U.S. Custom House, Chicago, IL
Location: 610 S Canal St, Chicago, IL 60607
An assessment of the historic integrity of exterior and interior spaces and elements at the Customs House was conducted as part of this report. The assessment was conducted by comparing original design drawings and later remodeling/restoration drawings with the existing conditions in order to identify each space’s level of contribution to the original design as well as its historic integrity. This comparison was somewhat limited by the fact that we have not located any historic photographs. Based on the building assessment, the Customs House was divided into three different preservation zones based on the relative historic and architectural significance and integrity within each area of the building.
The following assessment of historic significance and integrity focuses upon the interior of the Customs House. Most portions of the building’s exterior are of primary significance and are classified in the Restoration Zone. The discussion of contributing interior elements/spaces in the Customs House is organized by level of historic integrity and broken down into the three preservation zones. The interior spaces and/or elements will be categorized as being either in the Restoration, Rehabilitation or Renovation Zone. The definitions of the three preservation zones used in this assessment are outlined in the GSA’s Guidelines for Zoning Historic Buildings and are as follows:
- RESTORATION ZONE: These areas exhibit unique or distinctive qualities, such as original materials or elements, representative examples of skilled craftsmanship, or the work of a notable architect or builder. They may also be of significance due to associations with persons or events of preeminent importance.
- REHABILITATION ZONE: These may be spaces or areas exhibiting distinguishing qualities, original materials and/or elements, but less ornate than restoration zones in overall treatment.
- RENOVATION ZONE: These are areas whose renovation and modification would not represent a loss of historic character, or intrusion to an otherwise historically significant structure.
The following zones have been identified:
Zone 1: Restoration Zone
- 1A Exterior – Building Facades
- 1B Interior – First Floor Entry Vestibule
- 1C Interior – First Floor Elevator Lobby Stair to Second Floor
- 1D Interior – Courtroom
Zone 2: Rehabilitation Zone:
- 2A Exterior – Penthouse Facades
- 2B Interior – Incinerator Oven/ Room
- 2C Interior – Lower Basement Stair to Train Platform
- 2D Interior – Stair No. 1 & Stair No. 2
- 2E Interior – Penthouse Mechanical Rooms
- 2F Interior – Penthouse Shooting Range
Zone 3: Renovation Zone
- 3A Interior – First Floor Security Checkpoint and Elevator Lobby
- 3B Interior – Typical Corridor (2nd -11th floors)
- 3C Interior – Typical Elevator Lobby (2nd – 11th floors)
- 3D Interior – Basement Level Entry Vestibule and Lobby
- 3E Interior – Passenger Elevator Cabs
- 3F Interior – 2nd Floor Cafeteria/ Vending Machine Room and Seating Room
- 3G Interior – Typical Office (2nd – 11th floors)
- 3H Interior – Laboratories
- 3I Interior – Toilet and Locker Rooms
- 3J Interior – Loading Dock
- 3K Interior – Typical Freight Elevator Lobby (1st – 11th floor)
- 3L Interior – Mechanical Rooms
- 3M Interior – Electrical Rooms and Chase
The analysis of the above Restoration and Rehabilitation spaces will be subdivided by element (i.e. flooring, walls, etc.) and further subdivided into “description”, “condition”, and “recommendations”. The descriptions will be based on a cursory survey of the spaces and will therefore provide only an overview of the conditions. A determination will be made as to an element’s level of contribution to the overall architectural aesthetic. The criteria for identifying the Zones has been established by the GSA and is outlined in Attachment 3: Guidelines for Zoning Historic Buildings. In general, elements in primary public spaces that directly contribute to the architectural character and retain their original configuration and materials will be deemed significant. Elements/spaces in semi-public or private spaces that are original and moderately architecturally significant to the building will be considered moderately significant. Spaces not fitting into the above two categories will be classified in the Renovation Zone. It should be noted that there are some historic elements within the Renovation Zone that should be retained in place. Although the conditions will only be generally described, there may be some that are specifically called out and warrant more attention. The recommendations are likewise general in nature and only intended to provide guidance for future repair or maintenance.
- Architects: Burnham Brothers / Nimmons Carr & Wright
- Construction Date: 1932
- GSA Building Number: IL0032ZZ
- National Register of Historic Places Landmark Status: National Register Listed