Lost Pieces of Merchandise Mart Found in a Suburban Garden

Merchandise Mart indian chief statue

A couple of times a month we get e-mails here from people who have found something related to Chicago or architecture or Chicago architecture and they want to know if it’s worth saving, restoring, or selling.

Merchandise Mart indian chief statueThese are almost always things like skyline postcards, or matchbooks with the logos of long-gone hotels, or sometimes receipts from stores that are long gone. Since this isn’t Antiques Roadshow and we don’t have anyone even remotely qualified to appraise these things, we usually decline. But every once in a while something comes our way that is most definitely worth a second look. In this case, it’s the lost indian heads of the Merchandise Mart.

A long-time reader of the blog sent us these pictures of the heads, which we’re told once adorned Chicago’s largest office building.

We purchased our home in 1983 and the Indian Chiefs were in located in the courtyard.

The previous owner was a classmate of Marshall Field III at Harvard. After World War II, the owner bought this property and, eventually, went to work for Field Enterprises in the Merchandise Mart.

One day in the early 60’s many of the Indian Chiefs were being removed from the facade of the Mart as some were becoming loose. Two were just outside the office window of the friend of Marshall Field III, so he asked if he could have them as he had the perfect new home for them.

[Mr. Field] was a frequent visitor at the home of his old classmate. [He] often stayed for long periods in the coach house and admired the Indian Chiefs’ new location in the stately courtyard. They are in great shape and represent a wonderful slice of Chicago Art Deco architectural history.

It’s a great story, and it’s great to see that at least two of the heads still exist. If you wish you could have an indian chief for your garden, you’re in luck. Our faithful reader tells us they’re for sale. If you’re interested in buying, send us your contact information and we’ll pass it on.

Merchandise Mart indian chief statue

Editor

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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1 Comment

  1. Actually, several of these heads are still visible near the roofline of the Mart, especially at the NE and NW corners.

    Best viewing is from Orleans and Hubbard.

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