Friday, June 10, 2011

Trip 107: Hot Sunday Morning

Date: June 5, 2011
Trip: 107
Landmarks Visited: 6
Landmarks To-Date: 305
Landmarks Remaining: 48

On this unseasonably hot Sunday I passed another milestone. I have now seen over 300 landmarks. It made me start thinking about if/ when I see the last landmark. I plan to buy myself a bottle of champagne.

1. Site of the John and Mary Jones House

John and Mary Jones were early civil rights activists. Unfortunately, there is nothing left of their home. I wasn't even able to find a landmark plaque.

2. St. Charles Air Line Bridge

It took a little research to learn why this railroad bridge is called an 'air line' bridge. Apparently it was one of the first movable bridges to utilize air buffered pistons. Its span was also shortened when it was moved to its current position when the underlying portion of the river was straightened.

3. Engine Company 65, Truck 52

This landmark took me to a neighborhood that I had never visited before--Brighton Park.

4. Eighth Regiment Armory

This building was the first armory in the United States built for an African-American military regiment. Today it is a public high school/military academy.

5. Elam House

This house is definitely my favorite landmark of this trip. It's another Chateauesque mansion along one of Chicago's original boulevards. Unfortunately, a 1992 fire destroyed the interior of the building. It has yet to be restored, but the exterior appears to be in excellent condition. From the 1930's through the 70's the house was used as a boarding house for underprivileged women and girls.

6. Chicago Orphan Asylum Building

This building was originally an orphanage. Later it became a community center and was part of the Chicago Black Renaissance of the 30's and 40's. Today it is a Baptist institute.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Trip 106: Four South Side Neighborhoods

Date: June 4, 2011
Trip: 106
Landmarks Visited: 6
Landmarks To-Date: 299
Landmarks Remaining: 54

On this hot and humid Saturday morning I drove to four south side neighborhoods (Pilsen, Chinatown, Bronzeville and Kenwood) to see six landmarks.

1. Thalia Hall

This building was originally built as a community center when the neighborhood was primarily Bohemian. Today the neighborhood is primarily Latino and the building houses a restaurant and appears to be undergoing some renovations.

2. Schoenhofen Brewery

This building appears to be perfectly maintained, but there isn't any signage to indicate what company currently occupies it.

This building is located next door to the brewery building. At first I thought it might be part of the brewery complex, but I think the Star of David on the facade rules that out. I thought the architectural detail made the building worth a couple of photos regardless of its landmark status.

3. James Ward Public School

This is Chicago's oldest school building still in use as a school.

4. Unity Hall

I especially liked the coats of arms above the main entrance to the building.

5. Pilgrim Baptist Church

This church burnt in 2006 and all that remains are portions of the facade. The structure built to support the remaining facade is pretty impressive itself. The building was originally designed by Adler and Sullivan and had a central structure that rose above the surviving walls. Plans are to rebuild the church assuming that adequate funds can be raised.

6. South Side Trust & Savings Bank Building

This building is still in use as a bank. Today it is a branch of Urban Partnership Bank.