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Life Span: 1873-1925
Location: Corner Washington Street and Fifth Avenue (Wells Street)
Architect: James R. Willett
History of Chicago, By A. T. Andreas, 1886
The Times1 was founded in 1854 by Isaac Cook, James Sheahan and David Cameron. Mr. Sheahan conducted it until the summer of 1860 when it was purchased by Cyrus H. McCormick, who was also the owner of the Herald. The Herald had been founded in 1858, to represent the Buchanan, or administration, democracy. Mr. McCormick consolidated the two papers under the name of the Herald and Times, intending eventually to drop the name Times.
He placed E. W. McComas in editorial charge, a journalist from Virginia, and the paper then became an exponent of Southern democracy. The paper was then published in the fifth story of the McCormick Block, on the corner of Randolph and Dearborn streets. The circulation was but little over one thousand, with no advertising patronage worth mentioning. In a very short time these quarters were found to be too small, and a removal was made to No. 74 Randolph Street, and the paper began to assume the enterprise and audacity which were henceforth to be its chief characteristics.
The close of the war found the Times one of the most prosperous newspapers in the city, and it was compelled to enlarge its quarters and press facilities. In 1866, a new building with a stone front was erected on the southwest corner of Dearborn Street and Calhoun Place. It was five stories in height, and intended expressly for the Times.
It was the main life-work of one man, and in no particular can it be disjoined from him. However the Great Fire of 1871 burned the building and paralyzed the publication.
The New Building of The Chicago Times, in Process of Erection
Corner Washington Street and Fifth Avenue
The Land Owner, April 1872
The Lakeside Monthly, October, 1872
The “Times ” is putting up a handsome and well-planned building for its own use, on the corner of Washington street and Fifth avenue — a much finer office than it had before the fire, and an effective contrast to the barracks in which it has been quartered since.
Rand McNally’s Bird’s Eye Views of Chicago, 1893
The Times Building is at the northwest corner of Washington Street and Fifth Avenue. Before the Great Fire Fifth Avenue was called Wells Street, and still bears that name north of the river. The structure was erected by Wilber F. Storey, under the direct supervision of Franc B. Wilkie, a writer famous as “Poliuto,”and for his many valuable books. The history of the building is given in Wilkie’s “Recollections.” While it was uprearing, in 1872, the Times occupied a long one-story shed near the river south of Adams Street on the West Side, where the Union Passenger Station’s immigrant room now stands. The Times Building is exceptional in its advantages of light, heat, and elevator service, which have been continuous, night and day, for twenty years. The edifice was a valuable and elegant one in its day, and its hardwood finish has given it an enduring character, though the wear and strain on the interior of a daily newspaper office are great. There are 5 stories, and the presses are in the basement; 80 feet on Washington Street, 189 feet on Fifth Avenue, 75 feet high, 2 steam passenger elevators, 36 offices, 4 stores, counting-room of the Times, and offices of the daily Free Press, The editorial rooms and composing room are on the upper floor, and many of their conveniences were for fifteen years the best in Chicago.
1886 Robinson Fire Maps
Volume 3, Plate 2
1 The Chicago Times (aka The Times) is not to be confused with the Chicago Daily Times (1929 – 1948) which merged with the Chicago Sun (1941 – 1948) and became the Chicago Sun-Times (1948-Present).
The Chicago Times (1854 – 1895), after several mergers, eventually became Chicago’s American which was known in its last years as Chicago Today.