J. V. Farwell & Co. Warehouse
Life Span: 1865-1871
Location: 42, 44, 46 Wabash
The J. V. Farwell & Co. warehouse of 1856 was the first large building of its type, thought too large before the railroads became a major factor. Cooley Farwell & Co. became J. V. Farwell & Co. in 1863. The firm’s location was 112-16 Wabash. The building was destroyed in the Chicago Fire, 1871.
J. V. Farwell & Co.
42, 44, 46 Wabash
Lithograph by Edward Mendel
Now largely forgotten, this company was once one of the leading business enterprises in the United States. In 1838, when he was 13 years old, John V. Farwell moved with his family from New York to Illinois. In 1845, the young Farwell headed to Chicago, where he worked as a clerk for several merchant houses engaged in the sale of dry-goods such as textiles, clothing, and home furnishings.
Farwell was named a partner in the firm, then known as Cooley, Wadsworth & Co., in 1850. He married Emeret C. Cooley in 1854; they had three sons and a daughter. One of Farwell’s associates in this company was a young Marshall Field. In 1863, Farwell was named senior partner of the firm following the retirement of E. S. Wadsworth. In 1864, the company was restyled Farwell, Field & Co. after Marshall Field and Levi Leiter were admitted to the partnership. However, the next year, Field and Leiter left to join Potter Palmer in what would become Marshall Field & Co. Farwell’s dry goods house then became known as John V. Farwell & Co. The company survived the 1871 Great Chicago Fire and was officially incorporated in 1891, when charge of the company was turned over to his sons.
A John V. Farwell & Co. business receipt from 1869 imprinted with an orange 2¢ Eagle revenue stamp illustrates the firm’s Chicago headquarters building.