LOSS: Morton Salt Headquarters Building Demolished

The mid-century modern Morton Salt Headquarters Building was demolished to make way for a new office skyscraper. Designed by the highly respected architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White along with Shaw, Metz & Dolio, this five-story building had been a fixture at 110 North Wacker Drive since its completion in 1961. It was commissioned by Morton Salt Company, the long-standing Chicago-based company founded in 1879. Morton Salt Company left the building in 1992 and more recently, General Growth Properties occupied the building.

At a Section 106 meeting, Preservation Chicago advocated for a reconsideration of the proposed demolition, citing the building’s history, integrity, scale and relationship to the development of Chicago. Additionally, the history of Wacker Drive’s transformation from Market Street is being lost as the scale of the riverfront is being overwhelmed with super tall, glass buildings. Additionally, Preservation Chicago suggested that the following nearby riverfront buildings be considered for Chicago Landmark designation, including the Hartford Insurance Building at 100 S. Wacker Drive by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (1961), and 10 and 120 S. Riverside Plaza Buildings also by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (1968 and 1974), along with the Art Deco 2 N. Riverside Plaza also known as the Chicago Daily News Building by Holabird & Root (1928)

One positive outcome from Preservation Chicago and Docomomo Chicago’s advocacy was that the developer agreed to repurpose some of the Morton Salt Building’s stainless steel panels in the new building, to install plaques to commemorate the Morton Salt Company history, to commission a study of the Morton Salt Building’s architecture and donate it to the research collections at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Ryerson and Burnham Architecture Archives, and to sponsor a public education seminar regarding mid-century modern Architecture in Chicago.

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