Singer Building I, Field, Leiter Building
Life Span: 1873-1877
Location: State and Washington Streets
Architect: Edwin Shannon Jennison
Chicago Tribune, November 7, 1871
If any proof were needed of the elasticity of Chicago, the enterprise and pluck of her citizens, and the determination to place their city just where it stood, that proof would certainly be sought among the representative business men of Chicago. When, thereafter, we are, growing suddenly up in the most available quarter a business house, which, in every essential, is so nearly equal to that which was the marvel of our city before the fire, then, indeed may we remain satisfied that the blow we have sustained, crushing and stunning as it was, has failed to retard our progress or inflict a more than temporary suspension of our vast industries.
Among the prodigies of pluck which many of our business men have achieved, it would seem at first invidious to select any one in particular, but the magnitude of the business, and the almost world-wide reputation of the great dry goods house of Field, Leiter & Co. deserve a notice even among the number around us. It is just four weeks yesterday since every one in the range of the fire found that nothing could be saved. Four weeks ago the noble structure which we were accustomed to direct the admiring gaze of strangers, on the northeast corner of State and Washington streets, was reduced to a pile of rubbish, and yet yesterday, the proprietors of that establishment opened to the people of Chicago their new store, on the corner of State and Twentieth street, stocked anew and rich with their various fabrics of two continents.
Twenty days ago the large brick structure on the corner of State and Twentieth streets was occupied a car repository, and used as such by the South Side Railway Company. It presented many advantages. Its size provided for the immense storage required by the house; it was strongly built, with good thick brick walls, and had as an additional recommendation a stout, 16-inch wall running down the centre—the effectual protection against fire. With these natural advantages, the building was in a little over a fortnight converted into an excellent store, with a front of 150 feet on State, and 150 feet on Twentieth street. The centre wall divides the building equally, the north half with the convenient corner entrance being occupied by the retail counter, and the south end as a wholesale department. One week later and the firm was already in their new quarters, their huge jobbing business already resumed. Both departments, wholesale and retail, are, therefore, but a trifle less in area than they were on their old site. To the retail department are two entrances, one for carriages on the north side, and the other, or front entrance, on State street, most conveniently situated for the cars. Indeed, in the present condition of the city, it would have been simply impossible to choose a more convenient situation for this establishment. The heating and lighting of the store are both remarkably perfect, the light from the windows being reflected and equally diffused by the white ceiling and walls. The gas arrangement is also excellent, and secures the largest amount of light for customer and salesman.
Down stairs, near the Twentieth street entrance, are the silks and laces, the most costly party of a dry goods store. Here, yesterday morning, everything was a picture of life and activity. During our reporter’s glance over this department, he witnessed the sale of a point-lace handkerchief for $59. Opposite the State street door is the glove counter, around which, yesterday, was a continued crowd of customers.
The lower floor is occupied by the dress goods, notions, and domestics, and still the other thousand and one departments of a dry goods store of the first class.
In the rear, is the examining department—and the system here is so perfect that a few words ought to be said in its praise. A room fifteen feet by eight is set apart for the examining clerks. On the east side is a small aperture, through which all the goods purchased, and required to be sent to the purchaser’s address, are handed in, together with the bill. Here the clerks examine the articles, measure every yard of goods, make everything tally with the check, wrap them up, and dispatch them through the rear door. Thus purchasers have nothing to fear with regard to short measure, nor is there the least danger of being charged for things they do not receive. This system required considerable elaboration before it was performed, but now it appears to be as near perfection as anything can be.
Taking the stairway near the north entrance, one comes to the second floor, an airy, spacious apartment, beautifully lighted, and devoted almost entirely to the ladies. A partition running down the rooms cuts off a portion of the immense wholesale notion department of the firm, leaving the rest to be divided up among the shawl and cloak departments, the flannels, blankets, shirts, and upholstery.
The wall which divides the store into section, has been here pierced for a doorway connecting both sides, but the utmost caution has been used here, as well as elsewhere, to provide against loss by fire. The aperture is provided by double iron doors, which render it as safe as the brick wall itself.
If there is anything here which more especially deserves notice, it is the extreme care that has been taken to provide for the comfort of customers and employees. For instance, the fitting room for customers in the cloak and mantle department is provided with a lavatory and closet; a lunch room, lavatory and closet are reserved for the exclusive use of the ladies employed, while upstairs as well as below is a very commodious and exclusive arrangement of a similar character for gentlemen. Where the employees receive so much careful attention, customers may have little fear of anything but careful and respectful attention.
Yesterday, the retail opening day of the firm since the fire, must have been very gratifying to the proprietors. Threatening as the early part of the day appeared by 10 o’clock the store was filled, and an hour later the scene, for life, bustle, and activity, was characteristic of Chicago generally, and of Field & Leiter particularly. Everybody was there, and everybody seemed really glad to be present, and thus testify their appreciation of the enterprise exhibited by the leading dry goods of the West.
Chicago Tribune, March 17, 1872
The Singer Building.
Plans will soon be decided on for the splendid building which the Singer Sewing Machine Company are to put up on the ground formerly occupied by the dry goods store of Field & Leiter. Mr. Bolton, the agent of the company in this city, leaves to-night for New York, leaded down with designs for the building prepared by Chicago architects. No less than twelve of our architects are competing for the work. Among those who have submitted drawings are Laureau, No. 760 Wabash avenue; Tilly, Longhurst & Foltz, Nixon’s building; John K. Winchell, No. 468 State street; E. S. Jennison, No. 669 State street; Horsey & Sheard, No. 603 Wabash avenue; G. Zucker, No. 154 Lake street; Stillburg & Daning, No. 215 Clark street; Rese & Wilcox, No. 34 Canal street; and J. Wierzbienie. Al of these designs have good points. Three or four of them are what might be called fine, and the contest will probably be narrowed down to these. It is not known to Chicago architects whether or not the competition extends to the architects of New York. The building, when completed, will probably cost not less than $400,000, and will be among the very finest edifices in the city. The various plans offered contemplate a front elevation varying from 107 to 140 feet in height. The material finally decided upon will probably be some of the various gray sand-stones, that color suiting better the immense proportions of the building, and the massive character of its architecture.
The Land Owner, June, 1872
THE SINGER BUILDING, CORNER STATE & WASHINGTON STREETS.
This grand structure, the foundation being laid, and which is to be completed next May, is probably the most elaborate and expensive of all our mercantile buildings, and even vies with our great hotels in point of architectural beauty and massive grandeur. It is from the plans and drawings of the architect, E.S. Jennison, Esq., whose designs were accepted by the Singer Company, out of seventeen presented for competition.
The lot upon which this structure is being built was purchased of Potter Palmer, Esq., by the Singer Manufacturing Company soon after the fire. It is 150 feet on Washington by 160 feet on State street, the latter being the main front. The building will be seven stories and basement in height, and will measure from the ground to the highest point, 138 feet. It will be surmounted with a French roof, built entirely of iron, richly ornamented. The interior will be so arranged that it can be converted into one colossal store, or divided into five smaller stores, for the convenience of large dealers. The centre division fronts 38 feet, the adjoining division on east side 29 feet, and the extremes a compromise between the two. The first floor will be two feet above the sidewalk, differing, in this respect, from any other in the neighborhood which are, without exception, only one step above. The front of the first story will consist entirely of iron and glass. The second, third, fourth, and fifth stories will be of Ohio sandstone, from the Columbia quarry. The material is lighter than the Cleveland stone, has a grayish tint, is of very fine grain, and looks exceedingly rich. The sixth and seventh stories will be in the Mansard roof. Over the central portion there will be one colossal dome, 40 feet in height, while a similar dome, of inferior size, will cap the corners. The effect of the difference in point of richness, in the two divisions adjoining the centre, will be to throw the latter out into bold contrast, and bring out the many fine points which might be lost in contemplating a front of such size of one pattern. The center division, on State street, will be made still more conspicuous by the addition of a very handsome projecting porch over the second story. At appropriate points on both fasades there will be altogether seventeen life size statues of bronze, which will heighten the general imposing effect. On the fifth story, over the center, four of these figures will represent the seasons. On each side of the center, up as high as the fifth story, massive stone columns will rise, upon which pedestals will be placed the statues of eminent men. On each of the domes will be placed Amazonian figures. These statues will be imported, and will, of necessity, add considerably to the expense of the building. On the roof the dull blue slate will be gratefully relieved by elaborate bronze ornaments, including festoons and wreaths. At the corners of the end domes there will be figures of dolphins, also of bronze, 8 feet in length. The central projection on both fronts is capped by a dome 40 feet in height, in the middle of which is a triplet window, with a wheel at top. The whole of the center dome will be finished above with a graceful and elaborate bronze study. Over the fourth story, and in the centre of the building will be engraven the words, “Singer Manufacturing Company.”
Singer Building I
In Process of Erection at the Southeast Corner of State and Washington Streets, Field, Leiter & Co.’s Old Site
The general design is the Renaissance, bold and deep in outline. Every window throughout the building will be glazed with French plate glass of the finest quality.
The cost of so much excellence will be, probably, very near $500,000. It is under contract to be finished May 8th, 1873, and as the contract for the stone work makes the stone supply certain by the first days in September, it is expected to have the noble structure under cover before winter, by which time, probably, State street will begin to wear an experience as gratifying to the eye as it did a year ago.
The company erecting this superb building is among the most important of our American manufacturers. The Singer Sewing Machine is used in every part of the world, being known throughout Christendom, and generally valued as a depository of their surplus funds, and will bring them a good percentage upon their money. After our great fire this staunch company desired to see our beautiful city rebuilt more perfect and grand than before its destruction, and, having an enormous business in the West, they resolved to invest here half a million dollars, as a fitting tribute to Western pluck and enterprise, which their little machine, in thousands of household, has helped to stimulate and keep alive. The site was purchased, seventeen architects competed honorably for the credit of drawing the plans and superintending the work of erection, and the result is before our readers, in our illustration (above), which was drawn from the architect’s plans by our artist, Mr. J.B. Beal,
Im 1870, the Singer Company sold the enormous number of 727,833 sewing machines, a much larger number than was sold by any other manufacturers. Their offices and distributing agencies are distributed throughout the world.
Of the excellence and adaption of the Singer Machines is not the purpose of this article to speak. Tens of thousands of housewives know their value, and their reputation is firmly established everywhere. The Chicago office, located temporarily at 861 Wabash ave, is under the efficient management of Mr. Boulton, who will also overlook with a creful eye, the erection of the grand building, a task for which his good business judgement well fits him.
Mr. E.S. Jennison, the architect, may feel a just pride in his plans, as several of those presented by his competitors were of great excellence. He is a young man whose advent in Chicago dates a little more than two years back, yet in that short time he has won success. In the immediate neighborhood of Washington and State street, where the Singer building will stand, Mr. Jennison will soon have in course of erection buildings covering 693 feet. On the northeast corner will be the Singer building; opposite it a a building for Messrs. Hale & Fisher, adjoining that of Mr. Speer. On the southeast corner will be the handsome building of Hale, Emerson & Co., which is going up steadily. There will also be buildings owned by Dr. N.S. Davis and A. Grannis, which, together, com,plete the figures given above.
The Singer building has had a visible effect upon real estate in the locality where it will stand. Its erection and the well known fact that several of our leading business houses are competing for its lease, has effectually settled the fears of many that business would seek other localities than those occupied before the fire. State street, Wabash avenue, and contiguous property has perceptibly advanced, and there is now no doubt that these streets, and especially Wabash avenue, will be the future great thoroughfares.
Chicago Tribune, October 10, 1872
THE SINGER BUILDING, located on the northeast corner of State at Washington streets, the site occupied before the fire by Potter Palmer’s building, in which Field & Leiter had their magnificent dry goods rooms, will stand at the head of our business blocks as being, perhaps, the finest structure of the kind in the city. It is a beautiful building of white sandstone, costing $500,000. Its dimensions are 150 feet on Washington by 160 feet on State street. It is owned by the Singer Manufacturing company, and will be occupied by Field, Leiter & Co.
Chicago Evening Mail, August 3, 1873
FIELD, LEITER & CO.’S STORE.
Chicago was again in a state of sympathetic fear on Saturday evening, and regretfully mourning over the damage done by our old enemy—fire—to the new and magnificent Singer Building, at the northeast corner of State and Washington streets.
The fire alarm was given at 5:20, and in a few minutes thereafter, the engines and other fire apparatus and a large concourse of citizens were on the ground. At the top of the elevator passage, in the northeast corner of the building, the fire originate from a red hot soldering furnace, which had been carelessly left too near the wood-work by a workman. When first discovered the fire had not made any considerable headway, but the firemen found great difficulty in getting hose up to such a great height and using it under great pressure. Repeated efforts were made to get water into the building, but they were only partially successful; for immediately after a stream was forced up the long ladders the hose would burst. Difficulty was also experienced in getting streams through the roof, which was covered by a strong sheeting of tin. At one time the fire raged terribly on the upper floor, and bid defiance to all efforts to subdue it, but the department, after a couple of hours’ work, got it under control.
The loss is variously estimated at from $75,000 to $100,000. The roof is completely ruined, and the great central skylight badly damaged. The ceilings in the two upper stories are greatly injured. There is not a dollar’s insurance, the Singer Company not having taken out any policies since the great fire.
Messrs. Field, Leiter & Co. were to have occupied the building on the 15th of September next, but it is now probable that they will not be able to occupy it until later in the fall. A large force of workmen will be at once put upon the edifice, and the work vigorously pushed.
Chicago Tribune, October 9, 1873
FIELD, LEITER & CO.
The accident of the fire in the new Singer Building being fitted up as a store for the mammoth dry goods firm of Messrs. Field, Leiter & Co., has resulted in a coincidence of two noteworthy occurrences. To-day is the second anniversary of the hasty exodus of those noted merchants from their marble palace on the northeast corner of Washington and State streets. Had there been no fire in the new building which is to receive them, they would have been retailing dry goods on the same lot a month ago, but the repairs to the building consequent upon the fire in the roof delayed them, and thus, by a few other accidents, the Fates ordained that they should reopen on the same day which commemorated their exit in haste. The dealy has been inconvenient to them, but, after all, there is something pleasantly romantic in it.
The old store, built of Vermont marble, was long considered the finest and largest business building in Chicago, and its destruction was the source of deep regret on that account. The new store is considerably larger than the old one, being 166 feet on State street, and 150 feet on Washington, five stories and basement in height. At the time the Singer Company erected the building, the arrangement was made with the architect to build it in such a manner that it could be finished in five separate stores or thrown into one. Only one firm was doing a business adequate to a structure this size, but they did not take lease until it was on the way to completion. However, the huge building, if constructed upon designs furnished by this well-known firm, could not be better adapted to their needs than it is at present. The arrangement is singular, but excellent.
In the centre of the roof is a large glass dome, from which light is thrown upon every floor, from an opening in that above it is 68×38 feet. One can stand below under the dome, look upward to the roof, and see the balusters around the opening on every story. While this takes up a great deal of room, the immense advantage gained in a strong uniform light more than compensates for the loss of space, especially as, the building being used for retail purposes only, there is room enough at present. Advantage has been taken of the direct light from above to place the silk department on the ground-floor under the sky-light, with a glove-counter inside it. thus furnishing to those departments which require the most brilliant illumination the very best and most accessible positions in the store. The first floor is used for these two departments and general stock, the second as a cloak-room, and for woolens, domestics, and mourning goods; the third for carpets and upholstery; the fourth as a manufacturing department for carpets and upholstery; and the fifth for a general work-room.
The arrangement of the building gives it the appearance of a vast audience-room, with four tiers of galleries above it. These upper stories, or galleries, are reached either by a handsome staircase or by two elevators, one of which is Otis’ best patter, and the other better than most elevators in the city. They are both large, and capable of carrying twice the load they will contain without giving way.
The gas-chandeliers, fixtures, and carpeting of the store are all admirable, and the ceiling of the first two stories is very prettily adorned with fresco-work, imparting an air of richness quite in harmony with the elegance of the goods displayed.
The building is protected against fire by the introduction of stationary tubes in the wall for conveying water to the upper stories. These were built into the edifice during its construction, and would have saved its roof, without doubt, had they been in working order. Mr. Field thinks that no fire of any magnitude can occur in the building during its occupancy. It is so like one room that a fire can be discovered within a few moments of its originating, and the means are at hand to quench it immediately. There will be about 500 employes in the building during the day at all times.
The opening to-day will occur at 10 o’clock. The firm fo not court a big rush, but will be glad to receive the congratulations of their friends, and exhibit to their country customers and visitors generally the largest retail store of the West.
The Market street building will be retained for wholesale purpose.
Chicago Tribune, November 15, 1877
The Dread Sound of the Fire Alarm heard last evening just as people were entering able theatres, proved to be the herald of a very serious disaster. Omitting any reference to the great conflagration which consumed the best half of Chicago, no event of the kind has occurred in the city for many years that could have awakened such an universal excitement as the burning down of the great dry-goods establishment of Field, Leiter & Co. The only occurrence that might be likened to it in importance was the burning of the Drake Block in the summer of 1870, and at that time our citizens had not yet supped full of the horrors which subsequently became all too familiar in their sight. There was an interest, more profound and more general, felt in the fire of last evening, for everybody seems to feel that the great establishment of Field, Leiter & Co. is part and parcel of the industrial prosperity of Chicago. The destruction of such an amount of property could not be regarded as a dire calamity at such time as this, and so, as the news flew round, people left their firesides, their theatres, their billiard-tables, an everything, to crowd the scene of action. The simple intimation that Field, Leiter & Co.’s place was burning was enough to start everybody from their seats, and, before the fire had made any headway, a crowd had gathered which needed the utmost exertions of the Police Department to keep in order. From every quarter of the city people kept pouring down toward the place, until every street leading to State street within six blocks of the burning building was jammed with human beings of all ages, sex, and kind. Such an excitement has not been witnessed here for many a year. Every fire-engine in the department was at the spot, playing, and sputtering, and screaming, and the wide thoroughfare presented for several hours such a sight as one might expect at Doomsday. Nobody seemed to heed the pouring rain, or the muddy streets, or the rushing engines and affrighted horses. Women plashed through the puddles, heedless of the dangers involved in wet feet; men rushed hither and thither in the frantic manner characteristic of humanity when under the influence of supreme public excitements; pickpockets plied their handicraft, and boys, as usual, managed to dodge around in everybody’s way. It seemed as if the entire city had come down-town to witness the terrible scene.
The alarm was sounded at 8:04 in the evening. Some one had discovered fire in the fifth story of the building, which is situated at the corner of State and Washington streets. Whoever first discovered the the fire could not locate it exactly. There was a body of flame and smoke apparently on the top of the buildings, but whether it was on the roof of Field, Leiter & Co.’s building, or upon that of Burley & Tyrell (83 & 85 State), adjoining on the north, could not be discovered. The word “fire,” passed from mouth to mouth, and some of those who were on the sidewalk rapped loudly at the northern State street entrance to Field & Leiter’s store, and alarmed both watchmen. Henry Deverman, the head watchman, was on the first floor, and was the first to answer the summons. In company with his assistant, Patrick Vidrer, who was at the time on the second floor, he ran to the top of the building, and near what is known as the central elevator way, and about a small scuttle leading to the roof they discovered the fire. A Tribune reporter was on the scene early enough to see and locate this opening, the fire not having caught on the inside to any extent, save about the elevator ways.
At the northern end of the building are two elevators, that nearest State street being known as the central and that towards the rear northern. The scuttle to the roof was between the two, and was approachable by a ladder against the wall. A small iron door closed the scuttle. Above was a space some four feet in height. This space reached all around the skylight in the centre of the building, and might easily be explored by one crawling on hands and knees. Another iron door, directly above the first, opened to the roof. And it was in this space that the watchmen saw filled with fire. It spread to the central elevator, and then to the northern one, the grease about the wheels and pulleys first catching fire. A number of the employes board close at hand, and in a few minutes a score or more of the employes of the place were busy trying to extinguish the flames with Babcock extinguishers, and such small apparatus as they could reach.
Each floor is supplied with hose, and a force-pump in the engine-room could have forced a stream sufficient enough to put out the fire, had there been the power and the ability to connect the lengths and start the pumps. But down the elevator-ways spread the flames with such rapidity that the employes were soon obliged to retreat to the floor below. And so it continued—the fire fighting its way down story to story.
The majority of the firemen were on the scene promptly after the alarm. One company and several members of other companies were slightly delayed, being at the time present at a meeting of the Fire Board in Marshal Benner’s room. A second and third, or what is better known as the 2-11 alarm, was sounded at 8:20, and this brought to the scene all the apparatus available. Marshall Benner in person located the engines, and attended to the outside work. Marshal Kinney was in the rear, and Marshals Shay and Sweenie did noble work in the interior of the building.
The height precluded streams of water from being thrown upon the roof, and the only feasible plan remaining was to run the hose to the upper floors. The Skinner escape was hoisted on the State street front, about in the middle of the building, but it worked badly, and even when erected reached only to the fourth floor. This was perplexing the firemen. The only remaining way was to run the hose through the centre of the building. One of the iron doors was forced off and the hose run directly to the centre of the building, where it was drawn through an open court up to the third and fourth floors. And from various points which they took up the brave firemen played upon the heat and fury of the fire until either stricken down by falling plaster and rafters, suffocated by the smoke, or driven from their positions by heat.
The court in the centre of the building, some 40×90 feet in dimensions, extends to a clear bulls-eyed skylight in the roof. About this court on each floor was a wooden railing. The size of the court decreases slightly in dimensions on the upper floors, and consequently the cinders and burning joists of the fifth floor fell upon the floor below, as also did the burning railing. And to this fact is perhaps due to the spread of the fire downward.
By 10 o’clock the fire had reached its greatest height, when, bursting through the upper windows in both fronts of the building, it lit up the city for miles around. By the time the firemen had removed their streams from the interior to the outside, and by putting on extra steam some of the engines were able to send fair streams into the topmost windows. But the mahority fell short. So it continued to burn, raging most fiercely about the elevator ways, until 11 o’clock, from which it commenced to wane.
Four of the wounded and one dead man were taken to Dr. C. W. Purdy’s office, corner of State and Madison streets, and that physician and Dr. E. H. Horsey rolled up their sleeves to attend to the unfortunate men.
Charles A. Dudley, a large and fine-looking man of about 35 years, was taken out of the mass of ruins gasping for breath, and giving every evidence that he was suffocated, and that death was upon him. He was placed in a carriage on the Washington street side of the burning structure, and conveyed to Dr. Purdy’s office. On the way he moaned faintly, and died shortly after reaching the place. His body lay upon the floor. His face wore a natural and resigned expression, even in death. It was some time before his identity became established, A letter of recommendation from Fire-Marshal Benner was found in his coat, together with others of a similar kind, and when a Tribune reporter called the attention of Lieut. Sharenberg and Pipeman Pumphry to the fact, they stated that he was Lieutenant of Engine Company No. 23 about a year and a half ago, and left the city to go to San Francisco. He returned a few months ago. He was a single man, and had been well liked.
Jerome Bailey, a pipeman of No. 18, was badly, but not dangerously, wounded about the head, face, and upper portion of the body. His injuroes were attended to, and he was placed in a carriage, and conveyed to his home near No. 18’s house.
Frank Flanagan, pipeman of Engine No. 6, was on the third floor when the crash came, and went down in the ruins amidst dense clouds of smoke and fire. He was burned about the face and hands, wounded on the right temple, received severe and dangerous internal injuries, and had one of his feet crushed. He is a large and powerful man, and, like all the others, bore the pains inflicted on him with great fortitude. He was conveyed to his home at No. 328 West Taylor street, where he has a family.
Lieut. John Sharnberg, of Engine No. 6 was found to be injured dangerously in the abdomen, and two of the ribs on his left side were fractured. After receiving attention from the physicians he was placed in a carriage and taken to his home at No. 6076 South Jefferson street. He is a married man.
Robert Payne, colored, pipeman of No. 21, was injured about the head and face severely, but not dangerously. After receiving attention he wanted to go nack to his company. When the crash came he was on the east side of the third floor, and succeeded in getting out of the ruins after great exertion. He barely escaped suffocation.
Others were injured were attended elsewhere.
Patrick Smith, who was assisting in getting out goods, was slightly hurt by the falling of the stairway on the third floor.
John Fletcher, colored, pipeman of No. 21, was severely injured on the head and burned about the face and hands..
Robert Crane, colored, pipeman of No. 21, was dangerously injured internally. He was removed to his home.
Alphonse Campion, and employe of the upholstery department of the burned store, was struck upon the head by a piece of falling timber and badly hurt.
Bailey reported that Eugene Sweeney, pipeman of No. 18, was with him when the floor fell, and stated that, as he did not see him get out, he believed he was suffocated by the dense smoke. Up to latest advices no report contradictory of the above has been reported.
John O’Rourke, or Roach, a pipeman of Engine Company No. 6, was among the men who went down in the ruin, and at 11 o’clock to-night he had not been heard from. It was feared he was suffocated.
Eugene Sweeney, of Engine No. 16, mentioned elsewhere as missing, succeeded in getting out of the building, but was so badly injured internally that he had to be taken home.
Capt. Ben Bullwinkle, of the Fire Patrol companies, informed a Tribune reporter last night that it was his firm belief that one of the firemen had fallen into the artesian well in the northeast corner of the building.
Chicago Tribune, November 27, 1877
The work of putting a stock of goods into the Exposition Building was begun early yesterday morning, and so rapidly was it carried on that Messrs. Field & Leiter will beready offer customers this morning everything that could be obtained at their old store. Visitors to the new establishment will be astonished at the transformation wrought in a little over a week in the structure at the foot of Adams street. Only about two-thirds of it is really occupied by the firm, the extreme southern portion being cut off by a partition, as is also a strip of about 150 feet at the north end. The space used for displaying goods is about 600 feet long and 200 wide. All that north of the fountain is covered with shelves and counters, while that south is devoted to the suit department, carpets, etc. Taken as a whole, there isn’t a more convenient store in the country. The opening to-day will doubtless bring together a large crowd, if the weather isn’t too wretched.
Singer Building I
NE Corner State and Washington Streets
Robinson Fire Map 1886
Volume 3, Plate 9
THE EVOLUTION OF STATE & WASHINGTON