Completed in 1873, the Delaware Building is one of the oldest in Chicago.
If you want a taste of what Chicago looked like before the fire, take a gander at the Delaware Building. Ignoring the growth of the city around it, this Italianate beauty has barely been touched and is one of the few structures to retain its 1870s character. It’s easy to miss, though, unless you overlook the golden arches.
There’s a common reaction, invariably laced with scorn, upon learning that this building is one of the oldest in downtown Chicago: “And there’s a McDonald’s in it!” The general consensus is that a fast food restaurant isn’t dignified enough for a structure that’s been around since 1873. A look at the building’s beginnings, however, reveals that there have been decidedly less savory tenants than a purveyor of burgers and fries.
Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.
Architect: Wheelock and Thomas
Address: 36 W. Randolph St.
McDonald’s is used for the location because the Delaware Building is placed incorrectly on Google maps.
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Sources for the Delaware Building
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.
- Andreas, A. T. (Alfred Theodore), 1839-1900. History of Chicago. Chicago: A. T. Andreas, 1884-86.
- Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada
- “The Bryant Block.” The Chicago Tribune, 25 Jun 1879.
- City of Chicago Landmarks Designation Report
- National Register of Historic Places Nomination Form
- “The Odorous Bryant Block.” The Chicago Tribune, 22 Jun 1879.
- The Strangers’ Guide to the City of Chicago: J.B. Bradford, 1873.
- Wheelock Genealogy