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Salvages / Urban Remains Chicago News and Events

Salvages

  • 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...
  • 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'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...
  • in preparation for publishing "unearthing chicago," i've pulled some images capturing 19th and early 20th century bottles at excavation sites around chicago. shortly after being discovered, these remnants of victorian-era rubbish were carefully exposed by removing surrounding dirt and debris to reveal a little more of their identity. even when cleaned the artifacts retain the imprint of their resting position, having been deposited in the ground for over a century. in reviewing the images i am utterly consumed, trying to recreate the circumstances that lead to the object being discarded. it's as if the 19th century emerges with each...
  • http://wgntv.com/2017/02/08/urban-archeologist-rescues-chicago-history-from-the-wrecking-ball/
  • chicago's demolition delay hold list for 2017 has its first target - a stunning "foursquare" style 1905 roman brick and carved stone mansion designed by frederick wainwright perkins. it has been home to the serbian american museum since 1952. the permit for its demolition was secured on january 23, 2017. after quickly reviewing google maps to catch a glance at the facade, i made time yesterday afternoon to visit the house and create a visual record of it with my camera. the roman style brick exterior is bedecked with a great deal of ornament, including the centrally located dormer with original double-sash window...
  • the bldg. 51 museum of fragments from chicago's past continues to acquires historically important artifacts from the non-extant granada theater, once a grand movie palace constructed for the marks brothers in 1926 with levy and klein as architects. the newly added plaster fragments, cove lighting fresnel lenses and unused tickets not only bolster the the museum's collection, but enhances the historical narrative of the theater from the time it was built to the day it was taken down by wreckers. with guidance from the incredibly resourceful historic american building survey (habs) website, which contains a vast deposit several photographic images, i've...

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