The Chicago Files

A CANADIAN EXPAT'S EXPERIENCES AND OBSERVATIONS LIVING IN THE WINDY CITY!

Merchandise Mart

Will you take a look at this gargantuan structure!  As difficult as it is to believe, what you are seeing is actually one building.  The, “Merchandise Mart” was built in 1930 with a whopping 4,000,000 square feet of space.  At the time, the Merchandise Mart was the largest building on the planet.  The owner of the building was Marshall Field & Co.; however, the Kennedy family (yes, the JFK family) were the proprietors of the Merchandise Mart for over fifty years, having purchased the building in 1945.  The building was originally used to store household products for department store buyers.

Wholesale showrooms now occupy about 50% of the floor space in the entire building.  Some showrooms are open to the public, while others are restricted to wholesale buyers.  The other 50% includes retail shops, a post office, and a Holiday Inn (no kidding)!  Let’s see, who else hangs their proverbial hat at, “The Mart”; Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper, and the Chicago campus of the Illinois Institute of Art.  Radio and television stations have also set up shop in the Merchandise Mart.  Why, even the Chicago Transit Authority’s “L-Train” system has a, “Merchandise Mart” train station!

This building is so large that until 2008 it had its own zip code (postal code, post code); oh, and then it had to share its unique code with the surrounding area.  There are 4,000 windows in this building.  The Merchandise Mart receives approximately 20,000 visitors per day.  Now, if you are thinking what I am thinking, this would lend itself (literally) very well to having one out of ever five visitors clean a window! Or, everyone can clean a window, providing extra-sparkly glass five times per day!  Now that I mention it, wouldn’t that make an interesting photo op?

Upon arrival at the Merchandise Mart, please grab a cloth, window cleaner, and make your way to a window; you have 4,000 to choose from, so there’s no need to negotiate a space!

I have it on reliable authority (okay, I don’t really, but I heard it on the streets) that some of the Kennedy brothers used to throw around the ‘ol football on occasion atop of the Merchandise Mart!

Ah yes, I almost forgot to mention something.  The photo at the top of this post was taken last weekend while I was on an architectural boat tour meandering down the Chicago River.  So as not to end up in the drink, I didn’t stand up when taking my shot; therefore, the heads in the photo are not part of the Merchandise Mart experience; please ignore them while viewing the photo! *grin*

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49 thoughts on “Presenting, “The Mammoth Merchandise Mart”

  1. Love this building. Always has been one of my favorites. Thanks for featuring 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you, Kimberly! I still cannot get over how large it is! And I see it all the time! *LOL* Cher xo

      Like

  2. Pawsome post, furiend! That would make a great kat hangout! A kat (or two) in EVERY WINDOW! Mol!😺

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      *LOL* Thank you, dear!! That’s a lotta fur peeps!!! *grin* Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. MOL! We kats would love soaking up the sun in all those windows!😺

        Liked by 1 person

      2. seaangel4444 says:

        I knowwww!!!! *grin* Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

  3. An impressive building with an impressive history Cher.. Wishing you a wonderful week.. Hugs Sue xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much, dear Sue! And to you as well!! Hugs, Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. weggieboy says:

    It reminds me of those outrageous showcase buildings from the Soviet era in Russia: ugly, undistinguished, big. It is getting lots of use, though, so I guess I should back off on my judgement! At least it’s not like that pyramid-like hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, that has been in construction forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Actually the Merchandise Mart has been going strong since it was built in 1930. The art deco style inside is striking. It’s a really impressive building. I had never, ever been a fan of the extra-large buildings myself until I saw inside the Merchandise Mart!

      Like

  5. yeseventhistoowillpass says:

    That building is indeed massive

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      It sure is!!! Cher xo

      Like

  6. John says:

    Never seen this before, an amazing place!!

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Isn’t that crazy-huge, John? It’s really nice inside, too! Cher xo

      Like

  7. dray0308 says:

    Great picture and background story! Thank you for posting!

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Absolutely my pleasure! Thank you so much!!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Amy says:

    4,000,000 square feet, Wow! And, JFK… interesting. Great shot from the boat tour. 🙂

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Isn’t that amazing, Amy? It’s hard to fathom, isn’t it? Yes, the JFK (Kennedy)family owning this building for decades is quite something! Ah, thanks, Amy! I wanted to get a shot without any passengers in it, but I just didn’t want to stand! *LOL* Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Amy says:

        Great shot of the building. The passengers in the photo made me feel like I was cruising along the architecture tours. Very cool actually. xo

        Liked by 1 person

      2. seaangel4444 says:

        Ah, thank you so much, Amy! That is extremely thoughtful of you to say!! 🙂 🙂 Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

  9. nexi says:

    Oh wow – I’ve just been having a look round inside it on Google Maps street view….. thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Isn’t it cool? That is a great idea!! Thank YOU!! Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Don says:

    What a magnificent building. Looks like an enormous ancient temple. Great image Cher, heads and all. 🙂

    Like

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Hi Don! The first time I saw it I could hardly believe my eyes! I had never seen a building that large in Canada or anywhere else for that matter. Yes, it does look like an enormous ancient temple, doesn’t it? *LOL* Oh Don, thank you for the kind words! Glad the heads didn’t distract too much from the photo! *grin* Cher xo

      Like

  11. Wow! What an amazing building and history! Great photo. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thanks so much! It’s HUGE, isn’t it? Cher xo

      Like

  12. Gator Woman says:

    Awesome place. Great shot~

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      Thank you so much, Donna!!! It is huge, isn’t it? Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Gator Woman says:

        The one in LA is likewise!!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. seaangel4444 says:

        Oh, what is it called? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Gator Woman says:

        Spent every Saturday for many years, in the garment district buying ~

        Liked by 1 person

      4. seaangel4444 says:

        That is really cool, Donna!!!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. Gator Woman says:

        Great exercise, big area to walk.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. seaangel4444 says:

        I love LA and we went through the garment district briefly; however, it was on a tour so I didn’t get the full picture, but I did notice it went on and on and on! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Gator Woman says:

        It covers an unbelievable amount of real estate. You would not believe how many parking tickets I acquired over the years~

        Liked by 1 person

      8. seaangel4444 says:

        *LOL* It does, doesn’t it, Donna? *LOL* I can see why! It would take a while to get from one place to another, and by the time you get back to your car……ticket!!

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Gator Woman says:

        But it was wonderful to be there!

        Liked by 1 person

      10. seaangel4444 says:

        Oh yes, I can see why! I absolutely LOVE LA! And Long Beach!

        Liked by 1 person

      11. Gator Woman says:

        Lived in LB twice. Loved it~

        Liked by 1 person

      12. seaangel4444 says:

        That’s awesome!! 🙂 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      13. Gator Woman says:

        Those were the good ole days~

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I have to visit Chicago just to visit this building.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. seaangel4444 says:

      You should, Susanne! It is an incredible building! Cher xo

      Like

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