Monday, September 14, 2009
Motor Row Historic District - V
In the early 20th Century, South Michigan Avenue was the heart of splendor in regard to homes, wealth, worship, leisure and shopping. South of the Chicago Loop was the only place for the most wealthy, best educated and modern families, whose homes bounded Prairie Avenue, just east of Michigan Avenue.
St. Luke's Hospital, Second Presbyterian Church and Central Railway Station were built with the community's desires. The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 laced through the area further enriching the surrounding and further establishing Chicago's place among first-class cities. The Burnham Plan for Chicago's Lakefront presented the final framework for Michigan Avenue with parks, statues, fountains and museums.
South Michigan Avenue has also been home to the Metropole and Lexington hotels, Chess Records, Chicago Defender and to many car manufacturers in the world. At it's peak as many as 116 different makes of automobiles were sold on Motor Row, housed in elaborate, almost palace-like showrooms, many of which remain today.
This group of commercial buildings here on the Near South Side of Chicago is considered to be the largest, intact early automobile row in the United States. The use of these structures have not diminished. Commercial and retail spaces has given way to residential dwellings. People who want to be close to the downtown area have moved into lofted apartments and condominiums, reinventing ..
Then are marked some buildings of importance in this area .. these are:
# Site of Central Railway Station
# St. Luke's Hospital
# Second Presbyterian Church
# Chess Records Recording Studio
# Site of Lexington Hotel
# Motor Row Automobile District
# Original site of the Illinois Auto Club
# Prairie Aevnue, original Gold Coast ..
Automobile District Motor Row
In 1902 there were only 600 automobiles in the Chicagoland area. Within thirty years there were 90,000 cars. The interest in motor vehicles continued to expand rapidly with 300,000 on the road by 1935. Many of the automobiles purchased during this time frame were purchased on Chicago's Motor Row.
A gateway to opulence for the automobile industry was fashioned on south Michigan Avenue. The buildings that served as showrooms for the automobile manufacturers were custom made for every aspect of sales and service. Architects such as Christian Eckstrom, Alfred Alscheuler, Philip Maher, William Holabird, Martin Roche and Albert Kahn crafted these multi-storied structures for the repair, painting, storage and selling of the most modern advance in private transportation: the automobile.
This group of commercial buildings here on the Near South Side of Chicago is considered to be the largest, intact early automobile row in the United States. At it's peak as many as 116 different automobile manufacturers were represented within several blocks of downtown Chicago. Ford, Fiat, Buick, Cadillac, Pierce Arrow, Locomobile, Marmon and Hudson, to name a few, were displayed for the cunsumer's pleasure. The excitment and pulsating atmosphere was matched only by the smooth ride and shiny exterior of a brand new motor vehicle.
Today, the neighborhood is on an upward swing poised to become one of Chicago's cultural and entertainment centers once again. High-end resturans, retail spaces, and residential units are adding new life to these historic buildings, thereby producing a new neighborhood with character and quality.
Any idea what this motif seen on the marker stands for??? ..
It can be seen on the terra cotta facade of Thomas Flyer Garage & Service Building ..
Address: 2255 South Michigan Avenue ..
For more on:
# Motor Row Historic District .. click here ..
# Chess Records Office and Studio .. click here ..
# Quinn Chapel AME Church .. click here ..
# Original site of Illinois Auto Club .. click here ..
# The Prairie Avenue Historic Distrct .. click here ..