Kendall Block I & II
Life Span: 1852-1871; 1871-1871
Location: SW Corner of Washington and Dearborn (40 North Dearborn)
Architect: John M. Van Osdel
Kendall Block I
Kendall Bros. Steam Bakery (Kendall Block I)
Edward K. Kendall, James S. Kendall and Cornelius Kendall
Kendall Bros. Bakery
Kendall Block II
Chicago Tribune, March 3, 1871
The rapid changes which are constantly taking place around the business centres if the city are among the peculiar characteristics of the material progress of Chicago, and must be a source of “amazement and admiration” to some of our occasional visitors. If a modern Rip Van Winkle were to take a fancy to retire from active life for a spell, he would not have so long to wait as the old one before he cames back to find a changed world. Our frame shanties give place to brick buildings, and brick in turn gives place to marble palaces with almost dreamlike rapidity of a transformation scene; and, in the course of a single year, it may happen that on returning, say, after a visit to Europe or China, one finds out-of-the way corners of the city suddenly converted into roaring thoroughfares, the great warehouses moving away round unexpected corners into new avenues, and grand wholesale establishments or magnificent hotels standing where where small groceries or junk shops used to flourish. The “handsome brick block,” which elicited the admiration of the good people five years ago, looks a very contemptible affair to-day by the side of its neighbor, the “splendid marble edifice,” and each new structure which arises seems to be constructed with a vier to eclipse the last one.
Dearborn street has been one of the most favored thoroughfares in recent times in respect to the rich additions made to its architecture. It is soon to be still further beautified by the erection of a building which promises to be inferior in point of style and grandeur to none of its magnificent neighbors. It is to be built by Mr. O. Kendall on the lot of which stands the present brick building at the southwest corner of Washington and Dearborn streets.
The present structure was erected by Mr. Kendall, in 1854, and, at that remote period, it was probably regarded as one of the finest in that portion of the city. It was built originally for the steam bakery, and was enlarged and raised in 1865. It is now occupied by the Lakeside Publishing Company, and by Stone & Co.’s bank, and by various law and other offices. Some difficulty is anticipated in removing the machinery of the publishing company by the time the new edifice is proposed to be commenced, but, if this difficulty can be overcome, the work will probably be begun during the coming spring.
From the plans which have already been prepared by Mr John M. Van Osdel, the architect, we are enabled to present a sketch of the new structure as it will appear when completed. As seen in the drawings, it will fully sustain the reputation of the architect, who planned, last year, the finest front (that of the Farwell Building, on Washington street) which the city can boast. The same richness of ornamentation is observable in the proposed new building as in the one just alluded to, although it will not present, perhaps, quite so bold a relief.
The building will be in the richest Italian style. It is to be five stories high, including the French roof, and will have a frontage of ninety feet, on Dearborn street, and forty feet on Washington street. The Dearborn street side has a centre break or projection in front, thirty-four feet in width, taking in three windows, and extending clear up to the French roof. The basement, which is to be used entirely for brokers’ offices, is of a massive character of cut stone. In the first story is a series of arches extending along the centre projection, and resting in Corinthian columns, over which is a massive stone balcony. On each side of the centre projection are three arched windows, having plain “reveal,” and richly-moulded imposts, which serve to add a peculiarly rich effect. The stone-facing in this part of the front is vermiculated, and with heavy rustifications.
The second story is furnished in the centre with pilasters and quoins, with a rich pediment over the two centre pilasters. Each side of the central projection is finished off in ashlar work, with pilasters at the sides of the arched windows, which are enriched with moulded caps and carved keystones.
The third story is very rich ornamented with fluted pilasters for the centre projection, and round columns for the sides of the windows. This portion of the front is rich and elaborate in its detail. The caps rest upon beautifully carved brackets, while in the space between the windows are moulded panels and the spandrils of the arches are finished with carved wreaths of tasteful design.
The fourth story has for the centre, three-fourth round columns against square pilasters, while the windows have round columns with carved capitals.
The French roof will, undoubtedly, be one of the handsomest in the city. The centre projection is carried clear up to it, forming part of it, and giving a highly finished and graceful effect to the entire structure. It is covered with a large pediment which represents one full story, and on each side of the pediment two ornamental (and useful) chimneys are neatly introduced, adding to the general effect. The pediment takes the place of the usual grand dormer window, and presents a rich and massive appearance. On each side of the pediment are handsome side dorner windows, technically called coupled windows, of tasteful design, and rich in detail. The whole is surmounted by a fine crest railing, The roof is to be constructed of galvanized iron work anchored to the brick work, which in this case runs clear up to the pediment. This will be a good projection against fire.
The Washington street front corresponds, in all but some minor details, with that of the Dearborn front. The French roof has only one large dormer window, surmounted, like the other, with a crested railing.
The stone to be used for the building is the Ohio stone from the Clough quarry, similar to that used in the construction of the Palmer House. The main entrance is on Washington street at the western extremity of the building. As certain changes in the original plan are contemplated, the style of the entrance need not be particularized. Plate glass will be used in all the windows, from basement to roof.
The basement will consist of four offices, with fire-proof vaults for each. They are to be occupied entirely as gold brokers’ offices, negotiations being already entered into by several Clark street brokers who contemplate; removing to this portion of the city. The main floor ill be occupied as one grand banking room, extending the entire length of the building. Negotiations for the renting of this portion are now in progress on the part of more thsn one prominent banking house of the city, but it is not definitely settled as to which of them shall be the occupant. It will be the largest and most elegantly fitted up banking room in the city, having sixteen windows in all, nine on Dearborn, three on Washington street, and four in the alley.
The second story will be fitted up as an insurance office, and will be occupied by one of the principal life Insurance companies, with whom negotiations are now pending, The office will embrace the whole extent of the second floor.
The third story will be rented for law offices and other professional purposes.
The fourth and fifth stories will be rented by Sewell & Henderson, book binders and blank book manufacturers, who now occupy a part of the present building. A steam freight elevator is to be constructed at the rear of the building for the accommodation of the manufactory.
The entire cost of the building is estimated at about $100,000. As before stated, the work will probably be commenced early in the spring, if arrangements can be made to suit the convenience of the present occupants, particularly the publishing company.
The Land Owner, October, 1871
Among the many elaborate and expensive business palaces that have been erected in Chicago, the present year, none have attracted more attention than the new building now in process of erection on the southwest corner of Washington and Dearborn streets, by James S. Kendall, Esq., on the site of the old Kendall block (1852), one of the early landmarks of the city. This magnificent structure is well shown in our illustration. The design is by veteran architect, John M. Van Osdell, Esq., and the cost, when entirely completed, will exceed $100,000.
The New Kendall Block
Corner of Washington and Dearborn Streets, Chicago,
Now in Process of Erection
This structure fronts 40 feet on Washington, by 90 feet on Dearborn street. It is five stories in height, including basement story, the whole being surmounted by an elaborate French roof. The two street fronts are faced with Ohio sand stone from the Clough Quarries. The building will be fire proof throughout, and the entire construction of the French roof, will be of iron, with iron cornices, dormers, etc., while the flat part of the roof will be corrugated iron. The partitions inside will be lathed with May’s patent iron fire proof lath. The interior will be finished throughout with hard wood. The main entrance will be from Dearborn street, with easy flights of stairs. All the windows in every story of the two fronts will have polished plate glass, and the whole will be heated by steam throughout. The general style of the architecture is Italian.
From the central location of this building, and its elegant finish, it has attracted a solid and reputable class of tenants, which fact must of itself be extremely gratifying to Mr. Kendall, as the entire building is already leased for a term of years.
The Equitable Life.
Ascending to the first floor, we find the large front corner offices occupied by that staunch and popular company, the Equitable Assurance, of New York, in charge of Henry F. Jennison, Esq., the General Agent for Northern Illinois. The Equitable is a giant among pigmies, when compared with most of the other companies. Its assets are over $15,000,000. Last year its business amounted to $40,000,000, leading other Insurance company by over 7,000,000, while its organization only dates from 1859. It is without doubt the first company in the world. Progressive in management and equitable in dealing, its officers have gained the esteem and respect of the public, which Mr. Jennison enjoys, especially in his territory. In New York, the Equitable building is a synonym for al that is massive, grand, and beautiful in architecture, and by securing the handsomest offices in the Kendall block, Mr. Jennison will not be behind the home office in his housing. It is a notable fact, that most of the heaviest Insurance policies held in Chicago, are in the Equitable, secured through Mr. Jennison, who, for address and business tact, is a fit representative of so popular a monetary institution as that which enjoys his connection. The new office will be fitted up in a style commensurate with the vast business of the Company, the Kendall block, and Mr. Jennison’s good taste for internal arrangement, which, after all, has much to do with business. Speaking of the Equitable, The New York Observer says:
- The excellence of this institution cannot be too warmly acknowledged. Its story is the story of a noble success—of a wise and generous design, prudently and thoroughly accomplished. It was organized on a principal of novel and peculiar liberality. It proposed to give all profits to the insured, paying only legal interest on its capital; and it has accomplished its purpose. In a career of progress altogether unprecedented, it has distanced all competitors, and established itself upon a foundation as of adamant. Its expenses have been less than those of any otehr new company in proportion to its income.
Messrs. M. P. Stone & Co.
The corner basement will be occupied, as seen in the engraving, by Messrs. M. P. Stone & Co., Bankers and Stock Brokers, whose former place of business was in the same corner of the old building. This firm transact a general banking business, buy and sell railroad stocks and bonds in New York, on margins, and also deal extensively in government, city and other first class securities. Their banking office in the new block will be elaborately fitted up, their blackboard will show at all times the exact condition of the New York market, corrected by telegraph, and the entire business will be transacted on the same basis as Wall street. Messrs. Stone & Co. have built an extensive business in this line, and are gentlemen with whom the public public may deal to any extent with perfect confidence.
Next to Messrs. Stone & Co., on Dearborn St., will be the banking office of Messrs. Wrenn, Ullman & Co., and adjoining them the office of The National Land and Migration Company, whose organization is mentioned elsewhere. The rear office on the first floor fronting Dearborn street, will be occupied by the old and reputable banking house of A. C. & O. F. Badger. In the second story, Washington street front, will be located the new offices of the Riverside Improvement Company.1 Messrs. S. J. Walker and A. J. Averill, two of our leading real estate men, will also have offices on this floor.
The third and fourth floors will be fitted up as offices for lawyers and others, and it is probable that the fifth story will be converted into a large lodge room.
General Plan of Riverside, IL
Riverside Improvement Company
Mr. Kendall, the owner of this elegant block, is a gentleman well and favorably known in Chicago. His family dates back to to early Chicago days, and has always been regarded with respect and esteem. The old building which he sacrificed to make room for the new structure was a much better one than many of our capitalists are allowing to stand, because they pay them large rents. In this respect he is entitled to much credit, as the old structure would have been good property for many years to come. This sort of public spirit is what builds cities. There is an exquisite flavor of freshness and vigor about it that the public will not fail to admire and reward.
1 Riverside Improvement Company was located at 73 Clark street in 1871 before they were to move in the Kendall Building. By 1871, about 50 homes were under construction, but the Chicago Fire in October diverted efforts to the rebuilding of the city. The financial panic of 1873 bankrupted the Riverside Improvement Co. Construction resumed about a decade later.
The third Kendall Block was rebuilt in 1873.