215 West Lake Street Signs On, Deletes History

209 West Lake demolition

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.)

 

Daniel Schell

Author: Daniel Schell

Daniel Schell is a West Loop social media addict who lives for Cubs baseball, good pizza, and big cities. If you bump into him on the street, it's likely because he's taking photos instead of watching where he's going, and he apologizes.

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1 Comment

  1. So sad more developers aren’t interested in adaptive reuse for the facades of these buildings… Same issue at the NW corner of Wells and Chicago ave… I’m all for development and density, but when the 60s and 70s saw so many unnecessary tear downs all in the name of “urban renewal,” what little we have left becomes that much more important. At least think of ways to incorporate parts of old Chicago into these plans….

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