Lake-Franklin facade along West Lake Street.
Backstory and Context
The Rowney, Cole, White, and Kent Buildings found at the corner of North Franklin Street and West Lake Street in Chicago’s Loop District remain the city’s best and largest surviving example of post-fire architecture. Known collectively as the Lake-Franklin Group, the buildings were constructed between 1872-1875 - two designed by the architectural firm Burling and Adler, one designed by George Edbrooke, and the designer of the fourth is unknown. The architectural features of all four Italianate style buildings are rare and uniquely specific to the decade after the Great Fire: cast-iron columns, molded terra cotta window hoods, intricately detailed window keystones, and arched window designs. The buildings’ original tenets were wholesalers and manufacturers of such products as leather, machinery, and textiles. Post-fire buildings such as the Lake-Franklin Group quickly fell out of fashion as the skyscraper boom of the 1880s took place. Surviving the period of urban renewal, the Lake-Franklin Group today are a grouping of mixed-use properties with eating establishments on the ground floor and office and living space above. The Lake-Franklin Group was designated a Chicago Landmark on February 26, 1997.
Timothy, Barton, Cedric Jones, James Peters, Timothy Samuelson. Lake-Franklin Group City of Chicago Landmarks Designation Report. Archive.org. April 1989. January 14, 2019. https://archive.org/stream/CityOfChicagoLandmarkDesignationReports/LakeFranklinGroup_djvu.txt.
Lake-Franklin Group. Chicago Landmarks. January 14, 2019. https://webapps.cityofchicago.org/landmarksweb/web/landmarkdetails.htm?lanId=1351.