history

‘We resolved to winter there’

"We resolved to winter there"I am waiting at the bus stop on the way to the dentist.  I am directly opposite the old Marquette Building, with its amazing brickwork (if can you call it that when all the bricks are unique to the building itself) and its distinguished old bronze story-boards, with their glorious patina of greenish-grey. More

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

‘I should not be’

The octophant, © 2013 Celia Her City

You think you know Grant Park, and then. . . .

I was leaving the park the other day when I noticed this amazing sign, positioned atop the Art Nouveau-style entrance to the Metra train station at Van Buren.  Has it been there forever?  Perhaps my readers can say. . . .

The Octophant, proclaimed here as “real and alive,” was ostensibly an “exhibition of the impossible” at the Century of Progress, a World’s Fair held in Chicago in 1933.

The sad melange of the animal form, coupled with the 3-D exuberance of the sign, produced a powerful effect on me.  I felt as though to descend into the Metra would be a venture into the surreal, a venture best undertaken by those far more stalwart and steady than I.

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Dewes House tree

Blossoming tree in front of the Francis J Dewes Mansion, Chicago © 2013 Celia Her City

Last time I walked by, the tree in front of the Dewes House was blooming, framing the caryatids.   A swell address, originally built for a German brewer, it exudes baroque style, inside and out.

I’m glad these historical old mansions survive, but this one, however beautiful, stirs desolation in me.  It needs a Kickstarter project to bring it new life–a period drama should be filmed inside it, concerning the original immigrant brewer (41 years of age when he popped for this place) and his family.  I can almost see his restless daughters peering out at me!

Finding ways to live with vestiges of the past can be challenging.  This house was put up for sale in January for $12.5 million, I believe.  Even real-estate groupies admit that as a habitation it might be too much like living in a museum.

Grant against the Gray

Grant is gray, © 2013 Celia Her City

The Grant equestrian sculpture in Lincoln Park is one of my favorites.  I take a picture of it whenever I can.  On this day, Grant and his horse were engulfed in gray, which, being the color of the Confederate uniform, was probably not the happiest circumstance.  But apt.

The setting and grand stone base help make this sculpture, formally titled Grant Rides Again.  The work of an Italian-born artist named Louis T. Rebisso, it was unveiled on October 4, 1891, to a crowd of some 200,000 people, an immediate and enduring success.

Grant was famous for his love of horses.  His favorite horse during the Civil War was Cincinnati.  (He also rode a pony by the name of Jeff Davis.)  I tried to find out whether the horse shown here is Cincinnati, but I couldn’t.  Anyone happen to know for certain?

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At the window

The upper floors of Chicago's Fisher Building (© Celia Her City)

The sun strikes the top of the Fisher Building and the flat modern facade of the CNA.  The light strikes the city, whose landmarks are the creations of different ages and mentalities, the works of egotists and humble builders unknown.  We live among these warring monuments, counting the years of their lives, wondering, perhaps, which is greatest and the dearest, and why.  Myriad sights like this one flow in through our eyes, pulling crosswise at our affections and allegiances.  We live with their deeds.

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