Answered By: JoEllen Dickie
Last Updated: Aug 01, 2019     Views: 167

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

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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