Sunday, March 27, 2011

Trip 99: Beverly/Morgan Railroad District

Date: March 27, 2001

Trip: 99

Landmarks Visited: 1

Landmarks To-Date: 272

Landmarks Remaining: 81

On a sunny Sunday morning I headed south with my biggest entourage yet for a landmark trip. My friends James (the amateur photographer), Nick (the professional photographer) and Yen (the gallerist) joined me. We went to the Beverly Hills and Morgan Park neighborhoods to see a group of landmarked train stations. The six stations are located from 91st to 115th Streets.

A. Beverly Hills - 91st Street Station Yen, James and Nick

B. Beverly Hills - 95th Street Station

We remarked walking up to this station that it looked more like a home than a station. The landmark plaque says that the original 1890s station was replaced in 1945 with a building that was designed to reflect the surrounding houses. The building was renovated in 2000 and looks brand new.

C. Beverly Hills - 99th Street Walden Station

This station, while small, is very picturesque.

D. Beverly Hills - 107th Street Station

This station is in rough shape. To me it looked like a neglected cottage from an inland lake in Michigan.

This is Nick shooting photos from between the railroad tracks. I told him that my dad, who worked for railroads his whole career, would not be pleased. But Yen had read the schedule at one of the stations and the train only runs every two hours on Sunday. Since we'd already seen a train go by, there wasn't too much risk.

E. Morgan Park - 111th Street Station

This was definitely the largest and nicest of the stations in the district. Notice the brick fireplace in the waiting area. I also liked that the undersides of the eaves are painted aqua.

F. Morgan Park - 115th Street Station

This station appears to have been abandoned by Metra. There are large holes in the roof, and one end of the building is taped-off. This is probably because of the risk of the roof collapsing. It's sad because it is a very quaint building. I especially liked the rounded corners.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Trip 98: Pullman District

Date: March 20, 2011
Trip: 98
Landmarks Visited: 1
Landmarks To-Date: 271
Landmarks Remaining: 82

On Sunday morning my friend Nick and I headed south to the Pullman District. Nick is a professional photographer and likes to use architectural images in his work. I would say this has been my favorite landmark so far. Pullman was hugely important to the history of Chicago, for its economic impact, its affect on race relations in the city and beyond, and its impact on the labor movement. Plus the area is really living history. Most of the residential buildings that remain are still occupied. The southern portion of the district appears to be a thriving neighborhood. I don't know if any filming has ever been done in Pullman, but Nick and I both agreed that it would be a great location for a period piece. Or maybe the hotel building could be used in a horror film.

The area makes me think much more of the historic portions of Philadelphia or Boston than it does of the rest of Chicago. Most of the buildings were built with red brick where in other parts of Chicago stone facades are more common. Plus the area has sort of a town square, which is also uncommon elsewhere in the city. But the streets are wider than you would find on the East Coast.

The district also includes crumbling, abandoned buildings and buildings that have been partially preserved but have been boarded up and sealed off. Our trip got cut short by cold rain, or I would have taken even more photos. I think the Pullman District is under-appreciated by Chicagoans and tourist alike. This is probably due in part to the fact that it is so far from the Loop, and because the surrounding area has problems with crime and plight. But I definitely plan to go back...

Here's an interesting factoid that I learned while researching Pullman. Abraham Lincoln's son ran the company at some point after the death of the founder George Pullman.

Hotel Florence

The exterior of the hotel is well preserved. From a sign in the window the Bronzeville Historical Society gives tours, but it was closed while we were there. From what we could see through the windows, the interior looks to be fairly well preserved too.

Row Houses
The biggest portion of what remains from the originally industrial city is row houses. Those around the hotel seemed to be more luxurious than those farther away. I'm guessing that these were for executives and managers and the simpler homes were for laborers.

Greenstone United Methodist Church
As the name implies, this beautiful church is made of green stone.

This is part of the original factory complex. For this portion at least, the roof is gone and some of the walls are collapsing.

Clock Tower

This building with the clock tower was probably part of the factory complex as well. It looks as if it had been renovated and used fairly recently. But at least portions of the building have since been sealed off.

Livery Stables
This building is still in use as an auto repair shop. I thought it was interesting that the building was still in the transportation business after about 150 years. Notice the horse head on the facade.

Market Place
If I read the plague correctly at the site this building used to be a market. A person walking by told Nick that the neighborhood tried to raise money to restore the building, but this is as far as they got. The floor looks stable so maybe the building could be used for events during summer weather.
The market building is surrounded by four quarter-round buildings with columns that give a very Roman feel to the space in my opinion.

A professional photographer in action!


This mural is on the back on the contemporary visitors center building.

This is Nick helping to manufacture a Pullman car.


I'm guessing that this building was a firehouse because of the size of the door, and the tower that could have been used to dry fire houses. I especially like the design of the tower which looks Venetian to me.
The building is abandoned and looks to be in bad shape. What a fun renovation project this would be!