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Miscellaneous / Urban Remains Chicago News and Events

Miscellaneous

  • shortly before the michael brand brewery complex was slated for demolition, i made my way over there with the hopes of documenting the few buildings left standing. after speaking with, and later earning the trust of the owner (his family's rubber works business had been there for the past several decades, if memory serves me correctly), i was allowed into the industrial complex to photograph both the interior and exterior of the modified administration building and adjacent brew house. the latter was originally equipped with settling tanks and two 100-ton linde refigerating machines with expansion piping installed by the fred w...
  • i am thrilled to have finally located and authenticated two heavily carved oak wood staircase railings salvaged from the potter palmer mansion or "castle," designed and built by architects henry ives cobb and charles sumner frost between 1883-1885. the railings were acquired by the bldg. 51 museum collection after confirming their existence "in situ" through images of the palmer mansion interior taken during the early 20th century. interior images showing staircase: [gallery ids="28203,28197,28205,28207,28198"] the historically important carved wood angled railings were salvaged from the mansion's interior staircase shortly before its demolition in 1950 (it sat vacant for several years prior to demolition). the staircase...
  • the small collection of bottles featured in this entry were recently found scattered on an interlocking pine wood floor of privy pit exposed during the excavation of a west town chicago city lot that days earlier was occupied by a wood-framed workers cottage that remained largely unaltered since being built in 1889. when the cottage was handed its death sentence, the ominous green fence was quickly erected in preparation for the arrival of the wrecking machine. the following day, the cottage was reduced to rubble and hauled away to the landfill. not all was lost, since the excavation turned up a privy...
  • i spent the greater part of my day traversing congress theater's facade scaffolding photo-documenting the largely off-white colored italian renaissance style terra cotta, anchored firmly against the structure's steel skeleton. records indicate that the terra cotta commission was awarded to the northwestern terra cotta company, chicago, ills. my mind's eye was in perpetual awe of the skillfully executed design elements packaged into each and every terra cotta panel contributing to the collection of richly ornamented assemblages found throughout the distinctive facade. i'm still actively exploring and familiarizing myself with the theater's exterior elements, but there comes a point...
  • one of the most visually striking and architecturally distinctive features within notable architect henry i. cobb's chicago athletic association building (1893) is the highly detailed, tracery-laden "drooping tip" cast plaster ceiling, comprised of interlocking gridded panels reinforced with metal mesh cones and illuminated with single incandescent "bare bulb" lights accentuating the tips. the ornamental ceiling (reconstructed in 2015) is located on the building's 8th floor, in the spacious (6400 sq. feet) dining room, which like the reading room on the 2nd floor, was finished with quartered oak wood doors, columns, paneling and three gargantuan fireplace mantles replete with intricately carved cabinet...
  • a largely intact and well-maintained 19th century lincoln park wood-frame workers cottage on was handed the death sentence on february 14th, 2017. if the cottage was built in 1864 as the custom plaque indicates (further research pending), then we are dealing with the loss of a pre-fire cottage. i will be moving my mountain of a schedule to run over there and photograph it further before its reduced to rubble. images courtesy of eric j. nordstrom and the bldg. 51 photo archive:   
  • demolition of the former "mega mall" is nearly complete, with only a single story of the buick sales building (1921) still standing. the figural terra cotta ornament adorning the two entrances will be extracted in the next few days. the former two-story buick automobile showroom (buick sales building) was designed by notable chicago architect clarence hatzfeld, and built in 1921 by charles lange, costing approximately 250,000 dollars when completed. with the exception of the two entrances, nearly all of the mottled tan colored terra cotta (fabricated by the american terra cotta company) was plucked off and discarded when the building coalesced into "mega mall...
  • i was in desperate need of a "break" from staring at a computer screen for hours on end while editing a seemingly unending folder of images from a rapp & rapp's central park theater (1917) photographic study for an upcoming post. i decided to just get in my car and drive - making my way towards the nellie a. black hospital building (1932) demolition site, where i still feel tremendous guilt for not documenting its death the way i do with so many other structures. i haven't seen anything surface thus far, so i doubt a thorough visual record was made, and that's...
  • four historically important bldg. 51 museum artifacts rescued from chicago buildings demolition or ill-sighted alteration: [caption id="attachment_27986" align="alignleft" width="3427"] extraordinarily rare and completely intact matching set of late nineteenth century ornamental cast brass electrolier sconces designed by louis h. sullivan for the c. 1894 chicago stock exchange building. the sconces were removed from the trading room and/or surrounding corridors around 1908 when the stock exchange moved out of the building. the architectural firm of frost and granger were quickly brought on board to renovate the trading room space in preparation for its new tenant, the foreman bank. sometime during the 1908...
  • i've noticed more and more cold-rolled steel or iron porcelain enameled advertising signs being dug from both commercial and residential excavation sites across chicago over the past few months. nearly all of the signs unearthed are heavily corroded with the polychromed enameled finish faded, but intact enough to identify the product or service and approximate date the sign was fabricated. the burdick enamel sign company was one of chicago's earliest sign makers that manufactured both "stock" and customized porcelain enameled signage. [caption id="attachment_27961" align="alignleft" width="1200"] period photo courtesy of john chuckman.[/caption] vitreous or "porcelain enameled" exterior building advertising signs first appeared during...

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