Then and Now: Chicago’s Seven City Halls

Chicago has had seven City Halls since 1837. Slide the Time Machine to see all of the City Halls through the years.

1837

City Hall #1
Chicago’s very first city business was conducted in leased space in the Saloon Building at the southeast corner of Lake and Clark Streets.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1842

City Hall #2
When the Saloon Building lease expired, the city rented space in this building at the corner of LaSalle and Randolph Streets.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1848

City Hall #3
In 1848, the first City Hall built by the City of Chicago went up in the center of State Street between Randolph and Lake Streets. “Old Market Hall” had 32 public market stalls on its first floor, with City offices upstairs.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1853

City Hall #4
A new City Hall-County Building was completed on the block bounded by LaSalle, Washington, Clark, and Randolph Streets.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1860

Growing and Changing
By 1860, the addition of a third floor, a dome, and east and west wings had expanded and altered the building’s appearance significantly.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1865

Abraham Lincoln Lies in State
On May 1 and 2, 1865, a traveling funeral train stopped in Chicago en route to Abraham Lincoln’s final resting place in Springfield, Illinois. As Lincoln’s body lay in state at the City Hall-County Building, more than 7,000 people an hour paid their respects.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1871

The Great Fire
The Great Fire of 1871 destroyed the City Hall-County Building. City offices moved temporarily into a police station on West Madison Street.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1873

City Hall #5
Meanwhile, the City quickly constructed a building around an old water tank at the corner of Adams and LaSalle Streets. The newer building that sits on the site today carries the original name: “The Rookery.”
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1885

City Hall #6
In 1885, the City moved into the City Hall and County Building – and a giant boondoggle. Drafty and dysfunctional, the structure was deemed overcrowded and inadequate, and plans for a new city hall were begun almost immediately.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

1910

City Hall #7
The current-day City Hall-County Building, designed by Holabird & Roche and completed in 1910, is Chicago’s seventh city hall. It has stood the test of time for more than 100 years.
Photo Credit: Chicago History Museum

Then and Now: Chicago's City Halls