Construction plans for the Buckingham Building began in 1929. The building replaced an 1886 structure called the Athenaeum Building, a semi-public educational institution. As a result, the new building was called the New Athenaeum during its initial planning, though by 1929 it was known as the Buckingham Building. The building’s office space opened to tenants in May 1930; its leasing agents promoted the space using both its proximity to Michigan Avenue and multiple modes of transportation and its views of Lake Michigan and Grant Park. Significant early tenants of the building included the Vacuum Oil Company, the American Railroad Association, and the National Hardwood Lumber Association. The first floor of the building was used as retail space, housing shops and restaurants. The Vacuum Oil Company merged with the Standard Oil Company of New York in 1931 to become the Socony-Vacuum Company, and the consolidated firm rented increasingly more space in the building. By 1940, the firm renamed the building the Socony-Vacuum Building upon signing a ten-year lease to its office space. The building later became known by its street address. It still includes both retail and office space, though it is now only partially occupied.