Board of Trade opens vault to public for first time in 83 years: Photos

For the first time ever the doors of the vault in the Chicago Board of Trade building opened to the public Sunday. This first in 83 years was made possible as part of the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

Saturday and Sunday 150 building's throughout Chicago held public tours of Chicago's most treasured building's. The Chicago Board of Trade was open to the public Sunday from 9 am-5 pm, it was first on my list of things to see.

The vault has held many a valuable item in the 83 year history of the building, including gold, silver, and cash, but it’s empty now.  The Chicago Board of Trade Building was built by Holabird and Root in 1930. The imposing art deco structure sits at the southern end of the LaSalle Street canyon and contains a basement vault that has been sitting empty for decades. The massive vault door and steel safety deposit box interior make this forgotten cavern an attraction in itself that inspires curiosity and awe from first time viewers. Throughout its history the vault has secured items of importance such as trading receipts, silver bars, safe deposit boxes, and even a coat room but was never used by a bank, just traders.

The Chicago Board of Trade Plaza, corner of Jackson and LaSalle.

Since 1930, the Chicago Board of Trade has been operating out of 141 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago, in a building designed by architects Holabird & Root that is 605 feet (184 m) tall, the tallest in Chicago until the Richard J. Daley Center superseded it in 1965. This Art Deco building incorporates sculptural work by Alvin Meyer and is capped by a 31 foot (9.5 m) tall statue of the Roman goddess Ceres in reference to the exchange's heritage as a commodity market. Ceres is faceless because its sculptor, John Storrs, believed that the forty-five story building would be sufficiently taller than any other nearby structure and as a result that no one would be able to see the sculpture's face anyway.

On May 4, 1977, the Chicago Board of Trade Building was designated a Chicago Landmark. The building is now a National Historic Landmark.

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