A peek at the environment in which the Weird Tales offices existed, when at the Dunham Building, Chicago, during the prime ‘Lovecraft years’. Entrance in 1926, from Archive.org. Other pictures via Chicago History Museum Images, from which large b&w prints can be had.

It was probably not as brown as this rescued-from-microfilm and colorised picture. The entrance when new was described as having a quirky “colorful stone exterior” (1930 Architectural Annual, Chicago). Another journal suggests the building facade and entrance were elegantly lit at night. In daylight the exterior above the entrance was an ungainly hodge-podge of layers and decoration, but I guess it might have worked better when seen at night and from the ground.

Elevator entrances and corridor, and boards listing current office occupants for each floor.

One of the private offices.

The architects were Burnham Brothers and the building was that of a successful heating and refrigeration company. One thus assumes the heating and cooling was always perfect. The pictures suggest the interior would have felt like modernity de-luxe, efficient and clean but hand-crafted and with a nice touch of eccentricity hiding the advanced technologies. Lovecraft would likely have felt somewhat at ease there, had he accepted the editorship of Weird Tales and moved to Chicago. More so, too, due to the super-efficient heating during the tough Chicago winters. However, they were only there for about three years and then moved to a modernist building he might have found less congenial.

The building’s ownership may relate to editor Farnsworth Wright’s curious rejection of “Cool Air”. Wright may have been worried that the building’s owners might have thought the story was meant to be poking fun at them.

In the 1950s it appears to have been home to another popular magazine, Science and Mechanics. The building was later renamed “450 E. Ohio Street”, and demolished in 2007.