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William LeBaron Jenney
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    (September 25, 1832-June 15, 1907)
    Born in Fairhaven, Massachusetts
    Architect and engineer
    Designed the 10-story Home Insurance Building in Chicago, the first steel-framed skyscraper (1884)
    Known as ‘father of the skyscraper’
    He went to California during the 1849 gold rush as an unsuccessful prospector.
    After attending a Beaux-Arts school in Paris, he spoke French with an atrocious accent.
    Despite its historic importance, the Home Insurance Building was demolished (1931) and replaced by a 500+ foot tall skyscraper.
    His title as ‘father of the skyscraper’ was challenged by LeRoy Buffington, who claimed to have proposed using a steel frame for a 28-story building in 1881.
    He was an engineer with the Union Army during the Civil War.
    He was so proficient at rebuilding bridges during Sherman’s March to the Sea that one Confederate newspaper declared that it was useless for the retreating army to burn railroad bridges because the Union Army was apparently carrying a full line of ready-built replacements.
    Regardless of what Buffington may have proposed on paper, Jenney was the first architect to put the idea into practice.
    He was considered the founder of the Chicago School of architecture.
    He designed a series of interconnected parks for Chicago.

Credit: C. Fishel

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