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Fisher Building


Fisher Building


Structure in General

high-rise building
existing [completed]
pile foundation
chicago school


residential condominium


  • Built by paper industry magnate Lucius Fisher.
  • Built with an interior of mahogany woodwork and Carrara marble wainscoting - one of the most expensive interiors of its day in Chicago.
  • The terra-cotta carvings on the lower floors include seashells and sea creatures, a reference to the name "Fisher". The upper stories are decorated with carvings of eagles and mythical beasts.
  • Completed in 2 phases, 10 years apart. The older section to the south is 230 feet tall, 18 stories, and was completed in 1896.
  • The original building was designed by Charles Atwood, and the addition by Peter J. Weber - both of D.H. Burnham & Company.
  • Edward C. Shankland was the structural engineer for both parts of the building: for the original section as an employee of D.H. Burnham & Company, and as an independent consultant for the addition.
  • The original wing was only the second building in Chicago to reach 18 stories (after the Masonic Temple), and is the oldest still standing at that height.
  • Because of the building's great height for its time, the usual spread foundations were supplemented with piles underneath them to support the added weight.
  • The second floor was originally a banking room, and has especially large windows compared to the floors above it.
  • Some of the condominium units retain the mohogany and opaque glass doors with the names of the earlier office tenants.
  • The Van Buren Street entrance was originally the building's main entrance. It was converted to a store when Dearborn Street became the primary access, but today it has been restored as a secondary entry.
  • The Gothic ornament is in the 15th century style of Bruges and Rouen.
  • The steel frame was completed in 25 days, and weighs 12,000 tons.
  • To enhance the facade's vertical emphasis, most of the ornamentation is placed on its horizontal members, reducing the banding effect that would occur if they were blank.

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More Information


343 South Dearborn Street
342 South Plymouth Court, 40 West Van Buren Street
343 South Dearborn Street

Technical Data

275.00 ft
275.00 ft
271.25 ft
72.21 ft
151.74 ft

Involved Companies

D.H. Burnham & Company
facade consultant, mechanical engineering, property management


general contractor

Features & Amenities

  • City landmark
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