 21, 2012


DANIEL HUDSON BURNHAM was born on September 4, 1846 in Henderson New York. In 1854 his parents, Elizabeth and Edwin, moved the family to Chicago where Daniel began his education at Snow's Swedenborgian Academy. Daniel continued at Chicago's Central High. In 1863, after an attempt by 17 year old Daniel, to enlist in the Union Army, he was sent to Waltham Massachusetts to study under Joseph Worcester and later, Tilley Brown Hayward, both Swedenborgians. The Swedenborgian faith and the lifelong connections it provided guided Burnham throughout his life.

Burnham returned to Chicago in 1867 working briefly for Loring and Jenney before heading West to Nevada during the Silver Rush in White Pine County. He returned to Chicago in 1872 working for architects John Van Osdel, H.B. Wheelock and finally, Carter Drake & White where he met partner John Wellborn Root. By 1874 the firm of Burnham and Root had gained the commission for the John B. Sherman mansion on South Prairie Avenue. Daniel married Margaret Sherman in late 1874.

From 1871 until Root's death in 1891, the firm of Burnham & Root gained ever larger and prestigious projects. Beginning with residential commissions from Chicago's wealthy and elite, they continued with the development of the Skyscraper. Projects included the Women's Building, the Masonic Temple, the Rookery, and the Monadnock Block. Root died before their largest and most prestigious commission could be realized: The World's Columbian Exposition. Daniel Burnham, assisted by his new design partner, Charles Bowler Atwood, and a strong collaboration with the country's eastern architects and artists guided the Exposition to a resounding success. And with the national reputation earned and the connections made, D.H. Burnham and Company moved to become among the largest and most important architects in the country. Skyscrapers, Department Stores, Railway Stations, and Urban Planning were areas of expertise and innovation.

With his large scale introduction of the Beaux Arts Aesthetic in both Architecture and Planning, Daniel Burnham and his Ecole designers, changed the face of the early 20th Century American Cities.  And none more than his hometown of Chicago.  Take a look.  Below is a Sampler of D.H.Burnham & Co's work in Chicago.  Click on Images to see more.

No Architectural firm, before or since, has had a greater impact on Chicago.

Fine Art Photographs of Chicago Landmark Architecture and Sculpture

1 comment: