City Hall

" wasn't hard for Jimmy to induce me to go downtown with him, especially on science afternoons, to ride, if there was nothing better to do, in the City Hall elevator with his brother Tom, from the gilded lobby to the Municipal Courts. In the cage we rose and dropped, rubbing elbows with bigshots and operators, commissioners, grabbers, heelers, tipsters, hoodlums, wolves, fixers, plaintiffs, flatfeet, men in Western hats and women in lizard shoes and fur coats, hot-house and arctic drafts mixed up, brute things and airs of sex, evidence of heavy feeding and systematic shaving, of calculations, grief, not-caring, and hopes of tremendous millions in concrete to be poured or whole Mississippis of bootleg whisky and beer."

The west half of the building designed by Holabird and Roche, completed in 1911, comprises Chicago's City Hall, while the east half houses Cook County offices. Including City Hall in this feature, however, was largely an excuse to share the above excerpt from The Adventures of Augie March, in which Saul Bellow captures the essence of the City Hall crowds in one glorious, dizzying sentence.

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