Highlights of our history.
1855 The company that would become Baird & Warner records its first transaction: A $5,000 mortgage loan on Washington Street.
1871 The Great Fire levels 79 blocks of Chicago, including the courthouse that held real estate records. Baird & Warner’s building was destroyed except the safe - which was not fireproof. It was pure luck that it survived. The documents inside helped assure titles and lot lines, making reconstruction easier.
1878 Lyman Baird’s son, Wyllys joins the company first as office boy, then bookkeeper, clerk and salesman before becoming a junior partner. To help maintain integrity and discourage dishonesty in real estate sales and rentals, he created what today is known as the Chicago Association of Realtors.
1897 Chicagoland’s population continues to grow, which led to construction of more apartments to provide affordable housing. Baird & Warner made life easier for landlords with a range of services such as collecting rents, providing loans and managing real estate sales.
1928 Baird & Warner publishes the Portfolio of Fine Apartment Homes, pioneering a whole new way of marketing. Sales agents used the 30-inch tall and lavishly illustrated book to help potential renters or buyers narrow down their choices without spending days of tiresome travel visiting each property in person.
1930s During the Great Depression, people who lost jobs had no means of paying rent. Without rental income, property owners couldn’t meet mortgage payments. Baird & Warner helped made a difficult time easier by arranging compromises between building owners and mortgage holders.
1934 Until this time, restricted loan terms meant only the very wealthy could afford their own home. But when the Federal Housing Authority began programs to encourage single family homeownership, Baird & Warner’s business evolved from managing buildings to managing real estate sales.
1962 John Baird takes a stand and makes a passionate speech for fair housing at City Hall. Baird & Warner was already the largest real estate company in Chicago, so the world listened as Mr. Baird fought for anti-discrimination laws, making the dream of home ownership a reality for many while opening the city and suburbs to renewal.
1988 Baird & Warner offers its clients an easier, “one-stop shopping” experience by integrating Key Mortgage Services into their business.
2003 Baird & Warner establishes B&W Title Services to give clients a more seamless real estate experience through an exclusive group of local expert attorneys.
2017 Baird & Warner is named No. 1 Top Workplace in Chicagoland by the Chicago Tribune – for six years in a row!
There’s so much more to Baird & Warner’s history. See for yourself with our 150th anniversary book, including photos from early days in Chicagoland.