Restoration is Underway on the Historic 35 East Wacker

The city of Chicago is renowned for its rich history as a hub for modern industry and luxury.

35 East Wacker, originally known as the Jeweler’s Building (built in 1926), channels Roman, Greek, and Gothic architecture with its intricate, decorative flourishes. The Jeweler’s building was originally built to house and protect the city’s diamond trade.

In its time, this structure was experimental in both form and function; built to ensure safe transportation of precious materials. Most of the building was used as an indoor parking structure, disguised behind an ornate terra cotta facade. Using a drive-in automobile elevator, cars were lifted up to the 22nd floor. Although a feat of modern technology at the time, the feature was abandoned after World War II in favor of more office space. Aside from being home to Chicago’s diamond trade, it is rumored that the top few floors in the building’s dome were used as a speakeasy – known as the the Stratosphere Lounge – apparently run by Al Capone.

Today, 35 East Wacker serves as a reminder of a time-not-yet-forgotten. By preserving historic architecture, the energy of the early twentieth century still lingers and the belief of limitless potential continues to inspire people today. The building’s restoration is being assisted by Boston Valley Terra Cotta who is manufacturing the broken and missing units of the original facade. The project is underway and examples of our work can be seen in the photos below.

35 East Wacker, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Chicago, Illinois, Restoration, Terracotta

A piece of new terra cotta displayed next to the original for comparison.

35 East Wacker, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Chicago, Illinois, Restoration, Terracotta

Detail shot of a recreated terra cotta wall piece from 35 East Wacker.

35 East Wacker, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Chicago, Illinois, Restoration, Terracotta

Terra cotta wall unit featuring a repetitive geometric pattern.

35 East Wacker, Boston Valley Terra Cotta, Chicago, Illinois, Restoration, Terracotta

Detail shot of geometric patterned terra cotta.

 

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