Skyscraper of the Day, Part 15

Reliance Building.  View from northeast.   (120 Photographic View of Chicago, Rand McNally, 1909)

The Reliance emerged from unpromising circumstances.  Elevator engineer and contractor William E. Hale hired Burnham & Root to design a fourteen-story tower for the southwest corner of State and Washington Streets in 1890, but he was frustrated by tenants who held multiyear leases in the existing building.  To commence work (and, perhaps, to encourage the tenants to move along), George Fuller began by jacking up the upper four floors of the old First National Building and removing its foundation and first floor while tenants above remained “undisturbed.”

Taken from Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934 (University of Illinois Press, June 2013).


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