Loop Skyscraper Inching Toward Landmark Status
Feb11

Loop Skyscraper Inching Toward Landmark Status

Do you like skyscrapers?  Do you like railroads?  Do you like history?  If you answered “no” to any of those questions, then what the heck are you doing reading this article, ya silly rabbit? If you like skyscrapers, railroads, and history, then your pulse will pound harder than a middle-age bridge jumper nailing a trifecta at Arlington Park when we tell you that 226 West Jackson has been recommended for landmark status. ...

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Wayback Wednesday: Pedal-Powered Public Puppet Performances
Jan22

Wayback Wednesday: Pedal-Powered Public Puppet Performances

Today’s Wayback Wednesday brings us to ten years ago today: January 22, 2010. That was the day we took this photograph of a puppet bike. A puppet bike on the corner of Randolph and Michigan on January 22, 2010. (File) A puppet bike is a large tricycle with a puppet theater grafted onto the back of it. They would be seen intermittently in the busier areas of downtown Chicago, entertaining tourists and being largely ignored by the...

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Wayback Wednesday: Winter Comes for Chicago’s Newspapers
Jan15

Wayback Wednesday: Winter Comes for Chicago’s Newspapers

This was the scene on January 15, 2010 — ten years ago today.  One of Chicago’s multi-holed newspaper racks braving the cold on the corner of Michigan and Chicago Avenues.  The corner of Chicago and Michigan January 10, 2010. Newspaper stands, and the racks that replace them, have a long history in Chicago. They proliferated in the early 20th century, in part because of new regulations on street vending in the...

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Century-Old Bronzeville Church Likely to be Landmarked
Jan13

Century-Old Bronzeville Church Likely to be Landmarked

In an era when so many of Chicago’s holy places are being abandoned, repurposed, or even demolished, it’s good to see a building that has been a cornerstone of its community on the road to preservation.  The Chicago Landmarks Commission has approved landmark designation for the building that is now Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church.   Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist church (via Apple Maps) The building opened in March...

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Odd Chicago Zoning Rule Says No to Skyscraper, Yes to Typewriter Repair Shop
Dec12

Odd Chicago Zoning Rule Says No to Skyscraper, Yes to Typewriter Repair Shop

The history of Chicago is written in its zoning rules.  Leafing through the pages you get a sense of how successive generations used the letter of the law to shape the ways in which the city would grow and change. Since both history and urban planning are messy affairs, it’s not surprising to find grains of sand in these oysters of wisdom.  One of them surfaced recently at 401 North State Street, where the parking garage is...

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By a Thousand Cuts: Another Tiny Slice of Gold Coast History to be Chopped
Nov04

By a Thousand Cuts: Another Tiny Slice of Gold Coast History to be Chopped

If you walk down the Oak Street Retail Corridor your eye may be caught by fancy brand names, people with impossibly polished skin, and the place where Governor Blagojevich used to get his famous hair famously cut before now getting clipped at a federal pokey in Colorado.  But if you look beyond what is commonly seen to what is not commonly seen, you will see two things: architecture and history. 113 East Oak Street (July 2007) The...

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Restoration of the Village Theater Facade in Old Town Looks Pretty Spiffy
Sep17

Restoration of the Village Theater Facade in Old Town Looks Pretty Spiffy

It’s been a very long time since Old Town’s Village Theater stopped entertaining people and became a hulking presence lurking a Starbucks’ throw from the lovely and historic Germania Club next door.  Now we’re getting a look at the results of a project to restore that facade to its former splendor. September 2019 construction of Fifteen Fifty on the Park (provided) In the photograph above you can see that...

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A Close Look at the Demolition of the Tribune Tower
Sep04

A Close Look at the Demolition of the Tribune Tower

We really don’t know how to feel about this. Streeterville Spy Joel sent in the photographs on this page showing the demolition happening at the once and future Tribune Tower. September 2019 Tribune Tower renovation (Courtesy of Streeterville Spy Joel.) You can see all kinds of work being done.  Walls are being torn down, balconies are being put up, and there’s a tailings pile from some presumably tracked machine...

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Old Cook County Hospital Building Gets a $3 Million Preservation Boost
Sep03

Old Cook County Hospital Building Gets a $3 Million Preservation Boost

You can do lots of things with money.  You can help someone in need.  You can buy a cat.  And with enough of it, you can save the old Cook County Hospital Building. The former Cook County Hospital (March 2009) A big step in the direction of saving that structure is coming from the State of Illinois, which has chosen the vacant hospital building to receive three million dollars in tax credits for its rehabilitation. The money comes...

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Andersonville School Close to Becoming a Landmark
Jun10

Andersonville School Close to Becoming a Landmark

Chicago’s Landmarks Commission has approved a plan to make the former Lyman Trumbull school building in Andersonville the city’s newest landmark. The building on the northwest corner of Ashland and Foster was designed by Dwight H. Perkins (once of Burnham & Root), and built in 1909. Lyman Trumbull school building (Via Apple Maps) A report for the Landmarks Commission describes the building thusly: Trumbull is regarded...

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