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Rookery Building, Chicago

4.5
#25 of 78 in Sightseeing in Chicago
Architectural Building Tourist Spot
The Rookery Building is a historic landmark located at 209 South LaSalle Street in the Loop community area of Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. Completed by John Wellborn Root and Daniel Burnham of Burnham and Root in 1888, it is considered one of their masterpiece buildings, and was once the location of their office. The building measures 181ft, is twelve stories tall and is considered the oldest standing high-rise in Chicago. It has a unique style with exterior load-bearing walls and an interior steel frame, which provided a transition between accepted and new building techniques. The lobby was remodeled in 1905 by Frank Lloyd Wright. Beginning in 1989, the lobby was restored to the original Wright design.The building was designated a Chicago Landmark on July 5, 1972, and was added to the National Register of Historic Places on April 17, 1970 and listed as a National Historic Landmark on May 15, 1975.NameThe name of the building is an allusion to the old City Hall building that occupied the land before the Rookery. That building was nicknamed the Rookery not only in reference to the crows and pigeons that inhabited its exterior walls, but also because of the shady politicians it housed (given the rook's perceived reputation for acquisitiveness). After the Great Chicago Fire a dilapidated building was used as an interim City Hall at this location (LaSalle and Adams). However, pigeons became such a nuisance that a complaining citizen began referring to the building as "a rookery", a term the press quickly adopted. Although several names were considered when a new structure on the site was proposed, "the Rookery" won out.
To visit Rookery Building on your holiday in Chicago, and find out what else Chicago has to offer, use our Chicago tourist route planner.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
237 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • We were lucky enough to attend a wedding here and it really is an impressive building with very interesting history. Well worth a look if your near by and enjoy architecture/ history.  more »
  • I'd been wanting to tour this space ever since I read Devil in the White City, a riveting book by Erik Larson about the Chicago World's Fair and the calculating serial killer who worked its edges. If ...  more »
  • Part of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust and there are some interesting details that you can see without going on the tour. I did not have time for the tour and had a very nice chat with the lady in the g...  more »
Google
  • A "must see" for any Chicago traveler. This historic building houses a roof designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and has a gift shop inside. The roof was covered in tar and used for parking at one point but has now been fully restored.
  • Lobby is open to visitors to see Root's design and Lloyd Wright's update. Make sure to check the Information is posted on the walls for details about the building. Worth the read.
  • This building is amazing to look at. It's a shame that on the day I wanted to see the lobby, it was closed. Pretty cool anyways, hope to see it next time.
  • Cool architectural gem in the city. Once the headquarters for the famous Daniel Burnham the atrium is gorgeous and the iconic stair is worth the walk. Unfortunately security is tight so you aren't going far without being invited by one of the businesses inside or on an architectural tour.
  • Inside the building looks amazing. Must see place in the area.

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The Midwest's major center for business conventions, Chicago boasts many affordable places to stay, with most hotels located around the airport and the city's central business district. To discover the city from a comfortable base within walking distance of most tourist attractions, aim for one of the big chain hotels in the downtown area. If you're traveling on a limited budget and wish to get a deeper sense of Chicago's many diverse neighborhoods, consider staying away from the pricey city center and explore suburbs on a commuter train line for easy city access.
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