Get to Know Chicago’s Oldest High-Rise

April 02, 2011

Want to get an in depth look at a monumental piece of Chicago real estate?

Free tours began this week at Daniel Burnham and John Root’s Rookery Building, a Chicago landmark located in the heart of the city’s financial district at 209 South LaSalle Street.

When it was built in 1888, the 11-story building was one of the most expensive and largest commercial properties in Chicago.

In fact, The Rookery is considered to be the oldest standing high-rise in Chicago.

It was one of the first buildings to be built to include metal framing, elevators, fireproofing, electrical lighting and plate glass, and it raised the bar for the modern skyscraper.

“Complete at last, Chicago’s restored Rookery Building sets the standard against which all future commercial renovations must be judged,” stated architectural historian and author Robert Bruegmann.

In 1898, after an architect named Frank Lloyd Wright opened his Oak Park studio, he rented space in The Rookery as his downtown office.

In 1905, Wright was commissioned to update the interior of the light court and lobbies in The Rookery Building. Now, as you walk inside, you’ll find one of Wright’s most spectacular interior designs ever created.

But you’ll have to see for yourself.

Learn more about the building’s history, including the meaning behind its name, at a free tour sponsored by the Frank Lloyd Wright Preservation Trust.

Advance reservations are not accepted, space is limited and slots are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Tours are Mondays and Fridays for 30 minutes starting at noon and are free.

On Wednesdays at noon, a 45-minute tour that includes the Burnham Library will be available for $10.

For more information, visit gowright.org.

About The Author

Read All Stories By Tracey

Leave a Comment