Office in a Masterpiece

When it was completed in 1893, the Monadnock was the world's largest office building. People are still startled by the power and simplicity of its design; some say that modern architecture began with its sweeping curves.


The restoration of the Monadnock is a nationally acclaimed melding of historic character and modern technology. The building’s 300 suites are ideal for independent professional firms and entrepreneurs. They range in size from 250 to 5000 square feet, so businesses can grow here without relocating.

Every suite has a distinguished oak and glass entrance and large, operable windows to let in natural light and fresh air.


The Monadnock houses a vital business community served by a professional staff and on-site ownership that understand the needs of growing firms and give first class service to every tenant.


Read more about the Monadnock Building on Wikipedia.

Building History

The North half of the Monadnock was John Wellborn Root’s last and boldest design. Root died at the age of 41, while the building was under construction.  At the time of his death, in addition to running Chicago’s largest architectural practice, John Root and Daniel Burnham were responsible for the design and construction of the World’s Columbian Exposition, which was to open the following year. Root’s death forced Burnham to concentrate his energies on the Exposition, so when the north half of the Monadnock rented quickly and its owners decided to build the south half right away, they commissioned another firm to design it: Holabird & Roche, the second largest practice in the City.


The two halves of the building are similar in scale and color, but quite different in style. The north half is often called a fountainhead of modern architecture because of its total absence of exterior ornament. Root evidently felt that all that was needed here was graceful form for the structure itself. The south half of the building, on the other hand, is a masterful early application of classical architectural principles to the design of a tall building.


The Monadnock also marks a historic transition in the development of structural methods. Most of the buildings that preceded it were supported by their outside walls. The north half of the Monadnock is probably the tallest building ever built that is supported primarily by brick walls.  At ground level, those walls are six feet thick. Half of the south half of the building is built the same way, but the south quarter of the building is supported entirely by a steel frame, as were most of the tall buildings that followed it. Today, this is called “curtain wall” construction: the façade doesn’t support the building, it’s just a “curtain” to keep out the elements.


The Monadnock was designed so that it could operate as four separate office buildings.  Each section stands on its own lot, and at one time each section had its own entrance, elevators, heating system and name: from north to south, they were the Monadnock, the Kearsarge, the Katahdin, and the Wachusett, each the name of a Union navy ship and also the name of a mountain in the developers’ native New England.

Building Features

Comcast, AT&T fiber optic, and onShore communications services


Building conference room with seating for 24, wireless internet access, and digital projection facility


Four mail boxes, Fedex and UPS drop-offs in the lobby


Tenant storage closets available throughout the building


Responsive on-site management, maintenance, remodeling and cleaning staffs, and 24/7 manned security


The Monadnock Building is also home to these fine shops, restaurants and retail service providers:


Intelligentsia Café

Harry’s Sandwich Shop

Optimo hats

Leffot men's shoes

Zeglio Custom Men's Clothing

A New Leaf floral shop

JC Jewelers

Metropolitan Barber Shop

Florodora women's clothing and shoes

The Shoe Hospital

Viking Printing & Copying

CES Travel

Prehop Dry Cleaner




The Monadnock Building     53 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois 60604     312.922.1890