Chicago Architecture Info
The Home Insurance Building
Address
Adams and LaSalle
Chicago, Illinois 60603
Courtesy of the Frances Loeb Library, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University
Basic Information
Designed by William Le Baron Jenney
Type Skyscraper
Floors: 12
Maximum height 180 feet/54 meters
Neighborhood: The Loop
More Information
  • This building was originally ten stories and 138 feet tall. It was later expanded to 12 stories and 180 feet.
  • In addition to height, one of the big advantages of using a metal skeleton in this building was that it make it fire resistant, an important attribute when your client is an insurance company.
  • This building was located on the northeast corner of LaSalle Street and Adams Street.
  • This building had iron columns clad in masonry as part of its exterior. While some believe this is evidence that the Home Insurance Building was not truly a metal cage skyscraper, those columns were covered in stone only for fireproofing.
  • After this building was erected, it would be four years before New York got its first skyscraper, the Tacoma Building on lower Broadway, built in 1889 and demolished in 1914. By then Chicago had at least five skyscrapers.
  • 1880: A Minneapolis man named Leroy Buffington comes up with a design for the world's first skyscraper, but no one will give him the money to build his 28-story dream.
  • Autumn, 1883: William Jenney wins a contest held by the Home Insurance Company in New York for a new building in Chicago.
  • Spring, 1884: Construction begins.
  • Autumn, 1885: Construction of the Home Insurance Company building is completed. 1888: Leroy Buffington is awarded a patent for the skyscraper, even though the Home Insurance Building and other skyscrapers have already been built.
  • 1890: Two stories are added to the top of this building.
  • 1931: This building is torn down.