Chicago Architecture Info

Macy's On State

111 North State Street, Chicago

Facts

Formerly Marshall Field's flagship store
Address 111 North State Street, Chicago, Illinois 60602
Neighborhood The Loop
Built 1892
Architecture firm D.H. Burnham
Architect Charles B. Atwood
Type
  • Office
  • Retail
Floors 9

Timeline

1902 An annex was added to this building.
1906 An annex was added to this building.
1907 An annex was added to this building.
1914 An annex was added to this building.
1990 This building was renovated at a cost of $110,000,000.
April 12, 1992 Fish were seen swimming in the basement of this building where normally people shop and eat. The basement was flooded in the Great Chicago Flood of 1992 -- a man-made disaster that flooded hundreds of buildings and did nearly a billion dollars in damage.
May 6, 2004 The Marshall Field's building was given preliminary landmark designation by the city Landmarks commission.
November 1, 2005 The City of Chicago bestowed landmark status on this building, amid fears that its new owner might make significant changes while being converted to a Macy's store.
April 27, 2006 The Chicago Tribune reported that Macy's planned to change the name of the store from Marshall Field's to Macy's At State Street. Macy's also planned to replace the traditional green awnings with black ones and add its name to the top of the historic building. The newspaper also reported that Macy's wanted to spend several million dollars renovating the store inside and out, including uncovering a previously hidden VIP elevator. The Marshal Field's archives would become the property of the Chicago History Museum.
September 9, 2006 Marshall Field's officially became Macy's On State Street.

Like most successful iconic retail enterprises, Marshall Field's grew over time. Originating as a single store on the block, it eventually grew and took over its neighboring buildings, knocking down walls and extending itself upward and outward. The result is discord hidden behind a seemingly uniform ground level facade. But casting an eye upwards reveals the uneven roof line, the ramparts of which delineate one era of construction and acquisition from the next. Inside, it is less apparent thanks to the decor, but navigation is still occasionally painful as multiple and competing escalator wells provide, perhaps, too many options.

The original 1892 building was designed by Charles B. Atwood of the firm D.H. Burnham. It is neo-Renaissance in style with Ionic columns flanking the main entrance. But the real show is inside where Corinthian columns lead the eye to a spectacular atrium from none other than Louis Comfort Tiffany. Tiffany, himself, didn't build it -- a group of 50 artists worked under him for 18 months to make it possible. The dome covers 6,000 square feet and is the largest Tiffany mosaic in existence.

Over time, Marshall Field's lost its Chicago identity. First, being sold to the Dayton-Hudson company in Minneapolis, which became the Target Corporation; and then being sold to New York's Macy's. Macy's was the first company willing to change the name of the store, and in doing so weathered a backlash from angry and sentimental customers. Many customers cut up their replacement Macy's cards and sent them back. Many more vowed to never shop at the store.