A Look at Where All That Adopt-a-Landmark Money Goes in Chicago
Dec05

A Look at Where All That Adopt-a-Landmark Money Goes in Chicago

For the last five years, real estate developers in Chicago have been using a city program called Adopt-a-Landmark to get things out of City Hall, and vice-versa. It’s one of the key tools that developers use to cram a little more height into a space that was meant for less. In essence, if they write a check to the Adopt-a-Landmark program, they can add a few more floors to the fancy downtown office buildings, condos, hotels, and...

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“The House That Bozo Built” Will Likely Meet a Wrecking Ball
Nov20

“The House That Bozo Built” Will Likely Meet a Wrecking Ball

A fairly anonymous three-story brick building at 2501 West Bradley Place in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood may be torn down in the next few years. It’s been sold to Houston mega real estate developer Hines. WGN-TV (file) This isn’t just any building. It’s the home of WGN-TV. The television station moved to this building in 1963 because the old Tribune Tower space was too small. The Trib’s building...

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Here’s What Makes The Chicago Theater so Special
Oct30

Here’s What Makes The Chicago Theater so Special

This week the Chicago Theater turned one hundred years old. You, me, and dozens of millions of tourists know it as an icon of the city. Chicago Theater (file) Much has been written about the building by architects and historians and other people of letters. But when it comes to sizing up history, we always like to go to that most Chicago of Chicagoans, Carl Sandburg. He was there on October 26, 1921 when it opened; and those who...

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Sweet Salvation as Fannie May’s House is Saved from Demolition
Jun27

Sweet Salvation as Fannie May’s House is Saved from Demolition

A lot of Chicago’s roots have been torn out over the last decade or so. Marshall Field’s became Macy’s.  White Hen became 7-Eleven.  And Fannie May moved manufacturing to… Ohio. While the offices eventually moved back home (though it’s owned by the Nutella people in Italy now), the betrayal still stings.  So it was with no small sense of joy and gluttony that we devoured Dennis Rodkin’s...

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Fulton High-Rise Greened, Bows to Arthur “Stainless Steel Balls” Harris
Jun21

Fulton High-Rise Greened, Bows to Arthur “Stainless Steel Balls” Harris

It was Two-fer Thursday for LG Development at the Chicago Plan Commission this past week.  The prolific constructors of all things great and small used to be content just kitting out Damen Avenue perfume boutiques. Now it’s ben cleared for takeoff with another high-rise in downtown Chicago. This project is at 210 North Aberdeen Street in West Town, just barely clipping one corner of the Fulton Market Historic District.  It sits...

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Bridgeport Church Seeks Preservation, While Lincoln Park Holy Site Heads to Demolition
Jun01

Bridgeport Church Seeks Preservation, While Lincoln Park Holy Site Heads to Demolition

The news about the dwindling number of Chicago holy places is mixed this week.  On Thursday (June 3, 2021), the Commission on Chicago Landmarks will consider two proposals related to the city’s religious history. Monastery of the Holy Cross (via Apple Maps) In Bridgeport, the Monastery of the Holy Cross is up for landmark status.  It’s the former Immaculate Conception Church on the corner of 31st Street and Aberdeen that...

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These Are the Most Endangered Buildings in Illinois
May09

These Are the Most Endangered Buildings in Illinois

While Illinois hasn’t yet reached Atlanta or Los Angeles-levels of disregard for its built history, fewer and fewer people seem to understand the value of the past. For this reason, the work of Preservation Illinois is becoming more and more important. The group has put out its annual list of the state’s Most Endangered Buildings. And while there is the usual smattering of buildings and boulevard that nobody’s ever...

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South Loop Church’s Massive Tiffany Window Goes Out For Repairs
Apr04

South Loop Church’s Massive Tiffany Window Goes Out For Repairs

At a time when too many of Chicago’s holy places are being abandoned, or worse, we bring you a good news story out of the South Loop. The enormous Tiffany window at Second Presbyterian Church has been removed for conservation. Stained glass window being removed from Second Presbyterian Church in March, 2021. (Courtesy of Friends of Historic Second Church.) Thousands of people have admired the 16-foot-tall window during services,...

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Another Piece of Chicago Architecture History Goes From Dust to Dust
Mar28

Another Piece of Chicago Architecture History Goes From Dust to Dust

Easter is a time to celebrate miracles.  But unless The Big Guy, Himself decides to go all Lazarus on 1319 South Ashland Avenue, Saint Stephenson Missionary Baptist Church is gone forever. Saint Stephenson Missionary Baptist Church in August 2020 (Courtesy of Little Italy Spy Blake) Little Italy Spy Blake tithed our tip line with the news that demolition crews have finally done with demolition crews do, and turned this once...

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City Preserving the Morton Salt Shed
Mar01

City Preserving the Morton Salt Shed

For almost a hundred years, the Morton Salt complex at 1357 North Elston Avenue, has been welcoming commuters to downtown Chicago.  Now the city landmark with a lower case “l” is becoming an official City Landmark, with an uppercase “L.”   The Morton Salt complex, before the eastern shed was torn down last year (via Apple Maps) This coming Thursday (March 4, 2021), the Commission on Chicago Landmarks will...

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