If you’ve ever lived in the West Loop, as I once did, you may have spent a warm afternoon wandering around, looking at the old warehouses and wondered about what wares they housing before they became cold storage for yuppies.
Some buildings give us a hint. Others don’t.
The building you see above tells us the story, not of its origins, but of its mid-life. In spite of the needles and spools of thread that adorn its facade, the Haberdasher Square Lofts (728 West Jackson Street) were built as the headquarters of the A.B. Dick office supply company. Dick outgrew its building and left for the suburbs in the 1940’s. That’s when the Hart Schaffner & Marx menswear company moved in, and apparently festooned the outside of the building with great stonework that remains today.
As its modern name implies, today it is residential lofts. Word on the street is that if you have one of the units with original wood floors, you may occasionally find a half-decade-old sewing needle between the floorboards. Epic.
But that’s not the whole story.
Haberdasher “Square” includes a second building immediately adjacent. The former 710 West Jackson Street building became the home of the Wurlitzer Juke Box Company when it moved to Chicago from Cincinnati in 1941.
Walking by, we haven’t see any stonework or other indications of this building’s musical past. Chances are the gaps in the floorboards aren’t wide enough that someone might accidentally find an old 45.