Chicago Building Histories | General Chicago Histories | Chicago Neighborhood Histories

Chicago Building Histories

AIA Guide to Chicago

Alice Sinkevitch (2014)
This guide to the architecture of Chicago begins with several essays on the shaping of Chicago. Architectural events from the great fire of 1871 to the tax reform acts of 1986 and 1989 are traced. The bulk of this book is dedicated to a street-by-street survey of the city. Also available  through JSTOR in our reading room.

Building Chicago: The Architectural Masterworks

John Zukowsky (2017)
A lavishly-illustrated overview of Chicago architecture from the 19th century through 2009.

Chicago Architecture: 1872-1922: Birth of a Metropolis

John Zukowsky (1987)
Architectural history of the city after to the Great Fire of 1871 to the early 1920's.

Chicago Architecture and Design

George A. Larson and Jay Pridmore (2005)
Covers the evolution of modern architecture from the building boom after Chicago's Great Fire of 1871 through the 1992 completion of the Harold Washington Library. Reviews the careers of Chicago's seminal architects, including John Wellborn Root, William Holabird, Daniel Burnham, David Alder, Frank Lloyd Wright, George Fred Keck and William Keck. Moving forward in time, they discuss the work of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill as well as the controversial and flashy structures of Helmut Jahn.

Chicago Architecture and Design 1923-1993: Reconfiguration of an American Metropolis

John Zukowsky (1993)
Billed as the first major study of Chicago's 20th century architectural achievements, this is an in-depth survey of the formative years of Chicago's modern architecture.

Chicago Historic Resources Survey

Commission on Chicago Landmarks and Chicago Department Of Planning and Development (1996)
It lists each of the 17,371 properties that were identified by The CHRS surveyors as having architectural and/or historical significance, either individually or as part of a concentration of significant structures. In addition to the property's address, the report provides information about the structure's date of construction, architect, building style and type, and landmark status. The report also includes a guide to various architectural styles, as well as: street names, community areas, building styles, and building types. Finally, the report's appendix contains an explanation of the methodology and research information that was used by the CHRS surveyors. The report is also available online.

Chicago's Famous Buildings

Franz Schulze (2003)
Pocket guide to the architecture of Chicago. Covers more than a decade of extraordinary new architecture and takes a fresh look at the early Chicago architecture of Adler, Sullivan, Burnham, Root, Wright, and Mies van der Rohe.

Half Century of Chicago Building

John H. Jones (1910)
Arranged by types of buildings, problems, etc. Illustrations of buildings, some interiors and a few building techniques. Detailed section on building codes.

Hyde Park Houses

Jean F. Block (1978)
This book is intended to show how, in the period between 1856 and 1910, a settlement metamorphosed into a heavily populated and thriving urban neighborhood. The story of this growth, to which geographical, economic, social, and intellectual forces all contributed, can still be read in the streetscapes of the neighborhood and in the architecture of its houses.

Lost Chicago

David Lowe (2010)
This book explores Chicago's architectural history by examining a number of important buildings that have been demolished, and includes countless photographs and drawings.

Residential Chicago

Chicago Plan Commission (1942-43)
Presents summaries of city-wide data on residential land use and the most complete statistical information now available on the physical, social and economic character of residential properties in Chicago.

The Sky's the Limit: A Century of Chicago Skyscrapers

Pauline A. Saliga (1990; 1998 printing)
This illustrated survey of Chicago skyscrapers traces the history of the Chicago School buildings that influenced generations of architects worldwide. Beginning with the S.S. Berman Fine Arts Building of 1885 and its neighbor, the Adler and Sullivan Auditorium of 1889, the author discuss 110 extant buildings dating from 1885 through 1989, concluding with a series of contemporary, modernist skyscrapers by the "new" generation of Chicago architects.

They Built Chicago: Entrepreneurs who shaped a Great City's Architecture

Miles L. Berger (1992)
The book has been organized into four major periods, spanning more than 150 years of Chicago history: 1830 to 1879; 1880 to 1899; 1900-1929; and the years from the end of World War II to the present. Although the distinction in terms of dates is somewhat arbitrary, each of these periods presented its own opportunities and challenges and each manifested a characteristic development style. The four sections are introduced by a brief overview defining significant development issues in the period and each developer profiled is placed within the period during which he was most active.


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General Chicago Histories

Chicago, 1910-29: Building Planning and Urban Technology
Chicago, 1930-70: Building Planning and Urban Technology

Carl Condit (1973-4)
In these two volumes Condit expanded his scope beyond the "Chicago School," to cover other aspects of the physical city including urban planning and transportation. The bibliographies, arranged by chapter, include newspaper articles as well as traditional sources.

Chicago and its Makers

Paul Gilbert and Charles Lee Bryson (1929) 
This book is divided into four sections, which include a on the city and its founders, a section devoted to landmarks and other buildings, and two sections of biographies

Chicago: Growth of a Metropolis

Harold M. Mayer and Richard C. Wade 
This is the story of Chicago and its growth. In little over a century it rose from a mere frontier outpost to an urban metropolis. 

The Chicago School of Architecture: A History of Commercial and Public Building in the Chicago Area 1875-1925 

Carl Condit (1964)
Traces the history of the Chicago School of Architecture from its beginnings with the functional innovations of William La Baron and others to their imaginative development by Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright.

History of Chicago (3 vols.) 

Alfred T. Andreas 1884-86
A history of Chicago written in the 1880s. Includes biographical information of the prominent men of the time.

History of the Development of Building Construction in Chicago Frank Randall (1999)

An important reference work on Chicago building and development up to 1946. It includes an introductory essay, a detailed list of milestones in building construction, indexes to architects and engineers, buildings, and locations. It also includes a detailed bibliography.

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Chicago Neighborhood Histories

Chicago: A Historical Guide to the Neighborhoods: the Loop and South Side

Glen E. Hoyt and Dominic Pacyga (1979)
This guide to some of Chicago's historic south side neighborhoods uses both words and images to create a historical and social iconography.

Chicago and its Suburbs

Everett Chamberlain (1874)
The last quarter is given over to short narratives of subdivisions and suburbs that were outside the city in 1874. Many of these, obviously, are now in the city.

Chicago, City of Neighborhoods

Dominic Pacyga and Ellen Skerrett (1986)
In addition to describing the origins and development of the neighborhoods, the book uses historic and contemporary photographs to illustrate changes, which have taken place over the years. Also included are fifteen selected tours based on these neighborhood histories. 

Forty-Four Cities in the City of Chicago

Chicago Plan Commission  (1942)
A short narrative history of each of the 75 communities outlined by Burchard in 1935.

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