Salvaging Fragments from the Chicago Stock Exchange

In 1987, Grannen was approached by the owner of Three Oaks Wrecking Co., the company that handled the 1972 demolition of the Chicago Stock Exchange. Prior to going out of business in 1973, Three Oaks stored several truckloads of architectural fragments from the Stock Exchange in a rail yard on the far south side. Grannen had been previously approached by the company with various items that had been salvaged from the Stock Exchange. However, by this time Three Oaks was losing the lease on the rail yard and offered Grannen a chance to buy it all. Grannen and his team spent an entire summer excavating fragments that had been buried in the sandy ground.The wrecking company had taken care to spray the iron and metal fragments to prevent corrosion before burying them, presumably to protect against thieves or would-be urban grave robbers. That summer, Grannen recalls being visited by a man every day who seemed to have been living in a wooded area near the rail yard. Clad in a loin cloth and clutching a homemade bow and arrow, the visitor quietly observed them as they pulled the fragments from the ground, before disappearing back into the woods.

Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan

During their partnership, Dankmar Adler and Louis H. Sullivan created some of the ground breaking and influential buildings of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Adler specialized in the engineering side of the business, which allowed Sullivan to work primarily as the designer on their projects. Together they completed many notable structures including the famous Wainwright Building (St. Louis, 1891), the Schiller Building (Chicago, 1891) and the James Charnley House (Chicago, 1891–1892). However, it was the Chicago Stock Exchange, built at the height of the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, that was undoubtedly the magnum opus of their career. The interior of the building was decorated with lavish organic designs inspired by the flora and fauna of the prairie landscape exemplary of their uniquely Midwestern style of Art Nouveau. Although the partnership ended in 1895, Adler and Sullivan forever changed the architectural landscape of Chicago with more than 180 buildings designed during the 15 years they worked together.

Auction Results Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan