< --Previous Up Next–>
Life Span: 1899-Present
Location: 6 N. Michigan Avenue
Architect: Richard E. Schmidt
Montgomery Ward Tower Building
The Tower Building, at 6 N. Michigan avenue, on the northwest corner of E. Madison street, formerly known as the Montgomery Ward & Co. building, with a frontage of 86 feet on N. Michigan avenue and 163 feet on E. Madison street, was built in 1899 of steel frame construction to a height of 12 stories, with a tower and one basement, on 50-foot wood pile foundations. The three lower floors were designed for a live load of 200 pounds per square foot, the nine upper floors for 150 pounds per square foot. This made it possible for later owners to add four stories without reinforcing the columns of the lower stories. Richard E. Schmidt was the architect. The 22.5-foot weather vane, Progress Lighting the Way for Commerce, was set October 20, 1900. It was modeled by J. Massey Rhine. The street facade of the lower three stories is of carved Georgia marble. The cost of the original building was 36.7 cents per cubic foot.
At the time of its completion, this was the tallest building in Chicago. Originally at 394 feet high, the Montgomery Ward Building is currently 282 feet (86 m) tall, following the removal of a pyramid top and sculpture.
Montgomery Ward’s “busy beehive” in 1899.
The open-air observatory at the top of the tower was the highest point in Chicago.
Montgomery Ward & Co.’s Mail Order Establishment
U. S. Storage Company
Possibly Montgomery Ward’s Mail Order Establishment, Michigan Avenue
Robinson’s Fire Map, 1886
Volume 3, Plate 9
Chicago Tribune, October 10, 1902.
Montgomery Ward won his long fight for the preservation of the entire lake front for park purposes when the Supreme court of Illinois denied a rehearing in the case. The whole tract from Randolph street to Park row and from Michigan avenue to the harbor line, or breakwater, is thus secured permanently for a park, and the erection of any building in the area is prohibited.
May 24, 1914/em>