Forgotten Merchants: Devoe and Raynolds Company

On the corner of Halsted and Chicago (770 N. Halsted Street) stands a condominium building that once was the manufacturing plant for the Devoe & Raynolds paint company.

The company has a long history. The company can traces its origins to 1754, when William Post began selling paint on the East River in New York. After going through a century of owners in family and business partnerships, Charles T. Raynolds became a co-owner in 1848. When his partner retired, Raynolds made Frederick W. Devoe partner in the newly-renamed firm of Raynolds & Devoe in 1852. They parted ways in the 1870s but in 1892, they partnered once again, this time as F.W. Devoe & C.T. Raynolds Co.

They both had separate Chicago locations in the latter half of the 1800s: Devoe at 176 Randolph (around where the Cadillac Palace is located today) and C.T. Reynolds at 21 Lake (now 65 E. Lake). In 1912, Devoe had a building erected at 14 E. Lake as the headquarters, although he died a year after it was built. The location only lasted 15 years before it was demolished and replaced with a taller building.

The Halsted Street building was built in 1902 and the company began major manufacturing here after Devoe died. The company itself, although still prosperous, was eventually bought by the Celanese Corporation in 1964. The complex was converted into office spaces and lofts in the late 1980s and is now referred to as the River West Plaza.

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