Baird & Warner lays claim to be the oldest U.S. brokerage still in operation, launching in 1855.
In the 1960s, its then-executive John Baird tussled with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) over that group’s enforcement of redlining as Baird wanted to sell homes to Black people in areas that lenders and agents marked as white only. The fight for Illinois legislation over the matter was part of what eventually lead to the 1967 federal Fair Housing Act. In 1991, John Baird’s son, Stephen Baird, took over as president and later CEO of the brokerage.
The business’s legacy was venerated at various point such as in 2005 when then Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley declared March 28 “Baird & Warner Day,” and a route alongside LaSalle Street was named “Baird & Warner Drive.”
But far from a relic of a bygone era, Baird & Warner is still going absent any mergers, acquisitions, or change in their Chicago focus. The company is the 26th largest brokerage in the country by sales volume, according to RealTrends 2020 figures, with $6.4 billion.