Thursday, February 27, 2020

The Art Institute of Chicago Building Contract and Completion Details from 1892.

The construction contract was signed on February 6, 1892, to build the Art Institute building by Jonathan Clark and Sons Company. The amount specified in the contract was $325,000 ($9,362,000 today). In the end, the total cost for construction ran $975,000 ($29.4 million today). 

Jonathan Clark said it would take a few weeks to raze the Interstate Industrial Exposition Building. The demolition took place around March 15, 1892. Funds for the new building came from three sources. 
The Art Institute nears completion as the Illinois Central Railroad continues to surround it with coal smoke. The photo was taken from the 17-story Auditorium Building, the tallest building at the time.

The sale of the Art Institute's former building had raised $275,000. The World's Fair Directory put in the sum of $200,000, and Charles L. Hutchinson, President of the Art Institute, had raised $55,000 through private subscriptions. 
Jonathan Clark was under considerable pressure to complete the building quickly. According to the contract, it must be ready by May 1, 1893, or the World's Fair Directors are released from their contractual obligation to pay any amount of the $200,000 they have pledged. The contractor was under "forfeiture bonds" amounting to $100,000 if the building was not finished by the specified date.

The World Congress Auxiliary of the World's Columbian Exposition occupied the new building from May 1 to October 31, 1893, after which the Art Institute took possession on November 1, 1893. The Art Institute was officially opened to the public on December 8, 1893.
The World Congress Auxiliary opened its doors a few days after opening the World's Fair on May 13, 1893.

Additional Reading: The History of the Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

1 comment:

  1. Great photo from the top floor of the Auditorium Theater tower, which was only a handful of years old at the time. Good reminder, too, of the dirt, filth and grime continually caused by the IC on the Lakefront.


The Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ is RATED PG-13. Please comment accordingly. Advertisements, spammers and scammers will be removed.