I am a fan of pre-war buildings, their ornamentation, and their seeming sense of solidity next to the glass boxes of more recent decades. I also find old inner cities before suburbanization fascinating, and the year 1950 combines both of these topics.
This thread examines Chicago's skyscrapers in 1950. That year, Chicago was comfortably the second largest city in the country, and with twice the population of Detroit, easily the "'Queen City of the Lakes." A line of towers filed along the street with the first skyscraper, LaSalle Street, and a shorter but equally preserved wall of pre-war buildings sat along South Michigan Avenue, fronting broad Grant Park. In the year 1950, the Chicago Metro area was one of the world's industrial powerhouses, with the raw materials and crops of the Midwest being refined in the metropolis and sent down the Great Lakes. (The St. Lawrence Seaway, however, would not open for another nine years.) In 1950, the largest city of the North American Interior was still Carl Sandberg's "Hog Butcher, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and Freight Handler to the Nation."
The population of Chicago numbered 3,620,962; that mark is the highest in the city's history as the suburbs were about to explode across the surrounding counties. Cook County was at 4,508,792 inhabitants while Lake County, Indiana had 368,152. In Illinois, Lake was the most populous suburban county at 179,097.
The mayor that year was Martin Kennelly, while the Cook County Clerk was a 48-year-old politician named Richard J. Daley. County Clerk Daley's son, Richard M., turned just eight in August.
This series continues for many other cities, including a link to New York, at my main page for this series.
The following pictures are from the spectacular Charles W. Cushman collection at the University of Indiana.
Now on to the buildings:
1) Chicago Board of Trade Building, 141 W. Jackson Blvd., 605 feet to Ceres' crown, 1930
The Lord of LaSalle
(Metroscenes, sorry about the watermark but a very nice angle)
(IAmHydrogen on Imageshack)
2) Chicago Temple Building, 77 W. Washington St., 568 ft, 1924 (Holds the record for highest church above ground level)
3) Palmolive Building, 919 N. Michigan Ave., 565 ft to the spire, 1929
4) Pittsfield Building, 55 E. Washington St., 557 ft, 1927
5) Civic Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., 555 ft, 1929
6) LaSalle-Wacker Building, 221 N. LaSalle St., 542 ft to spire, 1930
7) LaSalle National Bank, 135 S. LaSalle St., 535 ft, 1934
The Home Insurance Building, considered the first skyscraper, stood on this site.
8) One North LaSalle, 530 ft, 1930
9) Morrison Hotel, 15 S. Clark St., 526 ft, 1926
Demolished in 1965; on its site is Chase Tower
10) Jewelers Building, 35 E. Wacker Dr., 523 ft, 1927
11) Mather Tower, 75 E. Wacker Dr., 521 ft, 1928
12) Carbide & Carbon Building, 230 N. Michigan Ave., 503 ft, 1929
This is my personal favorite of the pre-war buildings.
13) Foreman State National Bank Building, 33 N. LaSalle St., 479 ft, 1930
14) Bankers Building, 105 W. Adams St., 476 ft, 1927
15) Straus Building, 310 S. Michigan Ave., 475 ft, 1924
Now Metropolitan Tower
16) American Furniture Mart, 680 N. Lake Shore Dr., 472 ft, 1926
17) Hotel Intercontinental, 505 N. Michigan Ave., 471 ft, 1929
18) Randolph Tower, 188 N. Randolph St., 465 ft, 1929
19) Tribune Tower, 435 N. Michigan Ave., 463 ft, 1925
20) Roanoke Building, 11 S. LaSalle St., 452 ft, 1925
21) Willoughby Building, 8 S. Michigan Ave., 440 ft, 1929
22) Wrigley Building, 400 N. Michigan Ave., 438 ft to spire, 1922
23) 333 North Michigan, 396 ft, 1928
24) Allerton Hotel, 701 N. Michigan Ave., 361 ft, 1924
25) Drake Tower, 179 E. Lake Shore Dr., 347 ft, 1928
26) Builders Building, 222 N. LaSalle St., 342 ft, 1927
27) Chicago Hilton, 320 S. Michigan Ave., 341 ft, 1927
28) Merchandise Mart, 222 W. North Water St., 340 ft, 1931
By floor area, this was the second largest building in the World, behind only the Pentagon.
29) Corn Products Building, 182 W. Lake St., 336 ft, 1930
Now known as Skyline Century of Progress
30) Morton Building, 208 W. Washington St., 332 ft, 1927
Now known as Concord City Centre
31) Lawyers Building, 100 N. LaSalle St., 330 ft, 1929
32) Lake-Michigan Building, 180 N. Michigan Ave., 328 ft, 1927
33) London Guarantee Building, 360 N. Michigan Ave., 324 ft, 1923
34) Boston Company Store, 1 N. Dearborn St., 322 ft, 1905
35) Insurance Exchange Building, 175 W. Jackson Blvd., 308 ft, 1928
To be expanded...