**Note: 1944 date that came from my source may be wrong; if you have further info, I’d appreciate hearing from you. ~Wendy**
It’s the depths of the Second World War and the Chicago River is particularly quiet.
Older model cars are parked in front of the entrance to the 14-year-old Merchandise Mart. Marshall Field & Company still owns the mammoth building, but they have given up on wholesaling. Since the Depression, the Merchandise Mart has sat mostly empty, its largest tenant the federal government. It wouldn’t be until 1946 that Joseph P. Kennedy would purchase the Mart (and retain ownership for over 50 years).
On the same side of the river, the Reid-Murdoch warehouse building with its striking clock tower proudly proclaims its business: FOODS. The “North Bank Drive” that had been planned to course along the north side of the river, in front of the Mart and connect Michigan Avenue to a future highway, never materialized.
The eight-bronze-headed monument to retail, The Merchandise Mart Hall of Fame, would not be inaugurated for another decade.