Great Neighborhood Walks: Motor Row, Where Anything Can Happen
Jul09

Great Neighborhood Walks: Motor Row, Where Anything Can Happen

The plan was to photograph some grand old buildings. Then things got a little weird. I was in the company of a dozen fellow members of the Chicago Street Photography Group. Our route was one of the city’s great neighborhood walks—Motor Row. We spotted the old Hudson showroom down at 2222 South Michigan Avenue. It was frozen in time, the checkerboard-tiled floor untouched for decades. One by one, we crouched on the grungy sidewalk to...

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Crowdsourcing Chicago Landmark Districts
Jun30

Crowdsourcing Chicago Landmark Districts

The map of the city of Chicago is flecked with various landmark districts. From historic Astor Street in the Gold Coast to the city’s newest landmark districts in Rogers Park and Streeterville. But no matter how deserving, not everything that every Chicago citizen thinks is historic ends up on the table in front of the Commission on Chicago Landmarks. So one of our readers put together his own list of Chicago places he thinks...

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A Nod to Train Stations Past and Bocce Courts of the Future
Jun18

A Nod to Train Stations Past and Bocce Courts of the Future

  Construction continues on the new Grant Park Skate Park, just south of the 11th Street pedestrian bridge over the Metra Electric District railroad tracks. For the last 11 months, we’ve covered the plans for transforming this three-acre plot of land from an unused grassy embankment into a recreational space. The skating portion is actually 20 feet below the Michigan Avenue grade, with paths and ramps leading down to the grinding...

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10 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About The Columbia Yacht Club
May15

10 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About The Columbia Yacht Club

Ahoy mateys! Spring has sprung (sort of—it doesn’t seem like we’ll get any more snow…) and Lake Michigan beckons those who yearn to sail the seven seas. Or one big old Great Lake filled with vermin and Asian Carp, anyway. Have you ever wondered what mysteries lie within that stately ship that lies just off of East Randolph and Lake Shore Drive? It’s the Abegweit—or “The Abby” as it’s known to members—and home base of the...

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Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre Turns 125
Mar31

Chicago’s Auditorium Theatre Turns 125

 The Auditorium Theatre By The Numbers Age: 125 years Ranking in height among U.S. buildings when construction was completed in 1889: #1 Ranking among best venues to host rock concerts in 1973: #1 Year the Chicago Symphony Orchestra debuted in the theatre: 1891 Year the Auditorium Theatre was named a National Historic Landmark: 1975 Total available seating: 3,901 Money raised in 1933 (during the Great Depression) to refurbish the...

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Status Update: Warner House Reconstruction
Mar26

Status Update: Warner House Reconstruction

It was just three months ago that the City of Chicago bestowed landmark status upon the beleaguered Augustus Warner House at 1337 North Dearborn Street.  The lovely Gold Coast home has been vacant for years, and preservationists worried it would crumble before it could be saved.  Then in June of last year, plans were unveiled to actually demolish the structure, setting the wheels of government in motion. Now the saving process is well...

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Long Neglected, a Chicago Art Deco Gem Inches Toward Rebirth
Mar19

Long Neglected, a Chicago Art Deco Gem Inches Toward Rebirth

In a city filled with Art Deco delight, this small skyscraper is an exceptional gem. Recently named a Chicago Landmark, the fifteen-story Chicago Motor Club Building (68 East Wacker Place) was designed in 1928 by Holabird & Root. It’s not a well-known building; it has been empty for a decade, and you can’t access its dazzling lobby. But for locals who remember it way back when, and those lucky enough to attend the rare open house...

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The Chicago Building That Inspired A Song And A Poem
Mar16

The Chicago Building That Inspired A Song And A Poem

Chicago buildings lay claim to many architectural firsts. Some structures past and present were cultural touchstones as well. One even had a song named after it—“Mecca Flat Blues.” Later, it became the setting for a major poem, “In The Mecca” by Gwendolyn Brooks. The Bronzeville apartment building at 34th and State Streets has been gone for more than 60 years, but it was significant for both its design and sociological reasons. Mecca...

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100 Years of “Chicago,” and We’re Still a Poetry Town
Mar06

100 Years of “Chicago,” and We’re Still a Poetry Town

It’s been 100 years since downstate poet and writer Carl Sandburg published the words that would simultaneously reflect and define the city of Chicago. There are probably few people in Chicago who aren’t familiar with the beginning of his poem Chicago.  We see it on television, in advertisements, mocked, twisted, changed, used, abused, and appropriated in every possible way. Sandburg, himself, described the poem...

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10 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About The Rookery
Mar06

10 Things You (Probably) Don’t Know About The Rookery

You say you play a pretty mean game of Chicago architecture trivia? We’ll assume you’re a real hoot at cocktail parties. But do you REALLY know all the fun facts about the iconic Loop masterpiece The Rookery? We shall see. Give yourself one point if you know all of the following Rookery facts. A score of 5 or lower requires you to attend weekly Wednesday lectures at the Chicago Architecture Foundation for a month. A perfect 10 score...

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