About the image
Cleaning the Marble, ca. 1979. Landmarks Illinois.

Changing laws and concern for safety prompted changes in the Marquette Building. Other changes were simply for convenience, as preservation was not a popular priority.

Around 1950, owners removed the cornice, probably due to deterioration and safety issues. The removal of the center bank of elevators created a walkway into the adjoining building. The windows behind the elevators were bricked up, so natural light could no longer enter the lobby, and solid bronze doors replaced the original elegant grillwork.

After 1979, the focus was on restoration, not modernization. The owners repaired exterior terra cotta, but could not replace the cornice. They overhauled the storefronts to achieve a more original appearance and upgraded the lighting system to provide more natural daylight. After cleaning and repairing the lobby’s marble and mosaics, the owners removed the drop ceiling to reveal marble spokes radiating from the central column. The original mosaic ceiling had long since been removed, replaced with a trompe l’oeil replica.

© John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation