History
Historical Timeline
1871

After the Great Chicago Fire, the area at the southeast corner of LaSalle and Adams streets was the location of a water tank, and at one time City Hall and the first Chicago Public Library.

1885

Daniel Burnham and John Root were commissioned to design a building for the Central Safety Deposit Company to be located at the southeast corner of LaSalle and Adams Streets.

1888

The Rookery was completed. At eleven stories high – this was one of the grandest buildings in the world at the time it was built.

Burnham & Root move their offices to The Rookery.

1905

Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to update the light court with a more modern appearance. He encased Root’s iron columns in gilded white marble and added bronze chandeliers with prismatic glass.

1931

William Drummond incorporated an Art Deco aesthetic and divided the two-story entrance lobby into separate floors. He replaced Wright’s open-geometric elevator cages with solid bronze doors etched with birds.

1970

The Rookery is placed on The National Register of Historic Places.

1972

The City of Chicago designates The Rookery an official Chicago Landmark.

1982

The 100 year lease with the city expired and ownership of The Rookery reverted back to the city of Chicago.

1988

L.T. Baldwin III purchases The Rookery with the intent to preserve its historic grandeur while also adapting it to modern day technologies.

1992

Newest, and most extensive, restoration of The Rookery is complete, garnering numerous awards. A 12th story is added and the Burnham Library is restored.

2008

New ownership ushers in a long-term commitment to enhance and share the historic and architectural heritage of this beloved place to conduct business in Chicago.

2011

On November 30, 2011, the Rookery had a lighting event to showcase the new lights that were added onto the exterior of the building to highlight its architectural features.

2014

In April 2014, The Rookery Building achieved its LEED Gold Certification!

Built in 1888, The Rookery is the oldest LEED Gold certified building in Illinois as well as the oldest certified high-rise in the world.

By achieving the LEED designation, The Rookery provides to its tenants not only office space with a historic address but a work environment that celebrates sustainability and energy efficiency.

On December 8, 2014, The Rookery Building was host to United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon and Rahm Emanuel, The Mayor of Chicago.

A tour and press conference were held within the building to recognize the Retrofit Chicago Commercial Building Initiative as well as the building’s energy saving projects. The Rookery is a part of the Retrofit Chicago program which works with commercial buildings to reduce energy consumption by 20% over a five year period.

THE FUTURE

Although the future has yet to be written, The Rookery was a symbol of innovation and bold success when built, and it promises to continue as such going forward.

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