The topped-out steel frame seen soaring above The Loop's 19th Century low-rises was indeed the beginnings of Burnham & Root's Reliance Building. The legendary firm got the project rolling in 1890 and Charles B. Atwood finished it in 1895. Intended to house medical offices, unprecedented window coverage was factored in to the design. Delicate terra cotta trim pairs with the large windows for an awfully handsome sight at the corner of State & Washington. One reader guessed the Monadnock Building, also designed (in part) by Burnham & Root. Built in halves in the 1890s, we can see where mistaken identity might set in.
·Hint: A Big Test for Steel Framing & Glass in The Loop [Curbed Chicago]
·Old Chicago skyscraper of the week— Reliance [Architecture Farm]
·Reliance Building [Wikipedia]
[Photo: J. Croker/Wikipedia Commons]