Browne’s Bookstore

Date: 1908    
Address: 410 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605    
City: Chicago, Illinois
Category: Commercial
Restoration status: Store relocated in 1910, space redecorated in 1912

In 1908, Francis Fisher Browne commissioned Wright to renovate a space in Chicago’s Fine Arts Building to accommodate Browne’s Bookstore. Designed by Solon Spencer Beman in 1885, the Fine Arts Building initially housed the Studebaker carriage factory and showroom but was renovated in the 1890s as a commercial center with shops, publishing firms, art galleries, artists’ studios, and the headquarters of a number of social clubs. Browne’s Bookstore was the first of three spaces Wright remodeled in the Fine Arts Building. It was designed with the business’ clientele in mind and, accordingly, included padded benches, alcoves with tables and chairs for reading, and a “children’s corner.” Located in a long and narrow space on the building’s seventh floor, the store featured leaded glass windows that afforded views of Lake Michigan, a pitched ceiling delineated with wood banding, built-in oak cabinets, and a balcony. Browne’s Bookstore relocated to the building’s ground floor in 1910, and its original, Wright-designed space was remodeled in 1912.


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