Loop Skyscraper Inching Toward Landmark Status

Do you like skyscrapers?  Do you like railroads?  Do you like history?  If you answered “no” to any of those questions, then what the heck are you doing reading this article, ya silly rabbit?

If you like skyscrapers, railroads, and history, then your pulse will pound harder than a middle-age bridge jumper nailing a trifecta at Arlington Park when we tell you that 226 West Jackson has been recommended for landmark status. 

226 West Jackson Boulevard
226 West Jackson Boulevard

You may remember 226 by its previous alias, the City Colleges of Chicago Headquarters. It was originally known as the Chicago and North Western Railway Office Building. 

If you’re not familiar with this building, that’s OK.  The corner of Franklin and Jackson isn’t the most fashionable right angle in the Loop.  It’s about as far as you can get away from Millennium Park without moistening your feet in the Chicago River.  Still, 226 does happen to be snuggle-buddies with the Willis Tower across the street, which will dole out noogies on anybody who says anything bad about 226’s grey granite facade.

According to a report from the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, the reasons the city wants to landmark this building include:

  • “[It’s] the best surviving building associated with the operation of the CN&W”
  • “[It] exemplifies the historic important of the railroad history to the history of Chicago”
  • “[It] exemplifies the characteristic features of the Classical Revival style”
  • “[It’s] a handsome and noteworthy example of a terra cotta-clad, 1900s-era office building, a significant building type in the history of Chicago’s Loop.”
  • “[It] retains a high degree of exterior architectural integrity.”

You may recall that five months ago we told you a developer floated a $100,000,000 plan to renovate this building into a pair of Hilton-flagged hotels.

With the Landmarks commission issuing its final report, now it’s up to City Council to whip out its rubber stamp of approval and get inky with it. 

Location: 226 West Jackson Boulevard, The Loop

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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