Wrigley Building Chicago IL
Wrigley Building, Chicago, IL

Chicago has influenced American architecture throughout history. Several visitors ask what differentiates Chicago architecture from New York or other cities. For starters, most of the buildings were constructed after the Great Fire, which occurred in 1871. In comparison, other cities have preserved architecture from earlier periods. The limestone gothic Water Tower designed by W.W. Boyington in 1867 is one of the few buildings that remained standing after the fire. Chicago’s pre-existing structures were composed of wood, stone, brick and cast iron; consequently, the “Chicago School” of architecture begun after the fire and the buildings were composed of steel frames, terra cotta, and glass. This style of buildings was considered the first skyscrapers. The Home Insurance building in Chicago was considered the first skyscraper in the United States at 10 stories; it was constructed in 1884, but then demolished in 1931 to make room for the Field Building.