Chicago Loop

20 November 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: 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.   read more…

Chicago on Lake Michigan

23 September 2019 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General

Chicago River ferries offer sightseeing tours and water-taxi transportation © flickr.com - John Picken/cc-by-2.0

Chicago River ferries offer sightseeing tours and water-taxi transportation © flickr.com – John Picken/cc-by-2.0

Chicago, officially the City of Chicago, is the most populous city in Illinois, as well as the third most populous city in the United States. With an estimated population of 2,705,994, it is the most populous city in the Midwest. Chicago is the principal city of the Chicago metropolitan area, often referred to as Chicagoland, and the county seat of Cook County, the second most populous county in the United States. The metropolitan area, at nearly 10 million people, is the third-largest in the United States.   read more…

Oak Park in Illinois

28 November 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General

Lake Street © Dennisyerger84/cc-by-sa-4.0

Lake Street © Dennisyerger84/cc-by-sa-4.0

Oak Park is a village adjacent to the West Side of Chicago. It is the 29th largest municipality in Illinois. The village has a population of 52,000. Oak Park was settled beginning in the 1830s, with rapid growth later in the 19th century and early 20th century. It incorporated in 1902, breaking off from Cicero. Development was spurred by railroads and street cars connecting the village to jobs in Chicago. Architect Frank Lloyd Wright and his wife settled here in 1889. Population peaked at 66,015 in 1940. Smaller families led to falling population in the same number of homes and apartments. In the 1960s, Oak Park faced the challenge of racial integration, devising many strategies to integrate rather than re-segregate the village. Oak Park includes three historic districts for the historic homes: Ridgeland, Frank Lloyd Wright and Seward Gunderson, reflecting the focus on historic preservation.   read more…

Grant Park in Chicago

27 July 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks

Spirit of Music Garden © Alanscottwalker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Spirit of Music Garden © Alanscottwalker/cc-by-sa-3.0

Grant Park is a large urban park (319 acres or 1.29 km²) in the Loop community area of Chicago. Located in Chicago’s central business district, the park’s most notable features are Millennium Park, Buckingham Fountain, the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum Campus. Originally known as Lake Park, and dating from the city’s founding, it was renamed in 1901 to honor Ulysses S. Grant.   read more…

The Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago

22 September 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions

Field Museum on Lake Michigan © Fritz Geller-Grimm/cc-by-sa-2.5

Field Museum on Lake Michigan © Fritz Geller-Grimm/cc-by-sa-2.5

The Field Museum of Natural History, also known as The Field Museum, is a natural history museum in Chicago, and is one of the largest such museums in the world. The museum maintains its status as a premier natural history museum through the size and quality of its educational and scientific programs, as well as due to its extensive scientific specimen and artifact collections. The diverse, high quality permanent exhibitions, which attract up to two million visitors annually, range from the earliest fossils to past and current cultures from around the world to interactive programming demonstrating today’s urgent conservation needs. Additionally, the Field Museum maintains a temporary exhibition program of traveling shows as well as in-house produced topical exhibitions. The professional staff maintains collections of over 24 million specimens and objects that provide the basis for the museum’s scientific research programs. These collections include the full range of existing biodiversity, gems, meteorites, fossils, as well as rich anthropological collections and cultural artifacts from around the globe. The Field Museum Library, which contains over 275,000 books, journals, and photo archives focused on biological systematics, evolutionary biology, geology, archaeology, ethnology and material culture, supports the Field Museum’s academic research faculty and exhibit development. The Field Museum academic faculty and scientific staff engage in field expeditions, in biodiversity and cultural research on all continents, in local and foreign student training, in stewardship of the rich specimen and artifact collections, and work in close collaboration with public programming exhibitions and education initiatives.   read more…

Willis Tower in Chicago

12 May 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General

© Potro/cc-by-sa-4.0

© Potro/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Willis Tower, built as and still commonly referred to as Sears Tower, is a 108-story, 1,450-foot (442.1 m) skyscraper in Chicago. At completion in 1973, it surpassed the World Trade Center towers in New York to become the tallest building in the world, a title it held for nearly 25 years. The Willis Tower is the second-tallest building in the United States and the 14th-tallest in the world. More than one million people visit its observation deck each year, making it one of Chicago’s most popular tourist destinations. The structure was renamed in 2009 by the Willis Group as part of its lease on a portion of the tower’s space. The building’s official address is 233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60606. In 1969, Sears, Roebuck & Co. was the largest retailer in the world, with about 350,000 employees. Sears executives decided to consolidate the thousands of employees in offices distributed throughout the Chicago area into one building on the western edge of Chicago’s Loop. Sears asked its outside counsel, Arnstein, Gluck, Weitzenfeld & Minow (now known as Arnstein & Lehr, LLP) to suggest a location. The firm consulted with local and federal authorities and the applicable law, then offered Sears two options: an area known as Goose Island and a two-block area bounded by Franklin Street on the east, Jackson Boulevard on the south, Wacker Drive on the west and Adams Street on the north, with Quincy Street running through the middle from east to west. Sears, which needed 3,000,000 square feet (280,000 m2) of office space for its planned consolidation and predicted that growth would require yet more, commissioned architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) to produce a structure to be one of the largest office buildings in the world. Their team of architect Bruce Graham and structural engineer Fazlur Rahman Khan designed the building as nine square “tubes” (each essentially a separate building), clustered in a 3×3 matrix forming a square base with 225-foot (69 m) sides. All nine tubes would rise up to the 50th floor of the building. At the 50th floor, the northwest and southeast tubes end, and the remaining seven continue up. At the 66th floor, the northeast and the southwest tubes end. At the 90th floor, the north, east, and south tubes end. The remaining west and center tubes continue up to the 108th floor. Black bands appear on the tower around the 29th–32nd, 64th–65th, 88th–89th, and 104th–108th floors. These are louvres that allow ventilation for service equipment and obscure the structure’s belt trusses. Even though regulations did not require a fire sprinkler system, the building was equipped with one from the beginning. There are around 40,000 sprinkler heads in the building, installed at a cost of $4 million.   read more…

Chicago Board of Trade Building

3 April 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Architecture, General

© Antoine Taveneaux/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Antoine Taveneaux/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Chicago Board of Trade Building is a skyscraper located in Chicago. It stands at 141 W. Jackson Boulevard at the foot of the LaSalle Street canyon, in the Loop community area in Cook County. Built in 1930 and first designated a Chicago Landmark on May 4, 1977, the building was listed as a National Historic Landmark on June 2, 1978. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places on June 16, 1978. Originally built for the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT), it is now the primary trading venue for the derivatives exchange, the CME Group, formed in 2007 by the merger of the CBOT and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. In 2012, the CME Group sold the CBOT Building to a consortium of real estate investors, including GlenStar Properties LLC and USAA Real Estate Company. The 141 W. Jackson address hosted the former tallest building in Chicago designed by William W. Boyington before the current Holabird & Root structure, which held the same title for over 35 years until being surpassed in 1965 by the Richard J. Daley Center. The current structure is known for its art deco architecture, sculptures and large-scale stone carving, as well as large trading floors. An aluminum, three-story art deco statue of Ceres, goddess of agriculture (particularly grain), caps the building. The building is a popular sightseeing attraction and location for shooting movies, and its owners and management have won awards for efforts to preserve the building and for office management. Interest groups such as the Chicago Architecture Foundation provide scheduled tours showcasing the architecture and selected portions of the trading operations.   read more…

Portrait: James Lewis Kraft, founder of the world’s third largest food company

25 January 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: Portrait

James Lewis Kraft © culturecheesemag.com - Echtner

James Lewis Kraft © culturecheesemag.com – Echtner

James Lewis Kraft was a Canadian-American entrepreneur and inventor. Kraft was the first to patent processed cheese. Kraft was born near Stevensville, Ontario, Canada to parents Minerva Alice née Tripp and George Franklin Krafft, a farmer. He was of German origin. The Kraft family farm (at Bowen Road at Winger Road) still exists as the area has remained agricultural. Kraft was educated in the Stevensville area (S.S. No. 9) and worked nearby at Ferguson’s General store in Fort Erie, Ontario from 1901 to 1902.   read more…

Route 66: The longest village in America

8 May 2013 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Museums, Exhibitions

U.S. Route 66 © SPUI

U.S. Route 66 © SPUI

U.S. Route 66 (US 66 or Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway and colloquially known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was a highway within the U.S. Highway System. One of the original U.S. Highways, Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926 – with road signs erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Los Angeles, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both a hit song and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s.   read more…

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