Life Span: 1890-1947
Location: 231-233 W. Monroe St. at SE corner of S. Franklin St.
Architect: John M. Van Osdel
MONON building, 1890-1947, at 436-44 S. Dearborn street, the first modern 13-story building, was the last work of John M. Van Osdel, Chicago’s first architect. The building had one basement, spread foundations, cast-iron columns, wrought-iron beams, and tile arch floors.
At 320-326 Dearborn Street, extends through to Custom House Place, with frontages of 75 feet. It is 67 feet deep and 160 feet high, in 13 stories and basement. It is one of the fine high steel buildings of New Chicago, and was built principally for the general offices of the “Monon” Route. There are 4 stores, 125 offices, and 3 passenger elevators. The exterior is of brick and terra cotta, the interior, streel and tile. Patent lawyers and publishers fill the offices which are not occupied by the railroad company. .
An unusual decorative cornice of rectangular tracery ran behind the gable at the top. Its pattern consisted of 3 short rectangles alternating with one tall rectangle. The top of the building had a Germanic stepped gable, projected as a front layer about one foot over a recessed facade. This was flanked by spiked hoods over the 2 bay windows, which ran up the north and south sides. The lower three stories were clad in rusticated stone, and the rest of the facade in brick.
The following were the contract costs: masonry, $28,000; cut stone, $5,500; plastering, $4,453.08; terra cotta, $13,000; stone sidewalk, $178.65; sheet metal, $1,400; iron stairs, $1,698; and excavation, SI, 150 —a total of $55,379.73, without the cast-iron columns and wrought-iron beams. Extra work was noted as follows: change in foundations, $347.89; flues in the north wall, $275; and an extra story (the thirteenth), $1,879— a total of $2,483.89. The Monon was erected in 1890 at a total cost of $285,000
This building was condemned and removed by the Department of Subways and Superhighways, City of Chicago when Congress Parkway was extended through the block. The site is currently the south end of the block between Dearborn, Federal, Congress, and Van Buren.
436-44 S. Dearborn street
Rand McNally Bird’s Eye Views 1903
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map