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Richards, Shaw & Winslow Building | Colonnade Building
Richards, Shaw & Winslow Building (Booksellers Row)
Life Span: 1872-1899
Location: 1-3 N. State Street
Architect: W. W. Boyington
Richards, Shaw & Winslow Building (Booksellers Row), 1872-1899, originally the Richards, Shaw & Winslow Store and later the E. H. Sargent & Co. building, at the northeast corner of E. Madison street, fronting 53 feet on State and approximately 150 feet on Madison, was five stories and one basement high. W. W. Boyington was the architect. The building cost nearly $100,000.
Richards, Shaw & Winslow Store (Booksellers Row II)
121 and 123 State Street
NE Corner of State and Madison
The fifth floor of the building was used as a packing room, where goods in bales and boxes were stored. The fourth floor contained woolens, the third notions, the second white goods; and the first dress goods. Domestic goods were kept in the basement.
E. F. Hollister & Co., a furniture and carpet house, was also located in the building. This was the location of Bookseller’s Row before the Great Fire.
Photographer: Lovejoy & Foster
Chicago Tribune, September 26, 1872
Opening of Another Dry Goods Palace
An important and significant hint as to the location of a future trade centres in the rebuilt portion of the South Side may be discovered in the fact that one of the largest and best known dry goods houses in Chicago, Richards, Shaw & Winslow, have permanently quartered themselves in the magnificent brown-stone building on the northeast corner of State and Madison streets. They occupy the entire structure, five stories and basement, with a frontage of 25 feet on State street, and 160 feet on Madison street, and may may flatter themselves that theirs is the handsomest, best arranged, and best located dry goods house in the city, and one of the finest in America.
Being shrewd, progressive business men, Messrs. Richards, Shaw & Winslow have been among the first to recognize the adventure of fine stores for the wholesale as well as the retail trade, and they lost no time in arranging to get out of the limited unattractive quarters on Michigan avenue, which they had built for themselves immediately after the great fire. Their new establishment is a model of efficiency in detail and convenience of arrangement. Fronting on two streets and a wide alley in the rear, they have been able to secure the best light from the east, south and west, and with their broad floors and high ceilings their immense stock of goods are displayed to the finest possible advantage. The first floor contains the ??? which have been tastefully constructed of black walnut and oak, situated on the north side of the room, while the rest of the ample spacer is devoted to the display of paints, dress goods and alike. From very floor a broad and handsome stairway leads to the story above. The second floor contains the shawl department, attractively arranged at the State street front, and the hosiery and white goods. The third floor is wholly given up to the display of the vast stock of notions. The woolens and cloths take up the fourth floor entirely, the line of goods being an unusually extensive and varied. Two steam elevators run from the basement to the fifth floor, where the packing is done. The basement is the largest floor of all, as it extends twenty feet under the sidewalks on State and Madison streets. It is high and perfectly lighted, and is an admirably and place for handling the heavy domestic cotton goods and blankets. The entire establishment is an ornament to Chicago’s whole sale trade, and the many friends and customers of the solid and substantial firm will be pleased that Richards, Shaw & Winslow are as admirably situated with reference to handling their large and rapidly increasing trade.
The Lakeside Monthly, October, 1872
In the new order of magnificent business architecture which has been so uniformly adhered to in the rebuilding of our city, one of the most prominent and noticeable, both from its admirable location, and its rich, tasteful appearance, is the elegant brown stone structure on the northeast corner of State and Madison streets, an illustration of which is given herewith. As usual, however, in colorless pictures, it fails to convey an adequate idea of the peculiar beauties of the edifice. It is in the Gothic style, the material being the celebrated Oswego brown sand stone, the facade relieved with exquisite ornamentation carved out of the solid stone, the ripe, warm color of which so peculiarly serves to bring out
the artistic touches to the finest advantage, and at the same time affords a grateful contrast to the somewhat monotonous hues of the gray and drab stones which have been so largely employed in buildings in its vicinity. The broad high windows contain the heaviest and costliest of plate glass, in panes so large that it was necessary to order their special manufacture in Germany.
The building is five stories high besides the basement, with a total street frontage of over two hundred feet—fifty-five feet on State street, and one hundred and sixty on Madison — and running back to a wide alley. This gives windows on three sides, and renders the interior, with its high ceilings and elegant fixtures of walnut and oak, remarkably light and attractive, besides the more important consideration of the advantageous display of goods. A huge clock surmounts the State street facade, its illuminated dial denoting the time at all hours of the day or night. Taking into account the location, the material and size, the admirable harmony in style and proportion, the artistic ornamentation so judiciously employed, and the massive construction, this is generally regarded as the finest store yet built in Chicago.
Richards, Shaw and Winslow Building.
The Land Owner
The history of the occupants of this palace of trade—the well-known whole sale dry goods firm of Richards, Shaw & Winslow — furnishes a notable illustration of the proverbial pluck and energy of Chicago business men. The individual members of the firm were all severe sufferers by the great fire of October 9th. The respective firms of Fitch, Williams & Co., of which Mr. William H. Kitch was then a member; of Richards, Crumbaugh & Shaw, of which Jonathan Richards and Theodore A. Shaw were members; and of Bowen, Hunt & Winslow, of which Mr. A. H. Winslow was a member—sustained a loss collectively in the destruction of merchandise to the amount of one and one-half millions of dollars, not over one hundred dollars’ worth being saved out of their united stocks. With energy unconquered and undismayed by the appalling calamity, they organized the present firm out of the materials which the fire could not destroy—their experience, capacity, credit, and reputation — and in a short time they had arranged for a fresh start, having hastily constructed a temporary brick building on Michigan avenue. Keeping a sharp look-out for some suitably located building of sufficient size to answer the requirements of their immense business, they secured, early in the spring of the present year, the building just completed and occupied, and the construction of which was pushed forward at as rapid a rate as was possible with a structure of this character.
It would be impossible for the visitor to make a tour through this grand establishment, noting the perfection of the building, and its internal arrangements and conveniences—its six floors crowded to repletion with almost every description of dry goods manufactured in this country or in Europe—without experiencing a feeling of incredibility that its proprietors are the same gentlemen who were overtaken by the disaster of October last. Yet such is the fact. It is only one among the legion of business miracles wrought by our princes of trade. With her destinies in the hands of such men, no one need wonder that Chicago should become the novel and the model city of the world.
Booksellers Row II
121 and 123 State Street
NE Corner of State and Madison
Robinson Fire Map 1886
Volume 3 Plate 9