Thursday, March 18, 2010

Chicago Gothic Revival

This great building in downtown Chicago on the Magnificent Mile is the way skyscrapers should be built; right up to the street with shopping on the first floor. None of that "tower in a park" crap that got so popular in the Twentieth Century. Note the decorative brickwork on the side of the building; while it is relatively simple, it dresses up the otherwise blank party wall.The wonderful Gothic Revival details perhaps could be criticized for looking backwards while the technology of the building was pushing forward with steel skeleton construction.The Hershey's store is on the ground floor; I know, not exactly local business, but better than it being empty. Perhaps national chains wanting to come to a city without having to be begged is a good sign.In fact, 100 years ago in American downtowns, national chains meant that your city was thriving.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Marktown, Indiana

Marktown is the closest you'll ever get to being on another planet on the southeast side of Chicagoland. It sits in the middle of an oil refinery, and looks like an English village. See the satellite image here and the bird's eye here. You need to make it to Marktown; it is totally surreal.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Fulton Street Market, West Loop

I stumbled upon the new development occurring in Chicago's West Loop a few months ago. The El extends out west from the Loop in this area.What is remarkable is that luxury condos are going up across the streets from active meatpacking warehouses.I could only imagine such development occurring in St. Louis; it is amazing to see industry and housing existing next to each other in Chicago.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I had the opportunity a couple of weeks ago to view and photograph the Haymarket Memorial in the West Loop, just east of the Kennedy(?) Expressway. It is a fascinating case of how a city and society chooses to memorialize a controversial event. For about a century, the Haymarket Massacre was commemorated as the site of the deaths of police officers. A statue stood near the Haymarket that showed a police officer on a pedestal; it is the statue that has become infamous in the last month as the one that was blown to pieces by the Weathermen, scattering debris onto the interstate below. The policemen's memorial is now safely tucked away at the Police Academy, while a new memorial, this one commemorating the organizers of the labor strike has risen on the spot of the wagon where the speakers stood. It is not the most striking piece of sculpture, but it is very meaningful. The men who stood atop the wagon were later unjustly persecuted, executed and imprisoned for fighting for safe conditions and a sane work week. People have left various offerings, including crucifixes, stones and other dedicatory inscriptions. Of course, there is the usual dose of bone-headed "anarchist" graffiti from some spoiled rich kid from the suburbs. Of course.