Monday, August 30, 2010

Trip 64: Bachman House

Date: August 30, 2010
Trip: 64
Landmarks Visited: 1
Landmarks To-Date: 177
Landmarks Remaining: 176

Today after work I risked the cloudy sky and took a quick bike ride north to see the Bachman House. But the big news is that this trip put me over the half-way mark! It's taken a while to get to this point, but at least it makes me think that I can finish this project. Still the second half of the list will be a lot tougher to cover because I've already visited the major groupings of landmarks in and around the Loop.

The interesting thing about the Bachman House is that it appears much more contemporary in terms of design than it really is. I would have guessed that it was built in the '60s or '70s. But it actually dates to 1948. It's surrounded by very traditional or typical Chicago homes, so it really stands out.

The shape of the house seems church-like to me. The only aspect of the house that I don't care for is that it doesn't have many windows--at lease that you can see from the street.

Trip 63: Too Lazy to Bike

Date: August 26, 2010
Trip: 62
Landmarks Visited: 3
Landmarks To-Date: 176
Landmarks Remaining: 177

On Thursday I decided I was too tired to bike after a long day of work, so I drove to see three landmarks. That turned out to be a bad decision because a string of traffic lights were out on Irving Park, for no apparent reason. A trip that should have taken 30 minutes instead took nearly two hours.

1. Whistle Stop Inn

This building is interesting because it's a wood frame commercial building. You don't see many of those in Chicago. It looks like a saloon from the Old West. It's also odd that it survived in its location because it's next to an exit ramp for the Kennedy expressway.

2. Peoples Gas Irving Park Neighborhood Store

Peoples Gas must have had locations all over the city at one time, because I've noticed several others. These probably date from the time when people would walk in and pay their gas bills in cash.
This building looks like it might be a Louis Sullivan design.

3. Kimbell Trust and Savings Bank Building
This building is no longer a bank. It seems to house a social service organization. It's not an extremely interesting building, so I don't have a good guess as to why it was landmarked.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Trip 62: Old Chicago Coast Guard Station

Date: August 25, 2010
Trip: 62
Landmarks Visited: 1
Landmarks To-Date: 173
Landmarks Remaining: 180

Wednesday after work I rode my bike south on the lake path and over the Chicago River to see the Old Chicago Coast Guard Station, which is now the Chicago Marine Safety Station. Basically, it's the police station on the lake.

The building is located where the Chicago River meets Lake Michigan. I intentionally did not say the mouth of the Chicago River, because it looks like more of a canal from this vantage point. The locks that help keep the Chicago River from diverting too much Lake Michigan water are located nearby the station.

The building itself looks more like it belongs in New England than in Chicago. In the background of a couple of the photos you can see the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier, which is located north of the Chicago River. The white ball is the helium balloon ride that was recently added near Navy Pier.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Trip 61: Chicago's Original Gold Coast

Date: August 22, 2010
Trip: 61
Landmarks Visited: 6
Landmarks To-Date: 172
Landmarks Remaining: 181

1. Prairie Avenue District

On Sunday morning I headed down to the 1800 block of S. Prairie Avenue. This was the original home to Chicago's wealthiest families. The Armour's, Pullman's and Field's all lived there. Later the street saw tough times, and many of the original mansions were torn down. Most of the surviving homes are pictured here.

I thought this Com Ed substation in the district was interesting because it has both an image of an electric train and an Egyptian motif. Apparently, the architect wanted to appease every taste.

2. Glessner House
This house is part of the Prairie Avenue District. It's also the first paid tour that I've taken. I paid $10 to tour the interior of the house. The house isn't very inviting from the outside--it looks like a fortress with high stone walls and slit windows.
The interior has a very unusual lay-out, but otherwise seems very traditional relative to the exterior. The house was definitely designed for servants to care for the family without being seen. The servants had a separate section of the house, and there are hallways and stairways for them to reach rooms in the house without disturbing the family.

3. Wheeler-Kohn House
This house is also part of the district, but it's the last remaining original house on Calumet Avenue.

4. Clarke House
This house is claimed by some to be the oldest surviving house in Chicago. But others claim it shouldn't get that title because it wasn't in Chicago when it was built. That area was later annexed to the city, and the house was even later moved to its current location.

5. R.R. Donnelley & Sons Co. Calumet Plant
This industrial building is impressive for its size (given it's location in an urban neighborhood) and the amount of architectural detail. There are faux balconies, coats-of-arms, and relief sculptures.

6. American Book Company Building
This is another office/ industrial building just across the street from the Donnelley building.