Designed in 1903 by Holabird & Roche, 619 South Lasalle Street in Chicago was once the home to Brock & Rankin, a printer and binder of books, catalogues, and encyclopedias. The company vacated the building in the 1950s and sections of the building were remodeled for office use. Today, Boston Valley Terra Cotta is helping restore 619 South Lasalle into a residential apartment complex. Several original features will be included in the renovation such as mosaic tile flooring, a passenger elevator cab, and a historic metal staircase that will all be included into the lobby area.
We recently received a few of the original terra cotta blocks that were removed from the building and shipped to us for creation of replacement units. Surprisingly, that wasn’t all we received. A newspaper dated from July 8,1909 was found deep inside one of the blocks.
Amazingly the paper is still legible even after being stored inside the block for over 100 years! We like to think that one of the construction workers was taking his lunch and placed it inside a piece of the terra cotta, not wanting to carry it down the 7 story building with him.
Boston Valley has started the process of replicating the historic red terra cotta detailing for this beautiful building. We happy to be a part of this architectural restoration project that is bringing this building back to life AND getting the chance to glimpse into Chicago’s past.