Home Insurance Building, Chicago, Illinois & Ditherington/Shrewsbury Flax Mill Building, Shropshire, England

Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago – “The Home Insurance Bldg. was the first of the tall fireproof buildings to be erected in the West,” states Jenney, William Le Baron in his manuscript Iron and Steel written in 1896. The Home Insurance building is often recognized as the first tall building, in the US, to be supported by a steel skeleton of vertical columns and horizontal beams. There is, however, the Ditherington Flax Mill, or the Shrewsbury Flax Mill, built in 1797 in England, which incorporated iron framing in its construction and was five stories high. Designed by local engineer Charles Bage, the building is often recognized as the first of its kind to use an iron frame. What do you think?

Photo of Home Insurance Building: Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago

Photo of Home Insurance Building (demolition): Ryerson and Burnham Archives, The Art Institute of Chicago

Photo of Ditherington/Shrewsbury Flax Mill Building: Shropshire Archives

Photo of Ditherington/Shrewsbury Flax Mill columns that support roof: Shropshire Archives

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Home Insurance Building, Chicago, Illinois & Ditherington/Shrewsbury Flax Mill Building, Shropshire, England
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