Publisher: Chicago [s.n.]
Characteristics: v. ill. 23-24 cm.

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Technology that Changed Chicago: Building Foundations FAIL! 1870s-1900

Chicago City Hall (1885-1908) Source: Chicago Dept. of Public Works Annual Report. 1909 Previous post: Foundations, part one. After the Great Fire of 1871, a new generation of architects and engineers came to Chicago to build what were then the world’s tallest skyscrapers.  Most of the buildings were architectural and financial successes. A few, including City Hall, the Post Office and… (more)

Technology that Changed Chicago: Building Foundations

Occupying an important place in underground Chicago are foundations. They hold up everything that shows above ground.  Foundations transfer the weight of the building to the underlying soil. Today they are well engineered, almost never fail and are out of sight so people don’t think about them. Chicago’s first buildings were one or two story wood or brick structures built on shallow foundations… (more)


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The Dept. of Public Works Annual Reports are great primary sources of pictures and bridge descriptions.


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