Amtrak Commits $12 Million To Union Station Rehab Project
Jan29

Amtrak Commits $12 Million To Union Station Rehab Project

If you’ve spent much time at Chicago Union Station lately, you probably noticed a chilly reception. I don’t mean the Amtrak staff. It’s been downright cold inside the station itself. There’s good news, though: the station’s drafty waiting rooms could be much toastier this time next year. The 90-year-old Chicago Union Station will be getting a facelift later this year. Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced Amtrak would pay $12 million...

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Slice of Life: Ghosts of the Other Little Italy
Jan29

Slice of Life: Ghosts of the Other Little Italy

Chicago is a city of neighborhoods.  And while some neighborhoods resist change, others are swept away into the dustbin of history.  Though real estate agents love to fudge with its boundaries, Lincoln Park remains Lincoln Park.  Little Hell is now Cabrini Green.    Chinatown moved from the Loop to the South Side.  And in spite of being eviscerated twice in the name of progress, Little Italy still hangs on. But just as there once was...

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Status Update: River Point Rises, Sans Promised Park
Jan28

Status Update: River Point Rises, Sans Promised Park

Remember when it was promised that the office tower portion of River Point wouldn’t be built until the public park was finished?  Yeah, neither does the developer. The Chicago Architecture Blog’s Daniel Schell ambled by the construction site at 444 West Lake Street recently and took these pictures of the tower portion rising on the corner on West Lake and North Canal Streets.  Right now the steel frame is about three or...

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Slice Of Life: Cubs #14 Honored In Lights At Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower
Jan28

Slice Of Life: Cubs #14 Honored In Lights At Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower at 300 E. Randolph is a Chicago landmark not just for its distinctive exterior but also because of the building’s lights. Every year the company creates dozens of lighting displays to promote wellness and other messages. A computerized lighting program creates the display, along with some manual assistance (closing certain blinds to accentuate the effect). This week, the Blue Cross lights offer a...

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Full House And Media Frenzy Show Up As Grant Park Public Meeting Goes To The Dogs
Jan28

Full House And Media Frenzy Show Up As Grant Park Public Meeting Goes To The Dogs

Maggie Daley Park Field House was packed with residents and the media last night for a public meeting hosted by the Grant Park Conservancy & Advisory Council. The crowd sat politely for the first hour as Bob O’Neill, president of the conservancy, ticked off the park’s big accomplishments during 2014. There was nary a peep when Bob Raymond, director of planning and construction for the Chicago Park District, described the...

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Status Update: Old River North Firehouse
Jan27

Status Update: Old River North Firehouse

If you live, work, or wander around River North long enough, you will eventually run across the old firehouse at 228 West Illinois Street. For years it was something of a sad building.  Businesses came and went, but none seemed to be able to breathe permanent life into the former home of Chicago’s Bravest. Then along came Mr. Jones. The Jones is the name of the skyscraper designed by Hartshorne Plunkard Architecture and under...

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A Last Look at the Congress Theater Before its Rebirth
Jan26

A Last Look at the Congress Theater Before its Rebirth

If you’re a Logan Square resident saddened by the lack of screaming, brawling crowds in front of the Congress Theater, the time to rejoice is now. The Congress is making a comeback. Saturday, 1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno hosted an open house tour of the historic venue, closed since April 2013 and in desperate need of repair, to show off plans for just that very thing: an extensive renovation. The 4,500-seat...

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Status Update: 707 North Wells
Jan26

Status Update: 707 North Wells

Eight months after we saw the drawings of 707 North Wells Street, the mid-rise residential building is well underway. The Chicago Architecture Blog‘s own Daniel Schell popped by the other day and took these photographs of the construction progress.  As you can see, the tower crane is up, and the concrete core has risen from the ground. When complete, the building will rise 11 stories over the eastern edge of Chicago’s...

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A History of Chicago’s City Hall and Cook County Building
Jan26

A History of Chicago’s City Hall and Cook County Building

Chicago’s City Hall and County Building is intriguing. It is not a single building but is, instead, two identical buildings joined as one. The County Building—(118 North Clark Street) facing east and Daley Plaza —is the slightly older of the two (1907) and houses Cook County department offices. City Hall (121 North LaSalle Street) faces west and was completed in 1911. It contains the Mayor’s office, the City Clerk, City Council,...

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The Colorful World of Chicago’s Century of Progress
Jan26

The Colorful World of Chicago’s Century of Progress

  We’ve all seen pictures and movies of the 1933-34 Century of Progress International Exposition in Chicago.  From WTTW to the Museum of Science and Industry to the Randolph Street Market, images of the Rainbow City are not hard to find.  But what has been exceedingly hard to find until now is color film of the event. A Los Angeles company called Periscope Films has put an 11-minute video on YouTube (above) showing the...

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