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Salvages / Urban Remains Chicago News and Events

Salvages

  • unfortunately, i didn't have the time to systemically document a post-fire chicago wood-framed cottage located on ohio street (west town neighborhood of chicago) until it was nearly demolished. when i arrived, the facade was left partially intact and the interlocking sills and girts where exposed. sheathing and stud cavities that survived the first wave of wrecking offered a glimpse at both the materials and methods used to build this cottage - likely between 1877-1879. during the final years of the 1870's the neighborhood contained sporadic wood-framed cottages and stables surrounded by empty lots (this would change during the building boom of the 1880's...
  • in addition to the week's acquisition of plaster frieze work from frank lloyd wright's dana-thomas house, the bldg. 51 museum has obtained numerous historically important fragments of plasterwork from adler & sullivan's garrick theater auditorium. originally named the schiller theater, the building was designed by louis sullivan and dankmar adler in 1891 at 64 west randolph street. it was intended to serve german americans, and was funded by the german opera company. at the time of construction, the schiller was one of the tallest buildings in chicago and is still widely considered one of the greatest collaborations between the two architects...
  • even as greater attention has been directed toward endangered 19th century wood-framed chicago cottages, there has been a dearth of conversation around the looming threat toward wood-framed commercial structures. a steady stream of demolition permits continues to painfully destroy the integrity of enough neighborhoods across the city to garner attention, but there are actually few commercial structures from that period still standing and those are routinely overlooked. in fact, these commercial structures often link back to the period after the great fire in 1871, and their material makeup reflects city codes put in place to enforce the use of “fireproof”...
  • i spent the greater part of my afternoon - away from shop and studio - to photodocument a largely intact post-fire )1872-1874) wood-framed workers cottage (located in old town) as it was quickly reduced to rubble in a matter of hours. the very first image, where the machine operator punched his bucket through the pair of arch top windows was undeniably painful to witness. several minutes later, the facade, with its bargeboard and bracketed cornice was gone. [caption id="attachment_29947" align="alignleft" width="1000"] an exemplary post-fire chicago wood-framed workers cottage erected shortly after the great chicago fire of 1871.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_29948" align="alignleft" width="1000"] the ominous...
  • having recently unearthed a time capsule from the cornerstone of the holy bethel church at adams and damen, my attention wandered to other cornerstones in the bldg. 51 collection, and in particular, the fragment of the cornerstone pictured on the cover of the building 51 catalog (published just last year). this fragment, on the face of the first bldg. 51 press publication, wasn't the site of a time capsule, but rather an artifact that encapsulates the incredibly complicated and terribly stressful experience of a seemingly endless salvage, a scant keepsake from the 1.6 million square feet of michael reese hospital, demolished...
  • this post concerns an entire city block, containing a collection of historically significant post-fire "athens marble" italianate style rowhouses. each has witnessed fires, neglect, utter abandonment, and demolition since the houses were completed in 1874. in these rather depressing "ruins," i could only catch a glimpse of the street's former self.         the present day block is pocked with vacant lots that have succumbed to nature, as well as newly built "award-winning" houses whose distasteful stylistic elements are completely out of context, lacking any sense of unity or cohesion with its neighboring historic structures. still, i must admit the rowhouses are somewhat disfigured...
  • an excavation site just west of the m. schultz company piano factory and showroom (erected in 1889) yielded several artifacts spanning several decades. the earliest identifiable object was a small dark amber glass fragment with an embossed letter that once belonged to a quart-sized william h. hutchinson ale bottle hand-blown by the william mccully company (pittsburgh, pa.) sometime during the 1860's. [caption id="attachment_29890" align="alignleft" width="1500"] the earliest unearthed objects date to the 1860's when the area was populated with one and two-story wood-frame cottages. the w.h. hutchinson bottles and fragments likely came from backyard privy pits that were disturbed when commercial...
  • the following photographic images (taken over a course of three months) provide a highly detailed visual record of the two matching fully functional extant interior congress theater lobby cast brass and wrought ornamental chandeliers. remarkably, the gargantuan "electric candle" ceiling fixtures with dual-colored art cathedral glass globes and wheel-cut yellow "flash" glass haven't been altered since the time of installation in august of 1926. the chandeliers, along with other theater "fittings" (e.g., wall sconces, exit light "cans," and some pendants were likely fabricated by victor pearlman & company, chicago, ills., based on preliminary research and identification of metal casting markings. victor e. pearlman...
  • the chicago balloon frame: beyond "boards and nails." over the past three years, i've collected a considerable amount of photographic images and historic building materials housed in storage facility in preparation for my "deconstructing chicago" project, which aims to address an increasing number anomalies in construction methods and materials seen in wood-frame cottages erected across chicago neighborhoods during the nineteenth century. fleshing out a complete and accurate picture on this topic is complicated by deciphering variables like the availability of various raw building materials over a century ago, and accounting for the hybridization of construction methods in an "old meets new" scenario...
  •     long after the hodgepodge of 19th and 20th century buildings forming the ace hardware on ashland were demolished last year, excavation work finally began. multiple machines dug deep below grade in preparation for the foundation work of a new development, and just a few days later i was summoned to the site when a machine operator stumbled upon a massive pile of antique bottles, including an unusual number of "pictorial" hutchinson bottles featuring deeply embossed animals (e.g., lions, bears, wolves), dating to the turn of the century. [caption id="attachment_29311" align="alignleft" width="1377"] image courtesy of hutchbook.com.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_29310" align="alignleft" width="1404"] image courtesy of hutchbook.com.[/caption] the stretch...

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