Union County, Ohio has a number of covered bridges. Unlike most counties, not all of them are vintage, with 3 of them being built in the last 20 years. Still they have character, so it was worth riding around the countryside for a couple of hours checking them out.
The one non covered bridge was, in my opinion, the best. The Streng Road Bridge was built in 1914 with steel trusses. It replaced a covered bridge that was destroyed in the 1913 flood.
All of the original ornamentation and decorative elements are still in place. So highly thought of it is the only non covered bridge to be listed as an Ohio Historic Bridge (which is amazing as there are literally hundreds of cool old bridges throughout the state).
We continued the architecture tours with ‘Art Deco Along The Riverfront’. This tour took us into many buildings we had been in before, but each docent will focus on different details, so you always come away with a new appreciation of the building.
We started on the Wacker Drive side of 333 North Michigan Avenue.
This building has granite at the bottom and limestone the rest of the way with reliefs carved into the stone on the exterior.
The elevator lobbies are great. The concept of Art Deco was it was new, young and fresh, and the doors that have decorative panels by Albert Stewart called Night Day illustrate that.
The panels show two young adults in a manner that 5 years earlier would’ve been unacceptable with their ‘risque’ look.
All Art Deco buildings have great letter boxes, and 333 North Michigan was the same. The letter box became a favorite subject for me of this tour.
We went back to the Carbide and Carbon Building. Each docent we have had has a slightly different story on the inspiration of this building, champaign bottle, battery, etc.
Our docent Jeff said it was modeled after the American Radiator Building in New York. Below is the Carbine and Carbon Building.
This photo off of the internet is the American Radiator Building. It seems obvious Carbide and Carbon Building was designed from this look.
The Water Street view of the building shows much of the detail on the exterior.
The Michigan Avenue entrance is the most impressive.
Once inside it is Art Deco heaven. The radiator grills.
The lobby lighting and mezzanine railing.
The letter box.
The elevator door detail. The full elevator lobby photo is the featured photo for this posting.
Even the trash cans have style.
We moved just down the block to the Chicago Auto Club building, now a Hampton Inn.
Again it seems every tour took us into this building, but close observation reveals more details previously missed.
Yet another letter box – which is best is up to individual opinions.
The detail of the balcony, with the light reacting strangely in this photo.
Since it was once a motor club they have retained where the maps used to be set out for the travelers (alas no maps anymore)
Lighting and wall detail.
The famed mural/map of American roads of the mid 1920s.
As we continued down Wacker Drive there was evidence of other Art Deco style, including the lighting, since Wacker Drive was built at about the same time.
While not all of the bridge houses are in Art Deco, this one is.
We passed by 121 West Wacker without going in the lobby, as it is under renovation. This building is interesting as it mirrors closely the Chicago Board of Trade Building – visible way down LaSalle Street in the lower right of this photo.
At the corner of Lake and Wells is the Trustees System Services Building. This building is unique with the mix of materials and the progressively lighter to give the illusion the building is taller than it is.
The interior of the large windows has a great art piece.
The main stairs depict someone who saves as good (on the left) and someone who didn’t as bad (on the right). Ironically the people who built the building were shysters and went bankrupt early in the depression, causing a riot outside the building.
Our last stop was the famed Merchandise Mart. This massive building has nearly as many square feet as the Willis Tower, more than the World Trade Center in New York at 4 million square feet.
Built in the Art Deco style, it has less ‘bling’ than others, but still many nice features.
The building logo is in the granite floors.
The interior of the building is 2 blocks long.
Our last letter box of the tour.
Jules Gierin completed 17 murals for the lobby depicting commerce throughout the world.
Our last stop on our tour came to appreciate the up lighting common in Art Deco buildings. As I almost always end these blogs, our docent Jeff was entertaining and informative – never having to rely on his ‘cheat sheet’ cards.
Our Chicago Open House weekend started on Friday, before the official event started on Saturday. We made our own tour of places that were open.
James Thompson Center – Designed by Helmut Jahn, the Thompson Center is a 17 story curved glass building housing many government offices. From the interior all 17 floors are visible in the impressive atrium.
On the plaza in front of the building is a sculpture from Jean Dubffet called Monument with Standing Beast. Standing at 29’ high, the sculpture weighs in at 20,000 pounds.
Cook County Office Building – A classical 12 story office building located in the government section of downtown Chicago, to me it is most famous for where the Blues Brotthers went to pay the property tax for the childrens home (and yes the Cook County Assessors office is located in this building).
The building has the classic Art Deco look on the interior.
Chicago Temple – The First United Methodist Church of Chicago was the first church to be founded in the city, even before it was a city, in 1831. In 1838 it moved to it’s current location at the corner of Washington and Clark.
In the early 1920s with downtown Chicago rapidly developing the church debated selling their valuable land and moving out to one of the neighborhoods. Eventually they decided on a novel approach, build a skyscraper with a church included, and in addition, put a chapel on the top. The result was a 568’ tall building with what is to this day the highest church from street level in the world.
The first level has a traditional church.
Known as the Sky Chapel, it was part of the original building but not fully completed until 1952 as a gift from the family of the Walgreen’s Drug Store founder.
To this day the church is self funded by the rents paid by other tenants in the building, allowing it to fully focus on serving the diverse community it serves.
Outside is some unique art.
Marshall Field’s (Macy’s) Tiffany Dome – With over 1.6 million pieces it is the largest Tiffany mosaic in existence. Designed by Louis Tiffany in 1907, over 50 artisans worked on scaffolding for 18 months to complete this amazing masterpiece.
The Pedway hosts a collection of stained glass.
Some general scenes around the city.
A tourist boat on the Chicago River.
One of the lift bridge control buildings frame by a 60 floor building.
Classic Chicago – The Merchandise Mart with a Brown Line El train coming in.
Old street light and new skyscrapers.
Up Wells Street from the 10th floor of a parking garage.
A building along Madison Street.
Cloud Gate is a public sculpture located in Millennium Park. While the artists inspiration was liquir mercury, it is commonly referred to as The Bean. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city.
The buildings along East Randolph Street.
Pritzker Pavilion – A Frank Gehry design, the pavilion is a band shell that hosts numerous events each year. For this mid October night it was quiet, but still stunning with it’s red lighting.
Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest museums in the United States. From this part of the park, you get a great view of one of the modern additions along with the Michigan Avenue skyline.
Day 3 of touring the city with Open House Chicago started with another building that is not officially part of the tour – Union Station.
Union Station is in my opinion the second best train station in America (Grand Central Terminal is first, and the Washington Union Station is tied with this one).
You make a grand entrance down the staircase.
Past the Corinthian Columns…
A quick look back up the stairs…
And you are in the Main Hall.
Unlike Grand Central, Union Station still has the cool old wooden benches.
On this early Sunday morning there were about 20 people in the Great Hall, and 15 of us were taking photos.
The 100-400mm provides close up of the details on the ceilings.
And the tops of the columns.
Even the Amtrak ticket office has a good look to it.
More classic touches.
While the Amtrak ticket office matched the building this ugly kiosk does not.
The Amtrak business class lounge is new but matches the look and feel of the rest of the station.
Across (underneath) Canal Street is another newer section of the station.
Leaving Union Station we headed down West Jackson Street toward our first official Open House Chicago stop of the day.
But not before passing this great new addition to downtown Chicago, with a massive map of the Chicago River up the entire side of the building.
200 West Jackson Street – The Open House Chicago spot was a 28th floor tenant lounge in a recently remodeled building.
Even though we were on the 28th floor, the Willis/Sears Tower towered over us.
A collection of south loop buildings.
Additional south loop buildings.
Just down the street is the Chicago Board of Trade – one of the classics.
This is Art Deco at it’s finest.
We have been here before, but our New York friend had not – what better way to show him what Chicago has than to come into this lobby!
While minimalist, the elevators are classic Art Deco as well.
As cool as the lobby is – the basement holds another treat, this massive vault door and safe deposit box room.
For the really important stuff – a vault inside a vault.
The security guard/stand up comedian entertained the crowd with his description of the room, and it’s history. He said all he really wanted to be was Hugh Jackman in The Greatest Showman – and I think he could do it. What a hoot, and informative.
This box is reputed to have belonged to Al Capone.