Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category

Reminder: Stroll 66 on November 6th Chicago Walking tour

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Chicago Hilton, formerly the Stevens Hotel, where the Nov 6th tour begins

Chicago Hilton, formerly the Stevens Hotel, where the Nov 6th tour begins

…and there is still time to join us! The tour begins at the Chicago Hilton Hotel, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, at exactly 12:06 p.m. (66 minutes after 11 a.m.!).

From the railroad era through the Route 66 era, Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard were the main destinations for tourists and visitors in Chicago. Our December 6th Stroll on Chicago’s Route 66 will trace the history of lodgings, rail stations, and other attractions that brought the world to Chicago’s “route center.”
The tour will meet on Sunday, November 6th at 12:06 p.m. (66 minutes after 11 a.m.) at the historic Chicago Hilton Hotel, 720 S. Michigan Avenue. When built in 1927, it was the Stevens, the largest hotel in the world and convenient to two of Chicago’s six passenger rail stations: the Illinois Central and the Dearborn Station.
We will walk north along Michigan Avenue and discuss the Blackstone, the Congress, the Auditorium, the Richelieu, and the Stratford Hotels. Along the way, we will discuss “smoke-filled rooms,” labor unrest, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, and the changing face of Chicago.
Turning west on Jackson, we will see the original starting point of Route 66, Chicago’s most musical corner, and the site of former luxury hotels: the Wellington, designed by Henry Ives Cobb; Burnham & Root’s Great Northern and Majestic; and Boyington and Jenney’s Grand Pacific. The tour will end at Adams and LaSalle, where the former Midland Hotel lives on as the W, and a bank building designed by D.H. Burnham & Company is now home to the J.W. Marriott. By the end of our walk, we will have a thorough understanding of why this corridor has been home to Chicago’s visitors for 140 years.
All participants in the tour will pay a discounted price equal to 66% of the regular $18.00 per person cost—that is only $12.00 per guest for a 2-hour adventure.
Reservations required. To register, send an email to: dave@windycityroadwarrior.com . Or Contact Me Here: http://windycityroadwarrior.com/Contact.html
Or call me at 312-432-1284.
I hope to see you Strolling Chicago’s Route 66 (and neighborhood) TOMORROW, November 6th, at 12:06!

Union Station, Springfield IL featured on new blog page

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Union Station, Springfield IL

Union Station, Springfield IL. Click above to go to the Springfield Union Station blog page

On the September 23rd, I had the pleasure of leading a group of La Grange IL middle school students on a trip to Springfield, Illinois. On a break when I had some free time, I took a close look at Springfield’s Union Station. I published pictures of this visit in an album on my Facebook page last week. I have now used those same photos on a dedicated Springfield Union Station blog page with a lot more background information than on the Facebook album.

This new Union Station page is part of my ongoing attempts to add more exclusive content to WindyCityRoadWarrior.com. I will be adding more articles, photos, and research-in-progress projects as time goes on. I would appreciate your feedback about what you like, your critical concerns, and what you would like to see more of in the future. Feel free to comment on this post, send an email to: dave@windycityroadwarrior.com. Or Contact Me Here: http://windycityroadwarrior.com/Contact.html
You can also send me a twitter message Follow windycityroad on Twitter or call me at 312-432-1284.

Oct 6 Stroll 66 on the 6th Chicago Walking Tour

Friday, September 9th, 2011

October 6 2011 tour begins at Dearborn Station in Chicago

October 6 2011 tour begins at Dearborn Station in Chicago

…will begin at Dearborn Station and end with a bar crawl from the Berghoff to Miller’s Pub! It will begin at 6:06 p.m. (exactly 66 minutes after 5!) Along the way we will walk a street that was a notorious red light district at the turn of the 20th century (as far as I know, all the brothels are long gone). We will discuss many of the early skyscrapers of Chicago along Dearborn from Congress to Jackson, including the magnificent Monadnock Building.

When we reach the Federal Center, we will discuss its architecture and controversies about its construction and the structures demolished to build it. We will discuss the famous trial that happened in the old court building on this site in which Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion.

After visiting the breathtaking lobby of the Marquette Building featuring a dazzling Tiffany mosaic, we will next discuss the history of the Berghoff restaurant and its historic buildings dating from 1872–and how a little political intrigue in the early 1960s nearly led to their destruction.

Then, it will be time for libations! We will visit the Berghoff Bar at 17 West, where tour patrons can enjoy the ambiance and if they wish purchase a Berghoff Beer (or a Berghoff Root Beer).

Neon sign at Millers Pub, Wabash north of Adams (Route 66), Chicago

Neon sign at Millers Pub, Wabash north of Adams (Route 66), Chicago

We will end the tour discussing the history of Miller’s Pub, its move from the original location on Adams around the corner to Wabash, and then patrons can enjoy a beverage if they wish at the bar!

All participants in the tour will pay a discounted price equal to 66% of the regular $18.00 per person cost—that is only $12.00 per guest for a 2-hour adventure.

Reservations required. To register, send an email to: dave@windycityroadwarrior.com . Or Contact Me Here: http://windycityroadwarrior.com/Contact.html
Or call me at 312-432-1284.

Tour subject to cancellation if fewer than 6 reservations are received by 10/5/11. The first six people to make reservations will receive a FREE set of five full-color Route 66 postcards!

I hope to see you Strolling Chicago’s Route 66 (and neighborhood) on the 6th of October at 6:06!

Recap of Sept 6 Stroll on Chicago’s Route 66

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Misting fourntain at Mary Bartelme Park, where the tour ended on September 6.

Misting fourntain at Mary Bartelme Park, where the tour ended on September 6.

…It was a leisurely, fun, and fact-filled 2 hour tour for 15 happy folks at 1:06 p.m. on September 6th. We walked from Jackson Boulevard and Jefferson Street in Chicago, right across the street from Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant. Along the way we saw Chicago’s oldest church, a stretch of street that was Route 66 for only nine months back in 1953, Greektown’s restaurant row, beautiful restorations and reuses of buildings once part of the West Loop manufacturing district, the home of Bay’s English Muffins, and a visit to beautiful Mary Bartelme Park. To see more details of the tour, click here

I will be posting more info about next month’s Stroll on Chicago’s Route 66, happening on October 6th at 6:06 p.m.! For a sneak preview, click here

New Superman Movie filming on Chicago’s Route 66

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

…The movie will film from today to next week and will feature shoots around the Willis Tower and the Chicago Board of Trade Building–both prominent features of Route 66 in Chicago. Here’s the story from the Chicago Tribune:

Superman movie sets up shop in the Loop – chicagotribune.com

Restored Tower Revealed!

Monday, May 10th, 2010

International Tailoring Company Building, circa 2003

International Tailoring Company Building, circa 2003 when the clock tower was still sheathed in ugly corrugated metal.

The International Tailoring Building at 847 W. Jackson Boulevard (eastbound Route 66) in Chicago has been on the National Register of Historic Places since June 2008. It is currently undergoing an interior renovation as Tailor Lofts, to be used as off-campus student apartments for the University of Illinois-Chicago. More importantly for Route 66 travelers, the beautiful exterior restoration has brought the building back to its original look. For years, a four-story clock tower was sheathed in ugly corrugated metal.

The gleaming enameled terra cotta now shines again, and the four clock faces show the current time in all directions just as they did when the building first opened in 1916.

The restored International Tailoring Building as it looks today

The restored International Tailoring Building as it looks today.

The second decade of the 20th century was a volatile time in the Chicago garment industry. Most large clothing companies farmed piecework out to sweatshops that employed immigrants for low pay in deplorable conditions. In the aftermath of several worker strikes, companies like International Tailoring decided to build large modern factories and to hire the workers directly, thus putting the sweatshops out of business. This building is a legacy of that period in Chicago history.

The building was built in 1916 from designs by the architectural firm of Mundie & Jensen, formerly Jenney, Mundie & Jensen. This firm was established originally by William LeBaron Jenney, the architect and engineer responsible for building the Home Insurance Building in 1885, the world’s first skyscraper to use steel beams in its structural skeleton. The firm also designed the downtown building used for a Sears Store at the southeast corner of Van Buren and State (currently Robert Morris University), and the Union League Club at 65 W. Jackson.

Ron Warnick posted about the International Tailoring Building on Route 66 News when the building was first placed on the National Register in 2008. There is also a Wikipedia entry concerning the building. It is great to see a grand old building on Route 66 lovingly restored and revived for a great new purpose.