Chicago Evening Journal Building, Saratoga Hotel
Life Span: 1872-1945
Location: Dearborn, Between Monroe and Madison streets
Chicago Evening Mail, August 29, 1872
The new Journal building on Dearborn street, opposite the old Post office, is fairly commenced, the basement being up. It will be pushed forward with energy and completed by the late fall, and when finished will be one of the best appointed newspaper offices in the city.
Lakeside Monthly, October, 1872
The new Journal Building, Nos. 159 and 161 Dearborn street, on the east side oif the thoroughfare, between Madison and Monroe streets, is to be, when complete, one of the most substantial and elegant structures in the city. It is to be built of brick, five stories and basement, with a handsome Buena Vista cut-stone front The general architectural style is Franco-Italian, with some slight modifications tending to heighten the general effect. Extending to a height of three stories, the front will present a projecting portico in three divisions, formed of mas sive iron columns for the first story, two on each side of the main entrance, moulded with Corinthian capitals, highly ornamented and projecting a proper distance from heavy pilasters, forming the guards to the entrance. These columns will be capped with heavy carved stone, forming the base from which spring the columns of the second story. These columns, which will be fluted Doric, are of stone, with tastefully shaped capitals, on the top of which will rest a stone balcony, projecting about six feet from the build ing, supported also by carved consols constructed in ornamental work. Then comes the third tier of columns, Corinthian again, on the top of which is a pediment resting on modillion blocks of stone, and tastefully constructed, altogether adding greatly to the beauty of the building. The first story will be wholly of iron and plate glass, there being three French plate windows, six feet by thirteen in size. The extreme top of the front will be finished with a galvanized iron ornamental cornice, bearing in the centre of a shieldshaped ground the name Evening Journal above the date 1844, and below this, in the stone, the date 1872, in raised figures. The interior of the building will be fitted up in the most approved style for the accommodation of a great daily newspaper.
Chicago Evening Journal, October 9, 1872
Chicago Tribune, March 29, 1873
THE NEW “JOURNAL” BUILDING.
The Evening Journal, which for months following the fire was the close neighbor of The Tribune, on Canal street, has just entered into occupancy of its new and elegant newspaper premises on Dearborn street, and is again our neighbor, and much to be congratulated upon its new surroundings. The Journal Building is a structure very handsome in its exterior, the facade of lightly-wrought Ohio sandstone, being one of the most striking in the city, but our friends doubtless find its chief advantages withi, in most complete adaptation of the whole promises to the demands of their business. The satisfaction of the Journal on being at home again, and for the first time in its own quarters, shines out in a new dress, while one of its statisticians dives into the past of a city that once occupied the site of our present one, to show what Chicago has made of her time, since the first Journal made its appearance. We hope our evening contemporary will have even a better tale to tell of the prosperity of Chicago for the next thirty years, and feel sure the Journal will get its share in that advancement of a community which every well-established journal most powerfully helps.
Chicago Tribune, December 2, 1883
Scarcely had the firemen, who were already somewhat wearied by their efforts in combatting and subduing the disastrous blaze in the Farwell Block, returned to their respective houses than they were again called upon to battle with a fire in the Evening Journal Building, at Nos. 159 nad 161 Dearborn street, which proved less tragic, but equally serious from a monetary point of view. It was about 8:30 o’clock when a watchman passing through the alley in rear of the Journal Building observed smoke issuing from the windows of an upper floor. As soon as he satisfied himself that it was no natural source, he turned in alarm to the Fire Department. The latter responded as rapidly as possible under the circumstances, and upon arriving at the scene, discovered smoke issuing from the front and rear of the fourth story of the building. No time was lost in gaining an entrance to the structure, and soon streams were turned upo the blaze, which was found gaining rapid headway on the fourth floor.
About the time the discovery of flames in the basement was made the flames jumped through the roof, and within a few minutes the whole upper story was blazing magnificently, and the entire centre city was brilliantly illuminated. By this time the streets, which had been measurably well cleared of the “madding crowd” by the theatres and other places of amusement, were thronged with humanity, which surged to and fro, and, as usual, was almost unmanageable by the large force of police which, under Chief Doyle, was early on the ground. On one or two occasions the crowd in Dearborn street, near The Tribune Building, received a pretty severe ducking by the awkward or intentional handling of the standpipe, which discharged a perfect deluge of water upon it. It was a good-humored assemblage, however, as it could not well be otherwise, and, instead of decreasing, the crowd was steadily and perceptibly augmented from every direction.
The Oldest Daily.
The Chicago Evening Journal is the oldest of the daily newspapers now published in Chicago. It was established thirty years ago, and has been published continuously ever since—first as a Whig and subsequently as a Republican paper. Mr. Charles L. Wilson, one of its original proprietors, died some years ago. Before the great fire of 1871 the Journal office was on Dearborn street, opposite the old Tremont House. The great fire consumed its office and all its contents. Not frightened by that disaster, its proprietor at once established it in temporary quarters on the West Side, and it did not miss a single day’s issue. He immediately made arrangements for the erection of a new edifice for the permanent accommodation of the Journal office, in the business centre of the South Side. Purchasing a site on Dearborn street, between Madison and Monroe streets, he contracted for a substantial new stone building, which was finished and occupied by the Journal in April, 1873. The edifice destroyed last night was one of the most substantial and conveniently arranged arranged in the city, and all of it was devoted to the uses of the Journal and John B. Jeffrey’s job-printing house. After the death of Charles L. Wilson, the Journal was published for a time by his widow, but she subsequently sold it to John R. Wilson and Andrew Shuman, its present proprietors, to ahom she leased those portions of the building now occupied by them.
The building was a five-story structure, with an ornamental stone front, and was built by Mr. Charles L. Wilson in 1872 at an expense of $94,000. The value placed upon it previous to the present fire was $100,000. Upon it there was an insurance of about $60,000 in Eastern and foreign companies, only a portion of it being placed in the West. The damage to the structure will not exceed this amount. In 1881 the building was leased to Mr. John B. Jeffrey, the show-printer, and to Andrew Shuman and John R. Wilson, owners and publishers of the Evening Journal.
The basement of the structure was occupied in the rear by the boiler and engine which furnished the power for the building, and the Journal press, which was of the old-fashioned four-cylinder pattern, being one among the very few of its kind now remaining in the country. The loss of this will prove quite a serious blow to the Journal, as it will necessitate the alteration of the form that has become so familiar to the paper’s readers. There is, probably, no other press obtainable that can accommodate the same forms and print the number of papers necessary to supply subscribers, so that a change will, for the time being at least, be inevitable. The press cost $25,000, and is supposed to be ruined. In the front of the basement were eight drum-cylinder presses, two improved steam paper-cutters, and other machinery of considerable value belonging to Mr. Jeffrey. The first or ground floor of the building was devoted exclusively to the business offices of the Journal, and several weekly papers. The valuable papers of all these occupants were placed ina vault early last evening, and will all be saved.
A Valuable Plant.
The second floor was occupied exclusively by Mr. Jeffery—in front as a business office, in the middle as a theatrical managers’ and agents’ writing and reading room, and in the rear as a stock-room, the contents consisting of engravings and poster work. with theatrical and circus cuts and paper. Mr. Jeffrey has been fourteen years collecting these cuts, and he will find it difficult to replace them. The gentleman is brimful of pluck, however, and says he will be able to supply all orders of theatrical and other companies, so that none of them need quit the road on account of lack of printing.
In the front of the third floor were Stoelker & Co., publishers of the Merchants’, Travelers’, and Shippers’ Guide. The paper, type, and other stock belonging to the firm was worth about $8,000, which is fully covered by insurance in unknown companies. The fourth floor was occupied by Mr. Jeffery as a composing-room, and contained, besides the type owned by that gentleman, the type and other metallic property connected with the county tax-list, belonging tio the Journal. The fifth or top floor was occupied as composing and proof rooms by the Journal.
Chicago Tribune, March 28, 1884
The “Journal” Back at the Old Stand.
The Journal Building which was partially ruined by fire four months ago, has been reconstructed, and friends of the “Old Reliable” will be glad to learn that the paper was issued yesterday from then old quarters, which are now two stories higher than formerly, and which afford better facilities for business than ever before. The disadvantages under which the Journal have been issued during the last few months have shown the staying powers and perseverance of the managers. Yesterday’s edition was much improved typographically.
Marquis’ Hand-Book of Chicago, 1884
The Evening Journal is the veteran among Chicago newspapers. It is the successor of the American, the first daily paper published in the city, by purchase of its successor, the Express, the second Chicago daily, in 1844, when the present title was assumed. It is distinctly a family and business-man’s paper, and has always enjoyed great confidence and liberal support of the best class of readers. It was started as a Whig newspaper, and was an ardent supporter of Henry Clay for president, but early affiliated with the Republican party, to whose principles it has ever since remained faithful. The paper gained largely in patronage during the war and became a very valuable property. In appearance the Journal is the same it was a quarter of a century ago. It is issued every evening, except Sunday, at 3 and 5 o’clock, and has weekly and tri-weekly editions. The paper has four large pages with nine columns to the page. It sells for five cents per copy, or $10 per annum. The weekly is issued Wednesday for $1.25 a year; the tri-weekly, issued every other day, $4 a year. It is printed on a six-cylinder Hoe steam press, and is issued from the Evening Journal Building, Nos.159 and 161 Dearborn Street. The Journal was originally owned by a stock company, but was sold to Richard L. Wilson, one of the editors, at the close of the campaign of 1844. In 1849 the publishers were Richard L.and Charles L. Wilson. Upon the death of the former in 1856, Charles L. Wilson became the sole owner, and continued to be until his death, in 1878. His estate continued its publication until 1881, when Andrew Shuman, its editor since 1861, and John R. Wilson leased the office. The establishment was destroyed in the great fire of Oct. 9, 1871, but the paper appeared the same afternoon, although somewhat diminished in size. A year later it occupied the present handsome and commodious building. Here it was again visited by fire in December, 1883, but, as before, brought out its regular issue without a day’s interruption, from another office. The ownership was organized as a stock company in 1883. Mr. Shuman is its editor. Mr. Wilson, the business manager, has been connected with the paper since Oct. 9, 1871. W. K. Sullivan has been its city editor since 1874. The Journal has always maintained its reputation as a careful, conservative newspaper, clean and trustworthy, and keeps on “in the even tenor of its way” staidly, and yet keeping up with the spirit and progress of the times.
Rand McNally Bird’s Eye Views, 1893
⑬ The Evening-Journal Building, at 159-161 Dearborn Street, once boasted a beautiful facade, but this was removed in 1889, when the structure was remodeled. The building has burned twice. It is 40 feet wide, 120 feet deep, and 80 high, with 7 stories. It is occupied by the Saratoga Hotel and the Journal, the oldest daily publication in the West.
Chicago Tribune, September 21, 1893
According to the public notice the Chicago Evening Journal, the oldest daily newspaper in Chicago, was sold yesterday afternoon to Dr. S. F. Farrar for $163,000. The sale took place in the business office of the paper. All the stockholders were present in person or by their attorneys. Congressman Dingley of the Second Maine district and his brother of the Lewiston Journal were among the bidders, but the price soon ran beyond their expectations. A Philadelphia syndicate was represented by Maj. M. F. Handy’s younger brother, who contented himself with watching the bidding, it being understood that the syndicate had failed at the last moment to raise the means necessary to achieve its wish. Mr. Asheraft of the firm of Ashcraft & Gordon acted as auctioneer. After stating the nature of the property, consisting of the newspaper franchises, plant. etc., and a leasehold interest in the Journal Building, he called for bids first on the leasehold interest in the Journal building This was runup from $25,000 to $55 000, Mr. Sebree of the Saratoga, Hotel, whic occupies a part of the building, being an active bidder. The bidding for the newspaper property, franchises, etc., exclusive of current bills and accounts, began at $50,- 000. The Dingley brothers went out on a single bid of $76,000. After they had quit the price gradually reaching $105,000, making a total of $160,600. At that figure Mr. Ashcraft called for bids on the whole property and after waiting for two hours for one bidder, who thought he could raise the bid if time were given to hunt up a capitalist, was finally knocked down at $163,000 to Dr. Farrar. The occasion for the sale was the termination of the charter Aug. 6 last, and the failure of the minority stockholders to agree on some plan of organization. The stock of the expiring company was concentrated in the following hands:
- John R. Wilson, 1,118 shares;
Shuman estate, 391 shares;
W. K. Sulivan, 221 shares;
Slason Thompson, 200 shares;
W. A. Hutchinson, 70 shares,
Total, 2,000 shares.
Dr. Farrar made his first payment according to the terms of the sale and took possession. It is understood that he will retain Siason Thompson as editor and W. A. Hutchinson as business manager and does not contemplate making any immediate change in the heads of departments or policy of the paper.
Chicago Chronicle, February 16, 1896
Stiles & Stone have let contracts for the remodeling of the old Evening Journal building in Dearborn street south fo Madison street. Work is now in progress to make the structure an integral part of the (Saratoga) hotel adjoining on the north. A new front will be built and other radical changes made, at a cost of about $40,000.
Chicago Tribune, October 19, 1947
Chicago’s first downtown restaurant building to be constructed in several years will be opened for business tomorrow. It is the half million dollar Harmony cafeteria at 25 – 27 S, Dearborn st. which Samuel Cooper, president of the Harmony Food company, owner, said will be the loop’s Samuel Cooper largest cafeteria, with a seating capacity of 500.
The front part of the original Harmony cafeteria at 21-23 S, Dearborn, opened in 1915, adjoining the new building on the north, will be remodeled into shops. The remainder of the cafeteria space will be connected with the new unit.
Work Begun in 1916
Designed by Friedman, Alschuler & Sincere, architects, the new restaurant building is of colonial design with red brick facade and Mansard roof. Work was started on it in April, 1946, The building will be air conditioned and will include acoustically treated ceilings. Fluorescent lighting will be used thruout.
Supplanting the old fashioned steam table method keeping food warm for customers, electric heat will be used, enabling foods to be kept at varying temperatures. Salads and other foods requiring lower than room temperatures will be kept in frosted pans, called chill plates. Besides the main dining room on the first floor there will be a mezzanine floor at the west end of the building, overlooking Dearborn, which will be paneled in colonial design.
Owns Two Other Units
Earl Silverman, son-In-law of Cooper, is secretary and treasurer of Harmony Food. Willam Phillips, another son-in-law, is vice president. The company has two other Harmony cafeterias. One is at 15 S. Wabash av, and the other at 845 S. Wabash,
The land under the new cafeteria, 10 by 120 feet, is owned by the board of education and held under long term lease by the Flora Wilson estate from which Harmony has a sublease running 38 years, The ground beneath the older unit adjoining, also 40 by 120 feet, is under lease by Harmony for the same time direct from the school board.
The property was occupied until 1915 by the Saratoga hotel, opened for the 1893 World’s Fair trade. It was once noted as a hotel patronized by show notables, Buffalo Bill and the Ringlings stayed there, Its restaurant, it is claimed, was the first to introduce Jazz music to Chicago. Two years ago the south part of the hotel was razed to make way for the new cafeterla building and the upper floors of the north halt were removed.
Chicago Evening Journal Building
Robinson Fire Insurance Map
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map