Located in the heart of Chicago's Loop, there are numerous buildings deemed significant in the evolution of Chicago commercial architecture and early twentieth-century skyscrapers, The district's history provides a lens into Chicago's broader economic history as it grew to become the heart of the city's center for jewelry manufacturing and trade, silver manufacturing, and watch manufacturing and repair.
An integral figure in the Chicago School of Architecture, his partnership with Dankmar Adler began in 1879, and their first important project was the Central Music Hall in Chicago. The success of the Music Hall and buildings such as the Jewelers Building helped provide substantial success for the two partners. At the Chicago World's Fair of 1893 (a.k.a. World's Columbian Exposition), Sullivan's Transportation Building, with its shimmering gold-leafed entrance, not only won awards, but clearly showed his disapproval of the famed White City, built by rival (and no friend) Daniel Burnham.
Sullivan was also a mentor to Frank Lloyd Wright and influenced the eventual development of the Prairie School of architecture. However, The national depression of the 1890s profoundly affected Adler and Sullivan's firm, resulting in the end of their partnership by 1895. Trend in architecture, notably the dominance of the Beaux-Arts architectural style for which Burnham helped create, led to the end of Sullivan's significant influence, but he continued to design buildings and he wrote The Autobiography of an Idea before his death in 1924.