Chicago Herald Building
Life Span: 1891-1936
Location: 154, 156 and 158 Washington street, Between Wells and LaSalle Streets
Architect: Burnham & Root
The Inland Printer, January, 1892
GREAT newspaper office building, the completion of which may be said to have marked an epoch in American journalism , particularly in western journalism , is a structure of so much importance that a description of it must concern the public generally, and be of especial interest to the readers of The Inland Printer. Such a building is the recently completed home of the Chicago Herald , which is undoubtedly the most elegant and completely fitted newspaper office in the West, if, indeed, it is not the finest in the country. Solidity of construction , elegance of interior appointments, practical devices for the facility of business and complete sanitary arrangements are features that are strongly emphasized throughout the edifice. The building, which is located at numbers 154, 156 and 158 Washington street, fronts toward the north and is about in the middle of the block bounded on the east by La Salle street and on the west by Fifth avenue . The dimensions of the ground are 61 feet front on Washington street and Calhoun place, running 181 feet from the former to the latter. The height of the building to the pinnacle of the roof is 124 feet, divided into seven stories , of which the ground floor is 18 feet high, the second floor, 11½; third, 11; fourth, 15½ ; fifth, 16; sixth, 17, and the attic, 12 feet.
Though massive in construction, the facade of the building is graceful in outline, and, technically speaking, may be termed Norman Renaissance with Gothic details, the base being of red Monticello granite and the eleva tion of terra cotta . The ground floor front is marked by three deeply recessed arches of massive blocks of red granite, the center one of which serves as the entrance, while windows containing panes of plate glass of quite unusual dimensions occupy the other two. On either side of the door space are round columns four feet in diameter almost without ornamentation, a simple acanthus leaf marking the terminals of the archivolt. Every detail tends to increase the impression of strength and solidity. The wedge-like stones of the arches are of a solid, undecorated character, while the faces of the squared stones of the walls are regular but with broken joints. The name of the newspaper and the building, the Herald, is made known to the world in words formed of large, plain roman capitals carved above the central arching, on each side of which is an electrolier of wrought iron supporting an arc light. Above the granite stone squares which constitute the façade to a height of 23 feet, the front is faced with terra cotta of a deep rich brown hue, the usual heavy dull color resulting when terra cotta is used in place of stone ashlars having been obviated by adding a metallic oxide in pulverized form to the alumin ous clay. The Gothic character of the second story and the picturesque recessing of the third and fourth stories are the distinguishing features of the centralmass of the exterior front.
The upper mass of the façade comprises the fifth story and the great gable, including the attic. The arrangement of breaking the windows into three separate spaces corresponding with those of the ground floor is here abandoned. The windows lighting the fifth floor are united in an arcade or gallery form, their sills resting on a neat molding, while the arching above them is continuous and but slightly indicated. Above this, and in the center of the façade from side to side, is a semicircular balcony, making a projection of about two feet from the face wall, from which rises a short symmetrical column, with a heavy circular capital char acteristic of this period of Renaissance. This capital forms the base for the principal decorative feature of the façade the bronze statue of a herald of the medieval ages. The herald, which is ten feet six inches high, is represented as blowing the official trumpet, which he holds in his right hand, and in his left he clutches the baton of his office, before which every wrongdoer had to stand rebuked, no matter how eminent by his talents or commanding by his wealth and position. The picturesque costume worn toward the termination of the fifteenth century clothes the figure, and above his other garments is the tabard, one of the insignia of his office. In olden times this was distinguished by the cognizance of the nation, city, or prince whom the herald served. The herald whose figure adorns the façade of the Herald’s home has for his cognizance the armorial bearings of the city of Chicago traced on the bronze tabard with the words “Urbs in Horto ” A monogram formed by interlacing the letters “C” and “H” adorns the wings. The ornamental flagstaff of the building, which is made a constructional decoration, and is clamped at intervals to the face wall with bronze rings, rises behind the herald and goes through the apex of the gable, extending above it to a considerable height. Encircling the flag staff about thirty feet above the top of the gable is a coro nal electrolier comprising a ring of six powerful arc lights, which throw upon the figure of the herald a brilliant illu mination. Besides these and the two electroliers at the entrance of the building are two more arc lights in the lanterns of the minarets. These minarets are finials of engaged columns on each side of the building and the coping of the gable joins them midway down, thus leaving a haunch below the leaning roof at each end, so deeply incised that the effect produced is like perforated ornamentati on. Four more arc lights form a line with the fourth floor windows so as to furnish a brilliant illumination for the symbolic medallions. These commingled side, front and upper lights, 300 on the front alone, flood the façade of the building with electric radiance. The exterior of the building as a whole is distinguished by its solidity and by marked superiority of The decoration and is a revival of the fifteenth and sixteenth century style of architectural design.
Nowhere more than in the finishings of the business office is the progressive and liberal spirit of the management that animated the whole plan of the structure made evident; the happiest effects to be derived in the combinations of marble, iron and glass are here seen ; here the marble work, wrought iron ornamenta tion, glistening of glass fronts, and the rich illumination, form an ensemble of beauty to be found in few places in Chicago. The whole front of the ground floor, which is occupied by the publication offices, is open, with the exception of the counter room on the east side of the spac ious apartment. The swinging doors opening to the street are of bronze, covering wooden cores giving admis sion to an octagonal vestibule, highly decorated. The floor is of Italian mosaic, showing in five-eighths inch tessaire, fleur de lis in red, laurel leaves in green, with connecting red ribbons upon the gray, tesselated ground. Beyond this the space is open. From the mosaic floor, of the same design as that in the vestibule except that the latter contains the title “The Herald” in the center—rises a wainscoting of Sienna marble, shaded and veined in old gold and ivory colors, above a base of Belgian black marble. The latter material, highly polished, is used also for the counters of the business office and the counters for the public on the east and west walls. This material is susceptible of so high a polish that each counter top is one great mirror.
The columns that support the arched ceilings in the office are covered with Sienna marble, the seams of the octagonal columns being knit with iron scroll work, which also caps the wainscoting. Fleur de lis hewn out of the solid marble and forming a fine artistic contrast with the pink color, ornament the capitals of the columns. This beautiful work is done by hand in patient execution of an effectual design. These capitals are of pink Ten nessee marble, which material has been profusely applied throughout the entire build ing, in toilet rooms and washstands.
The arched ceiling of the business office is in itself a work of art. There is scarcely a square foot in the wide area of ceiling and walls which is not hand embossed in the highest style of art. The gold and crown ara besque work on the walls harmonizes beautifully with the Sienna marble of the wainscoting, and above it all arches the ceiling finished in ivory and gold colors.
The ceiling is divided into twenty panels, by five longitudinal and four transverse beams. In the center piece of the ceiling, surrounded by arabesque work in gold relief, is a cluster of in candescent lights, shaded by opalescent globes which mel low the radiance of the lights into a bluish green tint that completes the harmoniou s planning of colors. Not less than two hundred incandescent lamps and thirty arc lights are employed in illuminating the ground floor. An attractive feature of the business office is the ironwork of the counters, all hand wrought in highly ornamental design, and set in cast-iron frames. The sets on the tops of the counters are in panels, each of which is a floral design and Renaissance combination. This work is a production of recent date, and of Chicago workmen; the peculiar finish is technically known as “bower-barffed,” and has a surface which will never rust or tarnish, and which is therefore highly superior to any polish that could be applied. This ironwork sets off the polished marble to the best advantage.
The business office is so arranged that five advertising clerks confront the visitor who enters it from the street. In the corner office next to the advertising clerks, the counter cashier is located; pneumatic tubes convey “copy” from his desk almost as quick as thought up to the composing room, and speaking tubes lead to every department of the paper. The clerk in charge of the mailing department and out-of-town subscriptions has his counter next to that of the counter cashier. Next follows an information bureau for the accommodation of the patrons of the Herald; and the rest of the room in front of the large vault and the luxuriously appointed private office of the business manager is occupied by the cashier and his bookkeepers. In the room thus partitioned off from the public part of the ground floor the clerical force of the Herald is located. Four telephone boxes required for the business office are at the east wall. All the woodwork of this department is of polished quarter sawed white oak—office furniture and Mooring to match. Through this part of the office visitors are conducted to a gallery looking down upon the basement floor and upon the line of ten presses employed to do the printing of the paper. This visitors’ gallery—which is open to the public at all times—affords an opportunity to all interested to view this important part of the work , here done with the greatest degree of excellence.
The publisher’s apartments of the Herald are on the fourth floor, and are in keeping with the rest of the finishings of the structure. Broad windows open upon the wide, light court, which is one of the most useful and striking features of the building. Leading from the hall, the door opens into an anteroom where the private secretary and clerical help of the publisher are stationed, and where a long-distance telephone assures ready communication with places within a radius of fifty miles and more from Chicago. The anteroom is wide and commodious, with the woodwork in oak finish and the furniture to match. The publisher’s private office is a marvel of elegance and taste. The wood work in this department is mahogany of a rich, glowing color, with the exception of the floor which is cherry; the latter, however, is very largely concealed by fine Persian rugs whose brilliant hues form a pleasing contrast with the dark color of the mahogany. The seven-foot wainscoting and the solid beams of the ceiling, as well as other pieces of office furniture in the room, are of this beautiful wood. The wainscoting is paneled up to the finely chiseled cap of egg and-dart border, and the doors of the room, as well as those in the wainscoting leading to the closet, are paneled to match. There is no wall paper above the high wainscoting, but the face decoration of the walls consists of matrixes from the stereotype room, which are fastened to the walls and varnished, producing a very light yellow color, and their relief gives a unique effect, as if the entire walls had been embossed in the most minute designs. Solid old silver enters into the chandeliers and their ornaments, the handles of the large bookcase and electric light brackets. The telegraph instrument for the publisher’s personal use assures direct communication with every part of the civilized world. In the anteroom electrical annunciators and tubes connect with every part of the Herald—from the pressroom in the basement to the composing room on the sixth floor. In decorative as well as in practical appointments, the publisher’s office is in accord with the newspaper and its home.
The editorial rooms, which are finely furnished , and supplied with every time-saving appointment, are located on the fifth floor. The sills of the windows of this floor rest on a neat molding running a little above the arched recesses of the windows of the floor below, in which are three carvings, the work of the sculptor, Johannes Gelert, and which are among the most artistic and attractive external features of the building. The architectural con ditions of the arches , the length of each of which is 12 feet and the greatest height in the center about 4 feet, necessarily domi nates the form of the bas-reliefs. The sculptor arranged the first group in three medallions, connected by a framing in keeping with the bold and pleasing but simple architecture of the building. The central medallion shows a group of four monks in Benedictine robes seated at a double writing desk. Two are writing and two are acolytes who are studying the methods of the writings. Behind the desk is St. Benedict standing erect and speaking. One of the writers has stopped his work and listens to him with an eager, ardent look upon his face. The other pair are absorbed in their toil. The medallion on the left represents a monk grinding colors, and that on the right another monk illuminating a manuscript. Below the central medallion is the date 543, which is the recorded time of St. Benedict’s death. In the spaces between the medallions above are an antique lamp and an open roll of manu script. The aim of the sculptor was to present in the most concentrated form an epitome of the ages prior to the discovery of printing, and he chose the most picturesque epoch, both from the art standpoint and from the historical point of view, in selecting the time when all those things preserved by the printing press were most pertinaciously menaced. The second medallion over the center group of windows gives the printing press of the time of Gutenberg, with the date, 1455, when his Bible was published. The group as realistically modeled by the artist is the familiar one with the great ungainly wooden press of the wooden ages. The third medallion represents the mechanical and literary outfit of the modern newspaper, with the press of today in the center. The sculpt or had not an easy task in model ing the perfecting press, for its form is not what one would call picturesque, nor does it lend itself with any pliancy to the sculptor’s modification, but the artist has shown even in this hard and realistic subject his rare talent. The frontage on Washington street is for the entire width taken up with the offices of the managing editor and his assistants, city editor, copy-readers, and the large room for the reporters. Doors of communication and electric annunciators connect the entire suite, in front of which is the library and a reception room, the latter opening upon the elevator landing, which is a broad corridor running through to Calhoun place—more popularly known as “newsboys’ alley.”
Adjoining the library, and fronting on the large light court, which is 30 by 60 feet cut out, as it were, from the lots upon which the Herald building is erected are the apartments of the literary and exchange editors. Clustered around the court are the offices for the editorial writers, the night editor, telegraph readers and operators, foreign editor, world’s fair department, reporting, finance, commercial and real estate editors, office for the dramatic and musical critics, a separate room for special writers, and a reserved room for reporters eighteen separate offices in all——besides the library, reception room and art departments, which occupy the remainder of the floor; so that here, in close proximity to each other, are all the departments which furnish editorial, telegraph and local matter, and the illustrations for the Herald. The court runs down to the pressroom , above which is a roof of glass and steel, affording ample daylight even to the basement, the effect of light by means of the court is greatly heightened by the facing of the walls, which are English white enameled brick. In the news department of the Herald there are innovations of a time-saving character, the question of minutes being one of the most important conditions in the matter of newspaper work. The general arrangement of the room facilitates easy communication between the various departments. The city editor may call any one of the large staff of reporters by means of an electrical annunciator on his desk, which communicates with every one of the thirty reporters’ desks in the big local room; a simple touch on any one of the buttons of the annunciator notifies the particular reporter whose desk number corresponds with the one on the button that his presence is wanted. The telegraph room, which joins that of the night editor and the telegraph readers, is provided with the most improved operators’ desks, technically called the “quartette tables.” There are seats and instruments for twelve operators, eight of these being so arranged that typewriter instruments are fitted in the top of each , and which are closed when the in struments are not in use. There are four other tables without typewriter attachments. Special wires connect the telegraph room directly with New York, Washington and all other news centers. From the room of these telegraph readers the “copy boxes” containing the prepared manuscript lead up into the copy-cutter’s office in the composing room above, and pneumatic tubes connect the room with the business office as well as with the composing room. Through out the entire floor devoted to editorial depart ment the woodwork is of oak, highly polished, so that the greatest cleanliness and least amount of dust is assured. Every department has its indi vidual wardrobes and lavatories. The large toilet room is fitted up in marble tiling and polished metal. In front of the city editor’s room, and adjoining the library, is a nicely fitted up reception room where a clerk receives callers; who enter the room directly from the elevator land ing. This useful arrangement saves visitors end less trouble in looking for any particular department or person, and precludes the possibility of writers being disturbed by the intrusion of visitors. The entire editorial department is a model of completeness.
The composing room of the Herald occupies the entire sixth floor, with the exception of that portion taken up by the stereotyping department, which is located in the extreme southeast wing of the building. This department, where the type is set and the pages made ready for the presses, is considered the most interesting feature of a newspaper’s equipment. The dimensions of the composing room are as follows: Newsroom, at the north end of the building, on Washington street, is 57 by 59 feet; the proof room and “make-up” department, located in the long hall connecting the newsroom with the “ad” room, is 34 by 60 feet, and the “ad” room, in the south and rear, 43 by 34 feet, the whole having a superficial area of about seven thousand square feet. The ceiling is 17½ feet in height, and is partially supported by ten square columns of enameled brick, placed at regular intervals through the several departments of the room. Light in abundance pours through the windows at the front and rear and from those opening upon the court which is finished in imported white enameled brick, giving a brilliant reflection of light to the room. Four large skylights over the newsroom and two over the “ad” room also con tribute their light to this floor. The interior walls of this composing room are finished in English enameled brick, of pure white, like those of the inner court. The effect when the room is lighted at night is most brilliant. Two systems of electricity—the Edison incandescent and the Thomson-Houston arc light—are employed, and the arrangement for lighting the entire room is most excellent, and consists of twelve arc lights for general lighting and an incandescent light over each pair of cases used by the compositors. The “stands” which support the cases are quadruple, and are constructed throughout of cast and wrought iron, from designs furnished by the foreman of the Herald. The legs or supports, instead of standing straight from the floor, are made to recede about twelve inches from the top of the frame, far enough back to admit the light freely to the floor, and to be entirely out of the way when the case is occupied by the compositor, besides being a further advantage in giving additional space to the “alleys,” which are five feet six inches in width throughout the composing-room . These quadruple stands are forty in number, and two pairs of cases can be “racked” in the upper portion, just above where the supports recede toward the bank. They are arranged at the top to hold four pairs of cases—two on each side. The ends of these handsome frames bear the monogram “C. H.” near the top in bronze, and are also provided with stationary walnut stand-galleys, placed be tween the two pairs of cases and 13 arranged in four compartments for leads, rules, etc., besides a metal leader box, which fits into a compartment. Each pair of cases is provided with its own electric light and a large shade of special design, the electric wires being concealed in iron pipes which come up from the floor through the center of the stands. In addition to the above, there are also ten wrought-iron double stands, which are also provided with electric lights and shades, and electric annunciators. The head-letter and italic cases are upon a wroug ht iron stand, holding six cases on each side. A unique feature is the solid brass, double, stationary galley, extending the entire length of the stand, along the center and top, on both sides, provided with compartments for “phat” or standing heads, rules, leads, etc., just where they are wanted when the compositor is setting head lines. This stand also contains “racks” for two-line letter used in “adlets,” and between the legs spaces are reserved for “form” trucks. A box arranged in two compart ments for leads is close at hand, with numerous cases for space rule, slugs, etc. The Herald is liberally supplied with body type, the fonts used consisting of 8,000 pounds of agate, 9,000 pounds of nonpareil and 4,500 pounds of minion . Large wicker baskets and brown rubber spittoons are plentifully provided throughout the floor, and every compositor is provided with an oak stool by the management.
The foreman’s office, which is a most striking innovation, is an apartment 10 by 12 feet, elevated about ten feet above the main floor, and surrounded by an ornamental iron railing, and is reached by a spiral iron stairway from the copy-cutter’s room , directly beneath. From its elevation an uninterrupted view of the entire composing room is obtainable. It is handsomely furnished with heavy oak office desks, table and chairs, the latter being upholstered in dark leather, while rich Turkish rugs cover the floor. Speaking tubes, pneumatic tubes and electric annunciators communicate with all departments in the building, and running from the room and connecting with the proof and advertising rooms is an automatic delivery basket, used for conveying copy, proofs, cuts, etc., to the several departments. In the copy-cutter’s finely furnished quarters, located beneath the foreman’s room , is a device which dispenses with the old time slate used to register the “slugs” or numbers of compositors when “live” or urgent copy was exhausted and “time” copy was running. This is a handsomely finished mahogany perforated board, placed against the outside wall of the copy room, containing the same number of holes and numbered pegs to fit them that there are slugs used in the office . An electric annunciator is placed in the center of each of the double stands at the top and is marked with a number corresponding with the slug of the compositor occupying the same. A connection is made with the keyboard placed inside the room of the copy-cutter. When a compositor runs out of “live” copy he slips a peg bearing the number of his slug into the first vacant hole of the perforated board, beginning at the upper left-hand corner. When “live” copy is at hand and desired to be given out the copy-cutter glances at the number of the first peg, touches the button of the corresponding annunciator, when a slight buzzing sound notifies the compositor at the frame, and he comes forward, receives his copy and drops the peg back into the receptacle provided for it beneath the perforated board . A table, to be used in “pasting dupes,” is swung to the outside wall of the copy-cutter’s room . The use of patent combination individual brass slugs, made in two parts, one part representing the compositor’s number and the other part the number of the “take” or portion of an article he places on the galley, dispenses with the employment of paper markers to distinguish the work of each compositor, and also lessens confusion and prevents the congregation of compositors at the emptying “dump.”
There are two of these “dumps,” or wrought-iron, brass-mounted stands, where compositors place the type after the completion of “takes”—one, the general dump” twenty feet in length, with the brass top arranged in compartments for the galleys, and the other for the classified advertisements, nine and a half feet in length, and constructed and equipped similarly to the larger one, with the exception that spaces are provided beneath the brass top for two “form” trucks. A special feature of the classified “ad dump” is the numbered compartments, and the corresponding numbered movable hooks for copy, which accompany the proofs to the proofroom . Near the dumps are the copy boards, copy hooks, proof presses, ink blocks and the like, and near by are four stands for the use of the “ring” men or correctors of office proofs, and also the marble top galley banks for uncorrected type. The bulletin and black board of the chapel are placed near the landing of the elevators, as is also the oaken, silver-mounted water cooler, equipped with a Pasteur germ proof filter and a solid silver cup. mail chute leads from this locality to the counting-room. There are numerous steam registers placed judiciously about the entire composing room, whereby the temperature is easily controlled and main tained at a uniform degree day and night. The compositors’ lava tory and retiring-rooms, 10 by 21 feet in dimensions, are luxurious in their appointments. They are finished in Sienna marble, with silver mountings. Even the half-dozen towel racks are of silver, and everything is provided that could conduce to the comfort and elegance of such an apartment. A wrought iron stairway leads up to a visitors’ balcony extending down the west side of the room. It is finished in hand -wrought iron of exquisite workmanship, and contains a long row of heavy oak clothes closets, very neat in appearance and sufficient in number to accommodate one hundred and fifty men. Very consistently, the compositors employ the luxuriantly appointed front elevators to reach their elegant apartments. To the fraternity that is accustomed to climbing the dark back stairs to the dingy top floor, this is an innovation almost as wonderful as the building itself.
The proofroom, on the east side of the “make-up” room, is separated from that department by an oak partition containing large panes of frosted glass. It is furnished with heavy oak chairs and stools, proof desks and tables of the latest design, slanting proof boards and handsome combination bookcase and table with compartments for copy and proofs below. This room will accommodate fourteen proofreaders, and contains a library replete with works of reference, dictionaries and encyclopedias. In this apartment is a large electric clock similar to one in the composing room. In the “make-up” room, which is directly opposite, are five white marble imposing stones, set on oak frames placed upon heavy rollers. A large table contains slides for chases and sidesticks. Over each table and imposing stone is an adjustable electric light. Numerous large brass standing galleys are placed about conveniently, and a specially designed large oak galley cabinet, which is inclosed, is also an interesting feature. Its doors consist of wooden roller curtains, after the style used on office desks, which, when open, disclose six compartments, with an entire capacity of eighty-four galleys of type. In an alcove off the “make-up” department are the standing galleys that contain the “dead type for distribution. Near these galleys is a marble topped table three feet square, with grooves leading from each of the four corners to a hole cut in the center of the marble, through which water may escape to a bucket beneath. This is the first stone for such a purpose ever placed in a printing office, and is known as a “pounding stone.” The trouble ordinarily experienced by printers in separating types that have been stereotyped is entirely overcome by this innovation a special “pounding stone”—in consequence of its novelty, quite a curiosity, even to printers, who have heretofore availed themselves of the regular imposing stones, boards, walls of the building, or anything else that was convenient for the purpose of separation. The grooves mentioned carry off the water to a bucket suppled for the purpose, and thus all untidiness is prevented.
The advertising department is located in the south end of the building, and has commodious quarters for forty-one men. The advertising cabinets of a new design peculiar to the Herald, contain 252 fonts of different faces of type, are marvels of utility combined with beauty, and are constructed of steel, the outside finish being of oxidized copper and bronze, highly ornamented. The tops are laid off in two inclined sections, one side containing stationary galleys of polished brass for “ad” cuts, rules, leads, etc., and the other side is a space for case when in use. These cabinets, twenty in number, of somewhat differing style and size, bear the monogram “C. H.” in silver letters, and each case therein bears a brass slot holding a card with a printed label of the type within, besides shield-shaped German silver plates numbered for further identification, and each case is further ornamented with a handle of bronze. There are also two elegant combination oak cabinets, two large cabinets for cuts, and another for figures and “sorts.” There are also fourteen wrought iron double stands, a “galley case,” proof press, etc., in the department, which, like the news department, is excellently equipped with material—rules, leads, sticks, etc.
The artists employed on the Herald have a large and commodious room with two wide windows fronting on the light court and having north exposure—the light so much desired by all artists. Adjoining this is the engraving department, occupying the southeast corner of the fifth floor, having also two large windows fronting south. The process of engraving employed is known as “zinc etching”; which method is a complicated one and difficult to describe. In a general way it may be said that the drawings for the illustrations are made with india ink upon white bristol board, then photographed upon sheet zinc; the latter is submitted to an immersion in acid, which has the effect of leaving the lines of the drawing fixed by the photograph standing in relief, while the white spaces around them are eaten away by the acid. This furnishes the plate which is fastened to a block of metal of the height of the types used in composition, together with which the cut is placed in the form for stereotyping. Thus three distinct branches enter into the process—the photographing, the etching and the blocking—each requiring its own peculiar apparatus and machinery. All the appliances are of the latest style and of the most recent invention. The furniture, shelving, etching tubs and benches in the engraving depart ment are of antique oak; the tables have tops of Tennessee marble. The camera, also of oak, is of extra large size, and is capable of producing a negative the size of a full seven column newspaper page. Instead of suspending the camera from a swing, as is usually done in newspaper establishments, it here rests upon a table which runs on rails upon a track fastened to the hardwood flooring, the “copy” being placed upon an easel in front of the lens. The foundation of the building is so solid that there is no vibration to mar the sharpness of the negative. The light for photographing is furnished by two powerful arc lights, made especially for this purpose. Elegance is combined with practicality throughout the furnishings of this department. In the dark room the splash boards around the sink are of marble; the rest of the interior finish is of oak. The etching tubs are run automatically by machinery, admitting of an absolutely even distribution of the acid—an important detail that could never be satisfactorily achieved by hand. The tubs are lined with transparent composition , which, while preserving the beautiful finish of the oak, is impervious to acid. A gas stove of special construction heats a large surface with great intensity. A device has been adopted for cooling the zinc plates after they have been heated on the gas stove, consisting of a box supplied with running water, in which a flat stone is placed; over this a tiny stream of water is constantly pouring in even flow. A hot plate placed upon this stone becomes evenly cooled in a few seconds, without moistening the exposed surface. The machinery for blocking consists of a router and a combination saw and trimmer, driven by a three-horse power electric motor.
The stereotyping room adjoins the composing room , and is connected with it by sliding doors . This department, which looks like a machine-shop full of complete appliances, is one of the most interesting features of the work of making the newspaper. The process of molding a metal form from a paper matrix is a complicated one, yet it must be performed with a rapidity that is truly remarkable. The room devoted to this is large, lighted by windows on two sides, and is lined with enameled brick as is the composing room. The floor is covered with closely joined boiler iron, so that no spark from the two huge melting pots can by any possibility start a fire.
The first step in making thematrix is taken at the molding machine, which does away with the hard hand work of the brushes, by which, formerly, the molding material was hammered into the interstices of the types. This work with the brush used to occupy from four to six minutes for each form, while the molding machine completes it in twenty-five seconds. Having received the impression from the form, the matrix goes into the steam table—of which there are three in the room; these tables dry the matrix in three minutes, while formerly from five to eight minutes were required, and for pages with big display advertisements, commonly from fifteen to sixteen minutes. Next the matrix is trimmed, and is then finally dried com pletely in a cylindrical roaster, expressly constructed for the Herald. Two big pots—one with a capacity of two tons of stereotype metal, the other holding 1,800 pounds are used for molding. From these the fluid metal is conveyed to the casting boxes—of which there are three—which are righted by a lever, instead of screws, usually employed. Water for cooling is connected with the casting boxes directly, instead of using the old fashioned can. The tail cutter removes the superfluous metal at the edges of the now semi-cylindrical form, which next goes to the shaving machine, where it is cut down to the required thickness, and is then placed on the cylinders of the press. A fifteen-horse power engine runs all the machinery in the stereotype room.
Adjoining this department are the necessary elevator facilities for conveying stereotypers and the forms to the pressroom in the basement. The laboratory and toilet room contains three shower baths, and every facility is provided for comfort and cleanliness.
The pressroom of the Herald occupies a large portion of the mammoth basement of the building. The elevators descend to this most important and interesting department for the accommodation of the more curious sightseers and those who wish to make a closer inspection of the battle-line of ten Potter web-perfecting presses than is afforded by a glance from the visitor’s gallery above. The majority of the visitors, however, are satisfied with a view from the gallery, which in itself is no slight affair, neither in dimensions nor the elegant manner in which it is constructed . It has a base of corruscated glass prisms protected by shining brass rails, and is forty feet long with a width of eight feet. At night, when all the presses are at work, their polished metal parts glistening in the radiance of electric light, which is thrown back in refulgent reflex from the enamel of the brick walls, the prospect of the animated scene below is one which the beholder will long remember. Here the rythmic movements of the line of powerful presses, the rolling of cylinders, the strange, life-like shifting to and fro of subtle mechanism , change as if by magic the fluttering streams of the huge endless rolls of paper into the perfectly printed and folded sheets.
The pressroom of the Herald contains and operates ten presses of C. Potter, Jr’s, make, all driven by one huge shaft concealed beneath the floor, thus doing away with all unsightly and frequently dangerous belting overhead . No battalion of the best drilled soldiers could succeed in keeping as perfect an alignment as this formidable battery of presses, which turns out 120,000 eight-page papers every single hour they are at work .
One need not be a professional newspaper man or machinist to delight in the unique and impressive spectacle presented by the long line of presses. So exact is the alignment that if one takes a position at one end while the machinery is at rest and looks along the line of brass paper roll supporters on top it is like a look through a gun barrel, not a hair’s breadth marring the perfect line. It is a sight to be seen in few other printing offices in the world. A two-page folding attachment in the front of the pressroom is also a marvelous piece of machinery, having a capacity of 40,000 papers an hour. The driving shaft in the pit below the presses is so constructed that, by the simple pulling of a lever, each press can be operated or not, or its speed adjusted at will. The foundation of the great building and each single foundation for engines and presses is absolutely solid. It is so perfect and fixed that if all the engines with their three hundred and twenty-five horse-power are at work, and if every one of the presses rattles away at full speed, not the slightest jar in the flooring of the pressroom in the midst of all the bustling machinery can be felt. Signal lights are attached to each press so as to admit of immediate stoppage case of accident, and each press has its complete ma chinery equipment, including roller stands manufactured especially for the Herald presses. These roller stands are a novelty in the important particular that they are so arranged as to admit of a thorough cleaning of the rollers from accumulations of paper dust after long runs without removal of the rollers. The walls of the pressroom are faced with white enameled brick, the floor is of hardwood, and above the central part is a roof of glass and steel which furnishes the base for the great light court. This makes it one of the best lighted pressrooms in this country. There is space for a workshop, 14 by 36 feet, which extends under the side walk, and at the other end of the basement are the boiler rooms and the magnificent Corliss engine. Side, by side with the dynamo chamber are ink rooms, waste – paper rooms and the great pump room for the elevator power. The power plant was designed to give the most economical results obtainable by modern steam engineering, and at the same time have an artistic finish and effect, so as to correspond in character with that of all the other departments of the paper. Three Corliss engines, one for the presswork proper, and two for the electric plant, have a combined capacity of 325-horse power. The pair of engines driving two Thomson-Houston arc light dynamos and two Edison incandescent dynamos have a combined capacity of 200-horse power. For driving these dynamos the manufacturers provided a new style of friction drive, which was never before introduced. It has the advantage of placing a number of dynamos in a limited space. The engines, as well as the driving mechanism, are handsomely decorated, in perfect keeping with the ensemble of the entire structure. Another large single Corliss engine, of 125-horse power, is in use for the printing machinery. There are three boilers of 150-horse power each which furnish the steam for this model printing house. These boilers are of the sectional safety Wharton Harrison type, made of spherical globes united, delivering super-heated steam, produced with high economy, pronounced the strongest and safest boilers made. The boilers are of cast metal, and, as evidence of their strength, under 990 degrees Fahrenheit steel of60,000 pounds tensile strength at that heat becomes reduced to 32,000, while the Bessemer metal, of which these boilers are made, under same heat shows 32,500 pounds tensile strength. The general superiority of the Herald’s palatial home over the ordinary metropolitan newspaper establishment, is in no other of its departments more strikingly apparent than in its scrupulously neat, brilliantly lighted and completely appointed pressroom.
The mailing and circulating departments of the Herald are connected with the business office by a wide hall, up to which from the latter leads a flight of eight wide marble steps. To the left, when entering this hall from the counting room, is the circulator’s private office, separated from the carriers’ department by broad swinging doors. Behind these a long, broad counter with a steel top resting on a cast-iron skeleton runs along the mailing depart ment, over which papers to the newsboys and carriers are served. Boys and carriers have their separate spaces allotted, but the part reserved for the boys connects only with the entrance and exit doors opening on Calhoun place. Obstinate as newsboys are, they cannot quarrel with these doors, for the entrances open only inward, yielding to a slight push, while the exits open only outward, being similarly compliant. A wonderful piece of mechanism is a paper carrier having eight steel baskets hinged on two link chains, which revolve between the pressroom and the mailing room. The papers—automatically counted by the presses in lots of twenty-five or fifty, as the circumstances may require—are placed in the baskets in the pressroom, carried up to the mailing room by the link belts, and are then automatically dumped upon a steel table prepared for that purpose. The papers flow out into the world by three channels—carriers, newsboys and mailing wagons. To facilitate handling bundles for the latter a platform has been constructed on Calhoun place, covered by an enormous hood and bright as day from the reflex of four big arc lights. In the stormiest weather not a bundle for the mailing wagons will be damaged. Perhaps the most important, while most useful arrangement in the mailing room is a peculiar structure of wire netting, looking very much like a huge cage, with divisions of the samematerial. This arrangement is very simple yet very effective, and, perhaps, the only means that could be devised to keep the obstreperous and jostling arabs of the street in line. It is for the sole use and benefit of the newsboys. As they enter the second door west on Calhoun place they step into the first aisle of the cage, which is just wide enough to accommodate one boy with a bundle at one time. Up this aisle, down another, up a third they march, being kept perfectly in line by the wire netting. At the top of the fourth aisle they pass the box of the two cashiers in the mailing depart ment, where each of the boys buys as many papers as his patronage warrants. He receives a check for his papers, and then he passes down the fourth aisle to another clerk, where he receives the number of papers called for by his check. Then he passes out of another door which opens into the alley only. By this means there can be no crowding, no jostling and no browbeating of the weaker boys by the stronger, for each has of necessity to wait till his turn comes. The necessity and usefulness of such an arrange mentwill be understood when it is considered that between 1,000 and 1,200 newsboys clamor every morning at the Herald circulating department for papers. Of the carriers having regular delivery routes there are about two hundred, many of them carrying away truckloads of papers. For the use of the carriers long steel tables are fastened to the walls in the L -shaped space not occupied by the cage, around the latter and in the longitudinal and vertical part of the L. The carriers have their separate door, and in the cashier’s box is a separate window for the purchase of checks, as there are separate clerks to deliver the papers to the carriers. The best possible means are employed for the rapid delivery of papers to the news-stands and the mails. In a brief review, like the present, of a structure concerning which a volume might be written, many important features have been hastily glanced at or overlooked entirely. In every part of the Herald’s home innovations have been introduced . Not the least of these is the department devoted to the double purpose of lunch-room and reading-room, with dimensions 19 by 57 feet, located on the upper floor and directly over the composing-room. In the lunch-room , which will seat fifty persons, are found all the apparatus and implements of a thoroughly equipped kitchen—gas range, provision closet, porcelain-lined sink, cooler, tables, etc. At one end of this apartment is the reading-room, where the men of this establishment can pleasurably while away the time when otherwise unemployed. This is but one of many similar evidences of the thoughtfulness of the management for the comfort and convenience of employés. On the fourth floor of the Herald building are the western headquarters of the United Press, the great news-gathering association that has always been closely allied to the Herald, and has grown with the newspaper. Many thousands of miles of telegraph wires radiating to all parts of the globe and connecting over seven hundred newspaper offices center here. James W. Scott, publisher of the Herald, is president of the United Press. Adjoining the quarters of the United Press are handsome and commodious offices, occupied by Henry M. Hunt’s Chicago News Bureau, which furnishes the United Press, together with nearly one hundred leading papers, with special lines of news.
A charm apparent in every part of the Herald building is its brightness. High, broad windows and the immense court flood it with light by day and 2,300 incandescent and fifty arc lights, furnished by the Herald’s own plant, make it brilliant by night. The system of heating and ventilating is perfect, every part of the building having a constant supply of pure air of the temperature desired. All in all the Herald building is a matter of pride not only to the newspaper fraternity, but to the city it so notably adorns.
Chicago Herald, February 20, 1895
The undersigned takes pleasure in announcing the purchase by himself of the controlling interest in the Chicago Herald and the Chicago Evening Post, owned for nearly twelve years by Mr. John R. Walsh.
In addition to the business, printing plants, franchises, and good will of the newspapers mentioned, the transfer includes the Herald (No. 158 Washington street) and the Evening Post (No. 166 Washington street) buildings, both of them admirably adapted to newspaper publication.
Under the new ownership the Herald will continue to be a leading exponent of the principles of the Democratic party, pledged to the suppor of honest government, honest money, and honest taxation.
In all that is calculated to promote the progress of Chicago and advance the interests of the West the Herald will be found watchful and zealous.
The high character of the Herald as a newspaper will be maintained, and, if possible, strengthened, and an effort will be made to make it more than ever a welcome visitor in every household.
The retirement of Mr. Walsh from the newspaper business is a notable event, and one which furnishes an opportunity for me to say that the growth and prosperity of the Herald have been largely due to the noble manner in which he supported the enterprise in its earlier days. In separating from him it is gratifying to me and I am sure it will also be to the readers and patrons of the Herald to know that his best wishes go with the new proprietor and with the journals which he did so much to establish.
JAMES W. SCOTT.
Chicago Tribune, May 3, 1895
After next week the Evening Post will be published from the Times-Herald Building. Mr. Kohlsaat has decided that there is plenty of room in the Herald Building for the Evening Post, and that one plant can get out both papers. This move has caused somewhat a flurry among those who are thinking of providing Chicago with a Democratic paper. Up to this time the only available newspaper building was the old Times structure, and prospective editors have not been falling over one another in their anxiety to acquire the property. Mr. Kohlsaat himself appears not to care greatly whether a newspaper takes the Post Building or not.
Chicago Tribune, December 4, 1919
BY AL CHASE.
Following ion the heels of the transformation of the old Inter Ocean building into a film shop comes the announcement that another one time home of a morning newspaper, the Herald building at 163-69 West Washington street, has been sold and is to be remodeled into an office structure. Andrews & Co., stocks and bonds, now occupying the fourth floor of the Temple, 108 South La Salle street, have purchased its leasehold and six story building for a reported price of approximately $300,000, and will spend around $200,000 in remodeling it for office purposes. The new owners will occupy the entire first floor, renting the upper floors.
The Herald building site has a frontage of 61 feet and a depth of 180 feet, being originally owned by John R. Walsh, who leased it to the Herald company for ninety years from July 1, 1889, at an annual rental of $12,000. The lease subsequently was sold to George Patton, who conveyed it to the Chicago Title and Trust company for the benefit of the Evanston hospital, to whom he prevented it.
The Herald building was designed by Burnham & Root and cost about $600,000. It has housed the original Chicago Herald; the combination of the Herald and Chicago Times, known as the Times-Herald; the combination of the Record and the Times-Herald; which was called the Record-Herald, and still later the Chicago Herald, which was a merger of the Record-Herald and the Inter Ocean, made by James Keeley. The Herald occupied the building until its sale to the Examiner. Since then the building has had no permanent tenants. It was offered to the city of Chicago early this year at a slightly smaller figure than the present sale and the purchase of it was to for use as police headquarters was approved by the city council, but vetoed by Mayor Thompson.
Benjamin H. Rosenberg represented the Herald company and Edwin J. Bowes Jr. & Co. the buyers. The structure will be called the Andrews building.
Chicago Tribune, March 14, 1936
BY AL CHASE.
Wreckers will start razing the old Chicago Herald building at 163 West Washington street on April 1. High taxes and obsolescence are given as the reasons for its demolition by Williaqm O. Melcher and Judson F. Stone, owners.
When cleared the site will be used by Parking Stations, Inc., who yesterday leased it for ten years at an undisclosed rental. According to Arthur Rubloff & Co., who negotiated the deal, $25,000 will be spent in improving the property for its new use.
Built in 1890 from plans by Burnham & Root, the six-story Herald building was regarded as one of the finest newspaper plants of its day.
“Taxes are so high the income doesn’t justify our operating it,” said Melcher. The W.J. Newman Wrecking company has the contract to raze it.
Chicago Eagle, March 31, 1936
Tearing down of the Herald Building on Washington street brings back fond memories of the Fourth Estate. In this once beautiful building was housed the Chicago Herald, afterwards, the Times-Herald, then the Record-Herald and later the Herald again. Next to it was housed the Evening Post, alongside of which was the Journal and next to the latter the Chronicle. Around the corner on Fifth avenue, now Wells street, was the Daily News. Newsboys’ alley, situated between Washington and Madison streets, was then a throbbing sector of downtown Chicago.
Rand McNally & Co.’s Guide to Chicago, 1893
⑤ The Herald Building
At 154-158 Washington Street, is faithfully shown, its gabled front rendering it conspicuous. It is 61 feet wide, 181 feet deep, and 124 feet high, in 7 stories and basement. The construction is of steel, granite, brick, tile, and terra cotta, and the newspaper establishment which it shelters is described elsewhere. The scene on entering the counting-room is beautiful. Erected in 1891.
Chicago Daily Herald Building
Sanbourn Fire Map
CHRONOLOGY OF CHICAGO HERALD AMERICAN
Chicago Herald, 1881 – 1918 (merged with Chicago Examiner)
Chicago Examiner, 1902 – 1918 (merged with Chicago Herald)
Chicago Herald-Examiner, 1918 – 1939 (became Herald-American)
Chicago Record, 1881 – 1901 (merged with Chicago Morning Herald)
Chicago Morning Herald, 1893 – 1901 (merged with Chicago Record)
Chicago Record Herald, 1901 – 1914
Chicago American, 1900 – 1939, (became Chicago Herald-American)
Chicago Herald-American, 1939 – 1958 (became Chicago’s American)
Chicago’s American, 1958 – 1969 (became Chicago Today)