About the image
Marquette Building, ca 1970s. Photograph by Richard Nickel, courtesy of the Richard Nickel Archive.

Inevitably, the Marquette Building aged, and some questioned whether it should still stand. Some changes happened quickly; others resulted from decades of pollution, material breakdown, or poor upkeep. Repairs or renovations were usually based on cost and historical value, as the national trend was not one of preservation.

In 1911, ownership transferred from one entity to another—although the owners were still the same: Owen Aldis and his brother Arthur, Bryan Lathrop (Owen’s brother-in-law), Arthur Hill, and Richard Saltonstall (a Brooks relative).

Commonwealth Edison purchased the building prior to the Great Depression. According to an Aldis & Company employee, “the Purchase price was to be paid in two installments. There was a question as to whether the then-value of the Marquette was equal to the remaining installment, which was ultimately paid in full.”

In 1957, a “New York group” bought the building and held it until the early 1970s when rumors of a real estate coup hit the market. It appeared that the fate of the Marquette Building was the wrecking ball. 

© John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation