The Rookery was one of the world’s first commercial skyscrapers. Originally built in 1886 by legendary architects, Daniel Burnham and John Root, the building was designed after the Chicago Great Fire. Tourists commonly ask what is a rookery? The term rookery was commonly used in the 18th and 19th century to describe nests or breeding place of a colony of rooks (also known as crows).
And, why did Root & Burnham decide to give such a prestigious building the name rookery? The story goes that before the Rookery was built, a dilapidated interim city hall building occupied the space that had a pigeon infestation problem. The tenants referred to the birds and the shady politicians as “rookery.” Moreover, after the new building was constructed it was given the name Rookery.
In 1905, Frank Lloyd Wright redesigned the interior lobby. Wright alternations included white marble with Persian-style ornamentation, which gave the lobby a luxurious and grand feel.
The building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Today architectural firm, Thompson, Ventulett, Stainback & Associates, Brooks Brothers, US Bank, and others occupy the building.