The gleaming enameled terra cotta now shines again, and the four clock faces show the current time in all directions just as they did when the building first opened in 1916.The second decade of the 20th century was a volatile time in the Chicago garment industry. Most large clothing companies farmed piecework out to sweatshops that employed immigrants for low pay in deplorable conditions. In the aftermath of several worker strikes, companies like International Tailoring decided to build large modern factories and to hire the workers directly, thus putting the sweatshops out of business. This building is a legacy of that period in Chicago history.
The building was built in 1916 from designs by the architectural firm of Mundie & Jensen, formerly Jenney, Mundie & Jensen. This firm was established originally by William LeBaron Jenney, the architect and engineer responsible for building the Home Insurance Building in 1885, the world’s first skyscraper to use steel beams in its structural skeleton. The firm also designed the downtown building used for a Sears Store at the southeast corner of Van Buren and State (currently Robert Morris University), and the Union League Club at 65 W. Jackson.
Ron Warnick posted about the International Tailoring Building on Route 66 News when the building was first placed on the National Register in 2008. There is also a Wikipedia entry concerning the building. It is great to see a grand old building on Route 66 lovingly restored and revived for a great new purpose.