Atop the Board of Trade Building
141 West Jackson Street
Located at the end of the “LaSalle street canyon,” the Chicago Board of Trade building was designed by the architectural firm Holabird & Root and opened to the public in June 1930. Featuring a low entrance pavilion with setbacks typical of the Art Deco period, the building’s 45-story tower is capped by the 31-foot tall aluminum figure of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, grain crops and fertility. The 40 sections of aluminum required to form the statue were cast in Providence, Rhode Island. The building also features Alvin Meyer’s low-relief carvings of an Indian holding corn and a Mesopotamian holding wheat.
Although not visible to the naked eye when viewed from the ground, Ceres holds a sheaf of grain in her left hand and what is believed to be a bag of corn (or money) in her right. The folds of her drapery are stylized into a grill-like design and the profile of the work is streamlined in “moderne” fashion. Sometimes called the “sculptor of the machine age,” John Storrs (1885-1956) studied art in Chicago, Boston and Philadelphia before becoming a pupil of Auguste Rodin in Paris in 1912. In 1933, Storrs contributed a colossal Art Deco figure called Science as well as twelve panels on the Hall of Science to the Century of Progress exposition at Burnham Park.