Chicago Landmarks
333 North Michigan Building Allerton Hotel Auditorium Building Blackstone Hotel Carbide and Carbon Building Chicago Public Library/Cultural Center Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain and Garden Farwell Building Fine Arts Building Gage Group London Guarantee Building McGraw-Hill Building Michigan Avenue Bridge and Esplanade Old Republic Building Palmolive Building Perkins, Fellows & Hamilton Office and Studio Site of Fort Dearborn Tribune Tower Woman's Athletic Club

Boul Mich Tour

This two-mile stretch of Michigan Avenue, between Lake Michigan and Roosevelt Road in downtown Chicago, includes one of the nation's premier retail districts as well as one of the world's most recognizable and architecturally significant building "streetwalls."

The section south of the Chicago River, which originally was called Michigan Boulevard ("Boul Mich"), was redeveloped following the Fire of 1871 into a fashionable lakefront promenade. The street's frontage on Grant Park--which the Plan of 1909 noted "insured light, air, and an agreeable outlook"--also encouraged a mixture of museums, theaters, hotels, clubs and office buildings that took full advantage of the unobstructed views of Lake Michigan. The high visibility of the sites along the streetwall encouraged architects to create exceptionally well-detailed building designs that resulted in a virtual architectural encyclopedia of styles and architects from the late-19th and early-20th centuries.

The portion of "Boul Mich" north of the Chicago River, however, developed quite differently. Its early history was as Pine Street, a narrow, primarily residential thoroughfare isolated from the bustle of the traditional Loop. Around the Old Water Tower, a bohemian enclave of artists studios and nightclubs, known as Towertown, had developed, but the Plan of 1909 had a different vision for the area. It proposed construction of a grand bridge across the Chicago River that would link (South) Michigan Boulevard to a newly widened and renamed North Michigan Avenue. Subsequent plans called for an elegant "carriage street" of shops, featuring building height limits, a uniform balcony line, and design continuity for storefronts and building materials. In the decade following the opening of the Michigan Avenue bridge in 1920, dozens of new buildings were constructed, several of which still remain today in the one-mile stretch between the Tribune Tower and the Drake Hotel.

This tour begins at the southern end and proceeds north.

1. 333 North Michigan Building
2. Allerton Hotel
3. Auditorium Building
4. Blackstone Hotel
5. Carbide and Carbon Building
6. Chicago Public Library/Cultural Center
7. Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain and Garden
8. Farwell Building
9. Fine Arts Building
10. Gage Group
11. London Guarantee Building
12. McGraw-Hill Building
13. Michigan Avenue Bridge and Esplanade
14. Old Republic Building
15. Palmolive Building
16. Perkins, Fellows & Hamilton Office and Studio
17. Site of Fort Dearborn
18. Tribune Tower
19. Woman's Athletic Club