Monday, June 21, 2010

Trip 39: Washington Square, including a Private Tour

Date: June 15, 2010
Trip: 38
Landmarks Visited: 3
Landmarks To-Date: 74
Landmarks Remaining: 279

On Tuesday morning I played hooky from work for a little while and visited the Washington Square historic district. This was an unusual trip because I also got a private tour--my first for this project. The Newberry Library is a part of the Washington Square district. Someone at the library found my blog and asked me if they could link their local history blog to my blog. And offered me a tour of the library.

From Autumn, a research librarian, I learned that the Newberry is a private foundation that is open to the public. It's a research library with a focus on the humanities. I left with a library card and hope to find time to do some research at the Newberry for this blog.

Thanks again for the tour!

Washington Square itself is relatively small (especially by New York standards) but it is unusual for Chicago. It has a simple fountain in the middle with the Newberry Library to the north and the Scottish Rite Cathedral to the east. The 'extension' to the district includes a number of the last surviving early, post fire homes.

The Newberry Library

It was a difficult day to take photos because of bright sunshine. So the colors of the library are unfortunately washed-out in these photos. It's a much for beautiful building than these photos show.

Scottish Rite Cathedral

I read somewhere that the cathedral originally had matching steeples. A fire gutted the interior and destroyed the original steeples. Styles must have changed, and the church was re-built in its current configuration. Construction is going on around the church--condos I think.
I probably shouldn't call it a church. It was originally built for that purpose. But I think Scottish Rite is some sort of fraternal order that bought the build at some point.

Homes in and around the district:

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