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Henry Crown Gallery

The skylit Henry Crown Gallery at the top of the great central stairs at the Art Institute of Chicago is an architectural mausoleum, filled with relics of buildings gone to early graves. Here is a broken column and a chunk of mosaic floor, fragments from Adler & Sullivan’s demolished Garrick Theatre, there the disembodied head […]

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The Atwood Stairs at Field’s

With the announcement that Marshall Field’s is up for sale it looks like the Target Corporation’s decade-long program of tweaking and polishing the State Street flagship store has come to an end. Physically, the store looks great, and it’s ironic that the most recent project–and what is now probably the final one–revealed a treasure, unseen […]

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Meyercord Company Building

When Abel Faidy and Julius Floto designed the Meyercord Company building at 5323 W. Lake in the late 30s, the Swiss-born Faidy already had a reputation for creativity and originality in furniture and interior design. Tall glass-block windows, rounded corners, and a central bay of glass bricks stretching three stories from sidewalk to roof give […]

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303 W. Eugene

In 1886 a little-known architect was hired by an undertaker’s family to design a Queen Anne-style residence at 303 W. Eugenie. Adam Boos, according to the Real Estate and Building Journal of May 15 that year, would be constructing the three-story building out of brick and stone. The work was commissioned for the family of […]

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3202 W. Ogden

Ornate reliefs of angels and lions adorn the redbrick facade of the apostolic church at the northwest corner of Ogden and Kedzie, the tallest and most ornamented building in the vicinity. Vestiges of the building’s past also greet worshipers on their way in: over the front entrance are the words Douglas Park Auditorium, and an […]

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Sites Unseen

Although he never invites them inside, Baki Dazdarevic enjoys the steady stream of visitors who come to get a look at his front yard. They come day and night, he says, “sometimes 10, 11 o’clock in the evening. Two ladies, they visited from Arizona and wrote to ask me for pictures of the house. Another […]

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Motor Row

With its plain cream brick facade and run-down interior visible through a large display window, the Ford Motor Company showroom at 1444 S. Michigan doesn’t look like a landmark. But the utilitarian building has a revolutionary past–legend has it that while Henry Ford was here in 1905 to oversee the construction of his first showroom […]

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Ritz Garage

Prowling motorists are nothing new to the Hyde Park area, which has been short of parking practically since the dawn of the automobile. One early solution appeared in 1929 at the busy corner of 55th Street and Lake Park Avenue, where architect M. Louis Kroman designed and built a splendid high-rise parking facility that he […]

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Brundage Building

At the corner where Lincoln and Marshfield meet School Street stands a triangular building with an identity crisis. On its Lincoln side, cracked letters spell out “Brundage Building” atop the main entryway. On its Marshfield side, the words “McKinley Building” are painted on a window in gold outlined with black. And at its street-corner point […]

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The Jackson-Thomas House

A brass-plated post stands on the grassy parkway at the northeast corner of Ridge and Greenleaf in Rogers Park. Taller than a fire hydrant and topped with a 1983 commemoration from the Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks, the stela marks a lovely white house with a mansard roof, a classical front porch, and […]

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The Marx Brothers House

Look down practically any block in the city and you’ll see at least one example of the typical Chicago three-flat. A gray stone facade, modestly embellished, fronts a solid red-brick structure with no yard to speak of, though the owners may have squeezed in some landscaping. Outside the dignified old house at 4512 S. King […]

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Film Exchanges

Tour Chicago’s old film district on Wabash and Michigan avenues around 13th Street and you won’t get chased by Indiana Jones’s boulder or attacked by a giant mechanical shark. Instead you’ll see some history in a cluster of small buildings built by the major Hollywood studios in the 20s, 30s, and 40s to handle film […]

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Hotel LaSalle Public Garage

The city that pioneered high-rises also pioneered the high-rise parking garage. We had to. When Chicagoans figured out they could drive to those downtown skyscrapers where they worked, street parking stopped traffic cold. James W. Stevens, part-owner of the now departed Hotel LaSalle, figured out a solution: the five-story Hotel LaSalle Public Garage, 215 W. […]

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Myron Bachman House

Architect Bruce Goff said he threw out all preconceived notions of what a building should be when he started a project. The Myron Bachman house, at 1244 W. Carmen, proves his point. This was a typical 1890-vintage two-story wood house before Goff remodeled it in 1947 into a combined family residence and recording studio. Goff […]