Ellicott Square Building
283 Main Street
architect: D.H. Burnham & Company (Daniel Burnham and Charles Atwood)
owner: Ellicott Company
years built: 1897
When it was built, the Ellicott Square Building was the largest commercial edifice in the world. Burnham, like Sullivan a Chicago architect, is not famous for his contribution to architectural design, but for his development of the organization of architectural office work. This made possible the rapid production of buildings like this and the even larger skyscrapers of the twentieth century.
In design, Burnham followed the last of the conservative eastern architects. He adapted the academic formulas as best he could to buildings of unprecedented height and size and used terra-cotta as a substitute for cut stone.
Only the two lower stories show something of the direct expression of construction found in the Prudential Building. The attempt to organize the upper stories in groups of four and five under arches is borrowed, like Post’s scheme on the Erie County Savings Bank, from Richardson’s Marshall Field Store.