Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trip 7: Newport Avenue District & Belmont-Sheffield Bank Building

I'm going to add a countdown to my blog. It will list the date of the trip, the number of the trip, the number of landmarks seen, and the number yet to go. Here's the current count:

Date: April 8, 2010
Trip: 7
No. of Landmarks Visited: 2
Landmarks To-Date: 10
Landmarks Remaining: 343

So last Thursday after work I walked from home to the Newport Avenue District. It's basically a one block area of traditional Chicago greystone homes. At least they fit my definition of a Chicago greystone; a two or three story brick home with a gray stone facade and some type of decorative cornice at the roof line. In a more middle class neighborhood like Lakeview (where Newport is located) the greystones are mainly three flats on a single lot. This is opposed to the ones I saw earlier in Wicker Park which were generally single family homes on double lots.

The higher-end greystones include stone porches with stone pillars, curved glass windows, some stained glass windows and stone cornices (as opposed to wood or metal). Some have smooth stone finishes (as opposed to most with rough-cut stones). I don't know if this relates to costs (the higher-end greystones do seem to have more smooth stone) or just that styles changed over time.

There's not a lot of stained glass or other high-end finishes on Newport--although a couple of greystones have granite porch pillars as opposed to the usual sandstone (I think) or wood. Still it's a beautiful tree-lined street.

Next I walked to Belmont Street to see the Belmont-Sheffield Trust & Savings Bank building. It's no longer a bank--in fact the first floor is a Walgreen's and the upper floors are probably condos. It's very large building for the neighborhood. The most interesting piece of the bank left is the night deposit door on the outside of the building. It appears to be bronze, so I'm surprised that it hasn't been stolen for scrap. I went inside the Walgreen's but unfortunately not much is left of the bank. I was hoping that the pharmacy counter would be behind old teller windows, but Walgreen's (or an earlier tenant) ripped that all out. There is what appears to be some of the original stone tile floor left, and what might have been a skylight or atrium at some point. Now it's back lighted with electric lights.

As an added bonus I got to see the public art at the Belmont L station on the way one. There are tile mosaics and one large steel sculpture. While not a landmark, I was pretty impressed with the new station.

1 comment:

  1. It's sad what they can do to a historic building like the Belmont-Sheffield Savings Bank building. It will only be a matter of time before MB is the same in Wicker Park. Still, such gorgeous architecture and history there.