Forgotten Landmarks: C.C.P. Holden Building

Forgotten Landmarks: C.C.P. Holden Building
1029 W. Madison Street

The top of the building at 1029 W. Madison Street on the Near West Side bears the name “1872 C.C.P. HOLDEN.”.

Charles C. P. Holden was one of Chicago’s original settlers, arriving in Chicago with his family in 1836, a year before the city was chartered. A well-known Chicago political figure, railroad magnate and real estate developer, he was very involved in the massive reconstruction efforts after the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, the same year he lost a bid to become the city’s mayor.

Designed by architect and Civil War veteran Col. Stephen Vaughan Shipman, Holden built the Italianate limestone, sandstone, terra cotta, brick and timber structure in 1872. According to Urban Remains, the building contains eight separate vaults with ornamental cast iron safe doors to protect from future fires (none have come since, of course).

Unfortunately, by as early as the 1910s, the block had become the main “hobohemian” district in Chicago. With further decline into the 1960s, the street gained notoriety as the city’s “Skid Row.” (This 1949 photo from the Cushman Collection of a building that was 4 blocks west gives you an idea of what it was like.) The building survived the massive neighborhood demolition that followed throughout the next few decades, although it remained in disrepair.

Local ad agency Schafer Condon Carter purchased it in Spring of 2011 and, shortly thereafter, there was a successful push to designate the building as a Chicago Landmark. You can find a lot more details on the building in the Landmark Designation Report online.

Epigraph at the top of 1029 W. Madison St.

Epigraph at the top of 1029 W. Madison St.

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