Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Printing House Row District

Printing House Row District..
Address: 500- through 800-blocks of S. Dearborn, S. Federal and S. Plymouth streets
Year Built: 1883-1928
Architect: Various
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: May 9, 1996 ..

The marker reads..
"Chicago Landmark District
Printing House Row
The proximity of the Dearborn Street railroad station, along with the area's long narrow blocks, made this a desirable location for buildings housing printers at the end of the 19th century.
Commission on Chicago Landmarks
City of Chicago
Richard M Daley, Mayor."

Just as State Street grew as the major retail bussiness area and LaSalle Street as the financial hub of the city, Printing Row District grew as the center for printing and publishing. The Printing Row District or the Printing House Row District [as is officially called] grew mainly between 1883 and 1912 ... Contributing significantly to it's growth was the opening of the Dearborn Street Station in 1885, which attracted significant commercial development in the area. In addition to printing and publishing there were also subsidiary trades that employed scores of workers, like typesetters, etchers, mapmakers and bookbinders ...

However during the 1930's and 40's this area began to decline. Technological advances in printing with the use of automated presses and the slowdown of the railroad industry, forced many printing companies to leave the Printers Row area. Many moved to the suburbs. By 1971, when Dearborn Station was closed the Printers Row had virtually became a ghost town.

In 1978, Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic committed to the revitalization of Printers Row ... Many of the buildings have now been converted into apartments are in residential use ... In 1977, the Donohue Building became one the first buildings to be converted to residential space ... New housing have been constructed on the land formerly used by the railroad ..

In 1996 the Printing House Row District was designated a Landmark District by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. Many of the neighborhood’s buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Some significant building in this area are:

The Old Franklin Building..
Address: 521-5 S. Dearborn Street
Architect: George C. Nimmons
Built in 1886 ...
Note how its windows were grouped together to provide as much light as possible for the typesetters inside ...
# For more images of the Old Franklin Building, click here..

Ellsworth Building/ The Terminals Building..
Address: 537 S. Dearborn Street
Architect: John M. Van Osdel
Completed: 1892
# For more images of Terminals Building, click here ..

One of the last works of architect John M. Van Osdel [1811 – 1891] considered Chicago’s “first” architect.
Wikipedia offers some interesting trivia: Van Osdel planned the first architect-designed house in Chicago for the first Mayor of Chicago, William Ogden. The house was located on Rush Street. Ogden commissioned Van Osdel, who came from New York to Chicago for the job. By 1844, he had opened Chicago's first architectural firm. He is considered a Chicago school architect and a peer of William LeBaron Jenney, Dankmar Adler, Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, John Wellborn Root and Frank Lloyd Wright. In fact, he and William W. Boyington are considered the most prominent Chicago architects of the period from the city's incorporation in 1837 until the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 ...

The Morton Building..
Address: 538 S. Dearborn Street ..
Architect: Jenney and Mundie ..
Completed: 1896
William Bryce Mundie was hired by William LeBaron Jenney, [who is credited as the “father of the skyscraper."]. Their partnership became to be known as Jenney and Mundie.

The Pontiac Building..
Address: 542 S. Dearborn Street
Designed by Holabird and Roche
Completed: 1891.
Commissioned by developers Peter and Shepard Brooks of Boston, MA. and named for an Ottawa Indian chief. The Pontiac Building is one of the four oldest skyscrapers in Chicago, and the oldest skyscraper by architects Holabird & Roche.

The Transportation Building..
Address: 600 S. Dearborn Street
Designed by Frank V. Prather
Completed in 1911.
Once housed office space for Elliott Ness.
The Transportation Building runs the entire length of the 600 South Dearborn block. Its 22 stories made it the tallest structure south of the Loop. As such its roof housed early towers for sending out radio signals. The name of the edifice suggests that not every building on the street was entirely devoted to printing and publishing.
[Ref: History between the Hotels: A Self-Guided Tour ] ..

The Donohue Building..
Address: 711 – 727 S. Dearborn Street
Designed by Julius Speyer
Built in 1883 in Romanesque revival style ..
Annex designed by Alfred S. Altschuler and added in 1913.
The Donohue Building was built by a children's book manufacturer.
# For more on the Donohue Building, click here..

New Franklin Building..
Address: 720 S Dearborn Street ..
Year built: 1916
Architect: George C. Nimmons ..
The most outstanding feature of this building is the ornamental tile murals at the entrace ...
# For more on the New Franklin Building ... click here ..

The Rowe Building..
Address: 714 S. Dearborn Street
Built in 1892 and renovated in 1980..
Architect: ??
It now houses the Sandmeyer's Bookstore .. a typical "mom-and-pop" shop, Sandmeyer's has been family-owned and operated since 1982.

Lakeside Press Building..
Address: 731 S. Plymouth Court
Architect: Howard Van Doren Shaw
Built in 1897 and 1901 ..
Commissioned by the R.R. Donnelley Co. and designed by Howard Van Doren Shaw [his first non-residential building] ...
The architect, Howard Van Doren Shaw, creatively blended traditional approaches to ornamentation with the needs of an industrial facility. The building was erected in two stages in 1897 and 1902.

The Mergenthaler Building..
Address: 536 S. Plymouth Court
Designed by Schmidt, Garden and Martin .
Completed: 1917.
The firm is credited with several commercial, industrial and residential buildings and few are designated as Chicago landmark buildings like Theurer-Wrigley House, Madlener House, Chapin and Gore Building and Montgomery Ward & Co. Catalog House..

Printers Square / The Borland Building ..
Address: 700 S Federal Street.
Completed: 1913
Printers Square is now another loft conversion in the Printing House Row District, with 356 loft condos...

The Dearborn Street Station..
Address: 47 W. Polk St.
Year Built: 1885
Architect: Cyrus L. W. Eidlitz
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: March 2, 1982 ..
For more on the Dearborn Street Station .. click here ...

# The Franklin Building .. click here ..
# Printing House Row District ... click here ...
# History between hotels ... click here ..
# Chicago: Printers Row .. click here ...
# Printer's Row .. click here ...

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