Sunday, July 31, 2011

Trip 114: South Shore Sunday

Date: July 31, 2011
Trip: 114
Landmarks Visited: 4
Landmarks To-Date: 320
Landmarks Remaining: 33

On another hot summer Sunday morning, Shawn and I drove to the Bronzeville and South Shore neighborhoods to see a few landmarks.

1. Eliel House

This house was designed by Louis Sullivan. Some of the original facade has been covered with siding, so you can't really see the architectural details any longer.

2. Kenna Apartments

The most striking features of this building are the relief sculptures that flank either side of the main entrance. It's surprising that a builder was willing to make this kind of investment in a relatively small development.

3. South Shore Cultural Center

This building is now part of the Chicago Park District, but I love the story behind it. It was originally a private and exclusive country club. The members of the club were unwilling to expand their definition of membership as the demographics of the neighborhood changed. Eventually, they had close the club.

The buildings were in disrepair and were set to be torn down when the people in the neighborhood got together to save the clubhouse. So the very people that were denied membership to the club eventually saved it.

The interior of the building has some beautiful party rooms, and the building itself faces directly on the lake with a small beach area.

4. Miller House

This is a large and beautiful Prairie Style house that was designed by a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Trip 113: Soldier's Home

Date: July 23, 2011
Trip: 113
Landmarks Visited: 1
Landmarks To-Date: 316
Landmarks Remaining: 37

This building is more historically interesting than it is visually interesting. Visually, it doesn't appear that much of the original facade of the building is left. Just the stone above the windows looked worn enough to possibly be original.

But historically, the building is the last remaining direct tie to the civil war in Chicago. The building was used as a hospital for soldiers during the war. It was adjacent to the Camp Douglas prisoner of war camp for Confederate soldiers.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Trip 112: Chicago & Western Indiana Railroad Bridge

Date: July 17, 2011
Trip: 112
Landmarks Visited: 1
Landmarks To-Date: 315
Landmarks Remaining: 38

This railroad bridge was a nice change of pace because it was actually easy to get to. It's located literally adjacent to the the Torrence Avenue bridge. We walked the sidewalk on Torrence and got a close-up of the now abandoned railroad bridge. I especially like the photo below of the giant bicycle chain that used to move the bridge.

Both bridges on located on the far south side in an industrial district near a Ford plant.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Trip 111: Calumet-Giles-Prairie District

Date: July 16, 2011
Trip: 111
Landmarks Visited: 2
Landmarks To-Date: 314
Landmarks Remaining: 39

It looked like rain this morning, but I decided to risk it and headed out to see a couple of landmarks. Shawn and I had to fight a little Cubs traffic to get out of the neighborhood and then headed south to another landmarked neighborhood. I think the Calumet-Giles-Prairie District is actually part of the larger Bronzeville neighborhood.

1. Roloson House

This 'house' is actually a small group of row houses within the Calumet-Giles-Prairie District. According to the landmark plaque, these are the only row houses that Frank Lloyd Wright designed that were actually built.  I would not have known these were Wright homes just by looking at them. To me they are more Louis Sullivan meets Tudor.

2. Calumet-Giles-Prairie District

The district is a small neighborhood of mostly very well maintained period homes. The homes are not quite as opulent as those on the boulevards of Chicago, but they are still beautiful and interesting for their architectural variety.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Trip 110: A Beautiful Summer Saturday Near Hyde Park

Date: July 9, 2011
Trip: 110
Landmarks Visited: 5
Landmarks To-Date: 312
Landmarks Remaining: 41

On this sunny Saturday morning I headed back to the Hyde Park area to see 5 more landmarks.

1. Heller House

This is a beautiful Frank Lloyd Wright design. I thought I was being very insightful noticing that the house combined elements of Wright's Prairie Style with Louis Sullivan's more ornate decoration. Then I read the landmark plaque and realized that it said the exact same thing.

I also noticed that the main entrance to the house was on the side, rather than directly facing the street. I think this makes a house less inviting, but it must have been a trend at the time. I noticed that a number of the bungalow houses in the Villa District also have side entrances. 

2. Engine Company 45, Truck 15

This firehouse is the same design that seems to have been common across many of Chicago's stations. The main design elements are red brick with light-colored stone decoration.

3. Keck-Gottschalk-Keck Apartments

This building is a 3 flat residential building in the International Style. It was definitely ahead of its time design wise. At first I walked right past it thinking that it was a contemporary building. With the surrounding mature trees, it also doesn't have the greatest street presence. This building also has a side entrance, which makes seem even a little more inaccessible.

4. St. Gelasius Church Building

This is yet another church building that had a major fire. The interior was apparently gutted in a 1976 fire and the building was expected to be demolished. Then the Catholic diocese gave the building to an order of priests called Institute of Christ the King. This group is trying to renovate the building and make it a shrine.

Apparently the church was originally called St. Clara, but I can't find any explanation for the change to St. Gelasius. I think churches usually only change names when they are taken over by another denomination. But this church seems to have always been a Roman Catholic parish. My guess is that as the ethnic mix of the neighborhood changed, church members just wanted a new name.

5. Lorado Taft's Midway Studios

This artist's studio is now part of the University of Chicago. I have photos of the studio itself, and the attached house that I assume was his home. I know this artist best was his work "Fountain of Time" which is still located not far from his studio.