Chicago Board of Trade

On January 6, 1836, Chicago trustees ordered constables to remove all buildings from public streets.

Let that sink in for a moment.

In 1836, people were erecting buildings in the middle of the street, and enough people were doing this that trustees had to issue an order for their removal.

Three years after its incorporation, the town of Chicago already had a couple of hotels and a few houses of worship. It had been platted. George Dole began shipping beef and pork in 1832, presaging the Midwest’s future role in feeding the world. Chicago had plans. But in the meantime, people were ignoring all sense of civility and putting up buildings in the middle of the street. 

The chaos was the product of a quickly changing world. In the mid-1830s and into the 1840s, people were heading not only to Chicago and other frontier towns, but to the rural areas beyond them. It didn’t take long for settlers to realize they’d landed on some pretty fertile ground. After harvest, getting their crops to places like Chicago that had buyers and options, albeit limited, for distribution was hampered by bad roads, no roads, and generally poor traveling conditions. Nevertheless, farmers braved the mud and muck to try to sell what they’d grown.

Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.

Completed: 1930
Architects: Holabird & Root
Address: 141 W. Jackson Blvd.

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Sources for Chicago Board of Trade

This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.

  • “The Board of Trade.” Chicago Tribune, 13 Dec 1882.
  • Chicago Landmark Designation Report
  • Dedication of the New Board of Trade Building of the Board of Trade of the City of Chicago: Dedicatory And Banquet Addresses, Chicago, Wednesday, April 29, 1885. [Chicago: J. Morris, 1885.
  • Hampson, Philip. “Ancient Goddess in Modern Form to Command City.” Chicago Tribune, 4 May 1930.
  • Historical Publishing Company. Origin, Growth, And Usefulness of the Chicago Board of Trade: Its Leading Members, And Representative Business Men In Other Branches of Trade. New York: Historical Publishing Co., 1885-86.
  • “Made in Chicago.” American Experience – PBS.
  • National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form
  • Taylor, Charles Henry, 1844-. History of the Board of Trade of the City of Chicago. Chicago: R.O. Law Co., 1917.