DIANA AND BUILDINGS LIKE THE MICHIGAN SQUARE
Diana, Roman goddess of the hunt, was the key classical element within the Michigan Square Building - but she appeared in Chicago decades before the Diana Court's art deco elegance. The first time major attention was brought to Diana was during the The World's Columbian Exposition, when the sculpture, Diana I, sat atop the Agriculture Building from 1893 to 1894. She was admired near and far for her elegance and her prominent location overlooking the Court of Honor at the exposition. It is unknown what became of her after the 1984 fire that destroyed most of the fairground's. She had been moved six weeks before the fire, but her final fate is still unknown.
Her first reincarnate, Progress Lighting the Way, was commissioned to copy Diana I and was located atop the Montgomery Ward Tower Building, (6 N. Michigan Ave). The Tower Building served a similar purpose to the Michigan Square Building, as it was constructed to house the headquarters of a prominent Chicagoan business. Despite the fact the Montgomery Ward company sold the building in 1908, Progress stood until 1947, when the building's tower was deemed a safety hazard and had to be demolished. Progress was dismantled into thirty pieces and then auctioned off or scrapped. Most recently, Her head was auctioned off on November 4, 2014 at Leslie Hindman Auctioneers.
It wasn't until 1928 that the Montgomery Ward company commissioned the third reincarnation of Diana I for their new building at 618 W. Chicago Ave. Like her previous incarnates, Spirit of Progress carries a caduceus, which was a symbol of commerce in the ancient world. Spirit soon became a corporate symbol and Montgomery Ward commissioned copies of Spirit to be installed on some of the company's buildings across the country. Though Montgomery Ward went out of business in 2000 and 618 W. Chicago Ave is now residential condominiums, Spirit still resides on her perch on the northeast corner of the building.
Though not directly related to the Diana I trilogy, Diana once again appears in the Michigan Square Building after Holabird and Root visited Stockholm in 1927. They encountered Carl Milles' first Diana Fountain located at the Matchstick Palace, which coincidently was another company headquarters (Swedish Match). It is well known that Milles was often influenced by classical mythology, and the Swedish Diana Fountain is no exception. So while the Diana Fountain commissioned by Holabird and Root is unique to the U.S., it is not the only Diana Fountain in the world, as their commission is very similar to Milles' first one.
It is also known that the Diana Court received its name because of the installment of the Diana Fountain. Edgar Miller was also commissioned to design the Diana Court Clerestory Windows after Milles was commissioned for the fountain. The windows were created to accentuate the Diana Fountain, as well as represent different aspects of the goddess Diana.