ONE YEAR AFTER—THE RESTORATION OF CHICAGO
The Lakeside Monthly, October, 1872
Part I Reconstruction.
Part II Public Works and Buildings
Part III Churches and Schools
Part IV Private Buildings
Part V Business Blocks
Part VI Amusements, Arts, and Science
Part VII Chicago and Its Railways
Part VIII The Year as Seen From the Board of Trade
Lakeside Monthly, October, 1872
If one desired to impress a stranger most thoroughly with the magnitude of the work which has been done in Chicago within a year from the period of its desolation, he would be likely first to take him into one ofthe new buildings which have arisen as if by the wand of the enchanter, in that region which last October presented the most grand and universal ruin to be seen on the globe. From a careful examination of one of these fine structures, a person is much better able to make a true estimate of the whole work of regeneration which is already accomplished. He will be at once struck with the breadth and stability of the foundations, the solidity of the walls, and the general appearance as of a structure built to withstand some common enemy. He will see a few buildings which seem more like fortresses than com mercial structures, having vaults en cased in several feet of masonry, and covered with railroad iron at the top, and from turret to foundation compos ed of material which has, combined with all the oxygen it was capable of thousands of years before man made his advent into mundane matters. For the purpose of introducing the reader to a few representative buildings of the New Chicago, he is referred to the illustrations and descriptions which immediately follow. These buildings have not been selected because they were the best, but rather because they represented the various classes of buildings which will compose the regenerated city.
The old Sherman House was the pride of all Chicago people; and when it fell in the general ruin on the ninth of last October, probably no item of the long roll of destruction more thoroughly impressed the people all over the country with the profundity of our disaster, than the words which told that the Sherman House was no more. It was completed in the year 1861.
The reconstructed hotel has reached the completion of its walls. It stands on the same site as its predecessor, and has a frontage of 160 feet on Randolph street by 181½ on Clark street. It rises to the exceptional altitude of seven stories above the basement, and will overtop the greater share of the buildings of the new city. It will contain 275 rooms. The exterior is constructed of a fine dark steel—colored sandstone, from the quarries of Illinois on the Kankakee river. It is built in accordance with the provisions of the will of the late F. C. Sherman, and is to be held in trust for the benefit of the heirs. Its cost will not be less than $600,000, while the land upon which it stands is valued at $400,000. This beautiful structure comprises, in its details, all the most recent improvements in hotel architecture, and is far superi or, in its conveniences and in the ele gance of its workmanship, to the hotel which stood in the same place one year ago.
Within a few days after the great fire, and while the flames in the vast coal yards along the river were still unsubdued, Mr. J. V. Farwell selected a site for a new dry-goods house; and, in stead of choosing a spot in the vicinity of his former store, determined to build on what was but a few days before one of the poorest and most insignificant portions of the city, being no other than the northwest corner of Franklin and Monroe streets. There was little debris to be removed, for as the ground had been occupied by mean wooden structures, all that had once been there was reduced to ashes and smoke. Workmen were immediately set to put ting in the foundations of a new building, and in the chilly days of November this solitary structure was the object of all observers, as its long lines of busy workmen with trowel and plumb, rose steadily in sharp outline against the autumn sky, and far above the gloomy ruins below. Before the advent of winter Mr. Farwell had established his wholesale department in the new building, and had issued circulars to his old customers announcing his readiness and ability to supply their wants once more. It was an era in the fortunes of the city, as everybody then felt. This was but the first step in the diversion of a very large whole sale business to that part of the city. Soon afterward, or nearly at the same period, Messrs. Field, Leiter & Co. commenced to build immediately north on Madison street, and during the summer others have followed, until now both Madison and Monroe streets, from Franklin to Market, are solidly built up with palatial wholesale houses, whose occupants are transacting a business that approaches a hundred millions of dollars in a year. There is no other place within the burnt district where so great a change has been effected as here, and all from following the lead of Mr. Farwell.
The cut which accompanies this represents the original building, together with the additions which have been made since. The entire building, when completed, will have a frontage of 320 feet on Monroe street by 190 feet on Franklin, and will be entirely devoted to the jobbing and retail business of Messrs. Farwell & Co. The figures show that this is one of the very largest wholesale houses in the world. One who would see the interior of this establishment may step upon one of the four steam elevators, and pass around each loft which is appropriated to a special department of business. Going once around each room, he will have walked about a mile and a half, and if he attempt to thread the various aisles, he may go ten miles and not repeat his steps. The employees number from 1000 to 1200, and the sales reach from $12,000,000 to $14,000,000 per annum. The members of the firm are all gentlemen of high standing as citizens, and some of them fill offices of trust in the State and positions of honor in the Church. Chicago is certainly very proud of them, and has good reason to be.
The Grand Pacific Hotel is the largest hotel structure in the world. It was built after plans by W. W. Boyington, architect, by a company chartered by special act of the Legislature in 1869. Its stockholders include the two great railroad companies, the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific, whose magnificent new passenger house stands at the foot of LaSalle street, one block distant from the Pacific. Several of our largest and most widely known capitalists have joined in the enterprise. At the time of the fire the hotel was within a few months of completion, and was almost totally destroyed. It has been solidly and beautifully rebuilt, and better than be fore in many particulars; and the work of finishing is now going on rapidly. The total cost and value of the building is $1,000,000; the lessees will expend $400,000 in furnishing the hotel. The value of the ground occupied is nearly $800,000; so that the Pacific enterprise represents an invest ment of nearly two and a quarter million dollars. The building occupies an entire block, bounded by Clark, Jackson, LaSalle and Quincy streets, an acre and a half in area. The mate rials of three fronts is fine olive-tinted Ohio sandstone, crowned with Mansards and towers, constructed with iron and slate. The general style of the building is French. It is much admired for its effective simplicity, with a sufficiency of ornamentation to relieve the vast facades, particularly that on the south, which has an extent of 325 feet. The first prominent feature that strikes the observer on entering this splendid structure are the two great central courts, both devoted to the public uses of the house. These are crowned by beautiful domes, and will lack no feature of decoration requisite for effectiveness. Upon these courts open the eight entrances to the hotel, and from these rise the flights of stairs to the floor above. This lower floor has eight elegant stores, to be leased for retail purposes, on Clark street, and twenty-two offices on LaSalle street. The main office is in the east court, with all the best appliances and ele gant fittings worthy of the house. The second floor is reached by the grand staircase—a superb construction, in white marble, in the centre of the house. On this floor are the grand and private parlors, the grand dining-hall, ladies’ ordinary, club diningroom and breakfast-room, the conser vatory, and a fire-proof working de partment, itself as large in area as many entire hotels. To the whole arrangement of the Grand Pacific, and to its access and connection with the other parts of the house, several months’ study were given by H. M. Smith, the founder of the scheme, and secretary of the company, among the leading hotel men of the country, and the best American hotels; and it is pronounced unsurpassed in every desirable feature. The lessees of the Grand Pacific for twenty years are Messrs. George W. Gage, David A. Gage, and John A. Rice, long of the Sherman House, whose reputation is world-wide, and who will furnish the great hotel in sumptuous style. They promise from present appearances to enter upon their new career as hosts early in the spring of 1873.
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 sandstone, 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.
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 in credibility 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.
The several daily newspaper establishments are to be well provided for in rebuilt Chicago. Most of them will have permanent homes compared to which their old ones were, in the language of the great critic Fadladen, “as the flimsy filagree-work of Zamara beside the eternal architecture of Egypt.” The Tribune building, corner of Dearborn and Madison streets, to be re-occupied on the anniversary of the fire, is built one story higher than the one destroyed, in the same general style of architecture, but of different material—red sandstone being used for the new building. 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. The Inter-Ocean occupies its own building on Congress street, where it has been since January—having been the first of the dailies to get into permanent quarters. The Staats-Zeitung has a fine building nearly completed, on the corner of Washington street and Fifth avenue.
The new Journal Building, Nos. 159 and 161 Dearborn street, on the east side of 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.
One of the notable institutions of Chicago is the Fidelity Safe Depository, the object of which is to furnish to the public a place where money and other valuables in small compass may be deposited, with as nearly an absolute certainty of their safe-keeping as it is possible to attain. Of course the value of such an institution depends upon the known safety of its vaults; and the “crucial test” of those of the Fidelity Safe Depository was applied literally last October. At the time of the fire, property representing millions of dollars was here deposited; and of course the anxiety of depositors was great. Whilst the flames were still raging in other portions of the city, and the fallen walls about the Depository were still hot and smoking, its vaults were opened and found to be perfectly unharmed, the interior temperature not in the least affected by the intense heat without. A sign was improvised by the President, Thomas B. Bryan, and posted conspicuously upon the ruins, thus:
- Vaults and contents all safe. Renters and depositors are requested to call and receive their moneys and other treasures in perfect preservation.
Business was immediately resumed on tables made of burnt bricks; and millions of property were thus handed over, to the inex pressible joy and relief of the owners. The Fidelity enjoys the merited reputation of having been the first institution to resume business in the burnt district; and it has conducted and continued its business in the same office without interruption, the new walls being constructed around and over the first story and basement, which survived the fire.
The new Fidelity Savings Bank and Safe Depository Building, shown in the cut, is located at Nos. 143, 145, and 147 Randolph street, immediately adjoining the Sherman House on the west, with the style of which structure it nearly corresponds, being built of the Missouri stone. In the former Depository Building, which had been completed but a short time before the fire, there were eight vaults (still preserved), the metal-work of one of which cost $22,000; and one to cost $40,000 is being constructed for the new building. No instance of loss by one of these Depositories has yet been recorded.
A Savings Bank is added to the Depository, of which Hon. John C. Haines, formerly of the State Savings Institution, is President, and Hon. Thomas B. Bryan, the projector and founder of the Fidelity Safe Deposi tory, is Vice-President.
The offices of the Guarantee and Investment Association and ofthe Mutual Trust Society, Thos. B. Bryan, President, are in the same building—the object of said institutions being the investment of capital in our great and growing city.
Of the half dozen buildings that partially or wholly withstood the fury of the great conflagration, the Republic Life Insurance building, here shown, was one. When the fury of the flames had passed by, and the smoke had partly cleared away, the Nixon building, on the northeast corner of Monroe and La Salle streets, and next to it the Republic Life Insurance building, stood like battered fortresses, the former intact, while the latter, though scorched within and without, everything within it being reduced to ashes, had its walls remaining almost entire. Workmen were set about repairing it, and early in the spring it was completely restored. It has the same general appearance as before. It is largely occupied by the United States Government, for the accommodation of its business in this city. The building is owned by the Republic Life Insurance Company, which derives a large revenue from the rentals. The Life Insurance company occupy rooms on the second floor. The remainder of the building is occupied as offices, and from the fact that each story is almost equally accessible by means of a steam elevator, the upper stories are nearly as convenient as the lower ones. Mr. J. V. Farwell is President of the Republic Life, and Hon. W. F. Coolbaugh, Treasurer. The company have a capital of $5,000,000, with $1,000,000 paid up, and is one of the most popular life insurance corporations of its kind in the West.
The Inter-Oceanic Building, the property of Hon. J. Y. Scammon, occupies 105 feet on Wabash avenue, between Harrison and Congress streets. It is five stories high, and contains a central building and two wings. The rear portion of the north wing is to contain, in the basement, the large eight-cylinder press which Messrs. Hoe & Co. are constructing for the Inter-Ocean newspaper. The building is built of Milwaukee brick, with white trimmings for the doors and windows, and presents a very imposing appearance on this wide and beautiful avenue.
Few will forgot in the early days of last winter the pride with which they saw the topmost brick laid upon the walls of a fine five-story building on Randolph street, near La Salle. It was the first structure of its kind in that part of the city, and was the forerun ner of all the stately palaces that have risen on that thoroughfare since. Here was laid the first stone sidewalk after the great fire, and the building itself was completed in 80 days. If the “Phoenix,” about which so much has been said and sung, really has a home in Chicago, this must be one of its haunts, and Heath & Milligan must be its alias. This firm had completed a very fine building on this site in 1870, which was shortly afterward destroyed by fire. It was rebuilt and occupied in ninety days, but only to go down in the sweep of the great conflagration. Though rebuilt with such rapidity, the structure is one of the most substantial in the city. In going through the building, one marvels at its completeness and strength; its large fire-proof vaults in the basement under the sidewalk; the boiler-rooms in the rear; the two beautiful engines on the first floor; the elaborate machinery in the third and fourth stories; and the perfect cleanliness and order prevailing everywhere. They are the accompaniments of a large paint-mill, capable of grinding sixteen tons a day, a putty-mill turning out two tons a day, twenty color-mills, making each 200 pounds a day. In the rear is a building 40×60 feet, the basement having stalls for horses, the first floor used for the wagons of the firm, and the upper story for a paint-shop.
This is one of the establishments ot Chicago peculiarly worth visiting. It has a history worth recording, as, from a small beginning, it has, in eighteen years, become the only establishment in the world combining so much under one roof. The store is 30 feet, 6 inches in front, by 165 feet deep, and five stories in height, with a corrugated iron roof. The customers are invited to a parlor in the second story, from which they enter into another large room filled with samples, neatly ar ranged, of everything in the store, from which they make their selections and order their goods. The business is very large, and reaches the whole Northwest.
The Boone block, on La Salle street, between Madison and Washington streets, has a frontage of 55 feet by 93 feet in depth. It is four stories high above the basement, and cost $65,000. It was commenced immediately after the fire, and was one of the first blocks built from the foundation after that event. The rapid completion of this building was due to the wisdom and foresight of the man agers of the Union Mutual Life Insurance Company, whose offices occupy a part of the building—the company, with Dr. L. D. Boone, being interested in the property. Dr. Boone, who has been a citizen of Chicago for thirty-six years, has the charge of the financial depart ment of this company. The action of this company in Chicago is worthy of notice. It has invest ed about two and a half millions of its assets in loans upon real estate in this city, thus adding to the prosperity of the city from which it draws a liberal support. Several other companies follow this example, but the fact that this company has always followed this wise and just course, entitles it to its full meed of credit. Mr. L. C. Clark, the general manager of the Policy Department for Illinois and Iowa, has also an office in this building.
This street from Washington to Monroe street is, at present, the financial centre of the city, and is likely to contain for some time a great share of the banking, insurance and law offices of the city. The Chamber of Commerce, situated on an adjacent corner, must tend to draw about it the more import ant financial institutions of the city. The Boone block is, in appearance, about the same as before the fire, but its interior is much improved, having twenty of the finest vaults in the city. It is occupied exclusively for offices, the basement being occupied by the Chicago Savings Institution and Adolph Loch & Bro., brokers; and the first floor by the International Bank, the Cook County National Bank, the Mechanics’ Institute, and Wm. Hansbrough, the superintendent of the building. In the second story we find the offices of the Union Mutual Life Insurance Company, the office of the Canada Southern Rail Road Company, and the Hartford Life Insurance Company. The third story is occu pied entirely by law firms; and the fourth is occupied by the Law Department of the University of Chicago, and every other room is occupied by archi tects and contractors.
Among all the notable men of Chicago who aspire to write their names in enduring stone, high up on the rising palaces of this eventful year 1872,
His block on State street is hardly equalled for the beauty and elegance of its exterior; and he is erecting, on the southwest corner of Wabash avenue and Washington street, the building of which an engraving is shown on this page. It will be ready for occupancy in February next, and will then be surrounded on all sides by first class improvements. Mr. Page occupied the ground as his private residence only a few years ago, and he has shot quails from his back door; yet now he is only in the prime of life.
The building is to be occupied by D. B. Fisk & Co., importers and jobbers of millinery and ladies’ furnishing goods. Mr. Fisk commenced business in Chicago in 1853, and is now among the great merchants of the city. The sales of his house for half a day now amount to more than the entire business of the first year. The great fire destroyed their entire stock last fall; but they immediately ordered new goods, and the sales of the present year have exceeded those of the past. The store is sixty-two feet in width, by one hundred and fifty-one in depth, and five stories high, with a basement eighty-two by one hundred and ninety feet in size. An oval court intersects the building from the basement to the top, through which an observer may see the business of the various depart ments represented upon the several floors. Two steam elevators will pass the customers and visitors from story to story.
Among the men who have the utmost faith in the future of Chicago, is the Hon. J. Y. Scammon; and when men talked, early last winter, of building cheap brick structures, Mr. Scammon was one of the first to lay the foundations of some of the most elegant and substantial structures of the New Chicago. The old Marine Bank building, at the corner of Lake and Clark streets, was the first fine bank building erected in Chicago. It was built of Vermont marble, and was four stories high above the basement. It occupied 72 feet on LaSalle street and 60 feet on Lake. The west portion was occupied by the Marine Company, and the east portion by the Mechanics National Bank. The new building, of which we give a representation, is 20 feet larger on Lake street than the old one, built of the same material, but of an improved design, and will be one of the finest and most substantial bank buildings in the city. The west half will be occupied by the Marine Company, an institution with half a million of capital, which confines its business mainly to foreign exchange, letters of credit and trust, and savings business. The east portion, with forty feet front, and extending nearly the depth of the lot, belongs to, and will be occupied by, the Mechanics National Bank. The interior arrangements of both banks are very convenient, and the abundance of vaults will give room enough to preserve, as the old bank building did, everything there should be occasion to put in them. The Mechanics National Bank has become one of the most prosperous of all the banks in the city. Its surplus funds amount to nearly as much as its capital—capital and surplus being between four and five hundred thousand dollars.
Lake street, before the fire, was the centre of the wholesale trade of Chicago. Along the eastern end of the street, the solid, massive fronts con fmed the reverberating echoes of thousands of heavily-loaded trucks, which conveyed to the railroad depots the goods that were destined to all parts of the Northwest. The stately structures cast their shadows, even in the longest days of summer, across the street, and projected them partly upward on the opposite fronts. But the growing tiade of the city demanded broader and more commodious buildings than these, fine as they were; and the owners of property on Lake street looked with something of alarm at the gradual withdrawal of the whole sale business to other streets. The fire levelled all that was most improved, as well as the old structures; and the Lake street property owners are again on an equality with their neighbors. With the sagacity which is never lack ing to Chicago business men, they have clubbed together and rebuilt much broader stores, with higher rooms, such as are adapted in every particular to the wants of the whole sale trade of the city; and now the business which threatened to leave this thoroughfare altogether within a few years, will be attracted back again, without a doubt, since the street is al ready far on the road to perfect reconstruction.
The building shown in the above cut is situated on the corner of Lake street and Wabash avenue. It is of pressed brick, with heavy sandstone trimmings, and was built expressly for the trade which it now accommodates. It is heated by steam, and has three elevators, which are operated by steam engines. The building is 48 feet wide by 140 in depth, and five stories in height. Being in the corner, the basement occupies not only the site of the building, but the sidewalk space on both streets; and it consequently is 72 feet in width by 150 in depth. The building belongs to J. H. Reed, Esq., and has been leased to Hibbard & Spencer for a term of years. These gentlemen commenced business as hardware, cutlery, and tin merchants, under the title of Tuttle, Hibbard & Co., in 1855, and were sufferers in the great South Water street fire of 1856, which was known as the great fire of Chicago, until the greater one came. After this fire they removed their business to their present corner, and in the next year removed to the corner of State and Lake streets. In 1860 Hibbard & Spencer bought out the other members of the firm, and immediately commenced building the stores which they occupied before the fire, 92 and 94 Michigan avenue. On the Saturday night before the great fire, they had finished an additional story to their building, had it cleaned, and were moving their goods into it. This firm was among the fortunate ones who could pay their indebtedness in full. In about twenty days they had completed a store on the park front at a cost of $10,000, two of their firm were stationed in New York to forward goods and fill orders, and they were at once in the midst of a heavy business. The contract for the present building was made in December, this firm having leased it before it was contracted; and it was finished and occupied in July last. Their business of this year has exceeded that of the preceding, al though their usual sales were very large; and their position among the largest leading houses of the country is everywhere conceded.
The Wright Block is another building which stands upon a well-known locality on Lake street, occupying the ground where Potter Palmer’s and Field & Leiter’s old store stood. It is constructed with a front of Philadelphia pressed brick, with sandstone trimmings, and is five stories in height above the basement. The frontage is fifty feet, and the depth one hundred and fifty feet. It is heated with steam, and every story is made accessible by a good steam elevator. This is another locality which has suffered twice from conflagrations. It may therefore be supposed that, by the doctrine of chances, the present building is destined to stand for some time. The building has been reconstructed upon a radically improved plan, and promises to attract to itself once more the popularity which has for many years attached to this locality.
The Doane Building is another fine Lake street structure, and one of which the people of Chicago may be proud. It occupies the site of the old Burch Block, on the southwest corner of Lake street and Wabash avenue. This ia a site made historic by the great fire of 1868, which destroyed about three million dollars’ worth of property on Lake street. Mr. J. W. Doane secured a long lease of the ground last winter, and in March commenced the construction of the present building. It is built of St. Louis brick, with trimmings of Milwaukee brick and sandstone. Its fronts are 115 feet on Lake street, and 170 feet on Wabash avenue, and it is divided into four stories, fronting on Wabash avenue. It is heated by steam, and each store has an elevator and fire-proof vaults. The building was constructed from the start, so as to accommodate the wholesale grocery business. The location of the largest jobbing grocers in this building and in its immediate neighborhood, will undoubtedly hold the great mass of the trade in this vicinity for many years to come.
Messrs. J. W. Doane & Co. occupy the south end of the block, as their many friends and patrons throughout every portion of the Northwest have already learned. The next store is occupied by Messrs. Bliss, Moore & Co., importers and jobbers of groceries. They were located, before the fire, at the corner of Michigan avenue and South Water street. The firm is made up of parties who hare been as sociated, from time to time, with some of the oldest houses in the city.
Next come the firm of Brown & Bohner (late Eaton & Brown, of 71 Randolph street), jobbers of lamp goods, glassware, etc. They occupy the first and fifth floors.
The corner on Lake street and Michigan avenue is occupied by Messrs. Franklin McVeagh & Co., wholesale grocers, who before the fire did busi ness at 36 and 38 River street.
The floors above Brown & Bohner are occupied by S. B. Parkhurst, whole sale dealer in crockery and glassware. Though a sufferer by fire twice within two years, he is fairly on his feet again, and has increased his volume of trade beyond any previous time.
An institution which everybody who has been in Chicago will recognize, is the First National Bank building. When first erected, this building was an experiment in Chicago, being intended to be fire-proof. It was built entirely of iron and stone, no wood being used in the structure; and was considered as incombustible as a rock. And so it was—almost. As the President well expressed it, nothing but a deluge could have overthrown it; but the deluge came, and the rocks were scarred, and the iron twisted, and a considerable portion of the wall fell. But the building, after all, stood it nobly; and the best evidence of this is the fact that the whole is now completely restored, at an expense of forty per cent. of the original cost of the building. The safes and vaults were unharmed. Not a taint of fire reached the inner vault of the safe depository, where trunks and boxes of valuables were ranged on wooden shelves, and now remain as before; not a security or valuable was lost. On the first day of January, the bank again moved in to the building, and there continued the business which had never been in terrupted after the week of the fire. This bank—of which S. M. Nickerson, Esq., is President, and L. J. Gage, Esq., is Cashier—is one of the favorite institutions of the city and state; its business having always been so conducted as to command the confidence of the people in and out of Chicago. Its capital of $1,000,000 has a surplus of $400,000, and its deposits run from three to four millions. To its two former safes, divided into many compartments, the bank last week added a third, with larger compartments; and is thus able to accommodate a large number of customers with a depository for valuable papers and money. The large inner vault is filled with the more bulky valuables. The depository is entirely separate from the bank vaults, which are different in the main office; and the different safes are rented to persons who, in the presence of a janitor, open and close their own safes—but the whole is controlled by the bank.
The building here represented is an other of those which were among the first to be completed in the early spring. In excavating for the foundations last winter, the workmen were obliged to drill through solid masses of type metal, the remains of the stock which was contained in the building when the fire came. It is a very substantial brick structure, forty-five feet front by eighty feet deep, and is so built that it will not be likely to fall a second time a prey to the destructive element of fire. It is rebuilt by the same parties who occupied it before the fire, and for the same purposes. Indeed, one of the curious things about rebuilt Chicago, is the fact that although so many persons lost their all except the land which they owned, yet in almost all cases they have found means to rebuild and to start in business again. The building is situated on the north side of Monroe street, between La Salle and Clark streets, and is particularly designated as Nos. 139 and 141. It was occupied bv Messrs. Marder, Luse & Co., as a type foundry, the business having been established in Chicago in 1855, as the Chicago Type Foundry. In 1863 it was purchased by Messrs. Scofield, Marder & Co., from which arose the present firm of Marder, Luse & Co. The business had been established so long that the building had become filled with specimens of type of all kinds, from the newest and most popular to the old and abandoned styles of years ago. The fire transformed the immense bulk of material into an am orphous mass of metal, out of which there have been cast some of the most beautiful and certainly some of the latest styles of type to be found in this country. Al ready these gentlemen have established a business which ranks in importance with that of any other house in America. Their extensive and intricate machinery for all the branches of type-casting, electrotyping, etc., is of the most approved and thorough construction; and their facilities for manufacturing and handling all goods in their line, are even better than before the fire.
The disciples of Faust can find m this establishment everything which the most cunning printer could conceive of, from the beautifully turned lines of an agate capital to the intricate and almost automatic printing machinery of a Potter, Hoe, or Bullock press.
This building was erected by Mr. E. S. Pike, at the southwest corner of State and Monroe streets—a choice locality for good blocks. The accompanying illustration gives a good idea of the beauty and elegance of this structure—which is considered one of the finest in the city. It is built of marble, five stories in height, with a frontage of 80 feet on State street, and 120 feet on Monroe street. Steam elevators will be used in this building, rendering every floor alike accessible and desirable for business purposes.
The corner store of this marble palace will be occupied by Messrs. N. Matson & Co., one of the largest wholesale and retail jewelry firms in the Northwest. The store is being fitted up especially for their use, and will be soon completed and occupied. This firm was established here about ten years ago. Before the fire, Messrs. Matson & Co. were located at No. 117 Lake street. Since that event, they have been at 481 Wabash avenue; and when they occupy their new quarters they will have, one of the most beautiful and complete jewelry establishments in the country.
Messrs. A. H. Andrews it Co., manufacturers of and dealers in school and church furniture, office desks and chairs, etc., will occupy four stories of this building. Messrs. Andrews & Co. are among the most extensive manufacturers of their line of goods in the country; and will have in their new quarters ample space and facilities for their large and growing business.
The Ballard block, erected by A. Ballard, Esq., for Edward Ely, is located at the corner of Wabash avenue and Monroe street—immediately adjoining Potter Palmer’s great hotel. It will have a front of 53 feet on Wabash avenue, by 26 feet on Monroe street. The fronts will be en tirely of iron, of very elaborate design and workmanship; and the building will be one of the most ornamental and noticeable structures in the city. It will be five stories in height; the stores and main entrances are on Wabash avenue, and the entrance to the upper stories is on Monroe street. All the windows in the building are to be of the finest plate glass; and the stairs and inside finish entirely of black walnut.
Mr. Edward Ely, the popular merchant tailor of Chicago, will occupy the entire second floor of this building. Mr. Ely is the acknowledged leader of fashion, in his line of business, in the city; and is one of our pioneer business men—having been engaged in business here for the past twenty years. In his new quarters, he will have one of the most complete and elegant establishments in the country.
As stated elsewhere in this number, all the prominent hotels which were destroyed by the fire are rebuilt, or shortly to be rebuilt, in better style than before, and with increased accommodations. But the large growth in the population of the city has rendered necessary still further additions to the number. Among the new hotels of the better class, the most prominent is the Gardner House—a cut of which appears herewith. This building was commenced November first, immediately after the fire, by Mr. F. B. Gardner, and is now completed, and will be opened to the public by the proprietors—Messrs. Gardner & Gould—in a short time. It is six stories high, built of brick, with ornamental stone trimmings, and presents an exceedingly pleasing and striking appearance. The location is unsurpassed by that of any hotel in the city—being on Michigan avenue (corner of Jackson street), immediately fronting and overlooking the blue waters of Lake Michigan. It contains two hundred and fifty rooms, and has been fitted up in the best and most approved manner. The Gardner House will undoubtedly become a great favorite with the traveling public.
A city which owes so much to the mechanic arts, is not likely to forget those who have practised these arts so successfully in the work of rebuilding. During the summer that has just elapsed, no one could pass one of our large iron-working establishments with out feeling that he might be in the vi cinity of a vast arsenal or a place for the manufacture of cannon. For several months, indeed, all the iron found ers of the city have turned their surplus resources into the the work of moulding massive iron columns for the business blocks in process of construction in the South Division; and fortunate it is for the city that these great factories generally were so situated as to be out side the region covered by the great conflagration.
Among the great manufacturing establishments to which the city is m> much indebted for the wonderful progress made in its rebuilding, none is more worthy of especial mention than that of the Crane Brothers Manufacturing Company, the principal of whose new and extensive works are shown in the next cut. That portion of these works in operation at the time of the fire, was, fortunately for them and for the city, not included in the general wreck; and during the long months that have intervened since last October, here, amid dust and smoke, and the clank of machinery, have been fashioned, by patient labor and indomitable energy and discriminating skill, much of the material that has already found a permanent place in the structures of the rebuilt city. Since the fire, extensive additions and improvements have been completed; and now, in completeness and comprehensiveness, these works are not excelled in the United States. The buildings ate very large, and accommodate the workers in brass and iron in almost all branches, from those who construct a steam-pipe to the skilful hands that put together the most powerful steam engine. They consist of three separate blocks, situated apart from each other, in which the work is divided into twelve departments, each presided over by a special superintendent. In one of these, the work consists in the manufacture of steam engines, steam pumps, steam elevators for mines and blast furnaces, and the brass goods needed for these machines, and for steam-and gas-fitters. In another are manufactured steam heating and ventilating apparatus, gasand steam-fittings, etc. And still an other is devoted entirely to the making of wrought iron pipes.
This company are furnishing the majority of the steam passenger and freight elevators, as well as a great proportion of the steam warming apparatus, which are being so extensively used in hotels and stores in our rebuilt city. Their business extends over the whole country, from Montreal to San Francisco, and through the Southwest.
The enterprise was inaugurated in 1855. with the partnership of R. T. Crane & Bro. In 1865 it was incorporated as the Northwestern Manufacturing Company; and on August 1st, 1872, this title was exchanged, by a vote of the stockholders, for that of The Crane Brothers Manufacturing Company, in compliment to the originators. The change of name does not in any sense alter the status of the company. The capital stock is now placed at one million dollars. The officers of the company are R. T. Crane, President; C. S. Crane, Vice-President; S. W. Adams, Secretary; George S. Redfield, Treasurer.
VVabash avenue was one of the first streets to recover its buildings; and one of the very first to loom above the surrounding ruins was that situated on the east side of Wabash avenue, on lots Nos. 335 and 337. There are more costly buildings in this city, but none more substantial ; and it was one of the very first really fine buildings built since the fire, The foundations were laid last fall, and the building was finished early in the spring. Its walls are unusually thick, and its front is of iron. Situated as it is near the southern boundaries of the fire, it is at present, and must so remain for all time, a prominent and central business locality; and besides, it is situated on the broadest business thoroughfare in the city, which promises to be for Chicago very much what Broadway is for New York.
Messrs. Biggs, Spencer & Co., who occupy No. 335 as dealers in Guns and Cutlery, were formerly located on Lake street. The gentlemen who compose this firm are among the fortunate men of Chicago. A few days after the fire many Chicago firms announced their ability to pay one hundred cents on the dollar of all their liabilities, and this firm was one of the number. This announcement lifted a corner of the pall which was settling on the public mind in that day of gloom. Their orders were all promptly filled without interruption, and in three months they were buying so extensively of their special goods that one invoice was kindly divided to accommodate a New York wholesale house, who could ob tain the goods in no other way.
No. 337 is occupied by Abram French & Co., with a large stock of china, glass, and silver-plated ware, and cutlery. This firm makes a specialty of elegant Bohemian and other rare goods. It is a new house in Chicago, being a Boston firm, and the same in name that existed in Boston in 1822. It is now continued in the same name, with some junior members added. After fifty years it adds a house in Chicago as the great distributing centre of the country; and the young and energetic members of the firm in this city declare their expectation of eclipsing the Boston firm.
The building shown in this engraving is a plain, substantial structure, situated on the northwest corner of State and Monroe streets. It is built of Athens limestone or marble, the material which, before the great fire, com posed, almost universally, the fronts of the best buildings. The four corners ot which this is one, will compose one of the most important business centres of the city, having on the diagonally opposite coiner the vast pile which is to constitute Potter Palmer’s great hotel, while on the corner next south is the elegant and palatial block of E. S. Pike, which will be second to no building of its size in the city. The building is owned by Judge L. B. Otis. The whole of the upper floors, having a frontage of 50 feet on State by 120 on Monroe, with one of the stores on the first floor, having fronts on both streets, will be occupied by Messrs. Lyon & Healy, music dealers. These gentlemen commenced business in 1864, on the southwest corner of Clark and Washington streets. On the first of January, 1870, they removed to the southeast corner of Washington street and Wabash avenue, where they became the victims of the fire which destroyed the Drake & Thatcher Block, in September, 1870. By this disaster all their stock was swept out of existence. The next day they reestablished themselves at No. 150 Clark street, where the great conflagration overtook them. Since that event they have occupied the Christian Church, on the southeast corner of Sixteenth street and Wabash avenue. On the anniversary of the fire, these gentlemen resume their business in the block above described. The Burdett organ-factory, in the North Division, which was an establishment under the patronage of this firm, was destroyed, but has since been rebuilt. Messrs. Lyon & Healy represent the Boston house of Oliver Ditson & Co., and supply the Western trade very largely, even as far as the Pacific coast.
Messrs. Smith & Nixon, who occupy rooms in the same building, are the agents of the Steinway piano.
We have presented, in the preceding pages, a few specimens of what Chicago has accomplished in the past year in the way of rebuilding her business property. But no number or quality of illustrations could give any adequate idea of the almost miracles that have been wrought by our business men. It was to be expected after the fire that the greatest energy and activity would show themselves in restoring the burnt business blocks, as the business com munity naturally felt that the first necessity after the fire was for places in which to transact their business: homes and social comforts were secondary considerations. But few there were, even among the most sanguine, who anticipated anything like the universal activity that has been shown in this direction. It is probably safe to say that there is hardly a single lot in the business portion of the burnt district, the owner of which has not al ready erected a building upon it, or is not preparing to do so in the near future. Our own citizens find it impossible to keep themselves acquainted with the new buildings that are con stantly being erected. In going through the principal streets, one is startled at the changes which are being made here a massive warehouse, where but yesterday it seems there was only a mass of broken walls and rubbish; there a stately business palace, where only a few weeks ago workmen were excavating and laying foundation walls. As beautiful and substantial structures as are on the continent, rear them selves it seems almost in anight; and to enumerate and describe them all would be to make a directory instead of a magazine. Enough of illustration and description have been given in this article to give an idea of the extent and character of the work; and it is not difficult to believe that the same tremendous energy and enthusiasm which have so far characterized this, the most important phase of Chicago’s Restoration, will not be long in completing the work of giving to the city more beautiful, substantial, and extensive business edifices than those which were engulfed one year ago in a sea of fire.