1920s

The gloomy grandeur of the Pittsfield Building

Interior hallway of Chicago's Pittsfield Building, © 2013 Celia Her City

After my visit to Toni Patisserie, I wandered into the Pittsfield Building, a sort of museum piece when it comes to architectural glory.  Built in the 1920s, before the Great Depression, the Pittsfield is an instance of retail magnate Marshall Field’s broad and enduring impact on Chicago. More

The Old Clark-Adams

The Clark-Adams Building, Chicago © 2013 Celia Her City

The Clark-Adams is an old, somewhat down-at-the-heels skyscraper surrounded on all sides by more famous buildings.  On one side is the Rookery, on the other the gloriously ornate Continental Bank Building.  The modernist Post Office by Mies van der Rohe is across the way.

But the Clark-Adams is very much worth looking at, channeling the retro flair of an era when Neoclassicism was about to give way to Art Deco and thence to a more stripped-down, efficiency-oriented style of building.  This is the sort of place where Clark Kent might work.  Inside, is there an office little changed from that era?  At some windows are old-fashioned roller shades and venetian blinds, and double-hung sashes that still open and close.

A hotel some call home

A hotel some call home

Dining at Mon Ami Gabi is a happy excuse to pass through the Belden-Stratford lobby.  This grand old apartment hotel, built in the Beaux-Arts style, is situated on Lincoln Park West, right near the zoo and conservatory, and gives onto the glorious gardens that distinguish this street.  Stars like Louis Armstrong and Gloria Swanson used to stay at this hotel back in the day.

The thing is, the Belden-Stratford still is a residential hotel.  Yes, it’s full of apartments (like the kind Nick and Nora Charles occupy in The Thin Man) that people rent.  I once dated a guy who was born in this building; his parents lived here for many decades.  In this age of condos, only a few fancy apartment buildings still operate on this basis, but the few that I know of are real gems like this.