Presenting, “The Mammoth Merchandise Mart”

Merchandise Mart

Will you take a look at this gargantuan structure!  As difficult as it is to believe, what you are seeing is actually one building.  The, “Merchandise Mart” was built in 1930 with a whopping 4,000,000 square feet of space.  At the time, the Merchandise Mart was the largest building on the planet.  The owner of the building was Marshall Field & Co.; however, the Kennedy family (yes, the JFK family) were the proprietors of the Merchandise Mart for over fifty years, having purchased the building in 1945.  The building was originally used to store household products for department store buyers.

Wholesale showrooms now occupy about 50% of the floor space in the entire building.  Some showrooms are open to the public, while others are restricted to wholesale buyers.  The other 50% includes retail shops, a post office, and a Holiday Inn (no kidding)!  Let’s see, who else hangs their proverbial hat at, “The Mart”; Chicago Sun-Times Newspaper, and the Chicago campus of the Illinois Institute of Art.  Radio and television stations have also set up shop in the Merchandise Mart.  Why, even the Chicago Transit Authority’s “L-Train” system has a, “Merchandise Mart” train station!

This building is so large that until 2008 it had its own zip code (postal code, post code); oh, and then it had to share its unique code with the surrounding area.  There are 4,000 windows in this building.  The Merchandise Mart receives approximately 20,000 visitors per day.  Now, if you are thinking what I am thinking, this would lend itself (literally) very well to having one out of ever five visitors clean a window! Or, everyone can clean a window, providing extra-sparkly glass five times per day!  Now that I mention it, wouldn’t that make an interesting photo op?

Upon arrival at the Merchandise Mart, please grab a cloth, window cleaner, and make your way to a window; you have 4,000 to choose from, so there’s no need to negotiate a space!

I have it on reliable authority (okay, I don’t really, but I heard it on the streets) that some of the Kennedy brothers used to throw around the ‘ol football on occasion atop of the Merchandise Mart!

Ah yes, I almost forgot to mention something.  The photo at the top of this post was taken last weekend while I was on an architectural boat tour meandering down the Chicago River.  So as not to end up in the drink, I didn’t stand up when taking my shot; therefore, the heads in the photo are not part of the Merchandise Mart experience; please ignore them while viewing the photo! *grin*

  49 comments for “Presenting, “The Mammoth Merchandise Mart”

  1. May 6, 2015 at 9:49 am

    Love this building. Always has been one of my favorites. Thanks for featuring 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 6, 2015 at 9:50 am

      Thank you, Kimberly! I still cannot get over how large it is! And I see it all the time! *LOL* Cher xo


  2. May 6, 2015 at 9:58 am

    Pawsome post, furiend! That would make a great kat hangout! A kat (or two) in EVERY WINDOW! Mol!😺

    Liked by 1 person

  3. May 6, 2015 at 10:09 am

    An impressive building with an impressive history Cher.. Wishing you a wonderful week.. Hugs Sue xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 6, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Thank you so much, dear Sue! And to you as well!! Hugs, Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

  4. May 6, 2015 at 10:17 am

    It reminds me of those outrageous showcase buildings from the Soviet era in Russia: ugly, undistinguished, big. It is getting lots of use, though, so I guess I should back off on my judgement! At least it’s not like that pyramid-like hotel in Pyongyang, North Korea, that has been in construction forever.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 6, 2015 at 10:20 am

      Actually the Merchandise Mart has been going strong since it was built in 1930. The art deco style inside is striking. It’s a really impressive building. I had never, ever been a fan of the extra-large buildings myself until I saw inside the Merchandise Mart!


  5. yeseventhistoowillpass
    May 6, 2015 at 11:33 am

    That building is indeed massive

    Liked by 1 person

  6. May 6, 2015 at 12:28 pm

    Never seen this before, an amazing place!!


    • May 6, 2015 at 2:42 pm

      Isn’t that crazy-huge, John? It’s really nice inside, too! Cher xo


  7. May 6, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    Great picture and background story! Thank you for posting!


  8. May 6, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    Reblogged this on georgeforfun.


  9. Amy
    May 6, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    4,000,000 square feet, Wow! And, JFK… interesting. Great shot from the boat tour. 🙂


    • May 6, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Isn’t that amazing, Amy? It’s hard to fathom, isn’t it? Yes, the JFK (Kennedy)family owning this building for decades is quite something! Ah, thanks, Amy! I wanted to get a shot without any passengers in it, but I just didn’t want to stand! *LOL* Cher xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • Amy
        May 6, 2015 at 4:41 pm

        Great shot of the building. The passengers in the photo made me feel like I was cruising along the architecture tours. Very cool actually. xo

        Liked by 1 person

      • May 6, 2015 at 5:46 pm

        Ah, thank you so much, Amy! That is extremely thoughtful of you to say!! 🙂 🙂 Cher xo

        Liked by 1 person

  10. nexi
    May 6, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Oh wow – I’ve just been having a look round inside it on Google Maps street view….. thanks for posting!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Don
    May 7, 2015 at 7:03 am

    What a magnificent building. Looks like an enormous ancient temple. Great image Cher, heads and all. 🙂


    • May 7, 2015 at 7:24 am

      Hi Don! The first time I saw it I could hardly believe my eyes! I had never seen a building that large in Canada or anywhere else for that matter. Yes, it does look like an enormous ancient temple, doesn’t it? *LOL* Oh Don, thank you for the kind words! Glad the heads didn’t distract too much from the photo! *grin* Cher xo


  12. May 7, 2015 at 9:13 am

    Wow! What an amazing building and history! Great photo. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 7, 2015 at 9:30 am

      Thanks so much! It’s HUGE, isn’t it? Cher xo


  13. May 7, 2015 at 2:23 pm

    Awesome place. Great shot~

    Liked by 1 person

  14. May 18, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    I have to visit Chicago just to visit this building.

    Liked by 1 person

    • May 18, 2015 at 9:37 pm

      You should, Susanne! It is an incredible building! Cher xo


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