These decorative elevator grilles are from the Chicago Stock Exchange Building, which was located at 30 N. LaSalle Street and designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan. When the building was demolished in 1972, the grilles were salvaged by local preservationists. They were given to the museum in 1987 by Mr. Phillip and Mrs. Miriam D. Burno in memory of Russell and Esther Seaver Burno.
These elevator grilles represent important aspects of Chicago's architectural and economic histories as part of the Chicago Stock Exchange Building, designed by Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler. Sullivan and Adler were important contributors to a an architectural style called the First Chicago School, which combined intricate organic designs with modern forms and materials. The Chicago Stock Exchange Building, finished in 1894, is considered one of the best examples of Sullivan's organic ornamentation. When the building was destroyed in 1972 the trading room was preserved at the Art Institute of Chicago. The Chicago Stock Exchange was founded in 1882, and traders exchanged stocks and bonds for utility, banking and railroad companies as the city grew rapidly through the early twentieth century.