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Marquette Building, circa 1900. Landmarks Illinois.

Completed in 1895, the Marquette Building was Chicago’s premiere commercial site.

Its rich artwork celebrated Chicago’s early history, inhabitants, and explorers. And, in many ways, it represented the City’s ambition to rise beyond stockyards and railroads to rival Europe’s grand boulevards and buildings.

Decades later, the Marquette Building’s future was uncertain, as Chicago razed historic buildings in favor of modernization. With the loss of architectural gems such as Louis Sullivan’s Stock Exchange, the preservation movement galvanized and pressured the city to reconsider demolitions.

In 1975, the Marquette Building gained landmark status, and its owners, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, committed to an extensive restoration. Today, the building is a monument to Chicago’s development and architectural history.

© 2012 John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation