he south side of the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue, where Fort Dearborn used to be, is one of the most well-marked spots in the city. There are brass rectangles that say “Site of Fort Dearborn.” On the northwest corner of the intersection, near the bridge tower, is a plaque letting you know the fort had been built in 1803, destroyed in 1812, rebuilt in 1816, and destroyed again in 1856. A stone scroll on the bridge tower, titled Defense, tells the story of the 1812 Battle of Fort Dearborn, although decades of Chicago weather have made it barely legible. At the base of the building on the southwest corner of Michigan and Wacker there’s another plaque: “Here stood Old Fort Dearborn 1803 – 1812.” And above tall doors on the same building, between Corinthian columns, there’s yet one more—a bronze engraving depicting the stronghold with the words “Fort Dearborn; Destroyed 1858” on the left and “Office Building; Erected 1922” on the right.
In case you missed it, THIS IS WHERE FORT DEARBORN STOOD.
What stands there today is a 1923 skyscraper that, according to the Chicago Landmark designation report, “is one of the few and best examples of Beaux-Arts style classicism.” The former office building, now the LondonHouse Hotel, is one of four 1920s-era anchors of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. Noted for its irregular shape and its distinctive cupola, the London Guarantee and Accident Building is a piece of architectural eye candy that invites sightseers to stop and gawk at its “harmonious and refined designs” and “restrained classical detailing.”
Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.
Architect: Alfred S. Alschuler
Address: 85 E. Wacker Dr.
Sources for London Guarantee & Accident Building (LondonHouse Hotel)
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.
- Chase, Al. “$4,000,000 Link Project Wins Over Obstacles.” Chicago Tribune, 20 Oct 1921.
- Chicago Historical Society. Charter, Constitution, By-laws, Membership List, Annual Report for the Year Ending October 31, 1918.
- Chicago Landmark Designation Report
- “Heir is Accused of Lending Funds Belonging to Estate.” The Inter Ocean, 26 Apr 1906.
- “Keogh Lease Closed.” Chicago Tribune, 20 Jul 1922.
- “London Guarantee & Accident Building Cornerstone Laid.” The Eastern Underwriter, 8 Dec. 1922.
- Mme. X. “Weaving Substance of Dreams Into Stone and Plaster.” Chicago Tribune, 3 Dec 1922.