Chicago’s oldest and last remaining public market was approved as an official Landmark district today by City Council.
Characterized by a rare ensemble of manufacturing and warehouse buildings, the Fulton-Randolph Market District encompasses 142 properties on the Near West Side, primarily along the 700 to 1000 blocks of West Randolph Street, the 100 to 300 blocks on North Sangamon Street, the 900 block of West Lake Street and 800 to 1100 blocks of West Fulton Market Street.
The area initially grew as Chicago’s main food market with the construction of a municipal market hall in the middle of Randolph, west of Des Plaines Street, in 1850. The area subsequently flourished as a wholesale market and distribution center for agricultural products from across the Midwest and West.
In addition to food marketing and processing, the district includes a number of historic manufacturing and warehouse buildings that reflect a broader pattern of industrial development that took place on the Near West Side in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The 74-acre district includes 86 “contributing” buildings, 44 “non-contributing” buildings, and 10 vacant lots.
A recommendation for the designation was forwarded to City Council by the Commission on Chicago Landmarks in May 2015. The Commission’s recommendation was based on the area meeting three of seven criteria required by Chicago’s municipal code for landmark designations, including the area’s value as an example of city, state or national heritage; exemplary architecture; and distinctive theme as a district. The area also met the integrity criterion, which requires district structures to convey historic community, architecture, and economic themes.
As with more than 50 other historic districts in Chicago, the Fulton-Randolph Market designation applies to the exterior elevations of area properties. Building permit applications involving the exteriors will be reviewed by Landmarks Commission staff.
The Fulton-Randolph Historic District is a component of the Near West Side’s “Fulton Market Innovation District,” a 217-acre area designated by the Chicago Plan Commission in July 2014 to help encourage the development of information and technology firms in the West Loop.
# # #