Thursday, November 5, 2015

My kind of town

Stanley - Thursday

Happy Guy Fawkes Day!

Due to the unfortunate closure of Mystery One bookstore in Milwaukee, we had a free day yesterday.  We enjoyed amazing weather in Chicago - 70 degrees (20 C) and sunny.  At the beginning of November?  Gadzooks.

So we took the opportunity to enjoy a cruise on the Chicago River and associated waterways narrated by a docent from the Architects Guild, or whatever it is called.  The idea of the trip was to learn about Chicago's magnificent architecture.

When I was at the university of Illinois Urbana Champaign in the 1970s and early 80s, I visited Chicago every other week, to play squash, to visit friends, or to go to one of the many museums.  I always thought it was a wonderful city.

Today's trip reinforced that opinion.  The city has seen many spectacular new buildings soar over the past twenty years, and a boat trip is the best way to see it all.

So here are some photos from the trip.  If you haven't visited Chicago before, you should really try to do so.  It is magnificent.

After the tragic fire of October, 1871, the city fathers decided to rebuild the city in an organised way.  In addition, they wanted it to be Paris on the prairie.  Hence so many buildings that have a Parisian feel.  Since then, architects from around the world have graced the city with gorgeous buildings.

The Trump Tower (90 stories) towers over the Wrigley Building

One of the many bridges across the Chicago River, which now runs out of Lake Michigan.  It used to run into it, but its direction was purposely reversed so that all the revolting things that were thrown into it didn't land up in the lake from which the drinking water was drawn.  The water now runs along miles of canals eventually going into the Mississippi, which means that St. Louis gets all of Chicago's polluted water!

Marina City with two towers built to look like corn cobs.  The first building in the country to be built with tower cranes.  65 stories high..

One of my favourite buildings anywhere - 333 West Wacker Drive

Art Deco windows

The Montgomery Ward distribution centre.  Employees used roller skates to move around because it was so big.

High-rise residential

Built with a small footprint for two reasons: to avoid the railway lines, and to provide some park space underneath.

The Lyric Opera House

Low rent district 1

Low rent district 2
What was called the Sears Tower (the black building).  Now the Willis Tower.  Once the tallest building in the world.

Willis Tower again

The 'L' - the elevated metro system.

The gorgeous Merchandise Mart - now called the Mart.

Chicago Tribune building with the Wrigley Building on the left

The amazing Lake Point Towers (on the right) - built in violation of code.  The old Chicago practice of apologising afterwards!

Trump Tower next to the Wrigley Building

The amazing Millennium Bean - the reflections are stunning

That's me taking the photo of the reflection of me and Michael

Reflections 1

Reflections 2

Reflections 3

Walking through the bean

Chicago from Millennium Park


  1. Thanks for the tour, Stan! For a big city, it ain't bad... :-)

  2. I thank you, too, Stan. I love Chicago's architecture. It's been far too long since I have been there. One wish of mine is to see an opera in that theater.

  3. As you know, Stan, I'm going to be in Chicago and Minneapolis the first few days of December. Your post might just have just convinced Barbara to accompany me!