A beautiful late afternoon in October was the perfect time to take the Chicago Architectural Foundation’s River Tour. The highlights…
The ‘Time Travel’ series continues in Chicago start with Van Buren Street Station in 1907 and now. Note the Art Museum in both photos for orientation of the view.
The Chicago River looking west in 1946 and now. Same bridges, but not much else (although the Merchandise Mart is still there, just hidden behind Marina City.
Buckingham Fountain from 1955 to now gives evidence to how many buildings have been built in the last 60s years.
Michigan Avenue north of the river from 330 N Michigan again shows all the new buildings, although the Wrigley Building and Tribune Tower still grace the riverfront itself.
Meanwhile down at street level looking across the same bridge in 1955. Of note is the mid 50s Ford making the right turn compared to the Honda Civic today. Both were one of the most popular cars of their day.
Also of note are examples of clothing as well as the change in street lighting.
This view of State Street in front of Marshall Fields/Macy’s has the change over from streetcars to buses. At some point they must have cleaned the exterior of Marshall Field’s as it is much brighter today.
While turning around looking south down State Street – in the 1950s it was large old Plymouths, Packards and Chevy’s. Today is a Prius parade while the traffic blocked the intersection.
Moving back over to Michigan Avenue in the late 1950s shows the recently completed Prudential Building (1955). Not only was it the tallest building around it was the only building on Randolph Street, east of Michigan.
The reason for this was they were just beginning to replace the freight rail yards with buildings. Clearly by 2019 all available space has been built up.
This view from 1960 shows the freight yards east of Michigan Avenue, right in the middle of Grant Park. While Columbus Avenue took part, the park is much better for the city than the rail lines.
The El crossing the river to the west loop (at a slightly different angle in 2019) shows the huge growth along the river from 1960 until today.
The skyline view from Adler Planetarium also shows the dramatic change. This skyline view is from 1965. (full disclosure the ‘current’ photo is from last July, not this last week – nobody was sitting along the stone step along the lake in Chicago in February).
Our final view is from 1970, and the recently completed John Hancock Tower – the first 1000′ tall building in Chicago. This view too is impressive in the changes seen in downtown Chicago in the last 50 years.
We woke up to bright sunshine on a very cold Chicago morning, with no plans until late morning so we made our way to the Willis/Sears Tower observation deck 1300′ up.
We have been there before, but not with perfectly clear skies. It turned out there was a bit of a haze along the horizon, which was amazing as a cold front had come through the night before.
The Willis Tower Skydeck’s feature is ‘The Ledge’, a Plexiglas space sticking out the side of the building where you look straight down through the Plexiglas to the street far below.
The young Mennonite (??) couple had no trepidation walking out on that, but I stayed back and took photos!
The view due north from the tower past Lincoln Park and the Lake Michigan shoreline.
The postcard view of downtown Chicago.
As with Lake Erie in Cleveland, Lake Michigan also freezes. With the winter weather going from cold to somewhat warm and back, the ice is spotty.
It was apparent as soon as we got up there with the very bright sunshine low in the sky photos looking east were tricky from the glare, but this view of Adler Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium came out nice.
Whereas this view to the southeast had more glare but an interesting look on the water in the background.
Notice yet another 70 floor apartment building being built. Cranes are common in the skylines of Chicago.
The Carbide and Carbon Building (green building with gold top in the middle of the photo) was once one of Chicago’s tallest at just over 500′ when it was completed in 1929.
Now it is dwarfed by all the newer ones.
The view northwest along the Kennedy Expressway, which even at 10:30 in the morning had slow traffic coming into the loop.
With the bright morning sun many in this building chose to lower their shades, but from this view it almost looks as though there are numerous broken windows.
A closer view of Lincoln Park and the marina.
This unusual shaped building is the River City Apartments, designed by Bertrand Goldberg – who is most famous for designing Marina City
He apparently likes round shapes.
The Citadel Center with it’s highly reflective glass looks like a jigsaw puzzle of surrounding buildings waiting to be put together.