M is for Monadnock

Until the late 1800s buildings were built with masonry walls. Masonry construction is a process similar to building with toy blocks. Construction starts at the base and walls rise up being supported from the ground up. As you can imagine, as buildings began to grow taller and taller, more and more substantial bases were necessary.


The Monadnock is the world’s tallest multi-story building with masonry walls. In order to support those 16-stories, its walls are 6 feet deep at street level. Completed in 1891 it was designed by architects Burnham and Root and took 5 years to design and another 3 years to build.

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I'm most impressed by the rich purple-brown corners that gently curve up from the base and back out at its top. This effect required more than 100 different shapes of pressed bricks to create. Imagine the skill and attention to detail required to put that puzzle together. The Monadnock is yet another architectural gem in Chicago's loop.

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"M" marks the half way point of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge!
If you've missed a letter or two, here's a quick recap: