Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blast from the past

Chicago History Museum..
Chicago History Museum has a couple of hidden treasures in it's backyard .. In the hedges on the east side of the Chicago History Museum, one can find ...
# A relic from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871
# A Revolutionary War chain..

In these hedges along the semi-circular plaza on the east side of the Chicago History Museum, one can spot:

# This metal blob is the melted remains of a hardware store, destroyed in the 1871 fire..
# A Revolutionary War chain..

Ref: Hidden Chicago ... click here ...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Hidden Truths .. [ Lincoln Park]

# Couch Mausoleum
# Tombstone of David Kennison..

Lincoln Park was added the National Register of Historic Places in 1994 ..
Interestingly, Lincoln Park began its existence as City Cemetery in 1843. This was subdivided into various cemetaries ... Potter's Field, Catholic cemetery, Jewish cemetery, and the general City Cemetery. These cemeteries were the only cemeteries in the Chicago area until 1859.

In 1864, the city council decided to turn the 120-acre cemetery into a park. To this day, there are some visible examples of it's history as a cemetery..
# Couch Mausoleum
# Tombstone of David Kennison

Couch Mausoleum..
The marker reads..
This stone vault is the oldest structure standing within the Chicago Fire zone. It was erected in 1858 for Ira Couch, a weathly hotelier who died at the age 50 while wintering in Cuba. Though some theories exist, there is no official answer as to why this tomb was left behind on the site of the Chicago City Cemetery. Varying accounts of the number entombed suggest 7 to 13 or merely Ira alone.

On the other side of the above marker is this cemetery map...

Tombstone of David Kennison..
The marker reads..
In memory of David kennison,
The last survivor of the "Boston Tea Party",
who dies in Chicago, February 24, 1852, aged 115 yers, 3 mos, 17 da, and is buried near this spot. This stone is erected by the sons of the Revolution.
The Sons of American Revolution
And the Daughters of the American Revolution..

View Larger Map

Check out..
# Pamela Bannos website Hidden Truths: The Chicago City Cemetery & Lincoln Park .. click here ...
# Map of Lincoln Park .. click here ..

The Moody Church

The Moody Church
Architects: Fugard and Knapp
Completed: 1925
Location: 1635 North LaSalle • Chicago, Illinois 60614 ..

Styles that influenced the architecture:
- Romanesque [windows and arches] – over 320 doors
- Byzantine [exterior on the Clark Street side]
It is one of the largest Romanesque churches in the US ... a bridge between the Catholic cathedrals and the Protestant churches ..
- Steel superstructures with brick overlay
Originally it was designed to be 20 feet longer to the west, but was cut off because of LaSalle Street expansion ..

I would have loved to go inside, but the door was locked. I've seen photos of the interiors of the church .. it's magnificient.

The information above have been gathered from it's official website, click here ....

Monday, July 20, 2009

North Avenue Pedestrian Bridge

North Avenue Pedestrian Bridge ..
Architect: Ralph H. Burke .. the renowned transportation planner and engineer who also designed the master plan of O’Hare International Airport ...
Completed: 1938 ..
Location: Southern end of Lincoln Park near North Avenue ..

Considering that it was built in 1938, it still looks as fresh and modern as the day it was built .. This once-revolutionary bridge has no central support, thus affords a minimum of visual obstruction to motorists on Lake Shore Drive.

From the Preservation Chicago website .. click here ..
It is technically a three-hinged arch, because the arch has a specific curvature and points of support at each end. This type of arch allowed for a very long unbroken span, which allowed the bridge to avoid the need for any vertical supports over the wide span of Lake Shore Drive. The seating of each arch terminus was another groundbreaking part of the design. This also facilitated the two goals of having a long unbroken span while at the same time keeping the bridge height low. Esthetically, the graceful long arches and clean, modern lines make the bridge inherently linked to an era of streamlined and occasionally futuristic design that spread all over the world during the next decade.

In 2003, city officials and the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) determined that the North Avenue Pedestrian Bridge was non-compliant with federal accessibility standards. Since then, plans have been underway to replace the bridge with a larger bridge that meets these accessibility standards ...

I love this bridge and hope it stays like this as the city builds other bridges compliant with federal accessibility standards ...

Designated "Chicago Landmark" structures in the Lincoln Park Zoo area..

Nature Boardwalk at Lincoln Park Zoo..

Lincoln Park Zoo ...
The Lincoln Park Zoo has many attractions, I would have never guessed that it has three "Chicago Landmark" buildings:
  • Cafe Brauer / South Pond Refactory
  • Carson Cottage / Men's and Ladies' Comfort Station
  • Kovler Lion House  

Cafe Brauer / South Pond Refactory ...
Completed: 1908
Architect: Dwight H. Perkins
Location: 2021 N. Stockton Dr.
Designated a Chicago Landmark on February 5, 2003..
The building is an outstanding example of the Prairie style architecture ..
On its second-floor is the "Great Hall", which is a fine example of Arts-and-Crafts design. Its designer, Dwight Perkins, was an important progressive architect in Chicago in the early 20th century..
# For more on Cafe Brauer, click here..

Carson Cottage ...
Completed: 1888
Renovated: 2007 ...
Architect: Joseph Lyman Silsbee..
Designated a Chicago Landmark on February 5, 2003..
It's a Victorian-style architecture ...
The Carson Cottage started as a men's and ladies' comfort station [public restroom facility]. Over the years it withered. However it was restored by the Lincoln Park Zoo supporrted in part by Save Ameria's Treasures grant. Now the cottage no longer serves as a restroom, but is the hub for more than 100 volunteers who tend to the zoo’s landscaping and botanical gardens..
# For more on Carson Cottage, click here..

Kovler Lion House..
Completed: 1912
Architects: Perkins, Fellows and Hamilton..
Designated a Chicago Landmark on Novemeber 30, 2005..
The building has excellent brickwork and terracotta ornament, unique lion mosaics and a grand interior with vaulted Guastavino -tile ceiling, an innovative construction technology of the time..
# For more on Kovler Lion House, click here..

Cafe Brauer..
Carson Cottage..
Kovler Lion House..
Check out the map of Lincoln Park..

Lincoln Park Zoo [Cafe Brauer / South Pond Refactory]

Cafe Brauer / South Pond Refactory ...
Completed: 1908
Architect: Dwight H. Perkins
Location: 2021 N. Stockton Dr.
The Cafe Brauer/ South Pond Refactory, along with the Carson Cottage / Men's and ladies' comfort station click here .. have been designated as Chicago Landmark: February 5, 2003..

The building is an outstanding example of the Prairie style architecture ..
It was financed by the Brauer family of Chicago, who worked in the restaurant business, and was one of the most popular restaurants in Chicago during the early twentieth century.

The restaurant closed in the 1940s, and the structure was used for storage. Then in 1987, the Lincoln Park Zoo Society began a $4.2 million restoration project..

The second-floor is famous for the "Great Hall", a fine example of Arts-and-Crafts design. However, the Great Hall is assissible only by appointment, so I could not see it.

Designated Chicago Landmarks in Lincoln Park Zoo area..

Lincoln Park Zoo [Carson Cottage]

Carson Cottage / Men's and ladies' comfort station.
Completed: 1888
Renovated: 2007 ...
Architect: Joseph Lyman Silsbee..
The Carson Cottage / Men's and ladies' comfort station, along with the Cafe Brauer / South Pond Refactory click here.. have been designated as Chicago Landmark: February 5, 2003..

The plaque reads ...
Restored by Lincoln Park Zoo, supported in part by a Save America's Treasures grant, administered by the National Park Service, Department of the Interior ..
Additional funding provided by ..
Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
State Representative Sara Feigenholtz
Tawani Foundation
The Richard E Driehaus Foundation..

The information here is sourced from the official Lincoln Park Zoo newsletter, click here.

Built in 1888, this more than 100-year-old Victorian-era “comfort station” [public restroom facility] was closed to the public many years ago. Over the decades it quietly decayed. In 1995, the zoo began utilizing the building for its volunteer gardening program and took over responsibility for the cottage from the Chicago Park District in 2003.

The Lincoln Park Zoo, then initiated plans for rehabilitating this building. Massive efforts began on two fronts:
- Research efforts to restore the building to it's original grandeur ... and also ..
- Massive efforts to seek grants and financial gifts for the restoration project ... By late 2007, funding was secured through a Save America’s Treasures grant and with some additional gifts, the renovation work began.

But restoration was not so easy. To begin with, the architects were unable to find even a single historical image of Carlson Cottage for use as a reference for restoration. While there were dozens of images of the South Pond Refectory [CafĂ© Brauer], located just a few steps away, no images of the cottage in its original form existed anywhere in Chicago. Apparently nobody wanted their picture taken in front of a public restroom. “With so few records or representations of the original 1888 structure, true restoration was not possible. Instead, rehabilitation and renovation was undertaken to recreate, to the best of our knowledge, the original external look of Carlson Cottage,” - Paul A. Steinbrecher, Preservation Architect of InterActive Design, Inc.

One of the most helpful discoveries was an historic engraving of the cottage dated 1888. A local construction trade newsletter provided information on original configuration of windows, carpentry details and masonry materials. Original wooden shingles were found in the attic. An historic paint analysis was undertaken to establish the original paint colors, all of which were restored.

In addition to uncovering bits and pieces of the cottage’s original form, the team made a surprising and unexpected discovery during the demolition that hints to Lincoln Park’s “gangster” past. A rusted 19th century hand pistol was lodged in a plumbing vent pipe, which in the early years of the Cottage was quite accessible from the ground. “The actual story behind the artifact will never be known, but it is speculated that the pistol may have been used in a stick-up in the park and then tossed into the vent pipe to conceal the evidence,” - Steinbrecher.

Designated Chicago Landmarks in Lincoln Park Zoo area..

Lincoln Park Zoo [Lion House]

Kovler Lion House..
The plaque reads ...
Chicago Landamrk ...
Lion House, Lincoln Park Zoo ..
Perkins, Fellows & Hamilton, architects
1912 ..

Located in one of the country's oldest municipal zoological parks, the lion house blends both the grandly-scaled public architecture of the classical style with the innovative Prairie style developed by Chicago architects in the early 20th century. The building was designed by important architect Dwight H Perkins, an advocate of park and school reforms. The building has excellent brickwork and terra-cotta ornament, unique lion mosaics, and a grand interior with a vaulted Guastavino-tile ceiling, an innovative construction technology of the time..
Designated on Novemeber 30, 2005..
Richard M Daley, Mayor
Commission on Chicago Landmarks...


Lion outside of the Lion House..

Designated Chicago Landmarks in Lincoln Park Zoo area..

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Museum of Contemporary Art

Thge museum contains 45,000 square feet of gallery space as well as a sculpture garden and an auditorium.

The Museum of Contemporary Art ..
Address: 220 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611 ..
Neighborhood: Streeterville neighborhood of the Near North Side community area ..
Although museum opened in 1967, it has only been in its current location since 1996.
Architect: Josef Paul Kleihues from Berlin ..

The grand interior staircase which begins with a goldfish pond ..