Encyclopedia ofChicago
Entries : Fuller (George A.) Co.
Fuller (George A.) Co.




Fuller (George A.) Co.

This construction company was founded in Chicago in 1882 as Clark & Fuller by C. E. Clark and George A. Fuller, a Boston architect and engineer. The company soon became the leading builder of the world's first skyscrapers going up around Chicago. By 1890, when Fuller's company became one of the first construction firms to be organized as a corporation (capitalized at $750,000), it had already built several skyscrapers, including the Tacoma Building designed by Holabird & Roche. Fuller was one of the first true general contractors: it completed large structures by coordinating the work of hundreds of men working under several subcontractors. The company opened a New York office during the 1890s and built several large structures in that city, including the New York Times Building and Daniel Burnham's Flatiron Building, which was known briefly as the Fuller Building because the company was headquartered there. By the time George Fuller died in 1900, his company—which between 1903 and 1922 was led by Paul Starrett—had started to serve as the general contractor for large commercial buildings around the country. Between 1900 and 1914 alone, Fuller Co. erected 600 buildings. In addition to the Tacoma Building, among the many structures the company built in Chicago were the Marquette, Pontiac, and Rand-McNally buildings; the Tribune Tower; and large department stores such as the Fair, Carson Pirie Scott, Marshall Field, and Montgomery Ward. Although headquartered in New York, the company still employed hundreds of people in the Chicago area through the 1960s. In the 1970s, the firm was sold and liquidated.