Bear's Department Store Building • Order A Print

Commercial Style is known both as The Chicago School and Twentieth Century Commercial. A small group of architects working in Chicago pioneered this style, which was popular for office buildings and department stores. Features include large rectangular windows, bay windows, flat roofs, liberal use of terra-cotta, and a sometimes skeletal appearance due to the large expanse of glass and narrow expanse of brick or terra cotta. Locally, the former Bon-Ton Department Store is an adaptation of this style. This building was designed by J.A. Dempwolf, who also designed the Bear’s Department Store on the northwest quadrant of Continental Square. This structure also contains elements of Commercial Style, though it is a hybrid design. Of note, famed architect Louis Sullivan took this style one step further, and the resulting style is referred to as Sullivanesque. Many historians use the term interchangeably with Commercial Style. 

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© 1991, 2002 by Scott D. Butcher

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