much of schlesinger & mayer building's interior ornamental iron scrapped during the depression and again during "great flood"

the schlesinger and meyer building's copper-plated cast iron open cage elevators were ripped out in 1936 and either scrapped or relegated to the basement. 

shortly after the great flood of 1992, a great deal of sullivan/elmslie-designed elements, which also included staircase stringers, newels, and balusters, were tossed into dumpsters when the building's main basement and sub-basements dried. 

thankfully, some of the ornament lives on, including a reconstructed elevator cab at lovejoy library, elevator door medallions, elaborate cast iron elevator domes, and staircase newel caps and balusters. 

the schlesinger and meyer building was designed by louis h. sullivan in 1899, with subsequent additions completed by daniel burnham in 1906 and holabird & root in 1961.

images courtesy of the ryerson and burnham archive, institute of chicago, and eric j. nordstrom. ornament courtesy of the bldg. 51 museum collection.




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