Federal Building, Chicago, IL
Location: 536 S Clark St, Chicago, IL 60605
The Federal Building was originally constructed by the Rand McNally Company to house its growing publishing operations. The interior space was designed to accommodate both the production plant and administrative offices of the company.
Rand McNally and Company formed in 1868 in Chicago, and specialized in railroad printing. Its facilities were destroyed in the Great Fire of 1871. The introduction of a revolutionary engraving process for map making helped propel production costs downward, and greatly expanded the company business. In 1890 the company moved into a new building designed by the notable Chicago architectural firm of Burnham and Root, where it remained for 22 years.
During this period the company outgrew this building, and commissioned the architectural firm of Holabird & Roche to design a new publishing plant. Upon its completion, the building was featured in the April 1912 issue of Architectural Record, and in a contemporary book about architects. Rand McNally produced an illustrated pamphlet about the building in 1929.
The first floor had space for 15 individual storefronts with room for shopping and receiving a garage. The second floor housed the company administrative offices, stock room, and counting room. The third and fourth floors were open work areas, with the press machinery on the fourth floor (the structural capacity of this floor was increased for this use). The fifth and sixth floors were carved up for various composing, engraving, and map and globe production facilities. The seventh thru tenth floors were divided into two large open areas, some of which were divided to suit office tenants. Originally two passenger and three freight elevators serviced the building, but four more elevator shafts were constructed for future possible use.
Rand McNally remained at this location from 1912 until 1952, when it relocated to Skokie, IL. The building was then purchased by the Federal Government, which renovated the structure for office use, and has remained in the building to the present date. The building is a contributing resource to the South Loop Printing House District in Chicago. This district has been recognized for its significance by inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places on March 2, 1978.
- Architects: Holabird & Roche
- Construction Dates: 1909-1912
- GSA Building Number: IL0054ZZ
- National Register of Historic Places Landmark Status: National Register Listed