Students of architecture worldwide will recognize the address: the Monadnock Building has been a witness to history in the south Loop since 1891.
Now a new chapter of Chicago history hits home for the building, directly: as retail shops on the ground floor of the Monadnock were battered by the violent side of police protests that raged on the night of May 30th.
Michael Blossom owns two boutiques on the first floor, both gutted by the vicious vandalism that hit shortly after midnight.
“I got an alert that our alarm had gone off, so I knew what was happening. I just came right down,” he told NBC 5 Responds. “The security guard stopped me from going in to the stores because there were just too many people, and he knew it was too dangerous.”
“Too many people” who were looting, and breaking windows in the building.
Blossom said he had to stand by and stand down, as he listened to his life’s work being torn apart.
“It’s hard to find words really,” he said. “It wasn’t terror. There was some anger, for sure there was some anger. 13 years of hard work and to see it destroyed in one night is, how can you not be angry?”
The images of what he found at dawn, in both stores, are stunning. The looters broke 12 windows, and took everything, Blossom said. They also left behind a few curiosities: including a guitar, a violin and boxes of cigarettes. He presumes they off-loaded those stolen items in favor of his merchandise, instead.
Blossom said despite the violence that hit his store, he still stands in solidarity with the peaceful protesters, many of whom he was chanting with at Federal Plaza just hours before the rioting.
“Nothing about what happened to my store has changed how I feel about the movement…I am still 100% behind the peaceful protests,” he said. “It’s an important movement, and I’m behind it. I consider this kind of destruction to undermine it.”
His next move? Awaiting answers from his insurance provider, Nationwide Insurance. Blossom said he is optimistic the damage will be covered, and hopes the business interruption will be, as well. He has agreed to let NBC 5 Responds follow his journey back to getting his businesses up and running.
As for this location, the Chicago business owner says he has no choice but to stay in the beloved Monadnock. The spirit of his maternal grandmother Florence is there with him, he believes. She worked in the Monadnock back in 1917, when she was only 14 years old. His stores are named for her.
Blossom is optimistic about the future of his business, he said, but with a heavy heart.
“I’m so grateful for the support from our customers. We have built a community these last 13 years,” he said. “And they can’t loot that.”