Morrison Block II, Morrison Hotel I
Life Span: 1872-1911
Location: Southeast corner Clark and Madison streets
Architect: Carter & Drake
The Land Owner, January, 1873.
REBUILT CHICAGO.—The New Morrison Block.
As the new new city approaches completion, its streets present a truly metropolitan appearance, reminding one more of the activity and elegance of the streets of Paris in the days of the Empire than of anything else. Our artist has carefully shown this on our first page this month. The view is on Clark street looking south from the corner of Madison, with the massive structure, the Morrison block, in the near foreground. At this point the cars on Madison streets cross (the Clark street cars will soon be running), and the point is one of the most crowded of any in the city. The locality now shows no trade whatever of the great fire, and the visitor from abroad would be loath to believe that one year ago it was a barren scene of smouldering ruins. But such is the wonderful transformation scene that Chicago now presents to the world.
The Streets of Chicago.—Clark Street, South From Madison, Showing the New
The building erected on the southeast corner of these streets by the Morrison estate, had been finished but ten months, when the fire laid it in ashes. Mr. Spofford, the agent of the estate, immediately began to look about him to rebuild. The work was delayed somewhat by the action of the government trying to obtain this block for the new post office; but as soon that question was settled by the purchase of the Bigelow block, the new building was commenced and pushed rapidly to completion, the happy result being shown in our engraving. The structure is four stories and basement in height, and stands 90 feet on Madison street, by 100 on Clark street. It is a much better and stronger building than the old, and is a striking ornament to our street architecture. It is heated by steam throughout, finished elaborately in black walnut, and has water closets, etc., on every floor.
The Boston Square-Dealing Clothing House.
The entire ground floor of this large structure is occupied by the above popular firm, who are the largest retail clothiers in the city, if not the United States, or the world. The dimensions of their store is 90×100 feet, and they carry a stock of $250,000 worth of clothing all the time. This house first opened business in Chicago, October 8th, 1870, and were burnt out like everybody else in the great fire, one year from their advent here. But so prosperous had their business been, and so great a success had the motto and practice of “square-dealing” become, that they immediately re-opened two stores here, one on the South Side, at 568, 570 and 572 State street, and one on the West Side, at 229 Madison street. These they still retain in addition to their grand establishment in the Morrison block. One of the first firms to commence active operations after the fire, they have ever since kept up their vigorous business operations. Messrs. Willoughby, Hill & Co., the proprietors of the “Square-Dealing Clothing House,” have their headquarters in Boston, with branches in nearly all the principal cities of the country. They transact an enormous business, which is rapidly growing every day, as their square-dealing motto is thoroughly carried out in all their operations with their customers.
Willoughby, Hill & Company Token
The quality of goods sold by this house is proverbially good, as their reputation and success depend wholly upon giving entire satisfaction to their customers, which they do in every case. Their shelves are laden with all manner of garments, from the full dress coat to the smallest article of gentlemen’s apparel. The business suits are made upon honor, and to last. Occupying so central a position as the new Morrison block, the Boston Square-Dealing continue to enjoy the remarkable success which they have so richly earned by their energy, perseverance and enterprise.
Mason & Mills, Real Estate.
The second story corner offices of the Morrison block are occupied, as the plate will show, by Mason & Mills, Real Estate Agents, who have there some of the best appointed, light and eligible land offices in the city. These gentlemen are men of sterling integrity, and have had some years of experience in buying and selling land on their own account. They are thoroughly posted in real estate values of both city and suburban property. They give especial attention to park and boulevard property in the West Division, and there are to be found on their books many good bargains in other parts of the city.
Located on this prominent corner at the junction of two of our most prominent thoroughfares, their large and elegant office is easily reached from any part of the city, and is a favorite resort of land men, both those who buy and those who sell.
The firm is composed of J.N. Mason and D.W. Mills, both gentlemen of high character and social standing, and parties entrusting their business to theur care will find their interests carefully guarded.
Frost & McLennan, City Surveyors.
When land becomes as valuable as it is in Chicago, an error, however slight, in the location of the building or a subdivision may lead to vexatious and expensive litigation. The choice of a surveyor is then a matter of some importance. And right here we can recommend the firm of Frost & McLennan, City Surveyors, Room 5, Morrison block, as being at the head of the profession in this city. Both members are graduates from an Eastern school of engineering, and to a thorough theoretical knowledge, have added ten years of constant practice in field and office. They are men of integrity, sound judgement and energy, and among their regular patrons are the principal real estate dealers of this city. Their office is on the second floor of the new Morrison block, is the easiest of access, and most central in location of any surveyor’s office in the city, and parties who may want an accurate survey, or a handsome map, are cordially invited to call and see them before giving their orders. At this season of the year they are getting up masks at exceeding low rates.
Drs. Forman and Abbott.
These medical gentlemen occupy elegant suites of offices in the Morrison block. Dr. John Forman is a Scotch physician and surgeon of eighteen years of active practice. During his five years’ sojourn in Chicago his gentlemanly bearing, indefatigable energy, skill and success have reared a practice only excelled perhaps by the limited circle of physicians who have preceded him in this city a quarter of a century.
Dr. N.W. Abbott is another of our old and popular physicians. He graduated in 1844, at the Bershire Medical College, and came to Illinois in 1852, settling at Dixon. In the fall of 1861 he entered the army, where he remained three years. During the winter of ’61 and ’62, he had charge of the post hospital at Ironton, Mo. The last two years of his military service were spent as surgeon of the Eighteenth Regiment Illinois Volunteers. Letters and reports of the Surgeon General and other military officers attest to the marked fidelity, energy and skill with which he discharged his duties as an army surgeon. In 1864 he returned to Dixon, and soon secured a large share of his former practice. In 1868, through the solicitations of many of his former friends and patrons, who had removed to Chicago, he was induced to locate here, where a paying practice at the first has grown to a lucrative and desirable one. During the great fire, his offices at 161 South Clark street, with their contents, were burned, after which he opened on the West Side. He and Dr. Forman were the first to occupy rooms in the Morrison block.
Chicago Tribune, November 3, 1872
The Putnam Clothing House
The old and well-known Putnam Clothing House will, about the 15th of this month, occupy the massive store in Morrison’s new block, corner of Clark and Madison streets. Mr. Terry, the popular proprietor of this popular house, finding his present stores much too limited for his already large and rapidly Infcreasing business, has leased the above extensive , which will give him a store covering an area of over 20,000 square feet. The Putnam Clothing House is among the oldest-established in this city, and has always borne an enviable reputation for honorable dealing, for quality of goods, and low prices. Mr. Terry adheres strictly to their excellent system of “one price,” every garment being plainly marked with the price at which it will only be sold. Purchasers of clothing can rely with confidence upon the representations of the above house as regards quality, of good style and price. the grand opening, which wis occur on or about tbe 15th inst., and until then purchase at the stores No. 300 State street and No. 217 Madison street.
Chicago Tribune, April 25, 1897
Four stories will be added to the Morrison Block at the southeast corner of Madison and Clark streets. The first story of the present structure, until recently occupied by Willoughby , Hill & Co., will be converted into small stores. The other three stories and those to be added will be used for a European hotel. Approximately 200 rooms will be provided in the seven seven stories. The improvement will cost about $75,000. The walls of the present building are of stone and similar material will be used in the additional floors. The upper part will be ornamented with terra-cotta. The first floor will be lowered to the street level. The entire interior will be rebuilt in the style of slow-burning construction, with street columns and girders. D.W. Mills and G.W. Spofford are the owners of the property. Work on the alterations will begin as soon as the plans are completed.
Inter Ocean, February 6, 1898
THE MORRISON BLOCK RENTED.
J.K. Sebree of the Saratoga Will Open Another House.
Through W.L. Doggett the historic Morrison property, corner of Clark and Madison streets, long occupied by Willoughby, Hill & Co., has been leased to J.K. Sebree, president of the Saratoga Hotel company. The lease is for ten years, at a rental of $12,000 for the first year, $15,000 a year for the four years following, and $18,000 a year for the five concluding years of the term. Mr. Sebree does not now abandon his successful house, the Saratoga hotel on Dearborn street, but takes on this new establishment as a sort of annex. Mr. Sebree will take possession of the Morrison property at once, and will furnish it at an expense of $25,000, preparatory to opening a European hotel. By the terms of the lease this hotel must be called the “Morrison,” in memory of the family who have owned this corner since 1833.
This improved property—for last summer the building was remodeled and four stories added—has a frontage of 90 feet on Madison and 100 feet on Clark street. The hotel has 205 rooms and a modern equipment. There are seven stories available for hotel purposes. The Morrison block, in charge of Walter H. Wilson, is now completely rented.
The occupancies of the stores are the Hamburger Cigar company, in the corner; the Emerson Shoe company, in the “L’ shaped store, surrounding the corner; Frank’s Collateral bank, the double store at No. 122 Madison street and No. 139 Clark street; J.E. La Lone, No. 143 Clark street; Fletcher, Bradley & Smith, Nos. 141 and 143 Clark street; Solomon Mossler, Nos. 118 and 120 Madison street, and Hill & Smith, No. 116 Madison street.
It is understood that it is Mr. Sebree’s intention to lease the Boston Oyster house in the near future, and manage that in connection with the new Morrison hotel; meanwhile it will be run as heretofore by the owners of the building, Messrs. Spofford and Mills. It is understood that the rentals of the first floor and basement approximate $33,000 to the lake $34,000 per annum.
There have been only two owners of this corner, as Ezekiel Morrison purchased it directly from the United States government in 1833, paying at that time $106. This price included ninety feet frontage on Madison street by 200 on Clark street. The property 100 feet south of the corner on Clark street, was afterward transferred to another member of the Morrison family.
Inter Ocean, June 4, 1899
CLARK STREET STORES LEASED.
C.W. Babbitt Secures Space in Morrison Building.
C. M. Babbitt, through Keeble & Co., the two stores and basements at Nos. 127 and 129 Clark street, for five years at a rental of $32,000 for the term. The stores are 40×100 feet, and are located on the east side of Clark street, just north of Madison street, in the property known as the Morrison block. The Putnam Clothing company, of which Mr. Babbitt has been a managing partner for fourteen years, moved from this building to the northwest corner of State and Quincy streets about two years ago.
Morrison Block II, Morrison Hotel I
SE Corner Clark and Madison Streets
Robinson Fire Map