Second Leiter Building

Second Leiter Building

Location Chicago, Illinois
Coordinates 41°52′35.04″N 87°37′38.56″W / 41.8764000°N 87.6273778°W / 41.8764000; -87.6273778Coordinates: 41°52′35.04″N 87°37′38.56″W / 41.8764000°N 87.6273778°W / 41.8764000; -87.6273778
Built 1889
Architect William Le Baron Jenney
NRHP Reference # 76000695[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHP January 7, 1976
Designated NHL January 7, 1976
Designated CL January 14, 1997

The Second Leiter Building, also known as Leiter II Building and the Sears Building, is located at the northeast corner of South State Street and East Congress Parkway in Chicago, Illinois. (not to be confused with the present Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower, constructed and owned by the famous nation-wide mail-order firm Sears, Roebuck & Company). This landmark of the Chicago school of architecture gained fame for being one of the earliest commercial buildings constructed with a metal skeleton frame remaining in the United States.

Built in 1891 by Levi Z. Leiter, (1834-1904), the Second Leiter Building was designed by architect William Le Baron Jenney, who implemented the skeletal frame made of steel to make the design fireproof. The building was leased by Levi Leiter to the department store of Siegel, Cooper and Company who occupied it for approximately seven years.[2] After Siegel Cooper closed, the building hosted various tenants until it became the downtown flagship store of Sears, Roebuck and Company in 1932. Sears occupied the space the until 1986 when it decided to close the store and the space was leased to other tenants.[3]

The structure is eight floors and occupies the entire block of State Street between Congress Parkway and Van Buren Street. The State Street facade consists of nine bays separated by wide pilasters. The pilasters are capped by simple capitals and an unadorned cornice crowns the entire structure. The Congress and Van Buren facades are three bays wide with measurements of 400 ft (120 m) by 143 ft (44 m). Within each bay are four windows on each floor aligned vertically. The building is faced with a pink granite. Each floor contains 50,000 sq ft (4,600 m2) with 16 ft (4.9 m) ceilings and could be divided to house multiple tenants.[2]

Its predecessor, the First Leiter Building, was designed by Jenny in 1879 and stood at Wells and Monroe until it was demolished in 1972. The Second Leiter Building was designated a Chicago Landmark on January 14, 1997 and in 1998, the building became home to the Chicago campus of Robert Morris University-Illinois.[4]

See also


  1. National Park Service (2006-03-15). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. 1 2 "Second Leiter Building". Society of Architectural Historians. 2010. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
  3. "State Street". Chicago Neighborhood and City Guide. Retrieved 2011-07-08.
  4. "Our Mission, History and Credentials". Robert Morris University. Retrieved 2011-07-08.

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