Sunday, September 27, 2009

[Former] Engine Company 104

Former Engine Company 104, Truck 31
Address: 1401 south Michigan Avenue
Architect: Charles F. Hermann
Completed: 1905 ..
Designated a Chicago Landmark: October 1, 2003
In 1999, this building was completely remodeled and a restaurant was opened .. "The Chicago Fire Restaurant" ..

The plaque reads:
Chicago Landmark ..
Former Engine Company 104, Truck 31
Charles F. Hermann, architect
The design of this firehouse incorporated many innovations aimed at achieving quick departures and providing more comfortable quarters for firefighters. Its Romanesque Revival-style details also make it one of the most distinctive and handsome firehouses in the city. Through their history and architecture, Chicago's historic firehouses show how ideas about fire protection and the firehouse itself evolved over time.
Designated on October 1, 2003
Richard M. Daley, mayor
Commission on Chicago Landmarks ..

The inverted Y symbol ..
The "Y" symbol, representing the three branches of Chicago River, is found on many municipal buildings in Chicago. However, in some instances the symbol is inverted, with vertical strip on top, as is seen in this case.. I have not found it explained anywhere, but read about speculations that this form may symbolize the reversal of the flow of Chicago River.

Now converted into .. Chicago Firehouse Restaurant .. click here .. Its website has some interesting information about its history and transformation to the present restaurant ....
The firehouse was built to serve the Prairie Avenue Community and its surroundings. Residents of Prairie Avenue consisted of many of the first families of Chicago, such as the Marshall Fields, the McCormicks, the Palmers and the Glessners. Prairie Avenue from 17th to 20th Street was filled with the many socialites of the day who had built homes following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. It is believed that this unique firehouse, which is constructed of yellow brick and limestone [different from the standard red brick], had special attention placed on it in order to stay in keeping with the neighborhood and especially its residents.

The building stands in much of its same splendor today. However, some interesting changes have occurred. The stables, which used to house the horses for the wagons, have now been replaced with a courtyard. The upstairs, which once had a large room to store the hay for the stables, later transformed to a handball court and now has been transformed to a banquet kitchen. The remaining part of the upstairs contained the living quarters for the firemen; where the movie Backdraft was filmed now serves as our banquet space. Reminiscent of the old spiral staircase, which in the wintertime prevented horses from climbing upstairs to the living area where the heat existed, has now been relocated to our courtyard.

Mainstay made great efforts to preserve as much as possible, but yet still allow the operation to be functional as a restaurant. The tin ceiling, the glazed tile walls, the two fire poles located in the bar, and the chief's wall passed when entering the bar, are all original ..

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Hello. I recently found this website through google images. I also study local chicago archticture extensively. I would love to work with you colloborate with you on any help you may need reseraching something.

I know there were many auto showrooms on lawrence avenue just west of kedzie and kimball.

please email me as i will probably forget to remember the url for this blog: