Graham, Burnham & Co.

GRAHAM, BURNHAM & CO. (later GRAHAM, ANDERSON, PROBST & WHITE), the descendent firm of Daniel H. Burnham & Co., and one of the leading firms of Chicago during the first half of the 20th C., was commissioned in 1916 to prepare a visionary scheme for a colossal headquarters building for the Canadian retail giant T. Eaton Co. in Toronto. Sited at the corner of College Street and Yonge Street, the project was announced in late November 1916 with an anticipated cost of $10 millin dollars (C.R., xxx, 6 Dec. 1916, 41). Howard J. White, a young partner in the firm of Graham, Burnham & Co., was dispatched to Toronto to open an office in the Ryrie Building in association with Sproatt & Rolph in order to supervise the project. But within months it was evident to the Eaton family that the plans were simply too ambitious and too costly to proceed with, and the development was shelved, with the site then remaining dormant until 1929 when a more modest scheme was realised to the designs of Ross & MacDonald, working in collaboration with Sproatt & Rolph. The original drawings by Graham, Burnham & Co. have survived and are now in the collection of the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montreal. The firm was able to exploit the Eaton family connection for another project, this time in Winnipeg, Man. where they designed two phases of the vast warehouse complex (one of the largest in Canada) to accommodate the T. Eaton Co. Mail Order Division, Donald Street at Graham Avenue, with Mail Order Building No. 1, 1916, and Mail Order Building No. 2, in 1920-21.
Descended from the firm of Daniel H. Burham & Co., all four partners of the Chicago office were born in the United States and trained in Burnham's office at the turn of the century. The principals included Ernest Robert Graham (1866-1936), Peirce Anderson (1870-1924), Edward Probst (1870-1942) and Howard J. White (1870-1936) all of whom formed Graham, Burnham & Co. in 1912 after the death of Burnham. Renamed Graham, Anderson, Probst & White in 1917 their works included important Beaux-Arts landmarks in Chicago such as the Wrigley Building (1919-24) the Field Museum of Natural History (1919-20), the Merchandise Mart (1929) and Union Station (1924), as well as the Union Terminal Complex in Cleveland (1927), the Broad Street Station, Philadephia (1929) and Union Station, Los Angeles (1933). A biography of the firm can be found in the MacMillan Encyclopedia of Architects, 1982, ii, 235-6. Biographies of each architect appear in H. Withey, Biographical Dictionary of American Architects, 1956, 20, 245-6, 491-2, 651-2. A detailed obituary for Ernest R. Graham, together with a list of works and photographic portrait of Graham, appeared in The Architectural Forum [New York], lxvi, Jan. 1937, The Month in Building Section, 52.

WINNIPEG, MAN., T. Eaton Co., Mail Order Building No. 1, Donald Street, 1916 (Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 21 Feb. 1916, 1, descrip.; 22 Feb. 1916, 1 and 3, illus. & descrip.; 17 July 1916, 16, illus.)
WINNIPEG, MAN., T. Eaton Co., Mail Order Building No. 2, Donald Street, 1920-21 (Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 6 April 1920, 5; Canadian Engineer, xxxix, 9 Sept. 1920, 315-16, illus. & descrip.; C.R., xxxvi, 11 Jan. 1922, 28-9, illus. & descrip.; dwgs. Winnipeg City Archives, 1920 - Item 286).
WIINIPEG, MAN., T. Eaton Mail Order Building, Hargrave Street at Graham Avenue, addition of one storey on top of the existing building, 1926 (Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 7 Jan. 1926, 1, descrip.)