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Sullivan Center

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Sullivan Center
Schlesinger & Mayer Store, Carson Pirie Scott Store


Structure in General

high-rise building
existing [completed]
applied masonry
chicago school


commercial office department store


  • One of the most famous early skyscrapers, the store's large windows and clear geometry were very advanced for its time.
  • The sleek modern design is augmented by Louis Sullivan's intricate ornamentation around the windows and covering the lower two floors.
  • Two major additions have extended the building to the south, both designed by different architects but integrated with the original design.
  • This store appears in Theodore Dreiser's novel Sister Carrie when Carrie's lover buys her a skirt and a shirtwaist here.
  • Sullivan's ornament reaches its peak at the rounded entrance, where it bursts into full effusion. The style is related to art nouveau with its geometric plant-like forms.
  • The building's original cornice is missing but the owners plan to restore it within the next few years.
  • The building's lines are strongly horizontal, except at the rounded corner where they turn sharply vertical.
  • The first section of the store to be built was nine stories high, and appears today as the three easternmost bays on Madison Street. The 12-story corner section was an addition to this in 1903.
  • Besides Carson Pirie Scott, the other flagship department store remaining on State Street is the Macy's at State Street. There is also a Sears at the opposite corner.
  • The building was constructed as a replacement for the 1873 Schlesinger & Mayer store at the same corner, designed by William W. Boyington.
  • The store takes up most of a city block, and is connected inside to several buildings to the east along Wabash Avenue.
  • It was a named a National Historic Landmark in 1975.

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More Information


1-33 South State Street
1 East Madison Street
1-33 South State Street
Sullivan Center

Technical Data

207.10 ft
207.10 ft
207.10 ft

Involved Companies

Louis H. Sullivan

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Features & Amenities

  • One of the city's famous buildings
  • City landmark
  • National landmark
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