Skip to main content
  1. Life
  2. Neighborhoods
  3. Places & Faces

Palmer's later years

See also

Potter Palmer recovered from the Great Chicago Fire, but two years later he faced the challenge of the Long Depression. He was better prepared for this crisis and sold several of his buildings to become debt free. He also developed Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive commercial district. The drive became Chicago’s most prominent address, replacing Prairie Avenue.

The Palmer’s increased the size of their family. Their son Honoré Palmer (1874-1964) was born in 1874, and one year later their son Potter Palmer II (1875-1943) was born. Bertha “Cissie” Palmer devoted her time to her family and to social, business and political causes.

From 1889-1891, Potter Palmer built 50 houses on Dearborn, State and Astor Streets. These homes were to be mansions built by skilled tradesmen who installed plumbing, gas fittings, bell and speaking tubes, sewage pipes, cold air and steam warming ducts, furnaces and electrical connections, all the modern conveniences of the period.

While Palmer was often considered as a possible mayoral candidate by the Democratic Party, he was never selected. He supported the party’s candidates and policies. When the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 was being considered, he promoted it and gave $200,000 to the Women’s Building. His wife Bertha also supported the exposition, and she became president of the Board of Lady Managers for the event.

During his life, Potter Palmer sponsored the arts and the establishment of the Art Institute of Chicago. He and his wife traveled to Europe numerous times to increase their art collection. Their collection of Impressionist Art is contained at the Art Institute.

On May 4, 1902, Potter Palmer experienced heart failure and passed away, just before his 76th birthday. He is buried in the family plot in Graceland Cemetery.

Enlighten your life with history.

Use this link to become an Examiner, .



  • Transgender cop
    A transgender police officer is stepping down from her position to run for office
    Political Office
  • Easter eggs
    Craft delicate, hand-painted eggs with flowers and other designs celebrating spring
    Easter Eggs
  • Subway message
    Subway customer finds 'Big Mama' written on her order
    Subway Message
  • Working from home
    Working from home can be an exciting venture. Get tips to ensure productivity
    Get Tips
  • Limes
    Rising cost of limes could be putting the squeeze on your favorite restaurant
    Expensive Limes
  • Pope Francis
    Religion: Pope Francis instructs how to fight against Satan
    Morning Mass

Related Videos:

  • Daley Plaza at night
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518151808" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>
  • Hannah Adams
    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//;autoplay=1"></iframe>
  • A Victorian word puzzle
    <div class="video-info" data-id="518123070" data-param-name="playList" data-provider="5min" data-url=""></div>

User login

Log in
Sign in with your email and password. Or reset your password.
Write for us
Interested in becoming an Examiner and sharing your experience and passion? We're always looking for quality writers. Find out more about and apply today!