Walk 1 – Building 3
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Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company
611 North Broadway
Architects: Solon S. Beman (Chicago) 1885
The Richardsonian Romanesque style of the building is seen in its massive arches and heavy stone masonry. The architect, Solon S. Beman (1853-1914), was a prominent Chicago architect, best known for his design of the planned industrial community of Pullman, Illinois (1879-80 to 1895), and numerous office buildings in Chicago. One of the most significant of his Chicago office buildings is the Fine Arts Building (1886), originally called the Studebaker Building, on South Michigan Avenue that is an eight-story load-bearing granite structure, done in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. Due to the strength of the granite used in that building, Beman was able to construct a stone structural frame that allowed extremely large windows, a highly desirable feature for lighting office spaces.
Beman selected two medium-grain gray granites from Maine, the Hallowell and Fox Island Granites, for the lower parts of the building exterior. Fox Island granite came from Vinalhaven Island, the southern of two islands in Penobscot Bay that together are called the Fox Islands. First opened in 1826, and operating through the late 19th century, the quarries on Vinalhaven Island were among the leading suppliers of New England granites. Fox Island granite was used for construction of the Brooklyn Bridge (John and Washington Roebling; 1869-1883) and the Boston Museum of Fine Arts (Guy Lowell; 1907-1909). The granite quarries at Hallowell were found on the west side of the Kennebec River, just south of Augusta, the state capital. Hallowell granite was used in the construction of the Maine state capitol in 1832, of which Charles Bulfinch of Boston was the architect.