The Ohio History Center recently opened an exhibit on the history of sports in Ohio. It featured both professional and team sports, as well as sports geared toward participation, such as these classic old roller skates.
The Cincinnati Bengals came into existence as part of the American Football League (AFL), a couple of years before they merged with the NFL. The exhibit had a rare referee’s uniform from the AFL days.
A classic bowling shirt from the 1960s.
One of the most famous annual events in the state is the world soap box derby championships in Akron.
While the NBA was in existence in the early 1960s, college basketball was bigger. An offshoot of that was big time AAU basketball – Cleveland had a team that was the National Champions in 1961.
The 1970s Cincinnati Reds were a powerhouse team, lead by catcher Johnny Bench and the now disgraced Pete Rose.
High School football is big time in Ohio, and are none are bigger than the Massillon – Canton McKinley rivalry.
Probably the most famous athlete from Ohio today is LeBron James.
The exhibit was ok, but given how much sports history there is in Ohio it seemed lacking in depth and detail.
Since we were in downtown Cleveland for the Historic Hotel tours, we took the opportunity to check out some other great old buildings.
Most of the buildings are on the National Historic Registry, but interestingly not all.
The Leader Building is a 106 year old, 15 floor structure along Superior Avenue. The name comes from it’s original owner – the Cleveland Leader newspaper. Designed in a Beaux Arts style, it is currently undergoing renovations.
The Main Library was completed in 1925, situated between Superior Avenue and the Mall. Both the Library and the Federal Building next door are on the National Historic Registry.
The Federal Building and Post Office Building was part of the 1903 Group Plan, which built the Mall and a number of the buildings surrounding it. Since it was the first building completed under the plan, it served as the model for others.
The Beaux Arts styling contrasts nicely against some of the newer buildings.
The Society for Savings Building on Public Square was completed in 1889. For 10 years it was the tallest building in Cleveland, eventually being surpassed by the Guardian Bank Building (visited during the Historic Hotel Tour).
The Gothic, Romanesque and Renaissance styles give this structure a lot of character, resulting in it’s inclusion in the National Historic Registry.
The Old Stone Church was added to Public Square in 1855, the oldest significant structure in downtown Cleveland.
The 15 floor building at 75 Public Square was designed by Hubbell & Benes. In use for more than 100 years, there are plans in place to convert the building to apartments.
The Terminal Tower and the Union Station complex. When built in the late 1920s, the Terminal Tower was the tallest building outside of New York when completed. It it part of the massive complex built by the Van Sweringen brothers, who also built rapid transit lines to the suburb of Shaker Heights (which they also built).
The May Company building has been on the southeast corner of Public Square since 1915, designed by the famed Chicago architect Daniel Burnham. As you can see it too is undergoing restoration.
The City Club Building is located on Euclid Avenue. Completed in 1903 as the Citizens Savings and Trust Bank, it became home to the City Club of Cleveland in the 1980s.
Our next stop for lunch was at the Cleveland Trust Rotunda. A recent post featured this building, but it is worth a second look. It has been restored into a Heinen’s Grocery Store.
While it may seem strange to end up at the bus station, in Cleveland it is worth it. The Greyhound Station on Chester Avenue is an Art Deco Masterpiece.
Cleveland has notoriously been divided into two side, the East Side and West Side, separated by the Cuyahoga River. As a promotional campaign the local tourism board was sponsoring an event called ‘Tourist in Your Hometown – Crossing the River’. As part of this campaign they were offering a guided ‘hike’ around downtown checking out old buildings that have been restored and re purposed as hotels.
Our tour started out on the Mall outside of the old Cleveland Board of Education Building, now a Drury Hotel.
Designed by Cleveland architects Walker and Weeks, the building was completed in 1903 as part of the Group Plan. This plan designed a number of public buildings around green space in the middle of the city (The Mall).
The building’s exterior has a number of classic features.
The lobby features two murals by Cora Holden. Completed in 1931 the murals feature historical greats.
One of the first large scale redevelopment of a classic old building into a hotel was the venerable Arcade. In 2001 Hyatt Hotels restored the building to this fantastic state. While I have featured the Arcade in previous postings, you can never get enough of this elegant building.
A close up of the clocks and some of the railings.
Even the light poles have amazing detail.
The Guardian Bank Building was completed in 1896 as Cleveland’s tallest building – towering 221 feet above Euclid Avenue. Designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge it was remodeled by Walker & Weeks in 1939, giving that firm a hand in the first 3 buildings we toured.
Today it has been restored into a Holiday Inn Express, as well as private apartments and the office of an interactive agency called Rosetta.
As with many of the old buildings, the ceilings are amazing. The building was funded by President Garfield’s sons, Harry and James.
One interesting feature of the tours were actors portraying historic Cleveland people. For the morning portion of the tour we met Garrett Morgan.
Garrett was an amazing person, born in Kentucky in the late 1800s he came to Cleveland in his teens where he started working on sewing machines. Having learned about machines, he went on to develop the modern traffic light as well as a breathing apparatus that was successfully used by Garrett and his brother to save more than 30 miners who were trapped under Lake Erie in a fire.
Our morning tour ended at the Metropolitan at 9, a hotel that is a building that was built in the 1970s. While normally that wouldn’t qualify it as historic, they bypassed that rule since it is attached to the Cleveland Trust Rotunda building.
We visited the basement vaults that have been restored into a bar, complete with a demonstration of their signature flaming drink.
The afternoon portion of the tour started out at the Schofield Building. Now restored into a Kimpton Hotel, the building was completed in 1901.
The building was restored in 2013 with 122 hotel rooms and 52 apartments.
The lobby is simple yet elegant.
Our tour took us up to an 11th floor room with a great view down Euclid Avenue.
As well as the Cleveland Trust Rotunda across East 9th Street.
Our last stop was in the Colonial and Euclid Arcades, where a Residence Inn is now located.
The Colonial Arcade was completed in 1898, running the distance between Euclid Avenue and Prospect Avenue. While not as grand as the Arcade, it is still an impressive space.
It was here we met John D Rockefeller, who at times would’ve stayed at the Colonial Hotel, the original hotel in the Colonial Arcade. Rockefeller was the richest person of all time – in 2018 dollars he was once worth over $400 billion dollars. Today’s richest people (Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates) are worth around $100 billion.
The Historic Hotel Tours were a nice way to spend the day, they gave us some tchotchkes, some munchies and even a free drink! The guide was very knowledgeable and informative, and the entire event was free.
The National Historic Registry has over 80,000 places listed throughout the country, with over 3900 in Ohio, of those 159 are in the city of Columbus. This fairly lengthy posting details those along one of Columbus’s primary street, the aptly named 6 to 8 lane Broad Street.
Some of the properties are in excellent shape, while others are in need of some TLC. Through a number of online sources, including the Ohio Historic Places Dictionary, I was able to pull together some highlights of each property.
Our first stop was on the near west side in Franklinton at the Franklinton Apartments. Located at 949-957 West Broad Street the building was completed in 1920, and is still functioning today as an apartment building.
We would’ve had more photos except for the very sketchy looking people hanging out along the sidewalk on the side of the building, despite the No Loitering sign on the building.
William Henry Harrison Headquarters –
W. Broad St
When Ohio became a state in 1803,
there was significant debate on where the capital should be located. Originally
set in the southern Ohio town of Chillicothe, and briefly in Zanesville, it was
decided in 1816 to build a new town across the Scioto River from Franklinton in
the center of the state. As a result the near west side of the city of Columbus
was originally the town of Franklinton.
This house was built around 1807, as one of the few brick buildings in Franklinton. It remains one of the few remaining buildings from the Franklinton era. During the War of 1812 it was used by General (future President) William Henry Harrison as his headquarters for the Northwest Army. Later during the Civil War a confederate spy lived in the home.
A smaller house is locate in back.
House No. 6
W. Broad St
This 124 year old building
served as a fire engine house until 1966, when it was sold and used for a
variety of businesses, as evidenced by the dilapidated sign for Jimmy Rea Electronics.
A non profit historic preservation group, Heritage Ohio, has purchased it with
plans to renovate it as their offices, with retail on the 1st floor.
As with most of the early fire stations this one has a tower attached for drying the hoses.
and Ohio Central Railroad Station
W. Broad St.
This unique former
railway station was designed by Frank Packard and Joseph Yost, both noted
Columbus architects of the late 1800-early 1900s. It was designed in an Art
Nouveau styling uniquely accented with Japanese touches like the pagoda tower.
While the pagoda stands out now, it matched the motif of the Macklin Hotel that
was present next door until being torn down years ago.
Even though it now seems
Japanese in style, it was actually rooted in French and Swiss feudal
architecture. The tower originally had 3 large clocks facing all sides, except
the railroad tracks. Originally the tracks crossed the street at grade level,
but was raised in 1910. The construction of the elevated tracks resulted in a
fire that burned the roof of the depot.
In 1930 the passenger service moved to Union Station, making the stations obsolete. New York Central Railroad then sold the station to the Volunteers of America for $1, since the VOA had lost their building on Front Street to eminent domain for the building of the State Office complex. In 2007 the Firefighters Union bought the station and restored it for their use. After 100 years of service, and multiple floods and fires, it stands proudly as a great architectural wonder.
The older photo shows the now demolished hotel along with the station.
W. Broad St.
Built in 1898 by Daniel Burnham, the famed Chicago architect, the Wyandotte is Columbus’s first skyscraper. As with the other tall buildings of the era, it incorporated the new technologies of steel frame and safe elevators to rise to the dizzying height of 11 floors. The bay windows were to allow as much light as possible in these early days of the electric light bulb.
Building and the New Hayden Building
E Broad St & 16 E. Broad St.
The Hayden Building was completed in 1869, and remains to this day as the oldest building on Capitol Square. Next door is the New Hayden Building, which at 13 floors surpassed the Wyandotte Building as the tallest building in town when completed in 1901. Both buildings are currently undergoing renovation. For this building we have a ‘then and now’ look at it.
E. Broad St
Trinity Episcopal Church is a historic church at 125 E. Broad Street in Columbus, Ohio. It was built in 1866 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. It continues to serve as a church, as well as a community center including a restaurant in the basement that feeds the homeless.
Athletic Club of Columbus 136 E. Broad St.
The Athletic Club building was
completed in 1915 in a Spanish Renaissance Revival style with Italian influences.
Designed by Richard, McCarty & Bullard, it has changed little in the 100 +
years it has stood in downtown Columbus.
It’s members have included a president (Harding), multiple governors and other business and political leaders.
E. Broad St.
The eight-story building at the corner of Third and Broad is now called the Empire Building. Designed and built by Frank Packard in the 1920s, it has a two-story base faced in stone features Gothic-inspired relief sculpture and ornamental grilles, and the lobby has a vaulted ceiling with decorative plasterwork and ornamental light fixtures,”
Benjamin Smith House 181 E. Broad St.
Built in 1860 and now occupied by the
Columbus Club, it has been the residence of multiple Ohio governors, and it is
listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built by Benjamin Smith, a
railroad contractor and banker following the Civil War, the home had bricks
that were made in Philadelphia and shipped to Columbus.
Mr Smith lost his fortune over time and was forced to sell the house. Two governors then lived there, however the pay for governor was so low, the second Joseph Foraker, had to vacate the house because they couldn’t afford to heat it. The Columbus Club purchased it in 1886, and retains ownership to this day.
E. Broad St.
Yet another Frank Packard design, the Seneca Hotel was completed
in 1917, with the additional four story addition on the east side of the
building being erected in 1924. It served as a hotel until the late 1950s, when
it became a school called the Nationwide Beauty Academy, with the hotel rooms
One of the unique requirements of living there during this time was ‘Girls living in the dorms must be in by 11 p.m. week nights and 1:30 a.m. on weekends, and men and liquor are taboo in the girls’ rooms, as are bare feet in the lobby or hair curlers in the cafeteria.’
It then served as the headquarters of the Ohio EPA from 1976 until 1987, then at vacant for nearly 20 years before a restoration project turned it into a 76 unit apartment building.
Columbus Gallery of Fine Arts 480 E. Broad St.
The Columbus Museum of Art was built on the location that once was home to the Sessions Mansion. As with the Athletic Club, it was designed by Richards, McCarty and Bulford, and opened in 1931. An additional, much larger building was added in 2005.
Street United Methodist Church
E. Broad St.
This church was opened
in 1885 as a state of the art church in what is known as an ‘Akron Plan’, which
is a design where there were wings radiating from the main church for uses like
Sunday school. It was designed by Joseph Yost, who had done many major Columbus
buildings and churches.
The exterior design
is in a High Victorian Gothic style, using masonry materials, point arch bays,
and numerous gabled roof lines and towers. The highlight is the green
serpentine stone as facing on the brick walls, with limestone and sandstone for
the base. This serpentine was replaced with designer stone in 2008.
The wall that fronts Broad Street has art glass windows that came from the Central Church when it was demolished. The east wall has windows that were installed in 1908.
W.H. Jones Mansion 731 E. Broad St.
The W H Jones Mansion was built in 1889 in the Queen Anne style, with a corner turret, third story ballroom and a matching carriage house in the rear.
Jones modeled the mansion after a home in the small town of Barnesville, Ohio, not realizing that his model house was designed to ward off evil spirits, with a number of sevens and threes in the design. It has seven gargoyles built on his home’s exterior, seven steps going up to the porch, seven posts in one section of the front staircase, three vertical rows of seven horizontal blocks in the interior paneling, and so forth.
Central Assurance Company 741 E. Broad St.
Even though this building was completed at the end of the Art
Deco period, it is one of the few examples in Columbus, therefore a significant
building. This streamlined commercial building is built directly next to another
National Historic Registry building built in a Tudor Revival style, with half
timbered 1920s apartments.
Completing this most unique block is a 1880s Italianate home with a large L shaped porch. While it remained in the same family for almost 100 years, it has been a rental property for the last few decades.
Broad Street Presbyterian Church
E. Broad St.
This church was completed in stages, the first being in 1887, then additions in 1894, 1908 and 1924. Elah Terrell was responsible for the initial design with Frank Packard contributing to the 1908 expansion. It is built in a Romanesque style. As part of the National Register of Historic Places since 1987, it remains a church as well as a community center serving a food pantry open to the public.
E. Broad St.
This apartment building was built in an Old English Tudor Style with a courtyard. The building is in the traditional brick and half timber construction with stone ornaments and diagonal basket weave and herringbone brickwork, terra cotta roping and other touches. It was completed in 1929, after being designed by Galbreath and Leonard.
E. Broad St.
The Joseph Cherrington House is significant as representing the earliest period of residential development along East Broad Street and for it’s Italianate style architecture. The house is the second oldest building out of the five remaining Italianate examples along this street. It displays distinct Italianate characteristics through it’s low pitched hipped roof, tall narrow windows with carved stone segmental arched hood molds, bracketed stone sills and a brick stringcourse under the cornice with frieze windows.
Wilden E Joseph was affiliated with the Patton Manufacturing Company. In 1930 Mr Harold Cherrington and his wife purchased the home. Cherrington was the dramatic editor of the Columbus Dispatch, and later a noted reporter journalist and publicity man.
Paul’s Episcopal Church
E. Broad St.
Saint Paul’s Church was established in 1839, with the first building being at Mound and Third in downtown Columbus being built in 1842. With the growth of the east side, the church moved to the ‘outskirts’ of town in 1904 with this building. As with many of the downtown churches, The episcopal closed in 2011, but now serves the Shiloh Christian Center.
Carrie Lovejoy House 807 E. Broad St.
A two and a half story residence with massing and ornamentation, the Carrie Lovejoy House reflects the residential development along East Broad Street. When this house was build around 1900 E Broad Street was considered the most fashionable street in the city.
This house display elements of the colonial revival style in its classical details including the third floor dormer with palladian window, bracketed eaves, and a multi pane window entrance portico with paired Doric columns.
Carrie Lovejoy was the widow of Nathan Lovejoy, who was in the lumber business. He operated a sawmill in the city in the late 19th century. Carrie moved into this house after his death and lived there until 1914.
E. Broad St.
This Queen Anne two and a half story brick house was built in the late 1800s in a Romanesque Revival style with the massive asymmetrical elements. Other noted features include the para-petted gables with stone, high stepped chimneys and irregular fenestration with the windows capped by cut stone lintels. The porch on the north facade is supported by heavy squat French Romanesque columns. The facade is also defined by an octagonal tower on the west.
Built around 1897 it was the home of C E Morris, owner of Morris Ironworks, who was also a real estate attorney, and president of the Hotel Lincoln Company. They lived there from 1897 to 1924.
W. Schueller House
E. Broad St.
The house was built
for him in 1909 where he lived until his death in 1914. Built in the Queen Anne
style, the house is two and a half stories of brick construction with a slate
hip roof, front bay windows and second story round arched window. Dr.
Schueller’s wife Sara continued to live there until around the mid-1940s when
it was converted to offices. The house had a few other owners. Notable ones
include The Ohio Nurses Association had their offices there in the 1950s. In
the 1980s, the home housed the National Alliance of Postal and Federal
Employees’ local chapter. Their membership declined and they lost tenants and
were unable to maintain it.
When a home restorer
bought the home in November of 2007 it was not habitable. Restoring the slate
roof was the first order of business, as it had over 80 leaks. Using old photos
he was able to restore much of the home to the original look. The link below
has a great article detailing the amazing work it took to bring back this grand
Built 1870 Another Italianate style
with outstanding and ornate carved stone ornamentation. Low pitched roof, tall
narrow chimneys wide eaves supported by brackets, frieze windows, long narrow
windows with carved stone lintels, and bracketed stone sills. Linus Kauffman
was VP of the Kauffman Lattimer Company, wholesale druggists lived here from
1907-1931, with his wife Clara residing there until 1936.
Clara was an active woman, being a supporter of the suffrage movement, the president of the YWCA, as well as active in numerous historic societies.
E. Broad St.
Built in 1928, the Cambridge Arms Apartments was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1986, but was removed in 1987 because of owner objection. They now advertise they are indeed on the Registry.
The concrete building rises 9 floors and has a height just under 100 feet. The building was home to many notable families at the time, including the Wolfe family who owned the Columbus Dispatch newspaper.
E. Broad St.
Another turn of the century residence, this one was built in the Arts and crafts movement style of American architecture (aka FLW) Prairie style through its ribbon windows, high water table, smooth stone stringcourses and horizontal emphasis. Levy was the founder and president of the union clothing company, now the Union, established in the late 1890s.
E. Broad St
This 1889 Queen Anne, one of 16 remaining 19th century single family residences along East Broad Street in original condition. Projecting pediment bays with slate trim and double hung one over one windows, arched windows, rusticated stone lintels and smooth stone sills, an entrance with transom and double doors and decorative wood window trim. An ornate tower with a conical roof on the west side of the house. Built for Dr Amos Sharp and Elmer Sharp (a real estate broker). Today it serves as a women’s health center.
The next few make up a block featured in the old photo below.
957 E Broad Street was the Bible Mediation League building in 1948. Previous owners include real estate agent Perin B Monypeny and Frank Hickock manufacturing agent. It is now an office for the Community Housing Network.
E. Broad St.
The Shedd–Dunn House is also known as Noverre Musson & Associates, Architects. The house was built in 1888 and is of the Queen Anne architectural style. The home originally belonged to Frank J Shedd, who was a partner in E E Shedd Grocers. It later became the home of Eggleston Dunn of the Dunn Taft Store.
Heyne Zimmerman House 973 E Broad Street
This home is a 2.5 story tan brick, and red
mortar structure with Colonial Revival characteristics, but has Classical detailing,
including a Doric columned porch with full entablature and bracketed eaves and
cornice with modillions. The roof is hipped and windows are one over one. A one
story addition was added to the rear of the house.
It was built around 1911 when Carl G. Heyne, president of the American Cash Register Company lived there until 1914. In 1918 Charles Zimmerman, manager of the Ohio Auto Sales Company purchased the house where he lived until his death in the early 1930s. His widow Ottie Zimmerman lived there until the 1940s. It was put on the National Historic Registry in 1987.
E. Broad St
A 5900 square foot house, built in 1900 this buff colored brick on a stone foundation house features a tile hipped roof. Built by James Hanna, founder of the Hanna paint company. The house features carved woodwork, leaded and stained glass windows, a grand staircase and most of the original light fixtures.
Street Christian Church
E. Broad St.
First organized in 1870, this build was designed and built in 1907. It’s architecture is Arts and Crafts with the Mission style through its use of rough faced stone wall treatment and smooth stone trim, bracketed wide eaves, side entrances with bracketed roofs and square corner tower with hipped roof and round corner turrets. Also features round stained glass windows, tile roof and parapet supported by squat Tuscan columns.
In 2009 the church was sold to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, serving new generations to this day.
E. Broad St.
Something different – a Georgian and classical influence with rusticated quoins, modillions under project eaves. Tuscan doric columns, round arched windows with fanlights, and chimneys. It was owned by Edward Johnson, president of the Lorain Coal and Dock Company from 1906-1912, and Joseph Campbell president of the National Bank of Commerce for the next 30 years.
Frank J. Kaufman House 1231 E. Broad St
Yet another Queen Anne with the conical roof and irregular massing built at the turn of the century. A two story carriage house with singled gables is in the rear. This house’s current paint scheme makes a statement.
E. Broad St.
The Old Governor’s Mansion was built
in 1904 as the estate of Charles Lindenberg. It was designed by Frank Packard in
a Colonial revival style. Until 1917 the State of Ohio did not maintain a
residence for the Governor, instead they were on their own in finding a place
to live. In December of 1916 Governor elect James Cox thought he had found a
home to rent at 940 East Broad Street, where the outgoing Governor Bushnell
lived. Unfortunately for Cox in incoming Secretary of State W D Fulton also
needed a place to live and beat Cox to renting 940 East Broad, living him nowhere
to live. Cox had to rent a room in a hotel.
Embarrassed by this, the Ohio General Assembly appointed a committee to find a Governor’s Mansion. They eventually settled on the Lindenberg Mansion, with it’s wide staircase and Tiffany glass. Despite the ornate trappings of their mansion, the Lindenbergs actually sold the home to the state of Ohio at a loss.
Photo during the time it served as the Governor’s Mansion
Once the state purchased the home they
began a complete remodel, as well as razing the home next door to make room for
a garden. The furnishing for the home were made by
prisoners at the Mansfield Reformatory. In 1920 Governor Cox was finally able
to move in. He, and 9 subsequent governors
and their families called this home during a 36 year period before the state purchased
another mansion in Bexley for the new governor’s mansion.
This historic site is said to be haunted by an African American woman in a blue dress who is believed to have died in a fire in the mansion. Staff at the site have reported paintings rearranged after hours. Investigators say that the apparition of a female in turn-of-the-century clothing for a housekeeper has been seen multiple times in the mansion. The unmistakable smell of burning hair and skin is reportedly still detected by visitors to the mansion.
Franklin Park Conservatory 1547 E. Broad St.
In 1852, the Franklin
County Agriculture Society purchased 88 acres located two miles east of
downtown Columbus as a site for the first Franklin County Fair. In 1874, that
land was made the official grounds of the Ohio State Fair. Ohio Legislature
passed a resolution declaring the site as Franklin Park and open for public use
With the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893, the city of Columbus was inspired to creature a horticulture building influences by the Exposition’s Glass Palace. That grand Victorian-style glass greenhouse is now known as the John F. Wolfe Palm House, it opened to the public in 1895 as Franklin Park Conservatory.
Our trip across Broad Street was interesting and educational. With so many great buildings on the National Historic Registry I encourage you to check out your town’s contribution to this list.
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.
Amazingly the Chicago History Museum was founded in 1856, just a few years after the settling of the town. Although twice destroyed by fire (once during the Great Chicago Fire), they still have a vast collection of artifacts celebrating the history of the city.
During our visit to Chess Records I had heard that the History Museum had a nice exhibit on the Chicago Blues, which was our encouragement to go to the History Museum.
In the display is this map showing the amazing collection of recording studios and clubs that featured the blues that have existed in Chicago over the years.
Raeburn Flerlage was a famed photographer of the blues scene from 1959-1971, although his career in music lasted much longer.
His photographs were used for many album covers.
Included in the collection is a copy of what is generally acknowledge as the first blues record of all time, St Louis Blues by W C Handy, from 1925.
The south side of Chicago was the hub of the blues, with Maxwell Street being the epicenter.
All of the blues greats were celebrated here, including Muddy Waters.
In the 1950s record companies were only allowed to have so many records in radio station airplay rotation at one time, so they would just start another record company.
This record of Koko Taylor’s Wang Dang Doodle is on Checker Records, the sister company of Chess Records.
Moving on from the blues display we checked out Chicago – Crossroad of America. This documented Chicago as the transportation hub of the country since the early days of the railroad.
Also on display was one of the original El cars from 1892.
A number of focus displays included one of the infamous gangland activities during prohibition in the 1920s.
Keeping with the infamous Playboy Magazine started in Chicago, as did the original club with the hostess (bunny) outfit on display.
As noted in other postings, Chicago was always mail order center of the country.
Another section celebrated entertainment events in Chicago including the 1893 World’s Fair.
As well as the 1933 Century of Progress World’s Fair.
Finally there was a small section celebrating the professional sports teams of Chicago – baseball’s Cubs and White Sox, football’s Bears, basketball’s Bulls and hockey’s Blackhawks.
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.