About the image
Construction Detail, Holabird and Roche. Chicago History Museum, ICHi-51163.

In September of 1893, Aldis explained why he was waiting to place material orders.

“We can order the steel (1.75 cents a pound instead of 2.20) and the brick ($4 per thousand instead of $7) and cement and sand, etc….” In December, he noted, “we are now offered steel beams at $31 per ton standard, unpunched. I think we have paid as high as $64…Our elevators we shall get (and they are exhibit elevators—World’s Fair) at $70,000 to $73,000, including tanks, pumps, piping, etc. They will be, I am sure, the best ever turned out, and much cheaper than ever before. All building material has gone down. Wages go down more slowly—but are settling little by little. The Unions are fighting a hopeless fight and know it and wages are dropping little by little.”

© John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation