Our weekend in Detroit resulted in some venues that didn’t result in enough photos for a single posting so they are grouped together in ‘Random Sights’
Up first – Eastern Market.
Detroit has one of the finest farmers markets in the country. Contained in a number of indoor and outdoor ‘sheds’, they offerings vary throughout the year.
On this day there was little produce, but many people with various meats and even landscaping items.
A few street performers were on hand trying to generate some tips.
Surrounding the market are many food service companies. A number of the buildings had food related murals.
A little Detroit muscle in the Market.
In nearby Dearborn is the Henry Ford Estate.
When you invent the Model T you can have any house you want. Henry had this nice home on what was once a 1700 acre grounds. Most has been developed into a college, mall and corporate center for Ford.
This home’s styling has kept up better than most of it’s era.
And when you start a car company you need a really stylish 5 car garage.
A brief tour of downtown revealed a number of art pieces. This skyscraper at One Woodward Avenue was designed by Minoru Yamaski. If the design of the windows looks familiar it is because he later designed the original World Trade Center in New York.
The statue is The Passo di Danza (Step of the Dance).
The Spirit of Detroit is a large statue completed in 1958. Today this symbol adorns most of the city of Detroit’s department logos.
A recent addition is a 17′ high statue called ‘Waiting’ . While many like the addition some say the ‘X’ for eyes represent death.
Detroit is in Wayne County – and the County Building is in a classic Roman Baroque Revival style,, and was completed in 1902.
Cadillac Tower was the first building outside of New York and Chicago to be 40 floors tall when completed in 1927.
Across the street from the Guardian Building is the Buhl Building. Stylish in it’s own right, it pales to its world renown neighbor.
From the 32nd floor of the Guardian Building we had a great view of the surrounding area. This is a view southwest looking at the Ambassador Bridge leading to Canada (on the left), as well as the Rouge Factory in the distance.
The Renaissance Center was built in the 1970s in an effort to revitalize downtown, however it was built across an 8 lane street, along the river, and with huge walls that visually were imposing. Fail.
From our high vantage point we could see out to the vacant Packard factory that we toured the day before.
The Penobscot Building was Detroit’s tallest building from it’s completion in 1928 until the Ren Center was finished in the 1970s.
The building was named after the Penobscot Native American’s in Maine. The exterior motif pays tribute to them.
A weekend in Detroit touched on a significant amount of the auto industry history without really seeing an actual car (except the obvious high percent of American made cars on the streets and freeways of the city).
An organization called ‘Pure Detroit’ offers tours of historic structures, including the Fisher Building. Completed in 1928 as an Art Deco masterpiece, the Fisher was designed by noted Detroit architect Albert Kahn.
Despite being one of the tallest buildings in the city when completed, it is not downtown, rather about 3 miles north in an area that was named ‘New Center’. Developed in the 1920s New Center was envisioned as one of the original ‘edge cities’.
In reality the Fisher Brothers had tried to purchase a complete city block downtown, but at that time Detroit was a boom town and no land was available, making the New Center option even more attractive.
The Fisher Brothers founded Fisher Body, who provided the automobile bodies to General Motors. Most of the office space in New Center was occupied by GM, and their suppliers.
They chose this area to be closer to their factories.
As you enter the three story barrel vaulted concourse. The building is noted mostly because it contains forty (yes 40) different types of marble.
The Fisher Brothers were noted for their philanthropy and they felt that by providing a grand space for their business, as well as the public in general, they were giving back to the city.
As an architect Kahn had to be elated when the Fisher Brothers essentially said, spend what you need, make it memorable.
Including in the building is the Fisher Theater. With over 2000 seats it remains one of the oldest theaters in the city. The day we were there a matinee of ‘Hamilton’ was performing, resulting a large crowd gathering as we completed our tour.
Even areas like a small food court is opulent.
The mosaics, as well as other pieces of sculpture and frescoes were completed by Geza Maroti. As with much of the art in the period, the works have symbolism, including numerous eagles symbolizing America stretching to greater heights.
Lighting is always difficult to capture properly but when made the focus they make an interesting look.
A close up of the ceiling reveals one of the numerous tributes to knowledge.
The mezzanine level offers a nice glimpse of the ceiling, along with the main concourse.
The railing are very stylish….
… but obviously not OSHA complaint height.
The mezzanine level has great symmetry.
Just across the street is Cadillac Place. From the 1930s until the 1970s, this was the headquarters of GM.
From the 26th floor there was a nice view back toward downtown Detroit on this hazy day.
Our effervescent tour guide Jordan was great. She was very enthusiastic and knowledgeable – Pure Detroit should be proud to have her.
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.
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.
Our final tour of this visit was one I was looking forward to – a tour of architecture of and from the El train. The tour would take us into a number of El stations, as well as checking out some of Chicago’s finest architecture from a view most don’t see – 20 feet up from the El platforms.
We made our way to our first station in the pouring rain. The group of 9 people were more than happy when we arrived at the Washington and Wabash Station. Rebuilt and opened just a year ago, this station is sometimes referred to as the Millennium Station as it is located just a block from the park (but to any Chicagoan it will always be Washington/Wabash).
The canopy is made of steel and glass, with waves that are to evoke the feeling of nearby Lake Michigan.
As you enter the station you are greeting by a significant amount of artwork.
A major portion of the tour was focused on the nearby buildings. We had seen the Sullivan Center previously, but on this tour we had the mix of the canopy of the station with the classic lines of the building.
This row of 5 floor buildings are survivors from the 1800s, and are classic buildings. All they need is someone to come along with $40-50 million to purchase and rehab them (perhaps into boutique hotels!)
We made our way clockwise around the loop to the stations at State and Van Buren, aka the Harold Washington Library Station.
While the station is a fairly typical El station, it has great views of the Fisher Building and the Monodnock Building.
The Fisher Building is an 1896 Daniel Burnham masterpiece. As with many buildings it was built in two phases. Note the bay windows on the portion closest to the camera, then a flat face just beyond that.
The building’s terracotta has numerous sculptures featuring fish and crabs, as well as mythical creatures.
The northbound view of Dearborn Street with the Monodnock on the left and the Standard Club on the right.
The rain and the Monodnock gave a basic light added character.
We had the good fortune of having the CTA Holiday Train roll through the station as we were checking out the sights. A Chicago tradition since 1992, the train is decorated by volunteers and corporate sponsor.
Prior to Christmas they will run open air flatbed cars with Santa on them (check out the blog posting on the CTA Skokie Repair shop for more details as it was being prepared when we were there in October).
Throughout our tour the CTA employees were more than helpful, holding the train briefly while we boarded en mass or letting us through the turnstiles without addition payment to check out the stations.
I am certain to them it is just a job, but how cool would it be to drive an El train around all day.
The Quincy Station was the highlight of the tour. It was opened in 1897 and is essentially the same as the day it opened (with a few additional safety features).
They even have a couple of the original (unused) fare boxes mounted on the wall
It is the only station in the system that does not have advertising, rather they have period correct ads from the early days of the station.
Interestingly the ad on the left for the South Shore could still be valid, as that commuter rail still runs down into Indiana.
The platform maintains the same look. Quite the contrast to the skyscrapers in the background (including the 1400′ high Willis/Sears Tower directly behind the platform).
Again the lighting adds to the overall look.
We continued around the loop, crossing Randolph Street past the Palace Theater.
We made a turn to the west at the northwest corner of the loop, giving a great view of the wood planking for the tracks as well as one of the control stations.
Our final stop was at the Clinton Station in the West Loop. With the recent construction of very tall buildings, and the rain, the views were diminished this day, but it still gave some great symmetry shots.
This station is next to Union Station. The building in the background was once a large warehouse but has been re purposed to condo’s.
The view back towards the loop. It is interesting how this 100+ year old transportation still works, skirting past the massive skyscrapers.
We were at a Metra Commuter Rail station and had the good fortune of seeing their Holiday Train as well! Talk about good luck (even with the pouring rain).
As always our volunteer docent was knowledgeable and personable. With so many tacky tourist hop on hop off bus type businesses in large American cities, the non profit, mostly volunteer Chicago Architecture Foundation is a real treasure. We are looking forward to returning for more tours.
Our second Chicago Architecture Foundation tour of the day was ‘Hotel Boom – Making Old New Again’. It focused on the current trend of adaptive reuse, taking old buildings that may or may not have previously been hotels, and updating them as boutique hotels.
As with our first tour we headed south on Michigan Avenue, stopping across the street from the Chicago Athletic Association Building.
The CAA members were the movers and shakers of Chicago in 1893 as the World’s Fair was going on. Anxious to impress their out of town visitors, they engaged Henry Ives Cobb to build them a building rivaling anything that anyone would find in the great cities of the world. One would have to agree they did!
In 2015 the building was remodeled into the aforementioned boutique hotel style, as the club membership had dwindled. The results are one of function, but retaining most of the original look and feel.
The upstairs game room features the Chicago Athletic Association logo. Look familiar – it should as the Chicago Cubs bought the rights to use it in the 1800s.
As we made our way to the next stop we passed the Reliance Building. Designed by John Root in 1890 it remained a commercial property until the late 1990s when it was rehabbed into a boutique hotel.
As part of the Chicago School of Architecture it has the famed bay windows throughout.
On nearby Wabash Avenue is the Silversmith Hotel, so named as it is in the restored Silversmith Building on Jeweler Row. The architect, Peter Weber of the Burnham Architectural Firm, completed the design in 1896.
While it is an early example of the Chicago School of Architecture, the remodel has added modern elements to it (the exterior is required to remain ‘original’ per the Historic Registry requirements).
As we made our way back up Wabash we passed the Virgin Hotel Building, another re purposed building. Unfortunately we were unable to explore the interior.
The Chicago Motor Club Building was famously designed and completed in only 265 days in 1928. It is regarded as one of the finest Art Deco buildings in Chicago. The Motor Club used the building for office until 1986, and others used it for commercial use until 1996.
It sat vacant for many years before Hampton Inn (of all corporations) restored the building into a boutique hotel.
The lobby retains the Art Deco look.
A famed 1928 mural of the United States road system adorns one wall. Since the 1926 directive to give roads numbers was not quite implemented yet, this mural still uses the historic ‘trails’ designations such as the Lincoln Highway, etc.
The spiral staircase continues the Art Deco feel. For a company mostly known for small motels along freeways Hampton Inn really came through with this one.
Across the river, and in a different planet from a hotel room price perspective is The Langham. Often cited as one of Chicago’s priciest hotels, the Langham occupies a portion of the famed Ludwig Miles van der Rohe’s famed IBM Building.
It has a mid century meets gaudy feel.
Our final stop was the London House Hotel. The unusual name comes from the building’s original owners, the London Guarantee Company, an insurance company.
It is situated on the site of Fort Dearborn, the first settlement of any kind in what is now Chicago. As such a sculpture of the fort graces the entrance.
The traditional entrance has an impressive ceiling that amazing was covered up for 50 years by a drop ceiling.
Completed in 1923, it was topped with a cupola made to resemble the Choragic Monument of Lysicrates,
The view from the 21st floor outdoor bar is fantastic.
Earlier in the day, and totally unrelated to any of these posts we visited the 9th floor Winter Garden of the Harold Washington Library. It is not historic, but is cool.
Our night ended up with our cool view from the 23rd floor of the hotel down Kinzie Street toward the Wrigley Building, Tribune Building and others.
Our good luck with the Chicago Architecture Foundation tours continued. While the docents all have their unique approach, and you might pass by or go inside a building you have previously seen, you always learn something new. We are looking forward to more tours.