Chicago – February 2019 – Then and Now

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.

Chicago – February – Sunny Morning from the Willis Tower

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.






Chicago – October 2018 – Open House Part 4

Open House Chicago continues….

After finishing our tour of the Board of Trade Building we were a bit early for 111 West Jackson, as it didn’t open until 10 AM.

With our time we toured one of the best blocks in Chicago – South Dearborn between Jackson and Congress. The Fisher, Plymouth, Old Colony, Manhattan and Monadnock all are in the same general area

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All were built in the late 1800s and early 1900s with amazing detail.

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The streetlights in the area retain the classic look.

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Of all of them, the Monadnock is the most important. Built in 1891 it continues to this day at the largest load bearing brick building in the world.

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While the Fisher Building has these ornate cornices.

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The nearby Harold Washington Library adds some bling to the neighborhood.

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All of the buildings are worthy of close ups of the detail.

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The Chicago School of Architecture (a style – not a specific educational facility) was famous for it’s use of bay windows.

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Another cool street light.

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Views straight up show the detail underneath.

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My New York friend was stunned and amazed at the massive external fire escapes. Note that they were manufactured locally.

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Finally 111 West Jackson was open for viewing from their 25th floor outdoor deck.

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This deck offered a wide view of the south loop skyscrapers from the Willis/Sears Tower to Chase Tower (aka 10 South Dearborn).

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Over on Michigan Avenue we paid a return visit to the Railway Exchange Building.

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The lobby is vastly different as the Chicago Architecture Foundation has moved to a new location, and taken the model with them. Personally I think the lobby looks better without the model.

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On the upper floors we visited two different architectural firms.

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Both still feature the cool view of the 17 story atrium.

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As well as commanding views of the park and lake (along with some of the building detail just outside the window).

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A southeast view towards Grant Park.

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The skylights at the very top of the Railway Exchange Building.  An amazing building completed in 1904.

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The architecture firm on the 17th floor had some models displayed.

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The top floor is also known for the portals for windows.

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to be continued…..

 

 

Chicago – October 2018 – Open House Part 5

Chicago Open House weekend concludes ….

 

Another ‘non official’ stop – The Chicago Athletic Club

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For 122 years it was a private club.

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That has recently been opened as a boutique hotel.

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The lower two floors are public space that we were welcome to tour – as long as we didn’t take photos with the SLR cameras.

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But fortunately iPhones take decent photos, including the classic bar.

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The game room retains that feel of a private club.

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As well as the lobby.

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Interestingly the Chicago Cubs ‘borrowed’ the Athletic Club’s logo in the 1880s.

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Chicago Cultural Center

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Built in 1893 as the Central Library it has housed the Cultural Center since the 1970s.

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Entrance to the stairway from the Preston Bradley Hall.

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Another view of the Hall with a glimpse of the highlight.

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A 38′ Tiffany Dome – many claim this to be the largest in the world.

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The dome and light are stunning.

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Directly across the street is Millennium Park.

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333 North Michigan Avenue

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The Eastlake Studio on the 26th floor was open – featuring a terrace with great views.

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A perfect spot for checking out the iconic Wrigley Building.

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The Jewelers Building, with a large collection of details at the top (when this building was built who did they think would be able to see these 400′ up — but they are impressive from this vantage point.)

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A close up of the Wrigley Building clock.

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A view across the river to a terrace on Chicago’s second tallest building that will remain nameless.

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A mix of old and new (with reflections of old).

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One of the reliefs in 333 North Michigan Avenue.

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Another nearby vintage skyscraper’s upper detail.

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Everybody was taking photos.

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For a nice Sunday afternoon the tourists boats were empty – everyone was attending the Open House Chicago events.

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Up Michigan Avenue and the Hancock Tower with the Lincoln Park Beach in the background.

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Back on the street we passed the Jewelers Building, with this great clock.

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A repeat visit from last year is 150 North Riverside, and the view from the 27th floor. Interestingly they had the north end of the empty floor blocked, which was disappointing as this had the best views, but there were still some great shots.

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The area to the immediate west and north of the loop is experiencing a building boom.

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The view south down the river.

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Further south (zoomed all the way in on a slightly hazy day) are El Rail Yards and Comiskey Park (or whatever it is called now).

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The top floors of the Civic Opera Building.

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Always one of my favorite’s the Merchandise Mart.

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Notice how the reflection of the El Tracks makes it appear they go through the building.

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Back down on the ground – a view from the Lake Street Bridge north.

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The older section of the LondonHouse Hotel.

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300 East Randolph Street – with an open elevator shaft.

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This building was originally a 30 floor building, but in 2007-2010 they added another 24 floors. For Open House Chicago the 30th floor was open.

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The views were different than all other we had seen all weekend – south towards the parks and South Michigan Avenue.

It was an amazing view.

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With a bit of zoom, the Field Museum and Soldier Field.

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More 30th floor zooming – across Northerly Island towards Hyde Park and the University of Chicago.

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The Adler Planetarium.

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BKL Architects had a model of their neighborhood.

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As well as an overview of downtown.

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The Lake Shore East neighborhood is another that has had substantial residential growth.

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The view from the Columbus Avenue Bridge up the river.

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We ended at the Navy Pier for some night time shots

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As Elwood said to Jake in the Blues Brothers ‘look it’s the Picasso’

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One final view for a spectacular weekend – The Chicago Board of Trade at night.

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Chicago – December 2017 – Christmas Sunset

Christmas Day in Chicago, 2017 was a cold one, with temperatures near 10 Fahrenheit.  But it was mostly clear, with a beautiful sunset coming, so it was time to go back up the John Hancock Tower.

 

From here you had a great view of the snow covered, empty Navy Pier.

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The marina in Lincoln Park is vacant as well.

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But as the sun set the lights came on.

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Looking back toward the Navy Pier and Lake Michigan. Of note in the far distance top center is a bright light. One of the steel mills in northern Indiana was having a ‘burn off’ of gases causing what is known locally as the Pilot Light of Northwestern Indiana.

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The view southwest toward the Willis Tower (aka – Sears Tower) and beyond.

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The view down Michigan Avenue as the darkness approached from the east.

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The beautiful Wrigley Building. Built in 1920 as the first large office building north of the river, it continues to be one of the most majestic in the city.

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Chicago – June 2017 – 360 Chicago

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The John Hancock observation deck has been renamed ‘360 Chicago’. With a sunny day it was a good time to check it out.

South view – Most of downtown including the Sears/Willis Tower.

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East view – Navy Pier and Lake Michigan

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North along the Gold Coast towards Lincoln Park.

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Wrigley Field in the distance

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North Avenue Beach and the faux ship/bar.

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The former Carbide and Carbon Building – now a Hard Rock Hotel.

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Straight down

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TILT – for an extra fee you can be scared @#$%less. I passed. It tilts out to about a 45 degree angle so you are looking straight down 1000′.

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