Marshall Field & Company
Life Span: 1905-Present
Location: NE Corner State & Washington
Architect: D. H. Burnham & Co.
Chicago Tribune, July 19, 1891
It is said that Marshall Field has been negotiating for some time with a view to acquiring all that part of the block bounded by Randolph, State, and Washington streets, which he does not already own. It is supposed that the rest of the block is wanted to extend the retail dry-goods business of Marshall Field & Co., now somewhat circumscribed by the walls of the building on the southwest corner of this square. The building occupies about one-quarter of the block. The facts and arguments adduced in support of this story are in substance as follows:
A number of important sales of Wabash avenue and Washington street frontages have been going on recently, the negotiations being conducted quietly and without the aid ostensibly of real-estate brokers. The purchaser s name is not known in one or two of the deals, in another the vender declines to disclose it, and in three cases the purchaser is said by the vendors to be a Boston man of the name of Kramer. One of the sellers thinks the real purchaser is Marshall Field. At any rate property of the value of $565,000 in this locality has changed hands, it is solid, by deed or contract within a few weeks and the transactions have been kept from the public great care.
The block has an entire frontage on the four streets of 1,380 feet, of which Mr. Field controls 765 feet, or a little more than one-half. The building occupied by Marshall Field & Co. has 150 feet on State and 150 on Washington street. North of this stands a forty-foot lot belonging to the estate of Hugh Speer, on which Mr. Field has leases seven or eight years. The adjoining forty feet Mr. Field bought of William E. Hall. Next comes a thirty-foot piece belonging to the Osborn estate. North of this stands Central Music Hall, which occupies 130 feet to the corner of Randolph street, Mr. Field is said to own a controlling interest in tho Central Music Hall property.
BLOCK BOUNDED BY STATE, RANDOLPH, AND WASHINGTON STREETS AND WABASH AVENUE.
Recent Transfers on the Block.
Three years ago Mr. Field began to acquire property on the Washington street frontage, No. 29, with a twenty-four-foot frontage. The late purchases in the block which Mr. Field is assumed to have made are Nos. 21, 27, and 31 Washington street, and No. 71; Wabash avenue, the first three being indicated on the map as Lots Nos. 1, 4, and 6.
No. 73 Wabash is directly south of the alley in the rear of the lots fronting on Randolph street.
No. 31 Washington street was sold recently by Juergons & Anderson, the jewelers. to a Boston purchaser for $165,000, but the Weber Catering company has a ten-year lease, for which they refused $50,000. Mr. Field once offered $100,000 for the property, but the offer was refused.
No. 27 was sold recently by the Campbell estate for $100,000 to the unknown mysterious purchaser, subject to a two years’ lease.
J. F. Lord, tho owner of the pro)erty next east, No. 25, has received an ofter, but says tihe property is not for sale, though he would lease it for ninety-nino years. William Stewart owns No. 23 and it is said not sell. The building occupied by Cobb’s Library stands on the corner of Washington and Wabash. Cuthibert W. Laing recently sold it but declined to name the purchaser. It is subject to a lease having three and a half years yet to run. No. 73 Wabash avenue was sold lately by Mrs. S. A. Whittemore of Washington, D. C., for $100,000.
Holders Not Anxious to Sell.
South of tho property sold lately by Mrs. Whittemore is a 48-foot piece belonging to the Botsford estate, and next to this is 151 feet owned by Mrs. Hetty R. 1R. Green. From Randolph to the first alley south on Wabash avenue there is a frontage of 104 feet by 50 feet on Randolph which is owned by A. S. Trade. Mr. Trude says lie has received good lately for the property, but has made no sale. lie says there is no doubt that somebody is after the property in this vicinity.
Mrs. E. C. Lewis owns the lot west of Mr. Trude’s property on Randolph street and will not sell. In the adjoining three lots, extending to Holden place, belong to the Western News Comupany.
Real estate men generally do not think it at all feasible for Mr. Field to acquire all the rest of the block. They point out the following obstacles which are not easily removed. The owner of No. 25 Washington street and probably the owner of No. 2: do not hold the land for sale. Mrs. Green is to be averse to parting with any valuable real estate in Chicago. ‘l he Bots- ford estate property is said to be so tied up in litigation that it cannot be conveyed for soine time to come. The Western News company is not likely to part with property in so desirable a location, and Mr. Lewis, the owner of the property east of this company, does not wish to sell.
Mr. Field’s object in making the purchases ascribed to him is said to be to cover the whole block with an immense building to be used for the retail business of Marshall Field & Co. But the block is bisected from north to south by Holden place, which is forty feet wide, and this might be some obstacle to the erection of so large a building.
Mr. Field is now in Europe, and one denler said this was a good time to spring such a story. None of his business would talk on the subject. If there is such a deal it is a long way from in the belief of real-estate men generally.
Chicago Tribune, March 10, 1901
Plans have been completed for the twelve-story store building to be erected by Marshall Field, in State street, covering the entire block, 384½ feet from Randolph to Washington street. The cost is to between two $1,500,000 and $2,000,000. D. H. Burnham & Co. are the architects.
Ro allow of this improvement Central Music Hall and the two five-story buildings on the south end of it, used at present by Marshall Field & Co., will be razed after May 1. This ground space is the first section of the big building. It has a frontage of 224 feet in State street and 150½ feet in Randolph. The second section, the present eight-story store at the north-east corner of State and Washington streets, will not be fully constructed for the present. As now proposed, the foundation will be paid and the first two stories remodeled, a new front being put in corresponding to the new structure to the north. Then, whenever the needs of the firm for more space require it, this second section will be completed, finishing the structure from Randolph street to Washington.
The State street and Randolph street fronts for their entire twelve stories are to be of white granite. The Holden place front is to be of white enameled brick and terra cotta. One of the chief distinguishing features of the State street front will be the entrance in the center of the block. This is sixty-five feet in length and rises to the third floor.
In the show windows on the two street fronts the polished plate glass will be the largest sizes ever set in a window frame for store or other building. The eleventh and twelfth stories are made a feature of the design, there being twenty stories are made a feature of the design, there being twenty engaged Ionic columns thirty feet in height supporting the cornice.
The cold storage furrooms will contain 15,000 cubic feet of space. There is a plant provided for cooling purposes, ice water, and manufacturing ice shapes for tearoom uses and decorations.
The entire mass when completed and occupied, will weigh 56,000 tons. All this is carried by 130 concrete caissons penetrating the earth to a depth of ninety feet below street grade.
The superstructure will be held firmly intact by 130 steel columns supported by the caissons. These columns alone weigh 4,500,000 pounds, and they support or carry all walls and floors. There are 10,000,000 pounds of floor beams, being 156,000 feet lineal of “I” beams or thirty miles of them. An order for 8,000 tons of the structure steel was placed early last January.
Chicago Tribune, September 27, 1902
The Inter Ocean, September 30, 1902
The largest retail store in the world, with a floor space of more than twenty-three acres, was too small to accommodate the throngs that crowded into Marshall Field & Co.’s enlarged establishment all day yesterday on the occasion of the formal opening of the new building. The wide aisles, spacious rest rooms, and every part of the great building were packed, and it is estimated that 150,000 persons entered the doors during the day.
Two hundred thousand engraved invitations had been sent out to residents of Chicago, the United States, and every part of the world where civilized garments are worn, and for those not on the mailing list of firm invitations were sent through the columns of the Chicago newspapers.
The store was a mass of brilliant decorations. On the various counters were displayed the treasures of all nations, from the rugs of the Orient and the furs of the arctic regions to the brilliant plumage of tropic birds. So great was the crowd, however, that business was almost suspended, the visitors contenting themselves with examining the mammoth collection of merchandise.
Visitors from Many Towns.
Some visitors came from towns more than a hundred miles from Chicago. They were the dressmakers and milliners of the small towns. They were free to admire and study as long as they wished, the importations valued at fabulous figure, and—if they could— remember the pattern to reproduce it. In New York an admission card is necessary for such inspection. But in Chicago stores everything is for the people, and before a country dressmaker can reproduce a costume the styles have changed and the store has something new.
There were souvenirs for everybody yesterday. It cost $10,000 to furnish them. Five thousand silver spoons with gold bowls, in which was embossed a reproduction of the retail store, disappeared in an hour. As many silver pin trays went almost as quickly. Each department started the day with 1,000 souvenir postcards, and before 3 o’clock they were all gone, and the writing-room began to be cleared of the women who had been as busy as European tourists sending cards to their friends.
But the pictures lasted until the closing hour. There were 100,000 fancy colored pictures, as many steel engravings of the store, and an equal number of bird’s-eye views of Chicago, each done up in a pasteboard tube. Some took one of each, but the supply was not exhausted, and everybody had a souvenir. The street gutters on the east side of State street, from the river to Van Buren street were strewn with empty pasteboard tubes last evening, while in 100,000 Chicago homes there will be one or more colored lithographs.
Store as Great as a City.
The $2,500,000 worth of buildings which shelter these stores are capable of accommodating a city. They have a population in business hours of from 6,700 to 8,000 employes. There are enough electric lights to supply a city the size of Minneapolis or St. Paul. Thirty-five different factories are under their roof, forming part of the great store. Fifty elevators carry passengers and freight. The pumps in the basement each day pump 200 times as much water as is needed for a modern flat building of twenty apartments. The floor area of the retail store is equal to all the space on both sides of State street to the alley from the river to Congress street.
On the seventh floor is a tearoom for women and grillroom, fashioned after the English chop houses, for men. The tearoom daily accommodates 2,000 persons,and is one of the best-paying departments in the store. The north end of the third floor is divided into reading, writing, and rest rooms for men and women. There one may come and write, with the materials which are furnished free, or lounge in the easy chairs and sofas, and read any of the latest magazines or books in attendance. A stenographer’s service is free to those who wish, and a subpostal station, union ticket office, and telegraph office add to the conveniences.
One of the restrooms for women and children is provided with couches and scereens. No talking is allowed in this room, and the tired shopper may come and take a nap or leaver her baby to sleep under the care of the nurse in attendance. The woman’s lavatory, fitted in white marble and porcelain, is furnished even to electric heaters for curling irons, and with weighing and measuring machines.
Great Showroom Arranged.
The fourth floor of the building is the finest equipped showroom in the world. In the fur department there are private showrooms to exhibit the sables and ermines so popular this year. One sable scarf and muff is listed at $4,000. In the garment department,a nd imported coat of chinchilla and real Irish lace can be secured for $2,000, while a coronation gown of white satin and gold lace, with a court train edged with sable, is worth only $1,500.
One of the six orchestras in the building was in the millinery department, and its members were the only men who had the temerity to elbow with the women to look at the display. One of the tables in the cut-glass and china department contained about twenty pieces of cut glass, but their value was $1,000. Another table was covered with china plates worth $350 per dozen.
In 1902, Daniel Burnham’s 13-story Beaux-Arts building went up next door to the Singer Building II at State and Randolph. Its near-identical mate to the south (replacing the second Singer Building) followed in 1907. The original Marshall Field Clock can be seen installed on this building. Another note, no clock was installed on State and Randolph (built in 1902) until the new State and Washington building was completed in 1907. It was at this time that two new clocks were installed on the corners. That has been confirmed by the controversy discussed in the Tribune articles. The original clock remained on the Singer Building II until it was torn down in 1905.
The clocks were designed by Pierce Anderson in 1906 and built by A. E. Coleman Company in 1907.
Marshall Field & Co.’s Stores
Old & New
Sanborn Fire Map
Chicago Tribune, September 24, 1907
Commissioner of Public Works Hanberg yesterday stopped the erection of two clocks projecting over the sidewalk on the Marshall Field & Co, building. A protest was at once made on the ground that the council had passed permits for them, but the commissioner held that they came under the same head as projecting signs. He also notified Spalding & Co., Lewy Bros. and J. Florsheim to remove their clocks within five days.
Chicago Tribune, September 26, 1907
The decree against public clocks on State street was revoked by Commissioner of Public Works John Hanberg yesterday, following a conference with representatives of Marshall Field & Co. Work on the erection of the clocks had been stopped by Commissioner Hanberg on Monday on the ground that they could only be classed as projecting advertising signs. Representatives of Field & Co. agreed to omit advertising features from their clocks and the work was allowed to proceed.
Marshall Field & Co.
September 27, 1907
September 28, 1907
Marshall Field & Co.
September 30, 1907
October 1, 1907
Dry Goods Reporter, March 9, 1912
ANNOUNCEMENT was made the latter part of last week of a real estate deal which will make the premises of Marshall Field & Co. , on State street in this city the largest establishment in the world devoted to the sale of merchandise at retail. This was the acquisition under a long term lease of the Trude Building at the southwest corner of Wabash avenue and Randolph street. This gives to Marshall Field & Co. the control of the entire city block bounded by State, Washington, Randolph streets and Wabash avenue.
When the present Trude building is revamped and made to conform architecturally with the other buildings now occupied by the firm, Marshall Field & Co. retail will occupy a floor area of approximately 2,000,000 square feet or practically FORTY-SIX ACRES of floor space. This exceeds the John Wanamaker, Philadelphia, store by nearly seven acres.
Up to this time the Wanamaker store has had the edge on Marshall Field 8: Co. by several acres of floor space. When the Trude Building is finally incorporated into the Field retail establishment, Chicago will boast without fear of contradiction of the largest store in the world.
The acquisition of the Trude property on Wabash avenue and Randolph street comes as the final realization of a hope which has found expression in almost fifteen years of patient waiting and negotiations, and it has a peculiar interest for the reason that its acquirement will give to this great concern the unique distinction of being the only one to occupy an entire city block, and also the largest area occupied by any strictly retail establishment in the world.
Another interesting feature is the fact that it is the only holding in the entire block which has been acquired by Marshall Field & Co., all the other parcels having been secured by purchase or lease by the late Marshall Field and the Marshall Field estate.
Marshall Field’s & Co.
Erected Fifteen Years Ago
The Trude property fronts 104 feet on Wabash avenue and 75 feet on Randolph street and the building is a fourteen story fire proof structure of the highest type of construction. The larger part, comprising the entire frontage on Wabash avenue and fifty feet on Randolph street, was erected about fifteen years ago following the destruction by fire of the old six story building occupied at one time by J. Allen & Co., wholesale grocers. A few years after the erection of the Wabash avenue building Mr. Trude constructed a twenty-five foot addition on Randolph strect following the destruction of the former building by fire.
For the entire holding of 104×75 feet Field & Co. is to pay Mr. Trude an annual rent of $60,000 for a term of ninety-nine years from July, 1911, the time from which the lease dates. Capitalizing this rent on a 4 per cent basis, the rule with central business property, it gives a leasing value of $1,500,000. The recent valuation made upon the property by the board of review is $597,630 for the land and $125,000 for the building, or a total of $722,630.
Marshall Field’s & Co.
$750,000 Building Planned
Under the terms of the lease Field & Co. has the right prior to Aug. 1, 1919, to replace the present building with a high grade fire proof mercantile building to cost not less than $750,000. The new building probably will be thirteen stories high and three stories under ground, and will be a duplication of the building erected a few years ago by the firm to the south on Wabash avenue. It is understood that the Le Moyne property to the west will be improved at this time.
The present plans of Field & Co. in connection with the property are said to contemplate the use and occupancy of the building floor by floor, as they are able to secure possession and allow the leases of tenants with whom they are unable to reach terms to expire.
Would Have Bridge Over Alley
The longest leases, however, have only until 1915 to run, it is said, and arrangements have been made to terminate all of them on the first two floors May 1, 1913. The last one was secured last week, which also revealed the fact that the lease of the entire property by the firm had been closed.
The firm is also said to contemplate building over the ten foot private alley to the south of the Trude building a bridge or conection between it and the building of the firm to the south for the convenience both of the patrons of the store as well as to facilitate the movement of goods.
It is said to have been the desire of the late Marshall Field, and later of Field & Co., to acquire the property in fee simple and not by long term lease, and an offer of $1,500,000 is said to have been standing for the property for several years.
Of much interest also is the statement that another big State street retail concern has been trying to get the property by purchase. The first effort is said to have been made about two years ago when an oFfer of $1,500,000 was made. Within the last few months the offer was made again and when the original proposition met with no favor, Mr. Trude was asked if an additional $100,000 would secure the property. Why the concern in question, which now occupies much more space than this property, sought to acquire it is difiicult to understand, unless possibly to embarrass Field & Co.
All purchase offers were refused, however, by Mr. Trude with the statement that he would consider nothing but a longterm lease of the property, and this was the basis on which terms were finally reached.
The Marshall Field & Co. store, which represents a remarkable mercantile evolution typical of Chicago’s growth into a great city, has a frontage of 384.6 feet on State street. The ground was valued by the board of review at $5,656,434 and the thirteen story building occupying the entire area at $2,424,999, or a total for the State street section of $8,081,433
The Wabash avenue frontage is practically the same, less the ten foot alley to the south of the Trude building. The south 112 feet is improved with a nine and a half story building, while the 158 feet to the north has a thirteen story structure similar to the one on State street. The board of review valuation on these, with the improvements, is $3,734,571, and with the Trude property $4,457,201.
Value of Property $18,000,000
What is known as the Le Moyne property, 75.8 feet in Randolph street at the southeast corner of Holden court, with a depth of 104 feet, which belongs to the Marshall Field estate, has old six story improvements, and was valued by the board of review at $398,000. Adding this to the other properties gives a total valuation of $12,937,078 now held for the use of Field & Co.
As the board of review valuations are generally considerably below the market value of the properties covered, it is thought the value of the ground and buildings within this block will easily reach a total of $15,000,000, if not $18,000,000.
Marshall Field’s & Co.
THE EVOLUTION OF STATE & WASHINGTON
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF FIELD BUSINESS
MR. FIELD came to Chicago in 1856. He was employed in the wholesale dry goods house of Cooley, Wadsworth & Co. In four years the clerk had a working interest in the firm, and he thus continued for a year or two, another clerk being Levi Z. Leiter. The firm meanwhile became Cooley, Farwell & Co.
In 1862 Potter Palmer was conducting another store in Lake Street, the largest merchandise business in the Northwest, and his health had been broken temporarily. Mr. Palmer conferred with Mr. Field and Mr. Leiter and they bought his interest in the business.
The connection between the three men did not end, however, for i11 1865 Mr. Palmer built a big store building at \Vashington and State Streets and the other two merchants rented it from him.
The Field-Leiter partnership remained intact until 1881, when Mr. Field and his own partners became owners.
At the time of the fire in 1871 the Field house did a business of $8,000,000 a year. The property destroyed by the conflagration was valued at $3,500,000. The insurance collected amounted to $2,500,000, which meant a loss to the firm of an even million.
With this tremendous loss the characteristic energy of the firm did not flag. While the firemen were still at work on the smoldering ruins, temporary quarters were taken at State and Twentieth Streets, and the rebuilding on the old site was begun. This building was completed in 1873, and the business at that time was divided, the wholesale department being established in another building
which had been erected at Market and Madison Streets. This wholesale structure had been occupied in 1872, and in it a retail branch known as “Retail No. 2” had been installed for the convenience West and North Side customers.
Nov. 14, 1877, the store was again burned to the ground. Temporary quarters were taken in the Exposition Building on Michigan Avenue, at the foot of Adams Street the present site of the Art Institute. From this “grand dry goods emporium, two blocks long,” the retail store was moved, in March, 1878, to St. Mary’s Block, 141-149 Wabash Avenue, and in the following year returned to the site on which the house now stands.
In less than twelve years the rapid growth of the wholesale business of the house made it necessary to acquire additional space, and the entire block bounded by Fifth Avenue, Adams, Franklin and Quincy streets was purchased. In 1887 the magnificent structure now occupied by the Field wholesale department was completed.
In the year following the five-story building in State Street just north of the Field store was acquired. In 1892-3 the “annex,” a nine-story building, was erected at Wabash Avenue and Washington Street, and in a short time three buildings just north of the annex were purchased. In 1897 two stories were added to the original structure at State and Washington Streets.
In 1901 the two buildings on the State Street side, just north of the corner building, together with the Central Music Hall building at State and Randolph Streets, were torn down to make room for a twelve-story structure of-granite and steel. This handsome building was occupied in 1902 and in 1904-5 the building adjoining the annex on the north was razed and the work of constructing a second twelve-story granite building was be gun.
In January, 1906, work of erecting the south section of State Street store at State and Washington Streets, was begun.
These two new sections—in Wabash Avenue and at the corner of State and Washington Streets—added to the remainder of the structure, gave the Field retail store its present total floor area of 1,500,000 square feet, or about thirty-four and one-half acres.
The new structure which is intended to be erected in the block will add approximately 500,000 square feet to the present area, making a total for the entire premises of about 2,000,000 square feet which will make the new Field store by far the largest retail establishment in the world.
In all its establishments, Marshall Field & Company employ more than 25,000 persons. In the retail store the number of employes fluctuates, according to the season of the year, from 8,000 to 12,000. In the wholesale establishments and the storehouses the number is about 4,000, in the factories employment is given to more than 10,000, and the remainder are employed in the foreign offices.