You have no items in your shopping cart.

Featured Posts / Urban Remains Chicago News and Events

Featured Posts

  • a recently discovered cache of 1890's refuse, in the form of everyday household bottles, jars, shoes, stoneware (i.e. impermeable and partly vitrified pottery), flint glass, ink wells, etc., was unearthed the other day during excavation of a residential lot where a house built around 1890 was demolished months earlier. the dense layer of trash, found nearly 5 feet below grade, was either used as a "makeshift" dumping site by city night scavengers (i.e., residential privy vault cleaners) or possibly as "fill" for the non-extant house (without basement and/or crawlspace) constructed at the time the street it faced was being raised to...
  • the relentless search to aquire, identify, and document historically important remnants from chicago building demolished or altered has greatly assisted in driving the bldg. 51 museum collection and archive's sustained momentum and/or growth in the new year. while the museum's core mission remains sharply focused on chicago-related architectural artifacts bearing historical significance, the sizable collection of historic building materials (e.g., studs, sill plates, tree nails, sheathing, spikes, etc.), for use with the "deconstructing chicago project," along with the vast assemblage of 19th and early 20th century artifacts excavated across the city for the "unearthing chicago" book, remain equally important in telling the story...
  • the bldg. 51 museum recently acquired an exceptional, copper-plated ornamental figural cast iron elevator panel and full-bodied eagle rescued from henry ives cobb's downtown chicago chicago federal building (1898), prior to its demolition in 1965. the single-sided eagle panel was originally apart of an elevator door bedecked with neoclassical design motifs. the three-dimensional figural finial is comprised of two sections (i.e., rectangular-shaped post supporting full-winged solid cast iron eagle) fastened together with oversized flat head machine screws. both the elevator door and finial were painted (black and green respectively) at the time of their extraction from the building shortly before demolition. like many...
  • [caption id="attachment_28725" align="alignleft" width="2481"] theater ticket stubs found on the plenum floor. note the earlier one locate in the top left corner. very little pertaining to the theater itself has been found - unlike the lawndale theater for example, where i found several programs and coat check cards dating back to 1927 when that theater opened.[/caption] for months now, the developer has been incredibly generous by allowing me to repeatedly access and photograph congress theater (1926). any and all images taken during the course of the theater's transformation will be copied and handed over to him to use as he sees...
  • a few hundred bottles, pottery fragments, and so on, were discovered during excavation in a chicago residential neighborhood. the machine operator was gracious enough to grant me highly coveted time to extract as much as i possibly could before loads were sent to the landfill. [caption id="attachment_28681" align="alignleft" width="1500"] note the children's toy doll arm, comprised of glazed porcelain.[/caption] based on preliminary research, this forgotten "landfill"​ was likely a dumping ground and/or burn pit for neighborhood "night scavengers,"​ who were licensed (issued by the city of chicago) individuals making their living cleaning or "dipping"​ privy pits across the city during the evening...
  • it's become impossible to resist my maniacal desire to photograph chicago's cityscape, and that's a good thing. i'm a terribly anxious person in the present, so i counter that by living in the past. in some unexplainable way, i feel i belong there. it's no surprise that my mind'e eye naturally gravitates towards chicago's past, especially when viewed through the city's richly historic architecture. since my camera is a simple and amazingly effective tool for self-guided cognitive therapy, it makes complete sense why i've been more eager than ever to drive around the city aimlessly, capturing everything and anything representing...
  • the bldg. 51 museum recently acquired yet another, well-executed full-scale alfonso iannelli-designed midway gardens figural head - cast from a plaster mold taken directly off the only known surviving fragment rescued from the massive "cube" fountain housed within frank lloyd wrights 1914 midway garden's indoor entertainment complex (demolished in 1929). the fountain head fragment is a welcomed addition to the bldg. 51 museums's collection of both original and recreated concrete fragments from midway gardens. the abstract figural sculpture is comprised of cast concrete with material and finish identical to the original. the architectural fragment has been mounted on a custom-built welded joint stand, comprised...
  • i distinctly recall the afternoon in 2011 i spent wandering through henry i. cobb's 1893 chicago athletic association building and neighboring annex (schmidt, garden & martin) with a large group of investors, developers, architects, and designers hell bent on converting the buildings into a boutique hotel, perhaps banking on it largely intact historic architectural elements as its biggest asset. i felt like my camera was an instrument of intrusion, despite having permission from the "ringleaders" orchestrating the building acquisition, a project, that at the time, was shrouded in secrecy. my mind's eye felt scrambled, rushed, and in desperate...
  • remnants from the site of a short-lived druggist's pharmacy (1872-1874) were discovered under a downtown chicago parking ramp (since demolished). during excavation in preparation for new development, machine operator john propeck unearthed nearly 30 (mostly broken) stephen israel mineral water bottles lying against a foundation wall belonging to his post-fire building (demolished when the parking ramp was built in the 1950's). the original and completely intact late c.1870's israel bottle included here, is virtually identical to the bottles discovered along the foundation wall. the reddish amber glass saratoga style quart mineral water bottle with mug base, was manufactured specifically for chicago druggist stephen...
  • [caption id="attachment_28482" align="alignleft" width="1200"] photo courtesy of theatre historical society of america[/caption] [caption id="attachment_28483" align="alignleft" width="1500"] image courtesy of eric j. nordstrom and the bldg. 51 museum archive[/caption]   the following images offer a detailed glimpse at congress theater's lobby light fixtures, grand staircase, and vestibule movie poster cast iron display case captured during the "golden hour." remarkably, the architectural elements featured in this collection of photographs (courtesy of eric j. nordstrom and the bldg. 51 museum archive) haven't been altered since installation in 1926. the fabricator of the interior lobby and auditorium light fixtures remains unidentified. a top candidate is victor pearlman...

Items 1 to 10 of 510 total

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. ...
  7. 51

From the blog