Is this your first time here?

Each day, Clio connects thousands of people to nearby culture and history. Our website and mobile app are free for everyone and designed to make it easy to discover cultural and historical sites throughout the United States. You can search for nearby sites, take a walking tour, create your own itinerary, or simply go for a walk or drive and let Clio show you nearby sites using our mobile app. Clio is non-profit and free for everyone thanks to the support of people like you. Donations are tax- deductible! Click here to learn more!

B.F Goodrich Company Showroom

Historic Sites, Monuments, Landmarks, and Public Art (National Register of Historic Places)

Listen

Located within Chicago's historic Motor Row District. The showroom opened its doors in 1911 to sell and distribute B.F. Goodrich tires to Chicago retailers. Similar to many of the buildings located in Motor Row, its architectural ornamentation are found nar the top of the building.

By Andrew Jameson - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11331173
Picture of a portion of Motor Row, By Andrew Jameson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

Listen

Chicago's Motor Row District was considered the United States'  largest, intact early “motor colony," emerging at the beginning of the 20th century when automobile popularity soared.  At its peak, as many as 116 different makes of automobiles were being sold on Motor Row. 

The automobile boom also stimulated thriving ancillary industries, such as glass and rubber, used in windows and tires. B.F Goodrich, of Akron, Ohio, formed in 1870 and profited from producing and supplying tires. Shipping tires could be quite expensive, so like many businesses of the era, opening branches proved feasible including operating a facility in Chicago's Motor Row district. 

However, B.F. Goodrich did not usually sell to auto manufacturers but instead sold directly to consumers with a need for replacement tires, which proved profitable since early tires usually needed replacing after traveling a mere 3,000 miles. Selling directly to consumers proved extraordinarily successful in Chicago where Chicago auto registrations increased dramatically, from 300 in 1900 to 90,000 in 1920 to an astounding 300,000 in 1925. 

Alas, the boom could not last forever. By the 1920s, tire-life substantially improved and car dealers began moving to warmer climates, which pushed B.F Goodrich to adapt. Thus, the branch showroom strategy gave way to larger warehouses and shipping centers. Thus,  B.F Goodrich left its Motor Row location in 1929, which proved fortuitous as the Great Depression profoundly affected the Motor Row District in a negative (economic) way. 

The building enjoyed renovations in 2009, and much of Chicago's South Loop, Motor Row, and Bronzeville neighborhood have enjoyed an upswing in economic health. As such, the building is up for commercial sale.  
 

Sources

"Nomination Form: B.F. Goodrich Company Showroom, Motor Row District." National Register of Historic Places. Published April, 13, 2009. 

O' Conner, Jerome M. "Motor Row Memories." Chicago Tribune (Chicago), October 21, 2012.





Address
1925 S. Michigan
Chicago, Illinois 60647
Tags
  • Architecture and Historical Buildings
  • Urban History
  • Automotive History
This location was created on 2017-07-21 by Mathew Powers .

This entry has been viewed 209 times within the past year

Comments

  • No comments found.

Join The Discussion

Only registered users can comment. Registration is completely free!

Login / Register

ResponsiveVoice used under Non-Commercial License