Life Span: 1891-Present
Location: 53 West Jackson Boulevard
Architect: Burnham & Root (North Half), Holabird & Roche (South Half)
MONADNOCK BLOCK, at 53 W. Jackson street, is divided into four equal parts. The north half, known originally as the Monadnock and Kearsarge buildings, was built in 1891. Burnham ct Root were the architects. It is 16 stories high, with one basement, and is the highest and heaviest wall-bearing building in Chicago, and perhaps anywhere. This portion, when built, was set up 8 inches; by 1905 it had settled that and ”several inches more”. The total settlement to date is approximately 20 inches. In this building was made one of the first attempts at a portal system of wind bracing.
Architect Edward A, Renwick said, “When he (Owen F. Aldis as agent) put up the Monadnock on Jackson boulevard there was nothing on the south side of the street between State street and the river but cheap one story shacks, mere hovels. Everyone thought Mr. Aldis was insane to build way out there on the ragged edge of the city. Later when he carried the building on through to Van Buren street they were sure he was insane.”
The south half, known originally as the Katahdin and Wachusett buildings, was built in 1893. Holabird & Roche were the architects; Corydon T. Purdy was the engineer. It is 17 stories high with one basement, and has much smaller piers, enclosing Z-bar columns, used in both sections for interior columns. Spread footings were used throughout, with rails and beams in the north half, and with beams, only, in the south half. The original cost of the Katahdin building, including architects’ fees, was 39.247 cents per cubic foot; and of the Wachusett building, 41.077 cents per cubic foot (EAR). The east wall of the entire building is now supported on hardpan caissons, built in 1940 at the time the subway was dug in S. Dearborn street.
Monandock Building Aluminum Staircase, 1893
Winslow Brothers Co., Foundry.