Landmarks Visited: 1
Landmarks To-Date: 138
Landmarks Remaining: 215
This morning I played hookie from work and went to get my hair cut. I rationalized that since I need to look good for a client meeting tomorrow, getting a haircut was really work related. On my way back to my home office I drove west out Belmont Avenue to the Florsheim Shoe Company Building.
I learned from this trip that Florsheim shoes used to be made in Chicago. Since I was curious as to where the company is now I did a little web search. Heirs to the founders bought the brand back a few years ago and the company is now based in Wisconsin. But it no longer manufacturers shoes. All manufacturing is outsourced, primarily to China and India.
I didn't find the building exceptionally architecturally interesting. It was surprisingly large, and is well maintained. It's been converted to offices and residential units. I guess the building represents the end of the era when even functional building had ornamentation. The building is almost completely free of exterior decoration except for around the main entrance
As I was driving on Belmont, I saw an abandoned condo project that caught my attention. I've always liked urban ruins, and this half completed project has that feel. I'm assuming that the developer was a victim of the Great Recession. This is the largest abandoned project that I've seen in a Chicago neighborhood.
There is a building in the Loop, that I think was planned to be about 90 floors, that was abandoned after 26 floors were built. I'm sure the building in the Loop will eventually be completed or torn down for something else. But I'm not so sure about this building on Belmont. It might be a white elephant for years to come. Then again, this building is near the Chicago River and some upper units probably have skyline views, so maybe there is still hope for it.
I actually think it would be interesting if an abandoned construction project were preserved as a memorial to the Great Recession. It could be sort of a vertical park where people could climb through the hulk of the building.