Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Trip 88: A Quick Trip to the West Loop

Date: January 23, 2011
Trip: 88
Landmarks Visited: 3
Landmarks To-Date: 231
Landmarks Remaining: 122

On a cold but sunny Sunday I took the Red Line down to the Loop to see one landmark, and then took a short ride on the Green Line to see two more in the West Loop. We had a snow storm the night before so there were not many people out and about.

1. Page Brothers Building

The interesting thing about this building is that it has different facades facing north (Lake Street) and west (State Street). The landmark plague explains that the State Street side was updated when it became a more important commercial street than Lake.

Walking to another landmark I took the photo below. It's of a diner that I think my dad would appreciate. The outdoor seating area includes a railroad crossing gate and railroad car wheels.

2. Site of Haymarket Tragedy

This monument marks the approximate location of the spot where a bomb was thrown during a labor demonstration in May of 1886. A number of police and civilians died from the bomb and the confusion that followed. Many people believe this event is the origin of May Day as an international day for labor.
I actually thought of current events in Egypt when I visited this monument. No one could have foreseen the outcome of events at Haymarket Square that day, just like no one could have predicted that one man's death in Tunisia would lead to demonstrations across the Middle East.

The following pic is of Claes Oldenburg's Batcolumn sculpture. I walked past it on my way to the next landmark. I know that the Ferris Wheel was Chicago's actual response to the Eiffel Tower, but I've always thought of this sculpture as Chicago's Eiffel Tower. The steel frame construction is very reminiscent (in my opinion) of the tower.

3. Engine Company 5, Truck 2

This building is still an active fire station.

On my walk back to the train, I happened to look up at the Willis (formerly Sears) Tower. I had heard about the new glass floor ledges on the observation floor, but had never actually seen them before. I definitely want to check it out in person at some point.
Look closely at the top few floors of the tower and you can see the glass areas that extended outward from the facade of the building.

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