As it turned out, the IEEE exposition and convention I attended in Chicago was being held along the Lake Michigan shoreline not very far south of the historic skyscraper area in and around the Loop. The four large buildings that make up the complex, joined by either the Grand Concourse or two separate Skybridges over highways have a combined area of 2,670,000 square feet (248,000 m²), making this the largest centre of its type in the United States and 3rd largest in the world. I can believe it after wanding around aimlessly a few times in the vast open spaces with levels and escalators seemingly going in all directions! Only the little map in my 5th photo and the well marked room and floor levels kept me from possibly disappearing forever.
Although McCormick Place can trace its roots back to 1960 when a newspaper magnate built the first building, it had a set-back in 1967 when that building burned to the ground. The City of Chicago then took over the task of rebuilding it to its present stature with a replacement East building opening in 1971, North building in 1986, South building in 1997 and finally the West building in 2007.
I never made it past the North and South buildings because that is where the IEEE action was taking place. The convention centre has numerous restaurants scattered throughout and also the attached Hyatt Regency McCormick Place hotel. An efficient fleet of full-sized tour busses had been arranged to run regularly between the downtown hotels to deliver we delegates to the bowels of the complex each day.
The James Charnley House (now the Charnley-Persky House) is a three-story brick residence that was designed in July 1891 and completed in May 1892. It is one of the few major residential commissions realized by Louis Sullivan, who is considered one of the most important American architects of the 19th and 20th centuries. It is also a benchmark in the early development of Frank Lloyd Wright, who, as a draftsman and designer in Adler & Sullivan's office, contributed to the finished design. With the exception of the Auditorium Theatre, it is one of the only surviving examples of a design to which both Sullivan and Wright made substantial contributions.
In Charnley House, Sullivan rejected the historical details common to the Victorian architecture of their era, in favor of abstract forms that later became the hallmarks of modern architecture. For that reason Wright proclaimed the Charnley House to be the "first modern house in America."
On the corner of 94th and Ewing (Schuba's site lists this one at 92nd and Ewing but it is 94th and Ewing), there's a bar with a globe above the door with the words "Trademark" and "Schlitz". This is one of several former Schlitz, a Milwaukee based brewer, tied-houses that can be found in Chicago, the other notable ones are Shuba's and Southport Lanes.
A tied-house was an arrangement many brewers had with their customers. The company rented these taverns to merchants and provided them with all of the equipment to run a tavern in exchange for a promise to sell Schlitz products exclusively.
The tied-house inspired the saying "I own you lock, stock and barrel." In a tied-house arrangement, the brewer advanced money for tavern construction (lock), provided the fixtures (stock), and an initial inventory of beer (barrel).
We recently came across another as we were traveling in the Uptown neighborhood on Broadway at Winona, apparently there are a lot of these left from many breweries according to Forgotten Chicago
Commissioned by the City of Chicago in 2004, The Illinois Federation of Labor History, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police and the Chicago Department of Transportation. Bronze monument commemorating the 1886 Chicago Haymarket riot, an internationally significant and volatile event in the struggle between business, labor, and law enforcement. Bronze on cement pedestal. 9' x 16' x 14.5H.
In a section of Chicago that takes in the Lincoln Park and Old Town area is a stretch of commercial buildings that dates from the 1800's. I've tried to capture in these series of photos some of the buildings you might see while taking a walk down this couple of block stretch.
One of the buildings is the Aldine located at 909 W. Armitage in the heart of the Lincoln Park shopping district, this building is a classic, Romanesque example of 19th century Chicago commercial architecture. In the 1930's Aldine Halls and Tavern occupied the first floor; the owner lived above. In 1968 the Old Town School of Folk Music moved in.
Another shot shows some unique GO CUBS artwork fashioned out of the remnants of old Illinois license plates.
Enjoy the pictures.
The guide on our river cruise said that each of the bridgehouses on the Chicago River was required to be unique. I'm not entirely sure that's true but I thought this mini house in the 1st photo was different than most of the stone and concrete bridgehouses.
The second photo is of the Bataan-Corregidor Memorial bridge that crosses the River at State Street which was the first bridge built in 1864.
The third photo is of one of the gatehouses on the most traversed of all the Chicago River bridges, the crossing at Michigan Avenue. The bridgehouse on the southwest corner features a scene from the massacre at Fort Dearborn which was located near where the bridge is now.
The final member of my Off the Beaten Path group of neighbours is Soldier Field, a quite impressive piece of work near McCormick Place that we passed daily on our bus rides. I didn't know quite what to make of this first view of the Soldier Field sports stadium, opened in 1925 as a memorial to American soldiers lost in WWI. According to Wikipedia, it turns out that the space-age looking parts are due to an upgrade in 2003 that made the seating arrangements much more comfortable while at the same time dropping the actual seating capacity by 5,444 to its present level of 61,500. The 2nd photo gives a better look at what the place used to look like in the days when it was declared a National Historic Site. Not everyone is pleased with its new look, hence its new nickname of the 'Spaceship on Soldier Field'!
Over the years the stadium has held a number of venues including college football games, the Jack Dempsey-Gene Tunney heavyweight boxing championship match, a NASCAR race, 1994 World Cup of Football matches as well as numerous rock concerts including the Grateful Dead, Pearl Jam, Rolling Stones and Bon Jovi. It has also been home to the National Football League's Chicago Bears since 1971.
Looking out the bus window was as close as I got to seeing Soldier Field.
If you are a fan of Mies "less is more" Van der Rohe, then you might enjoy a stroll on the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) campus near Sox Park. The architect was head of IIT’s architecture department beginning in 1938 and helped develop the master plan for the campus, nearly 20 buildings on the campus were his designs. I personally do not care for the boxy glass and steel designs of Van der Rohe, you will also find some of his work in downtown Chicago including three Federal government buildings, the Dirksen Federal Building, the Kluczynski Federal Building and one of the post offices on S. Dearborn plus One Illinois Center, all big boxy buildings.
The only thing that I find cool at IIT was designed by Rem Koolhaas, an concrete and steel oval tube that looks like something out of Tomorrowland at Disney that muffles the noise from the el train that cuts through the campus. If you want to ride the el through the tube, you need to take the Green Line el south from downtown to the 35-Bronzeville-IIT stop. If you are approaching from the south, you need to go past the stop and turn around and come back.
You don't have to go all the way to the Louvre in Paris to see the famous Winged Victory of Samothrace. We have our own replica statue here in Chicago -- and it's in Gold! The Goddess of Victory (known as Nike, in Greek) is shown here in the form of a winged woman. It is located in the Citadel Center, at the northeast corner of the intersection of Dearborn and Adams. It is in the lobby area, so you can view it at any time. Venez voir! Come see!
This controversial sculpture was a gift from Picasso to the City of Chicago. Installed in 1967, it was originally received with skepticism and derision. But over time is has become an icon of the city if not completely understood or even really appreciated. According to the City of Chicago's Public Art site, the sculpture "is acknowledged as a monumental achievement in Cubism, the artistic style pioneered and explored by Spanish artist Pablo Picasso and his French contemporary, Georges Braque, between 1907 and 1911. “The Picasso” is an exemplary work of Cubism in its use of multiple perspectives, combining frontal and profile views in a single vantage point. "
Definitely worth a look if you happen to be in Daley Plaza where you can also imagine Jake and Elwood driving their beat up Dodge cop car through the plaza and to the entrance to the offices of Cook County to the left of the plaza as you are looking at the Picasso. ;-)
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