No matter how long you’ve lived here, there is always something new to learn about the great city of Chicago. And if you’re a newcomer, the quirks, along with the character of this city is truly endless. Chicago is a city of tradition, as well as progress, which makes the landscape of this city a mixture of old and new. We wanted to highlight some of the oldest buildings in Chicago so that the next time you’re walking around, you might notice a bit of history about our great city.
Pickwick Stable: built in 1892 and located in an alley at 22 E. Jackson Blvd, this tiny building is known to be the oldest standing structure in the Loop. The building is said to have been built on top of a stable, which was in existence in 1857. On either side of the small building is the Gibbons Building and the Steger. The small Pickwick Stable is only two stories and now houses a coffee shop called Asado. They serve high-end coffee that is roasted in the shop itself.
Henry B. Clarke House: This location can be found one mile south of the loop and it was built in 1833. Currently owned by the Norwood Park Historical Society, they purchased it in 1987 for $285,000. Prior to that, it had passed through the hands of many historic Chicago families. This is considered to be the oldest building within the Chicago city limits. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. It is currently operated as a museum.
The Rookery: Built after the great Chicago fire of 1871, the building was built in 1885 and was originally designed as a prestigious office building. It was absolutely revolutionary for its time, containing elevators, electric lighting, and fireproofing. At eleven stories tall, it is considered to be one of the oldest standing high-rise buildings in Chicago.
The Walnut Room: why not add in a place to grab a bite? Built in 1907, this was the very first restaurant to be opened in a department store (Macy’s). The wait to grab a bite here around Christmas can be a few hours. The recommended choices to order are the original chicken pot pie, BLT jam burger, or the chicken salad croissant.
Palmer House Hilton: This historic hotel was built as a wedding present in 1871, but it burned down just three days after it opened in the Great Chicago Fire. They immediately rebuilt the hotel into one of the fanciest hotels in the world. The hotel has hosted presidents such as Ulysses S. Grant, James Garfield, and Grover Cleveland. In the 1920s, a new Palmer House Hotel was built.