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Postcards - Adler & Sullivan's Auditorium and Congress Hotels in Chicago
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Back of previous postcard


Back of previous postcard

Auditorium Hotel

Back of previous postcard

Auditorium Hotel

Auditorium Hotel

Office, Auditorium Hotel

Restaurant, Auditorium Hotel

State Street

State Street, South from Randolph

State and Madison Sts. (Carson Pirie Scott at right)

Madison and State Streets (Carson Pirie Scott at right)


The Congress Hotel

The Congress Hotel was built in 1893 for the Columbian World's Exposition. Its architecture was designed to blend with that of the Auditorium Theatre, and the hotel itself at one time was connected to the theatre, prior to the construction of the Congress Parkway.

Architecture students from all over the world today come to Chicago to study the architecture of the Congress Plaza Hotel. Clinton J. Warren was the architect of our north tower, with Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler serving as consultants.

Built by Clinton J. Warren, who began his architectural career with Burnhan and Root around 1880 and founded his own office in 1886. The ten-story north block of the Congress, on the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Congress Parkway, was completed in 1893. The fourteen-story addition to the south was sonstructed in two parts, in 1902 and 1907. Holabird and Roche received the commission for the annex but followed Warren's design almost exactly.


1886 - Ferdinand Wythe Peck, a Chicago business man, incorporates the Chicago Auditorium Association on December 8th for the purpose of developing the world's largest, grandest, most expensive theater. The building is to include an office block and a first class hotel. On the board are Marshall Field, Edson Keith, Martin Ryerson, George Pullman, and other Chicago business tycoons. Adler and Sullivan are hired to design the project, based on their work at the Interstate Exposition Building.

1887 - October 5th, President Grover Cleveland lays the cornerstone for the Auditorium Building.

1888 - The Republican National Convention is held in the partially finished Auditorium Building. Benjamin Harrison is nominated. Adler and Sullivan hire a young draftsman, Frank Lloyd Wright, to join their firm.

1889 - In July, the first tenant, the Chicago Conservatory of Music and Dramatic Art, moves into the Auditorium Building. On December 9th, President Benjamin Harrison dedicates the Theatre before a standing room only crowd. Operatic idol, Madam. Adelina Patti sings "Home Sweet Home".

Adler and Sullivan open their offices on the 16th and 17th floor of the Auditorium tower.

1891 - The Chicago Symphony Orchestra debuts on October 16 and makes it home in the Auditorium Theatre until moving to Orchestra Hall in 1904.

1912 - Theodore Roosevelt gives his famous "Bull Moose" speech at the Auditorium and is nominated for President of the United States by the independent National Progressive Party.

1952 - In order to widen Congress Street, a sidewalk is created through the south end of the building, destroying the hotel cafe, the famous long bar, and other original public areas.

1968-1975 - Auditorium serves as Chicago's premier rock house with performances by Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Janis Joplin, The Grateful Dead and many others.

1975 - The Auditorium building is placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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