Chicago Loop

Friday, 20 November 2020 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

© unsplash.com - frank mckenna

© unsplash.com – frank mckenna

The Loop, one of Chicago‘s 77 designated community areas, is the central business district of the city and is the main section of Downtown Chicago. Home to Chicago’s commercial core, it is the second largest commercial business district in North America and contains the headquarters and regional offices of several global and national businesses, retail establishments, restaurants, hotels, and theaters, as well as many of Chicago’s most famous attractions. It is home to Chicago’s City Hall, the seat of Cook County, and numerous offices of other levels of government and consulates of foreign nations. In it at the intersection of State Street and Madison Street is the origin of Chicago’s street grid addresses, established in 1909. Most of Grant Park‘s 319 acres (1.29 km²) are in the eastern section of the community area. The Loop community area is bounded on the north and west by the Chicago River, on the east by Lake Michigan, and on the south by Roosevelt Road, although the commercial core has greatly expanded into adjacent community areas.

The United States Army erected Fort Dearborn in 1803 in what is now the Loop, the first settlement in the area sponsored by the United States’ federal government. When Chicago and Cook County were incorporated in the 1830s the area was selected as the site of their respective seats. Originally mixed, the character of the area became commercial starting in the 1870s, especially after it was mostly destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. At that time some of the world’s earliest skyscrapers were constructed in the area, starting a legacy of architecture in the area that continues to this day. In the late 19th century cable car turnarounds and a prominent elevated railway loop encircled the area, giving the Loop its name. Starting in the 1920s many highways were constructed in the Loop, most prominently U.S. Route 66, which opened in 1926 with its eastern terminus in the area. While dominated by offices and public buildings, its residential population boomed during the latter 20th century and first decades of the 21st; its population has increased the most of Chicago’s community areas since 1950.

The area has long been a hub for architecture. The vast majority of the area was destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 but rebuilt quickly. In 1885 the Home Insurance Building, generally considered the world’s first skyscraper, was constructed, followed by the development of the Chicago school best exemplified by such buildings as the Rookery Building in 1888, the Monadnock Building in 1891, and the Sullivan Center in 1899.

Loop architecture has been dominated by skyscrapers and high-rises since early in its history. Notable buildings include the Home Insurance Building, considered the world’s first skyscraper (demolished in 1931); the Chicago Board of Trade Building, a National Historic Landmark; and Willis Tower, the world’s tallest building for nearly 25 years. Some of the historic buildings in this district were instrumental in the development of towers.

This area abounds in shopping opportunities, including the Loop Retail Historic District, although it competes with the more upscale Magnificent Mile area to the north. It includes Chicago’s former Marshall Field’s department store location in the Marshall Field and Company Building; the original Sullivan Center Carson Pirie Scott store location (closed February 21, 2007). Chicago’s Downtown Theatre District is also found within this area, along with numerous restaurants and hotels.

© Douglas Rahden © unsplash.com - frank mckenna © unsplash.com - Kevin Rajaram Chicago River line the south border of_ he Near North Side and Streeterville and the north border of Chicago Loop, Lakeshore East and Illinois Center © flickr.com - mindfrieze/cc-by-sa-2.0 Chicago Loop from Lake Michigan © J. Crocker Buckingham Fountain © Shoffman11 © flickr.com - James Willamor/cc-by-sa-2.0 © Jesse Collins/cc-by-3.0
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Chicago River line the south border of_ he Near North Side and Streeterville and the north border of Chicago Loop, Lakeshore East and Illinois Center © flickr.com - mindfrieze/cc-by-sa-2.0

Chicago has a famous skyline which features many of the tallest buildings in the world as well as the Chicago Landmark Historic Michigan Boulevard District. Chicago’s skyline is spaced out throughout the downtown area. The Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, the second tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, stands in the western Loop in the heart of the city’s financial district, along with other buildings, such as 311 South Wacker Drive and the AT&T Corporate Center.

Chicago’s third tallest building, the Aon Center, is located just south of Illinois Center. The complex is at the east end of the Loop, east of Michigan Avenue. Two Prudential Plaza is also located here, just to the west of the Aon Center.

The Loop contains a wealth of outdoor sculpture, including works by Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró, Henry Moore, Marc Chagall, Magdalena Abakanowicz, Alexander Calder, and Jean Dubuffet. Chicago’s cultural heavyweights, such as the Art Institute of Chicago, the Goodman Theatre, the Chicago Theatre, the Lyric Opera at the Civic Opera House building, and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, are also in this area, as is the historic Palmer House Hilton hotel, found on East Monroe Street.

Chicago’s waterfront, which is almost exclusively recreational beach and park areas from north to south, features Grant Park in the downtown area. Grant Park is the home of Buckingham Fountain, the Petrillo Music Shell, the Grant Park Symphony (where free concerts can be enjoyed throughout the summer), and Chicago’s annual two-week food festival, the Taste of Chicago, where more than 3 million people try foods from over 70 vendors. The area also hosts the annual music festival Lollapalooza which features popular alternative rock, heavy metal, EDM, hip hop and punk rock artists. Millennium Park, which is a section of Grant Park, opened in the summer of 2004 and features Frank Gehry‘s Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Jaume Plensa‘s Crown Fountain, and Anish Kapoor‘s Cloud Gate sculpture along Lake Michigan.

The Chicago River and its accompanying Chicago Riverwalk, which delineates the area, also provides entertainment and recreational opportunities, including the annual dyeing of the river green in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. Trips down the Chicago River, including architectural tours, by commercial boat operators are great favorites with both locals and tourists alike.

Read more on Wikipedia Chicago Loop (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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