South Side Civil Rights Landmark Makes National List of Most Endangered Places
Sep27

South Side Civil Rights Landmark Makes National List of Most Endangered Places

The South Side church where the 1955 funeral and visitation for Emmett Till was held has been named to a list of the most endangered places in America. Roberts Temple (via Apple Maps) The National Trust for Historic Preservation puts out a new list each year, highlighting the places that shaped the nation that are also in danger of disappearing. This year’s list has locations from Alaska to Puerto Rico, and includes the Roberts...

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Historic Water Tower Gets Preservation Funds
Sep19

Historic Water Tower Gets Preservation Funds

When you live in a city as vast and interesting as Chicago, it’s easy to get lost staring at your own bellybutton.  But there is a whole lot more Illinois beyond the south suburban pumpkin patches. One of those places is Havana, which is located about half way between Peoria and Springfield on the Illinois River.  Like many downstate communities, it claims to be where Al Capone would go to get his nature on.  More...

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The New Kid on the Block in Wrigleyville
Jul07

The New Kid on the Block in Wrigleyville

If you ever get to go to a Cubs game again, you’ll find that the tradition of staggering from the bleachers to the Taco Bell across the street is over. The Taco Bell is gone. In its place a new four-story commercial building is rising on the corner of Addison and the space that used to be the Chicago and Evanston Railroad. 1111 West Addison Under Construction (July 2020, Courtesy of Wrigleyville Spy Joel) Wrigleyville Spy Joel...

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Wayback Wednesday: Greetings from Glencoe’s Past
Apr22

Wayback Wednesday: Greetings from Glencoe’s Past

If you haven’t traveled much lately — and you shouldn’t be traveling at all these days — you may not have noticed that postcards are becoming harder and harder to find. I’m one of those people who still sends postcards.  They’re like Instagram in slow motion.  Except with professional pictures, more privacy, and you can stick them to a refrigerator.  Something currently not possible with an...

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Underdog Buildings in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village May Get Landmark Protection
Apr06

Underdog Buildings in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village May Get Landmark Protection

The Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Association is trying to get more properties added to the neighborhood’s landmark district. Recently, a worker’s cottage at 2047 West Augusta Boulevard was saved from demolition as the demand for housing and pressure for increased density intensifies in some Chicago neighborhoods.  A number of worker cottages remain in Ukrainian Village, including 2047 West Augusta. the fourth...

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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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