Fulton-Randolph Market District (cont.)

Contact: E. Gorski, 312.744.3201 or eleanor.gorski@cityofchicago.org


Historic view of Haymarket District/Modern view of Fulton Market


Why is the proposed Fulton-Randolph Market District important?

The proposed Fulton-Randolph Market District illustrates three primary themes of the city’s history. First it conveys Chicago’s importance as a wholesale market for the agricultural bounty of the Midwest and West. The vast quantities of produce and livestock required complex systems of distribution that gave rise to wholesale food markets, of which the Fulton-Randolph Market District is a rare survivor. Second, the district has functioned historically and currently as a meat-packing area, one of Chicago’s most historically important industries. Historic buildings on Fulton Market Street housed branch operations of Philip Armour, Gustavus Swift and Nelson Morris, the nation’s “big three” packers and global brand names in the early-20th century. Third, the district includes a significant number of industrial and warehouse buildings that exemplify the importance of manufacturing in the city’s development. Collectively, the proposed district is important to the city’s economic and development history.


How does the Fulton-Randolph Market District meet criteria for Chicago Landmark designation?

Chicago Landmarks must meet at least two of the seven Chicago Landmark criteria set forth in the Chicago Landmark Ordinance. The proposed landmark district has been preliminarily determined by the Commission to meet three criteria: Criterion 1, as an example of the architectural and economic heritage of the City of Chicago; Criterion 4, for its concentration of mercantile food distribution buildings, a rare building type in Chicago, and for its industrial and warehouse buildings, which exhibit an overall quality of design, detail, materials or craftsmanship; and Criterion 6, for its representation of architectural, economic, and historic themes expressed through its distinctive streetscapes and buildings.


How are buildings in a Chicago Landmark district categorized in terms of their importance to the district?

Properties within Chicago Landmark districts are categorized as either historic (“contributing”) or non-historic (“non-contributing”). These categories help to explain the relative importance of properties to the larger district. For the purposes of the Fulton-Randolph Market District, “contributing” properties are buildings and structures that:

• were built within the district’s historic period of development (called the “Period of Significance”), preliminarily identified as 1850 to 1964: and

• have exteriors that retain a majority of their historic exterior features, including both original physical features and later changes that exemplify the historic wholesale produce, meat-packing and industrial history of the district (i.e. "exterior historic physical integrity").

“Non-contributing” properties are:

• properties built outside the proposed district’s historic period of development, i.e., those built after 1964;

• vacant lots; or

• properties that have had such major, non-historic exterior changes that they no longer convey their historic character.

“Contributing” properties are considered important to the overall history and significance of the district, and are protected from demolition or historically-inappropriate exterior alterations. In contrast, “non-contributing” properties are not considered significant to the district and may be altered or demolished for new construction, with such alterations or new construction to be reviewed and approved by the Commission.

A list of buildings in the district, with preliminary staff determinations of contributing / non-contributing status, will be presented to the Commission, as part of an expanded preliminary summary of information on the proposed district, at the Commission's June 5th meeting.


What is the “period of significance” for the proposed Fulton-Randolph Market District?

The period of significance of the district is preliminarily identified as 1850 to 1964. The start date refers to the city’s construction of a market hall in Randolph Street in 1850 which established the district’s function as a food market, a use which continues to a substantial degree to the present day. Because the district has such an extended history of use as a place of wholesale produce marketing and meat packing, many buildings within it have sustained alterations and changes that are related to their historic functions and that may have their own historic significance. The National Register of Historic Places, a national program that recognizes historic significance, has adopted a fifty-year rule which is used by the National Register staff to evaluate historic significance. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks does not have a fifty-year rule; however the Commission does apply the National Register standards in much of its work. Therefore, preliminarily, an end date of 1964 is the district’s period of significance. This date may be revised as additional research is completed.


How were boundaries determined for the proposed Chicago Landmark district?

The boundaries of the proposed district were determined on a block by block basis. All buildings facing Fulton Market, Lake, and Randolph streets, along with adjacent streets, were evaluated to see whether or not they would be contributing to the district based on their age and degree of exterior historic physical integrity. The district's boundaries were then drawn to maximize the number of contributing buildings while including as few non-contributing properties as possible.


Does the Commission have jurisdiction over zoning?

The Commission has no jurisdiction over zoning nor over building use.


How does landmark designation affect property values? Will landmark designation affect property taxes?

Both of the above are frequently-asked questions. As far as the value of property is concerned, the factors affecting value are quite varied and depend on the individual property, its location, etc.; in the eyes of some buyers, landmark designation is regarded as an asset, and both real estate advertisements and real estate agents often tout this as a selling point. Studies on the effect of landmark district designation on property values have generally shown that it does not have a negative impact on property values. As far as real estate taxes are concerned, neither the valuation of property by the Cook County Assessor’s Office nor the tax rate is affected directly by landmark designation.


Where can I get more information on the Chicago Landmark designation program?

Information on the Chicago Landmark designation program can be found here.


Where can I get more information on the Commission's review of building permit applications for Chicago Landmarks?

Information on the Landmark building permit review process can be found here.


Supporting Information Facts