NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Friday, February 5, 2016

Walking LaSalle Street -The Financial District in Downtown Chicago

There are more great buildings on LaSalle Street in the financial district of Chicago like the Continental Illinois Bank Building at 231 S. LaSalle.  The exterior is Neo-Classical, a vaguely Greek or Roman feel to it with large columns.  I overlooked getting a picture of the front of the building because I was so drawn to the sign in front of it.

Those lion claws are the best!

The interior is a mix of Neo-Classical and Gothic-Revival architecture with Art Deco influences.  In the early 1990s the building underwent a 10 million dollar renovation that still looks incredible.

bronze gates are located on lower floors of  quite a few buildings in Chicago and Milwaukee

Right away I was drawn to the escalator and up I went to the grand hall which is almost as large as a football field!  The ceiling is 55 feet up from the marble floor and the Ionic columns themselves measure 35 feet.  I stood in awe, trying to imagine coming into this bank to do business when it opened in 1910.

My wide angle lens couldn't even get it all!

Above the columns are murals portraying classical figures representing 29 countries and the commodities that once defined them in international trade. A figure of Russia bears a fur pelt. Spain is symbolized by the three ships with which Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492.

Looking down the escalator...or up to the ceiling!

And reflecting the continuing influence of the Columbian Exposition, the murals also contain key buildings from the "White City" of the 1893 fair.  I think this might be some of them in the background of the picture entitled "United States" below.  This was as close as I could get...WITH my zoom lens!

Photography is allowed as long as you point your camera up and stay within the allowed small area for visitors.  I got special permission to photograph the light fixture at the base of one of the columns since there were no workers in the frame.  I mean, how cool is this lion?

Just a hop down the street the Federal Reserve Bank was unfortunately only a walk-by for me that day, but I plan on returning for a proper tour.  In 2001, the Bank opened a Money Museum, which offers visitors an informative and interactive look at the important role of the Federal Reserve in maintaining a healthy, growing economy.

Federal Reserve Bank with the Chicago Board of Trade to the left

The other imposing financial district building on this block is directly across from the Continental Illinois Bank is 208 S. LaSalle, formerly the City National Bank and Trust building.

Now it's a Marriott hotel with retail space on the lower level as well.  Yet another place I need to walk into and explore!  I think I'll get my buddy Jeanna to go with me next time.  Maybe we'll get up to some mischief like we did at the Capitol in Madison!


  1. You are a closet architect, for sure. Those buildings are so ornate, inside and out! And a wonderful glimpse into the past. Thank you.
    Box Canyon Mark