Friday, February 20, 2015

Lytton's Department Store Building
 by: chicago designslinger

[Lytton's Department Store Building (1913) Marshall & Fox, architects /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Henry C. Lytton's story is very similar to many of the merchants who turned Chicago's State Street into a retailing mecca at the turn of the 20th century. He started out with a small dry goods operation, which he turned into one of the city's major retailing enterprises. He called his store the "Hub" because Lytton wanted buyers to think of his emporium as the hub of merchandise. As the business became more and more successful, Hub's starting cropping up around the country that bore no relation to the Lytton empire so the Chicago name grew to, "The Hub" Henry C. Lytton & Sons Company.

  [Lytton's Department Store Building, 14 E. Jackson Street, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Lytton used his rising personal income to invest in real estate and was one of downtown Chicago's largest property owners and in 1911 he purchased a piece of land across the street from the Hub store building at Jackson and State Streets. He then asked architects Marshall & Fox to design an office tower with ground level retail space which Henry would lease out to tenants. Unfortunately for Henry, the entrepreneur did not own the land under the existing Hub building. He leased that piece of property from Frederick Otis, and when the time came for renewal, Otis was dead and his heirs wanted more money for a 99 year land lease than Henry was willing to give. So he simply moved the Hub into the first 8 floors of the new Lytton Building in 1913.

  [Lytton's Department Store Building, Loop Retail National Historic District, Chicago /Image & Artwork: chicago designslinger]

Lytton retired soon after and turned over the presidency of the company to his son George. When George died of a massive heart attack in 1933, Henry stepped back into the job as president at the age of 87. In 1946, when he turned 100 and was still running the company, the Board of Directors officially changed the name of The Hub to Lytton's. The old merchant was the last survivor of Chicago giants like Marshall Field, Montgomery Ward and Richard Sears, who had changed the city's, and the nation's, retail landscape.
Henry died 2 years after receiving the honor and Lytton's - the store - lasted until 1986. In 2008 DePaul University acquired the building as part of its ever expanding Loop portfolio, and in December of 2010 the school changed the name of the building to the Richard M. and Maggie C. Daley Building. This name change was in honor of the couples service to the city during the Mayor's 22-year-term. Daley is an alumnus of DePaul's School of Law, as was his father, Chicago's 21-year-term mayor, Richard J. Daley.

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