Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Trip 40: Saturday Afternoon in the Loop

Date: June 19, 2010
Trip: 40
Landmarks Visited: 24
Landmarks To-Date: 98
Landmarks Remaining: 255

I spent Saturday afternoon visiting landmarks in the Loop. I visited 24 landmarks, but that's only about half the count in the area so stay tuned for another trip. It was an interesting day to be in the Loop because the police had a quite a few streets blocked. At first I thought there must be some filming going on.

But then I noticed that some of the highrises had broken windows--and not just one or two windows but many. And breaks were like holes punched in the middle of the window. Later I read in the Tribune that the storm on Friday night had 77 MPH winds that threw stones off the roofs of some buildings into the windows of others. Apparently stones are used on some roofs to reflect sunlight.

When I started this blog my brother Jeff said that the hard part would be writing about so many landmarks. He was right. It's taken a while to put together this posting because I had to sort through over 100 photos. And some of the landmarks in the Loop look pretty similar. So a couple of landmarks I'll actually have to go back and see again because I couldn't definitely identify the photos.

1. Chicago Theatre

I saw Erasure perform at the Chicago Theatre a few years back. I guess that dates me. The inside of the theatre is as spectacular as the marquee.

2. Marshall Field and Company Building
The most iconic part of this building's exterior is the bronze clock. For the interior, it's probably the Tiffany dome. Many Chicagoans aren't happy that it's now a Macy's store...

3. Reliance Building

I think the nearby Reliance Building is a good example of a Chicago-style highrise. It has the characteristic windows with a large pane in the center for sunlight and two smaller windows on either side that open for ventilation.

4. Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building
This former department store is now called the Sullivan Center after the architect and is now partially used by the School of the Art Institute as gallery space. The main floor is set to be rented as specialty stores. I think the iron detail on the facade of the building makes it the best example of Louis Sullivan's work.

5. Palmer House Hotel
I included an interior shot of the famous peacock doors at the Palmer.

6. Leiter II Building
I learned from the plaque that this building was home to Sears' flagship store for decades. Sears is now farther north on State Street and this building is used by Robert Morris college.
Colleges have been a big part of the revival of the Loop in Chicago, especially the South Loop. There is now a significant amount of both classroom space and student housing in the Loop.

7. Jewelers Row District
The Jewelers Row District is difficult to photograph because the L runs down the middle of Wabash Avenue where it's located. The district is what the name implies--the traditional home of jewelry stores in Chicago. There are still jewelry stores there, although some of the high-end brands are now on Michigan Avenue (Tiffany's, Van Cleef & Arpels) and Oak Street.

8. Haskell-Barker-Atwater Buildings
These buildings are also part of the Jeweler's Row District and are also difficult to photograph. (I got my photos a little out of order, so there's another photo of this group of buildings two photos above.)

9. 35 E Wacker Building
Supposedly Al Capone had his office on the top domed floor of this building. I believe it is now the office of world famous architect Helmut Jahn.

10. Old Dearborn Bank Building

11. IBM Building
This building is a prefect example of the modernist highrise. Its simplicity is its elegance. I don't believe that IBM has offices in the building anymore, but it is still used as offices. I've read of plans to put a boutique hotel or condos in the building but the recession may have ended those plans. The Trump Tower, with lots of new hotel rooms and condos, is also right next door.

12. Heald Square Monument
Because of bright sunshine (and/or lack of photographic skills) I was only able to photograph the monument from the back. It's a tribute to the American Revolution, but I've never been able to figure the meaning of the name "Heald Square".

13. Mather Tower
I remember a few years ago they had to replace the very top of this building--I'm not sure if it would be called a copula or a tower or something else. They actually lifted the entire tip of the building with a helicopter and you could see individual construction workers on the building directing it into place. It was pretty impressive to see.

14. Delaware Building
This building for some reason always makes me think of a frontier town in the Old West--maybe not the cowboy Old West, but the railroad boom Old West. I also have to give a shout-out to McDonald's because they have a restaurant on the first floor, but they didn't destroy the facade of the building. Maybe it was already landmarked before they moved it, but I'm still glad to see the that the exterior of building was preserved.

15. City Hall-County Building
City Hall is an impressive Greco-Roman temple like building.

16. Daley Center
The police had Daley Center completely blocked off because of the previously discussed broken windows. (The recently completed Block 37 right across the street had quite a few smashed windows.)
I was excited to get some photos of the Picasso statue without people around it, until I realized that the city had put a Blackhawks helmet on the stature to celebrate their recent Stanley Cup victory. It's a good thing that Picasso is dead...

17. Steuben Club Building
I love the Gothic Revival terra cotta details on this building.

18. One North LaSalle Building
This building makes me think of the Empire State Building. I think it's because the narrow windows give the building a very vertical appearance. I think it looks taller than it actually is.

19. Rookery Building
This building is famous both for it's beautiful exterior, and for the make-over of the central atrium by Frank Llyod Wright. Although I appreciate his disign, it does disappoint me some that he didn't respect the work of the architect's original design. Still, when the client is paying I guess you have to do want the client wants.

20. Field Building
This building was not on my original trip plan, but I happened to see the landmark plaque. According to the plaque, it was one of the last highrises built in Chicago before a 20 year hiatus due to the Depression and World War II. It's also a very vertical building that feels more New York than Chicago.

21. Chicago Board of Trade Building
One of my favorite things about the Board of Trade building is the story about the two statues out front. Apparently the goddess of grain and goddess of industry statues where part of the original building. When it was being torn down to make way for the current building the statues were moved to someone's suburban estate for safe keeping. They were then forgotten about.
Later the estate was donated to the Cook County Forest Preserve and someone stumbled upon the statues. They were then returned to the Board of Trade.
I also like the very art deco statue of the goddess Ceres on the tip of the current building. I saw the original maquee for the statue at this year's Art Chicago. But it was out of my price range.
There is also a story about this sculpture. The sculpture doesn't have a face. Some people say it's because the scupltor wasn't finished on schedule and the architect decided that it didn't matter because no one would be able to see the face from the ground anyway. But this is just an urban legand--the maquee doesn't have a face either. It's just part of the streamlined design that was art deco.

22. Brooks Building

23. Union Station
Union Station is the main passenger train station in Chicago, and it's still used as a major commuter station. But most of the trains seem to arrive next door and the grand hall of the original station is ususally pretty dead.
I was always impressed with the station until I toured Grand Central Terminal in Mahattan with my brother and his wife. Union Station doesn't quite compare.

24. 300 West Adams Building