Early Skyscrapers Tour
Following the Chicago Fire of 1871, the City's Common Council banned the building of wooden structures within the city limits. As the industrial revolution arrived, along with the growth of Chicago into a city of half a million, traditional urban centralization occurred and the business district known as "The Loop" was born.
An escalation in land prices forced lot owners to maximize available space. This, combined with advancements in engineering and services such as electricity and the elevator, saw architects starting to think vertically.
The city's swampy land base created challenges for building designers, as these buildings created a tremendous weight load on their foundation. This tour showcases the remaining landmarks from this important developmental period, and reflect the ingenuity of the architects of the first great skyscrapers -- from the first masonry-based buildings, to early 20th century steel frame structures.
Bear in mind that the term "skyscraper" has changed in meaning dramatically over the last 100 years. Today we think of the Hancock Building and Sears Tower, buildings well over 100 stories and 1,000 feet high. The first Chicago building called a skyscraper, the since demolished Montauk Building, topped the 1882 Chicago skyline at a then-dizzying 10 stories.