Daniel Hudson Burnham, an Architectural Chronology & Legacy in Photos

Daniel Hudson Burnham was one of the pioneers in the skyscraper & Chicago-style movement. When his partner John Wellborn Root died in 1891, Burnham became the prime overseer of the planning of the 1893 World Columbian Exposition in Chicago, which entrenched the Beaux Arts Classical popularity in America almost to World War I. Burnham became preeminent city planner producing master plans for Chicago, Cleveland, San Francisco, Washington, D.C., & Manila in the Philippines. Burnham's landmark buildings which still stand include the Flatiron Building, New York, Santa Fe Building & Orchestra Hall, Chicago, & Union Station, Washington, DC. Burnham's firms were called Burnham & Root, D.H. Burnham & Co. (1893), Graham, Burnham, & Co (1912 when Burnham died) & Graham, Anderson, Probst & White (1917 to present - names of Burnham's apprentices). Original images by Jim Steinhart trace Daniel Hudson Burnham's artistry & legacy.

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  • Sept. 4, 1846: Daniel Hudson Burnham born in Henderson, NY.
  • After career delays Burnham apprentices as draftsman to architect William LeBaron Jenney, "Father of skyscrapers".
  • 1872: Burnham moves to Chicago, works for architectural firm of Carter, Drake, & Wright.
  • There, Burnham meets future architectural partner, John Wellborn Root (1850-1891).
Union Stockyard Gates
Kent House
St. Gabriel Church
  • 1888: Rookery Building, Chicago by Burnham & Root. Transition skyscraper - part masonry wall, part steel girder frame. Burnham & Root make top floors their offices. Many meetings here for Chicago World's Fair planning.
Rookery Building

Rookery Building
Society for Savings

Society for Savings
Monadnock Building
Marshall Field Store

Marshall Field interior
  • 1892: Chicago Masonic Temple (21 floors) world's tallest skyscraper.
  • Burnham & Root become overall planners for World Columbian Exposition, with longer experienced Root as lead.
  • 1891: Root dies, Burnham takes charge, but direction of fair shifts from Root's innovative to classical style.
  • 1893: Exposition opens: includes Fine Arts Building which will later house Museum of Science & Industry.
  • Fair a popular success & its Beaux Arts style of classicism becomes fad in American architecture up to World War I.
  • Burnham's career is made.
  • Burnham & Root renamed D.H. Burnham & Company.
  • After fair, all structures except one are demolished.
Fine Arts Building

Museum of Science & Industry

Beaux Arts Caryatids

Root's Monument
Reliance Building
Flatiron New York

Flatiron New York

Flatiron New York
Marshall Field Mansion
St Paul's, Sacramento
Santa Fe Building

Santa Fe Building

Santa Fe Building
Symphony Center

Symphony Center
Carson, Pirie, Scott

Carson, Pirie, Scott
Fisher Building

Fisher dragons
Traction Building
Wanamaker Store
Yazoo Rail Station
Union Station, Washington, DC
Union Station, Washington, DC
Oliver Building, Pittsburgh Oliver Building, Pittsburgh
Peoples Gas Building
Union Station Fountain
Southern Building, Washington
Field Museum

Field Museum
  • June 1, 1912: Burnham dies in Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Burnham buried on an island in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.
  • Four long time apprentices: Ernest Graham, Pierce Anderson, Edward Probst & Howard White joined by Burnham's two sons, Hubert & Daniel Jr. form Graham, Burnham & Company to continue projects underway.
  • 1917: Firm renamed Graham, Anderson, Probst & White.
Burnham Gravestone

Burnham Tombstone
May Company, Cleveland

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All photos on this page are originals by & copyrighted by Jim Steinhart.
All rights reserved. Permission required to use.