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Life Span: 1872-1892
Location: Southwest Corner of Dearborn and Madison
Architect: John M. Van Osdel
Chicago Tribune, May 5, 1872
THE INTERSECTION OF DEARBORN AND MADISON STREETS will be remarkable for a fine building on each corner, of which more will be written hereafter. On the southwest corner, facing The Tribune Building, on the site of Reynold’s Block, Hawley’s fine iron-front building will be shortly erected. It will have a frontage of 92 feet on Dearborn street and 50 feet on Madison street. It will be four stories and basement, with Mansard roof, which adds a fifth story. The corner will be cut off, as in The Tribune Building, and inside the most prominent feature of the building, great pains having been taken in the design, the beauty of which is exclusively due to the owner, to make it worthy of a high rank amoing the architectural excellencies of the new Chicago—if there should be found any to speak of. The entrance on the corner will be approached by a double flight of iron steps. A balustrade will be placed on the second and third stories with a pediment over the latter. Two chaste female figures will stand on this story, emblematic precisely of what, if not of the former former occupants of Reynolds’ Block, it would be hard to tell. The architect probably knows, but he would not tell thye world. Mr. Van Osdel, in drawing them, has pointed their arms at unmeaning angles and in extraordinary directions, a habit quite unusual withe well-behaved ladies, which probably accounts for the surprising attitude. The corner will be lighted with mullion windows, with a graceful column on either side. The windows on the Madison and Dearborn street fronts will all be of the double style so much in vogue in Chicago, and tells plainly that the architect drew the plans while opposite Bryan’s building on La Salle street, where he had ample opportunity to observe and copy. The grand entrance will be on the corner, of course, a side entrance being provided on both points. The building will be mainly occupied by offices, the lower story being reserved for a bank.
National Bank of Commerce
The Land Owner, May, 1874
Chicago Tribune, May 15, 1892
The pigeons are in trouble these days. The particular pigeons whose trouble was most serious yesterday were those across Dearborn street from The Tribune Building.
Their fate has been only a question of time for several months—ever since the owner of the big Hawley Building made up his mind to tear it down. But for a week it has been literally hanging over their heads in the shape of huge derricks and windlasses, and a small army of workmen armed with pickax, crowbar, and sledge-hammer. Yesterday fate would no longer be denied. The blow fell, and the home of the pigeons is no more.
When the Hawley building was put up shortly after the fire the pigeons looked it over and reasoned somewhat after the fashion:
Now, here is a massive structure that will endure for all time to come. The architect, bless him, has made the finest kind of a place for a nest under a sheltering piece of ornamentation between the fourth and fifth stories. What’s the matter with preempting this little cubby-hole? It’s in a nice neighborhood—in fact, a select neighborhood. We look directly into the editorial rooms of The Tribune; and besides reporters are nice, quiet people.
So a pair of pigeons duly preempted the nice little cubby-hole. This was twenty years ago. And these same pigeons, or their heir and successors and assigns, have ever since wooed and won and mated and nested and raised their young in that self-same cubby-hole in the Hawley Building.
Cubby-Hole Torn to Pieces.
But alas! what do pigeons know of ground rents, and leaseholds, and earning capacity and such gthings? When a good many smart people were not smart enough to see the overgrown village just rising from its ashes and would jump to a city of 1,250,000 inhabitants within a score of years, how could the pigeons be expected to see so far ahead? But times do change, and so it came to pass that the big Hawley Building which would be considered a pretty fine sort of a structure in most cities, had to be torn down because it wasn’t good enough for Chicago. And thus it was that yesterday the pickax and crowbar of the workmen broke into the pigeons’ cubby-hole. A Tribune man saved what there was to save. But the nest was dismantled, the eggs cold and the nestlings dead. The parent birds had flown in their terror. All that was left of the colony was a pair of lusty young birds just ready to fly.
The New Nesting Place.
Twenty years ago the Hawley Building which stands—at least in fragmentary condition—at the southwest corner of Dearborn and Madison streets, was one of the finest office buildings in the city. It now has a value only as old iron and building material. It was built in 1872 by E. S. Hawley. It had the old bank entrance and was finished in black walnut. The exterior features consisted of the heavy copings and ornamentation which were sought after much at that time as they carefully avoided in modern office buildings. The Hartford office building which is to replace the Hawley block, will be fourteen stories high, covering 92½ = x 50 feet. It will be of the standard Chicago steel construction, faced with brick and terra cotta. The first floor front will be of shop construction, containing as much plate-glass as possible. In the front of the first floor stories stone will be used. Six tiers of bays will extend up from the fifth to eleventh story. A cornice will encircle the building at the twelfth story, and another heavy cornice will surmount the structure.
Southwest Corner Dearborn and Madison Streets
Robinson Fire Map