The view of the old Merchants Bank Building from Carson’s

Rising above the corner of Washington and Meridan, the Barnes and Thornburg Building, formerly the Merchants Bank Building, shares heritage with the famed Flatiron Building in New York, New York.

In 1905, the Board of Directors of Merchant’s Bank, which grew along with local powerhouses Eli Lilly, L.S. Ayers and Stokley-Van Camp, hired the Chicago based firm of Burnham & Root to set up their headquarters just south of the Circle.

Burnham & Root, headed by the mastermind of Chicago’s World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 Daniel Burnham and architect of the Flatiron Building, employed the architectural formula espoused by famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan, simplifying skyscrapers into base-shaft-capital.

The base, the first floor and mezzanine, are piers of Indiana limestone. The red brick shaft stretches 17 stories high and is crowned with a capital of classical terra cotta moldings.

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