Great Northern Hotel by D.H. Burnham and Company Built 1891, Demolished 1940

Great Northern Hotel
Architect: Burnham and Root
Location: 237 S. Dearborn St. at ne corner of W. Jackson Blvd.
Built: 1891
Demolished: 1940

“The Great Northern Hotel at Dearborn, Jackson, and Quincy streets, on the northeast corner of Jackson and Dearborn, is a high steel structure that preserves many canons of old-style proportions. Like the Rookery, the Siegel- Cooper, and the First National, the Great Northern is impressive on the lines of grace and beauty. The dimensions of this colossal structure are as follows: Front on Dearborn, 165 feet; depth on Jackson and Quincy, 100 feet; height, 185 feet; 16 stories and white marble basement. In this hotel are 500 rooms, 8 dining-rooms, cafe, and 6 elevators. A prize was publicly offered for a name, and given to the suggestor of the title “The Chicago.” This title was abandoned for the present one. The plan of entertainment is strictly European. The appointments and modern character of this hotel give it a conspicuous place among the sights and conveniences of Chicago. The proprietors are Hulbert & Eden, highly experienced and well-known landlords. Erected in 1891, at a cost of $1,150,000.” (Rand McNally’s Bird’s Eye Views of Chicago, 1893, pg. 24)

“After Root’s death in 1891, Daniel Burnham built the adjoining Great Northern Office and Theatre Building at 20 W. Jackson Blvd. The two buildings together formed a connected half block structure and enclosed the largest interior court in Chicago. The hotel was also opposite the Government Building. In 1910, the hotel advertised as having a “Café, Grill, and Lunch Room at Popular Prices.” At that time the hotel had eight dining rooms. The hotel was ultimately demolished in 1940. The Great Northern Office and Theatre Building were demolished, in 1961, for the Dirksen Federal Building.” (


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