South Dearborn Street Skyscrapers, Chicago Photos

The Great Fire of 1871 spurred a rebuilding boom which drove up land prices & the consequent need for taller buildings to justify such prices. By the 1890s the skyscraper had been born in Chicago & the 400 block has the finest existing streetscape of early skyscrapers which are supported by their masonry walls rather than a steel frame which was to be invented a decade later. The buildings of note are the Manhattan Building (1891) (16 floors) by William Le Baron Jenney, the Monadnock Building (1891) (17 floors) by John Wellborn Root, the Old Colony Building (1894) (16 floors) by Holabird & Roche, the Plymouth Building (1899) (11 floors) by Simeon B. Eisendrath & the Fisher Building (1906) (20 floors) by D.H. Burnham & Co. + P.J. Weber.

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Green roof of Harold Washington Library Center behind Fisher, Old Colony, Plymouth & Manhattan buildings, the oldest skyscrapers in Chicago. Chicago, IL.South Dearborn Street with oldest skyscrapers Fisher, Old Colony, Plymouth & Manhattan buildings. Chicago, IL.Manhattan Building which when completed was tallest building in the world. Chicago, IL.Detail of bay windows of Manhattan Building. Chicago, IL.
Green roof of Harold Washington Library Center behind Fisher, Old Colony, Plymouth & Manhattan buildings, the oldest skyscrapers in Chicago. Chicago, IL.South Dearborn Street with oldest skyscrapers Fisher, Old Colony, Plymouth & Manhattan buildings. Chicago, IL.Manhattan Building (1891) (16 floors) (431 South Dearborn St.) which when completed was tallest building in the world. Chicago, IL. Architect: William LeBaron Jenney.Detail of bay windows of Manhattan Building. Chicago, IL.
Plymouth Building. Chicago, IL.Monadnock Building , tallest masonry building in Chicago with walls at base six feet thick. Chicago, IL.Fisher Building. Chicago, IL.Terracotta decoration of Fisher Building. Chicago, IL.
Plymouth Building (1899) (11 floors) (417 South Dearborn St.). Chicago, IL. Architect: Simeon B. Eisendrath.Monadnock Building (1891) (17 floors) (53 West Jackson Boulevard), tallest masonry building in Chicago with walls at base six feet thick. Chicago, IL. Architect: John Wellborn Root of Burnham & Root + Holabird & Roche.Fisher Building (1906) (20 floors) (343 South Dearborn St.). Chicago, IL. Architect: D.H. Burnham & Co. + P.J. Weber.Terracotta decoration of Fisher Building. Chicago, IL.
Bay windows of Fisher Building. Chicago, IL.Carved dragons decorating Fisher Building. Chicago, IL.Old Colony Building. Chicago, IL.Dearborn Street Station. Chicago, IL.
Bay windows of Fisher Building. Chicago, IL.Carved dragons decorating Fisher Building. Chicago, IL.Old Colony Building (1894) (16 floors) (407 South Dearborn St.). Chicago, IL. Architect: Holabird & Roche.Dearborn Street Station (1885) (47 W. Polk St.). Chicago, IL. Style: Romanesque Revival. Architect: Cyrus L.W. Eidlitz.

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