[graphic header] Chicago: A National Register of Historic Places Travel Itinerary, National Park Service

Old Colony Building
Old Colony Building, exterior
Photo courtesy of Carroll Westfall.

The Old Colony Building was designed and constructed between 1893 and 1894 by the architectural firm of Holabird and Roche. As Chicago School architects, they sought to reveal the character of the steel skeletal structure while cladding their buildings with an appropriate surface. The 17-story steel frame building is sheathed in Bedford limestone on the first three floors and by gray brick and terra cotta above that. A two-story colonnade runs along the 15th and 16th floors with a cornice crowning the 17th floor. Oriel windows project from every corner of the building from the third story to the cornice. The design's unity derives from the repetition of Chicago windows along the second floor and in the center bay of the north facade. Variety is found in the contrast between the horizontal stress of the narrow north facade and the distinct vertical thrust of the long east and west facades.

The facade of the Old Colony Building has remained intact, although major alterations to the interior have occurred on the ground floor. The lobby's original surfaces and stairs have all been replaced and the open cages of the elevators have been enclosed.

The Old Colony Building is located at 407 S. Dearborn St. and the lobby and some offices within are open to the public.


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