How Chicago’s Historic Fisher Building Got Its Fish, and Other Things That Make It Special
Mar12

How Chicago’s Historic Fisher Building Got Its Fish, and Other Things That Make It Special

Sited among an incomparable collection of surviving early Chicago skyscrapers, the Fisher Building (343 South Dearborn Street) doesn’t resemble any of its neighbors. Though technologically modern, its decorative scheme unabashedly hearkens back to the Gothic cathedrals of Europe. South Dearborn Street in the 1890’s was hot real estate. Until the 1880’s, the area was residential, but when Dearborn Station was built at...

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The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Chicago’s Beloved Marquette Building
Feb28

The Rise and Fall and Rise Again of Chicago’s Beloved Marquette Building

It is one of those buildings that the unsuspecting might pass right by, its unflashy brown façade and comparatively modest scale giving no overt clues to its architectural significance and the artistic treasures it contains. But the Marquette Building (140 South Dearborn Street) is a quintessential example of an early skyscraper and the Chicago commercial style, a successful office building rich with art that honors Chicago history,...

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Blades to Bedazzle Block37
Feb20

Blades to Bedazzle Block37

Tragically troubled, yet amazingly clean, downtown shopping mall Block37 (1 West Randolph Street) is getting just a tiny bit flashier.  It’s going to put up so-called “blade” signs on its exterior. These are the vertical standards that you’ve seen on so many other buildings around town, including the new Gap store right across the street from Block37.  But as is so often the case, things are not easy for...

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It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Hanukkah, 2012 – Part 11
Dec15

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Hanukkah, 2012 – Part 11

Standing tall next to the Nativity scene in Daley Plaza is a giant menorah, erected by the Lubavitch Chabad of The Loop and Lincoln Park.  In spite of the Orthodox Jewish group’s well-publicized financial problems, it’s nice to see it continuing to spread the seasonal spirit this...

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Status Update: Dearborn Street Bike Lanes
Dec11

Status Update: Dearborn Street Bike Lanes

Last week, bicycle lanes came to The Loop in the form of a protected path running north and south along Dearborn Street. Officially, it’s called a “barrier-protected bike lane” because a barrier separates the cycling lanes from the lanes of moving traffic.  In many cities, that barrier is a small grassy or tree-lined median. In Chicago, it’s a line of parked cars. In the photo above, you can see the line of...

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Signs of Need at Block37
Dec03

Signs of Need at Block37

If you’ve been down to Block37 recently (and chances are you haven’t, or the Beard Papa’s Japanese creampuff stand wouldn’t have closed), then you might have noticed that State Street’s vertical mall has changed its logo. Out are the numerals, replaced with an all-letter logo. But that’s just the problem — Nobody notices Block37 (108 North State Street). It looks like an office building with a...

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Chicago’s Lost Cathedral
Jun06

Chicago’s Lost Cathedral

The Great Chicago Fire erased many landmarks from the face of the Earth.  One so thoroughly that even the venerable Encyclopedia of Chicago has nothing on it. Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral exists today only as a plaque, bolted to the grimy northeast corner of the Heyworth Building (29 East Madison Street) under the Wabash Avenue L tracks.  It reads: Here stood Old Saint Mary’s Cathedral, church of the first five Catholic...

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Ziggurat on the Gold Coast
Feb02

Ziggurat on the Gold Coast

I stumbled across 1155 North Dearborn Street the other day and was instantly transported back to third grade social studies class, and a word I’d thought I’d forgotten:...

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Fishing for History in The Loop
Jan09

Fishing for History in The Loop

On days when the sun splashes on its golden terra cotta, the Fisher Building (343 South Dearborn Street) glistens like a gem. The building is one of the finest examples of the Chicago School of architectre, designed by the accomplished architect Charles Atwood, under the direction of the period’s largest figure, Daniel Burnham. Raised in two phases a decade apart around the turn of the twentieth century, the building utilizes...

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Plan for Three New River North Hotels Revised

Back in August we told you about a plan to put three new hotels on half of the block bounded by Clark Street, Grand Avenue, Dearborn Street, and Illinois Street.  Well, those plans have been revised. There was concern about the kind of parking needed for a project of this size.  621 hotel rooms mean hundreds of extra cars.  Under the revised plan, the new hotels would use the new parking garage opening December 1st a...

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