Tribune Building I
Life Span: 1869-1871
Location: SE corner of Madison and Dearborn Streets
Architect: Edward Burling
Chicago Tribune, May 28, 1869
The public have been made acquainted with the fact that The Chicago Tribune Company have completed their arrangements and have commenced erecting a building especially adapted to the necessities of their business, which they intend shall be, in every respect, a model of beauty, comfort, and convenience, and an ornament to the city of Chicago. The ground upon which it is to be erected is the southeast corner of Dearborn and Madison streets, being 72 feet on Dearborn by 121 feet on Madison, covering an area of 8,712 square feet. The building will be constructed entirely of stone, brick and iron, being thoroughly fireproof. It will be four stories high above the basement, with a complete altitude of 70 feet. The plan of the building gives, for the first story, the counting-room for The Tribune Company, 22 by 62 feet, with an entrance at the corner, through an elegant, heavy doorway, 16 feet wide, the corner being cut off diagonally with the sides of the building, and presenting a front to the northwest of 16 feet, finished with a pediment cornice, and mounted by a flag-staff. The remainder of the first story, fronting on Dearborn street, will embrace a marble stairway, seven and a half feet wide, and two stores, each containing a burglar-proof vault.
The Madison street front will embrace, in addition to a stairway leading to the second story, three stores, each 18 by 51 feet, leaving at the south end of the stores a court 18 feet wide, for the press-room which has its foundation in the basement. All of the stores will have large plate-glass windows, and be finished in the best style.
The basement of the building, in addition to three rooms to be used for business purposes, will embrace the press-room, 18 by 74 feet, and 20 feet high, in which there will be two 8-cylinder presses; a room 18 by 55 feet for folding machines and mailing tables; a room 18 by 55 feet for a paper wareroom; and a room 18 by 55 feet for the boilers and engines. It is intended to use, for generating steam for the machinery, and for heating purposes, two of “Harrison’s Patent Boilers,” experience having shown them to be entirely safe from explosion, besides having other marked advantages. The space under the sidewalks will be fully utilized, and fitted up with special reference to the accommodations and comfort of the newsboys, carriers, &c. It will be lighted with patent sidewalk lights. Every other convenience which experience or good judgement can suggest will be added to this department.
The second story of the building, which will be reached by marble stairways from both Dearborn and Madison streets, will be entirely devoted to offices, of large size and handsome finish, suitable for lawyers, insurance agents, real estate agents, &c.
The editorial rooms will be located in the third story, to be reached from the Dearborn street entrance. There will be ten of these rooms, each well-lighted, heated and ventilated, and communicating with the composing room directly above them by an iron stairway, and also with the counting-room, in the first story, by means of dumb waiters. The west half of the third story, as well as the fourth, will be rented for offices. The east half of the fourth story will be especially fitted up for the composing-room of The Tribune. In size it will be 50×60 feet, 17 feet high between joists, lighted from large-sized windows on three sides, and also by a skylight, 24 by 36 feet, having an elevation of eight feet above the main roof. It will be one of the best arranged and best lighted composing-rooms in the United Staes. Liberal provision will also be made for wash-rooms, bath-rooms, sink-rooms, &c. The composing-room will be connected with the press-room by a steam elevator for raising and lowering the tables, “turtles,” & c. There will also be a stereotyping-room connected with the composing-room. Access to the composing-room will be gained by an iron stairway from the alley. It will have no connection with any other part of the building, except the editorial rooms, through an iron door.
The windows in the building which open to the alley will have iron frames, and the sash will be of the Hyatt patent, the same as that used for lights in the sidewalk, thus securing the building from injury by fire in that direction.
As we have stated, the building will be entirely fire-proof. The joists will be rolled iron from the Union Mills, at Pittsburgh, and the ceiling of “Gilbert’s Patent Corrugated Iron Ceiling,” which invention has generally superseded the old brick arches. On the surface of this corrugated iron ceiling will be laid a concrete, filling all parts perfectly solid. Some two and a half inches above the top of the iron beams, a floor of oak plank will be laid, secured to strips embedded in concrete. All of the partitions will be of brick, and all outside will be hollow, the plastering being laid on the bricks, thus excluding wooden lath from the building.
The roof will be composed of metal, on a light frame-work, fastened on an iron ceiling, the same as for the floors, as described above. All the stairways will be of iron, except those leading from the street to the second story, which, as before stated, will be of Athens marble.
The entire building is to be heated by steam, with radiators in every room. Ventilating flues near the floor will also be constructed in every room. Especial pains will be taken to make the ventilation perfect in every respect.
The style of architecture will be “Roman,” which allows great diversity of detail and ornamentation. Both street fronts will be of Athens marble, from the sidewalk to the cornice. The cornices are to be of galvanized iron, artistically and elaborately finished, with pediments, parapets, &c.
The contractors promise to have the building ready for occupation by the first of December next. Work was commenced upon the ground on the 4th inst., and will be continued without interruption until its completion. The total cost of the building, exclusive of machinery, will be about $175,000. Edward Burling, 116 LaSalle street, is the architect. The business of The Tribune requiring increased facilities for press work, Messrs. R. Hoe & Co., of New York, are constructing for us another S-cylinder press, which will be placed in the new building previous to our approval.
Photographer: Copelin and Hine
Harper’s Weekly, May 22, 1869
THE NEW “CHICAGO TRIBUNE” BUILDING
Newspaper buildings are becoming a distinctive feature in the architecture of the country. The illustration presented herewith (below) represents the new building of the Chicago Tribune as it appeared on the night of Tuesday, May 10, when illuminated in honor of the completion of the Pacific Railway. The location of the edifice is at the southeast corner of Dearborn and Madison streets. Its area on the ground is 72 by 121 feet, and its height 70 feet. It is constructed of Athens (Illinois) marble, and is fire-proof in every part. The ceilings, stairways, and cornice are of iron, and the partition walls of brick. The floors are laid in cement, and the entire building is heated with Baker, Smith, & Co.’s hot-water apparatus. The ventilation of the building was planned by Professor Leeds, and is believed to answer all the requirements of modern hygienic science. The wood-work is butternut and black walnut, finely polished. The counting-room, which occupies the ground-floor corner, is not excelled in beauty or convenience by any office in the country. The editorial rooms (nine in number) are on the fourth floor. The press-room contains two of Hoe’s eight-cylinder printing-machines. The composing-room is 60 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 25 feet high, lighted on two sides and also at the top. Besides the room occupied by the Tribune Company for their own purposes there are between thirty and forty stores, offices, and basements rented to outsiders. The time occupied in the construction of the building was one year. It’s cost, exclusive of machinery, was $200,000. Altogether it is one of the most complete and durable printing establishments in the world.
The New Chicago Tribune Building
May 10, 1869
Photographer: John Carbutt #19
The Tribune, Times and Journal were all on Dearborn, in sight of each other. The Post, Mail and Staats Zeitung were in adjoining buildings on Washington street, near Dearborn. The McVicker’s Theatre is seen directly east.
This was the first building of its own construction. The first building the Tribune occupied was on the southwest corner of Lake and LaSalle streets, where they occupied one room in 1847. Two years later they moved to a room over Grey’s grocery store at the northwest corner of Clark and Lake streets. A year later the office was moved to a building at what was then 173 Lake street.
Further growth forced the paper out of this building and in 1852 it moved to the Evans Block at 53 Clark street, between Lake and Randolph streets.
In 1869, The Tribune moved from 51 Clark Street to a new building at,four stories high, of Joliet marble, at the site of Dearborn and Madison streets.The building was valued at $225,000 and was highly thought of as an architectural acomplishment in its day. The paper was published here till the Great Fire of 1871.
Crofutt’s “Great Trans-Continental P.R.R. Tourist’s Guide”, 1870
Chicago Tribune Building Ruins
Charles R. Clark, Photographer
The Tribune building at the southeast corner of Dearborn and Madison Streets after the Chicago Fire of 1871
Chicago Tribune Building
SE Corner of Dearborn and Madison Streets
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map
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