No one cared much when news broke of the impending demise of a two-story parking structure in The Loop at 215 West Lake Street. And why would they? Even as far as parking structures go, it was run-of-the-mill at best. Not to mention tiny.
But news that its neighboring building at 209 West Lake Street would also meet the wrecking ball prompted a much different response. Built in the late 1800’s, it was one of the oldest post-Great Chicago Fire structures remaining in the city. Now, a cynic might say there was more hand wringing about the possibility of Monk’s Pub meeting the same fate as 209 W Lake (it will not; it has been spared. Closed now, a sign promotes its “Grand Reopening” on January 15th), but many historians, architecture aficionados, and just plain Chicagoans are sad to see the 4-story brick edifice fade into memory.
Any building demolition is sure to pull a crowd, but there’s definitely more of a morbid fascination about watching 209 West Lake’s, as it is slowly, painstakingly disassembled brick-by-brick. We stopped by Tuesday to watch the National Wrecking Company do what they do best: dispatch the old to make room for the new. But beware: There isn’t much attention being paid to watering down the debris. It’s pretty dusty on Lake Street. (That’s not a euphemism for shedding tears. It’s real, honest-to-goodness dust.)