Saturday, March 5, 2011

Trip 95: Austin to Chinatown

Date: February 27, 2011
Trip: 95
Landmarks Visited: 11
Landmarks To-Date: 257
Landmarks Remaining: 96

On a sunny and unseasonably warm Sunday morning my friend James joined me to see some landmarks. James is a very serious amateur photographer, so you'll notice him in some of my photos holding an impressive camera.

We started out in the Austin neighborhood and then worked our way south to Chinatown. The plan worked perfectly because we arrived in Chinatown around lunchtime. Austin at one time was a separate little town, and by the size of many of the houses it must have been a relatively well off place.

1. Hitchcock House

2. Four Houses by Architect Frederick Schock
Each of these houses is impressive on its own. But the fact that the four of them have been preserved in such proximity is pretty amazing. And all four houses appear to be almost perfectly maintained.

3. Schlect House

4. Beeson House and Coach House

5. Marie Schock House
The architect built this house for his mother.

6. F. R. Schock House
This house is probably my favorite of the four because of the stonework, the second floor porch, and the number and variety of windows.

7. Jewish People's Institute
There was no signage or address on this building to identify it, so I was pleased when I noticed the menorah in the stonework. This helped confirm that we had the right building. Then I also found "J.P.I." carved in the cornerstone.

8. Site of the Origin of the Chicago Fire of 1871
This is the site of the infamous Mrs. O'Leary's barn where the Great Chicago Fire started on October 8, 1871. What's amazing is how far the site is from Fullerton Avenue, the northern most point that the fire spread. The area covered is huge.
Today the site is marked by a monument and is home to the Chicago Fire Academy.

9. Chicago & Alton Railway Bridge

This bridge wasn't easy to photograph. There wasn't any public access near the bridge, and since my dad worked for railroads his whole career I couldn't bring myself to trespass on railroad property. I have a number a railroad bridges to go on the landmarks list, so this problem will probably come up again.

10. Site of the Origins of the I&M Canal
We actually stumbled across this landmark in trying to find a good vantage point for photos of the bridge above. None of the Illinois & Michigan Canal still exists, but the design of this park is supposed to be an artistic interpretation of the canal. That's a bit of a stretch I think.

11. On Leong Merchants Association Building

The ornamentation on this building is really over the top, but given its location in the heart of Chinatown just beyond the Chinatown Gate, I think it works.

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