A Call for Volunteers

Want to get involved in Docomomo Chicago? We need your help to increase awareness of the Modern Movement in Chicagoland and beyond. 

  James R. Thompson Center Atrium, photo by  Mobilus in Mobili  via Flickr

James R. Thompson Center Atrium, photo by Mobilus in Mobili via Flickr

Docomomo Chicago is looking for volunteers in three areas:

  1. There's more to Advocacy than chaining yourself to a building. Help us protect the Modernist buildings and sites we all love.
  2. Have a great idea for a tour? Love planning events? Help out with Programming.
  3. Share your enthusiasm by helping out with Membership and Marketing.

If one of these categories sounds up your alley, or if you have another idea of how you'd like to help out, please drop us an email at info@docomomo-chicago.org and we'll get right back to you.

We look forward to meeting you!

Morton Salt Headquarters Slated for Demolition

The Morton Salt Headquarters Building was designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White and completed in 1958.  Although better known for Art Deco landmarks such as the Merchandise Mart and the Civic Opera Building, the firm used boxy volumes and a sophisticated material palette of stone, stainless steel, and glass to create an elegant and understated Modernist corporate headquarters on Chicago's Wacker Drive.  The building was a bespoke design for Morton with interior details and art work depicting the process of salt production. The original colored curtains created a dynamic and lively facade. By 1991 Morton had abandoned their own building (just 33 years old) and moved to a new high-rise directly across the river.

  1958 postcard from US Steel promoting the stainless steel spandrel panels of the Morton Salt Headquarters, with the original colored curtains.

1958 postcard from US Steel promoting the stainless steel spandrel panels of the Morton Salt Headquarters, with the original colored curtains.

The Morton Salt building, most recently occupied by General Growth Properties, was found eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places by the Illinois State Historic Preservation Office. The City of Chicago's Commission on Chicago Landmarks failed to landmark the building, thus sealing its fate.  After a new 53-story office tower was proposed for the site, Docomomo Chicago was consulted by the US Army Corps of Engineers and participated in a Section 106 federal review process.  The review resulted (based on Docomomo's suggestions) in the decision to salvage the polished stainless steel panels for reuse on a portion of the new building as well as for informational displays in the new outdoor public plaza.  Before demolition began in February 2018, the Morton Salt Headquarters Building was documented through measured drawings and photographs for the Historic Illinois Building Survey.  This documentation will be archived at the Art Institute of Chicago and at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield.