Answered By: JoEllen Dickie Last Updated: Jun 15, 2016 Views: 106
In general, there are two paths to do this type of research: bricks & mortar, and people. Bricks & mortar deals with the physical structure of the building -- the architectural style, the architect, the contractors, alterations through the years. People encompass the owners who previously owned a business or lived in the building.
A helpful resource to get started is a publication from the city's landmarks commission http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/landmarksweb/static/pdf/Your_House_Has_A_History.pdf
Another easy way to begin your research is to search the building's address in the digitized Chicago Tribune. The database is available at the Newberry (in-library use only) and also on the Chicago Public Library site (home use with library card number). There may be references to real estate transactions,people, or advertisements related to the business/building.
City and business directories can also be useful tools in your search. These are available at the Newberry Library as well as the Chicago History Museum Research Center.
Building permits are another good resource City of Chicago building permits (1872-1954) are available on microfilm at the Chicago History Museum and University of IL Chicago.
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