onsdag 2 juli 2014

Swedes in America - Henry Ericsson and skyscrapers

Home Insurance Building
Axel Henry Ericsson and Carolina Maria Johnson both grew up in Moheda just north of Växjö in the province of Småland in Sweden. When Carolina Maria, who later called herself Lena, moved to chicago in the early 1880's Henry was already there. They met, got married and had seven children.

Henry had already become a building contractor in Chicago when they met. There was a shortage in housing and there were plenty of investors who wanted to hire Henry. Lande was however getting scarce.

- Why not build houses upwards instead Henry! Lena exclaimed one day. On the farm she grew up is still a small house with two floors, which looks like a mini skyscraper, that probably was her inspiration.

The architect William Le Baron Jenney was Henry's friend and he came up with the idea to use a scelleton of thin steel beams. Their first joined creation was the Chicago Home Insurance Building which was finished in 1885, 10 stories high.

Henry and Lena had a long life together and he was at 81 still the head of the board of Henry Ericsson & Co.

Picture: Le Home Insurance Building à Chicago construit en 1885
Exterior of the Home Insurance Building by architect William Le Baron Jenney in Chicago, Illinois

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