Chicago Architecture Info

35 East Wacker Drive

35 East Wacker Drive, Chicago

Facts

Formerly
  • North American Life Building
  • Pure Oil Building
  • Jewelers Building
Address 35 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60601
Neighborhood The Loop
Built 1924-1926
Architecture firms
  • Thielbar and Furgard
  • Giaver and Dinkleberg
Type
  • Retail
  • Office
  • Skyscraper
Floors 40
Height 522 feet

Notes

  • This building has a European-style bird cage elevator serving the building's cupola. During prohibition it was hidden behind a secret door because there was a speakeasy At the top of the building.
  • Attached to this building at one corner along its Wacker Drive façade is an ornate clock. It is outlined in blood red light bulbs, and topped with a scary statue of Father Time carrying a menacing scythe.
  • The four turrets at the corners of the building at the first setback weren't created merely decoration. They were part of the original fire suppression system. Each holds a cast iron tank that would have been used in case of a fire. They have been decommissioned, and the space at the base of each is now used as conference rooms.

Timeline

1990 The 24th floor of this building was converted from a mechanical space into 20,000 square feet of office space by ISD. The floors were raised so that people could see over the building's parapets, and conference rooms were built inside the bases of the four massive water tanks at the corners of the building. The tanks, made of cast iron and decorated with terra cotta, are not used anymore, but are too heavy to remove.