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Fisher Building - A Neo-gothic Chicago Landmark
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© Christine Till
Inspired by the Gothic cathedrals of Europe, Chicago's Fisher Building was one of the city's earliest skyscrapers and is a wonderful example of the Chicago School of Architecture.
Named for paper industry magnate Lucius Fisher, the first phase of the Fisher Building opened in 1896. The 18-story building was about 230 feet tall (70m). Chicagoans were awed by this structure, whose steel frame took only 25 days to complete and weighed 12,000 tons.
The original building, as well as the 20-story addition opened in 1906, is known for its interesting terra cotta tracery, which is 15th century French Gothic-inspired. Around the upper floors, you'll find figures such as giant eagles and mythical beasts. The terra cotta ornamentation on the lower floors is much more whimsical, featuring fish, crabs, sea shells and other sea creatures - a play on the name of the original owner. The interior of the building was decorated with some of the most expensive materials of its day. The wainscoting is of Carrara marble and beautiful mahogany wood was used in much of the trim. Many of the floors were of an ornate and colorful mosaic design.
The beautiful Fisher Building is now the Fisher Building City Apartments. It still retains its early 20th century charm and some of the condo entrances even boast the original mahogany trim and the opaque glass doors engraved with names of some of the Fisher Building's original business tenants.
November 12th, 2012
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