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A Cash Fortress for Brink's


This photograph shows the Bernadin archives building of the Chicago Archdiocese, at 711 W. Monroe St. If the diocese was looking for a fortress of a building to secure its archives, they couldn't have found a more appropriate structure. Here is an artist rendering from 1937, just prior to the building's construction.


It was originally built as the new headquarters of the Brink's armored car company. According to this Tribune article, the building (built from reinforced concrete, and fireproof) housed the corporate offices as well as the armored car and money transfer operations, and included an indoor rifle range, centrally-operated doors, concealed machine gun nest and a "modern gas apparatus so that the entire structure can be gassed from a concealed location by one operator." I take this to mean that if burglars tried to pull off a heist inside the building, they could be gassed into unconsciousness and then arrested.

Business must have been even better than expected for Brink's, because while the rendering depicts two stories, the building was ultimately built with a third. Also interesting to note that the building contractor was the Avery Brundage Company; besides being a successful businessman, Brundage was the longtime president of the International Olympic Committee and a former Olympic athlete.

March 8, 2015 in Chicago Observations | Permalink