Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Office Building for the Gary Land Company

Some of Joseph Silsbee’s buildings are admired for their design features and physical appearance. Others are known because they played a vital role in a place’s history.  This building is better known in context of the former.  In 1906, The United States Steel Company began building a new plant and town along the shores of Lake Michigan. Named after steel company founder Elbert Gary, Gary, Indiana boasted a population of over 55,000 by 1920.

Most of the early structures were built by the steel company and sold through its subsidiary, the Gary Land Company. Silsbee was one of the earliest architects hired by the company to design commercial, residential, industrial, and public structures for the new city.
He designed this structure for the Gary Land Company in 1906 and had satellite offices in the building for several years.  It served as a place to conveniently oversee work on his designs in the rapidly growing city of Gary. Also known as the Phillips Building, it was the Land Company's headquarters and the center of real estate activity in the city.
It is a simple commercial structure that once had a pronounced first floor with stone base and trim.  A main entry with a rounded pediment supported by columns punctuated the south (6th Ave.) side of the building.  Above is a simple stepped parapet.  The only other notable detail is the corbelling used to create window recesses and to support a stone cornice that wraps around the south and west sides of the building.

1 comment:

Sharon said...

Chris,
Thanks for visiting The Journal. What a great site you have! Knew nothing about Silsbe, but I'm not alone. I immediately put a link on The Journal's Facebook/Twitter page. Others need to know about your work.