680 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago

Photo of 680 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 680 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of 680 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 680 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of 680 North Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

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680 North Lake Shore Drive
Also known as:Lake Shore Plaza
Formerly:Lake Shore Place
Formerly:666 North Lake Shore Drive
Formerly:American Furniture Mart

680 North Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, Gold Coast 60611
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A lovely old building in Chicago's Streeterville neighborhood that simply exudes refinement, dignity, and style. When it was built, this building was considered massive, but as the years progressed, larger constructions took its title, and eventually the skyscraper was overshadowed by buildings with greater height and tourist appeal.
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Still, 680 is a plucky survivor, blessed with a great location. Even though it's not visible from many parts of the city anymore, it still pops up between the glass and steel trees of the skyscraper forest, especially at night when its blue pyramid is spectacularly illuminated.

Quick Facts
Statistics
  • Floor space: 2,200,000 square feet
Timeline
  • March, 1988: The building's name officially changes to 680 North Lake Shore Drive.
  • 1989: Playboy moved its corporate headquarters to this building.
  • 2012: Playboy moved out of this building.
Notes
  • This building was formerly 666 North Lake Shore Drive.
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Your Thoughts

There are 11 comments.

  The Chicago Furniture Mart was held every first week of January and July. The first market I attended was with my dad who owned two furniture stores at the time in Missouri. 1963 was my first market and I attended every market until it shut down. It was an easy market to shop unlike High Point, NC. Many good memories. I stayed at the old St. Clair Hotel on Ohio St. At the time, the American Furniture Mart was the largest building in the world devoted to a single industry.

George Cline - Monday, July 21st, 2014 @ 2:13pm  

  My first visit to the Mart was probably in 1964 or so with my father who owned a furniture store in central Missouri. I was 19 and was in awe of Chicago and the size of the Mart. We started at the top floor and worked our way down to the first floor. It was a four day ordeal. We stayed at the nearby St. Clair. I went to every winter and summer market there for many years and it was the best, most comprehensive, and the easiest show to work for retailers unlike High Point.

George Cline - Tuesday, July 8th, 2014 @ 8:28pm  

  Hi,I too have found a chair with Associated Factories, Inc attached under the seat. How can I find out about it???

Patricia Wurm - Tuesday, June 17th, 2014 @ 6:28pm  

  I found an old chair that has a label on the bottom that says "Associated Factories, 666 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago IL". I'm trying to tell the age of the chair. Does anyone know if, back when this building was called the American Funiture Mart, it consisted of various furniture vendors/manufacturers/stores, such as Associated Factories? What time frame would that have been? Thanks for anyone's help!

Amy - Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 @ 8:24pm  

  I worked at 666 North lake shore drive in the 1970's when it was the Furniture mart.Truly an inspiring place to be a young furniture designer for Futorian corporation. I loved going to work in a historic building!

carolG - Thursday, March 10th, 2011 @ 4:59pm  

  My father was one of the architects on the team. His name was Jack Mendelson. I know that his name is on a plaque in the lobby.I remember him working at the address of 666 North Lakeshore Drive, and was always the topic of conversation! He used to joke about the delivery boys refusing to enter the building...

Tobey Ciocchetti - Thursday, October 7th, 2010 @ 10:46am  

  I have never been to Chicago. About five years ago I found an old chair and I have been trying to find something out about it. The label on the bottom of the chair " The Dearborn Company, Furniture, House, Furnishing and wood Products, 666 Lake Shore Drive, Chicago. Ill. I am so happy I found where this chair came from. I am glad to see this wonderful old building is still standing.

Ruth Parrott - Sunday, June 13th, 2010 @ 2:24pm  

  I was one of the project managers during the rehab. I enjoyed working there and working with all the people who lived there. One real good thing was watching the Air and Water show from the roof. My office was on the 18th floor and in the basement. To all who do not know the tower was to hook on to the blimp or airship for docking.

1988-1989 - Monday, June 1st, 2009 @ 4:03pm  

  I worked for the liquor distributor Judge & Dolph just before and during the time the building was renovated. They and their parent company the Wirtz Corporation had two floors in the western tower of 680 Lakeshore Drive, I always have wondered what happened to all the art deco? adornments and decorations. I remember cringing at seeing heaps of them in carts apparently headed for the trash. If they didn't end up in collectors' shops, someone missed a great opportunity. As it stands, I think a great deal of (probably) undocumented architecture and fixtures was destroyed.Other memories of the building: there were some ventilation intakes on the outside of the ground floor. I used to stroke the tiny bats that would sleep in between the slats. One could see the bats flying around the tower at night (no, they were not birds, I had to tell many an incredulous visitor).The building had elevators which were run by attendants. The attendants knew which companies got out for lunch or to go home at particular times and went to that floor more frequently to handle the passengers. Let's see a computer do that!Several times the elevators were out. I remember walking up and down the stairs to take my company's printing work to a printer several blocks away (Runaway Press). This was certainly some exercise. I think we were on the 19th and 20th floors in the western-facing tower.Occassionally on holidays, I would go up to my office and open one of the huge east-facing windows to observe the fireworks just to the south on the lakefront. Another great use of the office windows was to watch the air show, because most of the close-up encounters happened in the harbor directly to the east of 666 LSD.Scenes around the neighborhood: I remember seeing Mr. T jogging on the sidewalk around the local health club (McClurg Court?) before anyone knew who the heck he was. I also used to yell "Holy Cow" at Harry Caray when he frequented a bar just off Michigan Avenue near my printer's business. He always yelled something (clean) back.I moved to Chicago in 1980 and left in 1991. I have some sad memories of things that happened while I was there: AIDS, Reaganomics, the infighting on the City Council, Harold Washington's death.On the other hand, it was a world-class city that required your involvement to gain back what the city had to offer to you. . .which was plenty. If my body, mind and endurance could stand up to returning, I would. For now I just visit an old friend who lives at 2400 Lake View every few years.Chicago still has a special space in my heart, and it always will.

Michael - Tuesday, April 14th, 2009 @ 2:08am  

  I truly loved commanding the security at this building during its transition from the American Furniture Mart to the 666 Building. There are so many wonderful aspects of the building that many don't see. Some day I dream of being fortunate enough to return and reside in this jewel of Chicago!

Kim A. Castro - Tuesday, January 6th, 2009 @ 9:44am  

  This is my favorite historic building of Chicago's Near North Side, every time I see it, I like seeing it's blue turret during the day, also at night.

Brent Kampert - Friday, October 10th, 2008 @ 3:27pm