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United States Post Office, Chicago, Illinois, Elevation

A work made of charcoal on tracing paper.

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  • A work made of charcoal on tracing paper.


c. 1930


Edward Herbert Bennett
American, born England 1874–1954

About this artwork

The original design and construction of the U.S. Post Office was deeply connected to the Burnham and Bennett Plan of Chicago of 1909. The Chicago Plan Commission chose Edward Bennett (1874–1954) to represent them in negotiations for the site of the Post Office and other buildings, such as the Field Museum and Union Station. In 1930, however, the Plan Commission chairman suggested that Bennett’s position be abolished, and Bennett could no longer oversee the process of making the Plan of Chicago into a reality.
In the Plan of Chicago, Congress Street was to function as a major east-west axis with open vistas in the spirit of the overall Beaux Arts layout of the city. Bennett was quite upset when the idea to depress this street emerged and the U.S. Treasury Department hired Graham, Anderson, Probst, and White to design the new post office on the line of Congress Street. The new facility would wrap around the existing U.S. Mail Building and take advantage of rail delivery of mail. It was touted as the largest post office in the world when it opened in 1932, with 2.7 million square feet of floor space. Edward Bennett, however, in defense of Burnham’s Plan, denounced the new Post Office as “Ernest R. Graham’s insult to Congress Street.”


Currently Off View


Architecture and Design


Edward Herbert Bennett (Architect)


United States Post Office, Chicago, Illinois, Elevation


Chicago (Building address)

Date  Dates are not always precisely known, but the Art Institute strives to present this information as consistently and legibly as possible. Dates may be represented as a range that spans decades, centuries, dynasties, or periods and may include qualifiers such as c. (circa) or BCE.



Charcoal on tracing paper


Approx.: 24 × 38 cm (9 1/2 × 15 in.)

Credit Line

Gift of Edward H. Bennett, Jr.

Reference Number


Extended information about this artwork

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