Sunday, May 17, 2009
Great Chicago Places and Spaces took place yesterday. While the overall program was shortened (one day rather than two, 100 presentations instead of more than 200) it was very well attended. All three of my presentations sold out. It was beautiful weather, albeit a bit windy at times.
Secret Streets of Chicago’s Loop was able to get up close to the ghost sign on court place in back of the Cadillac Palace Theatre that advertised the lounge inside the former Bismarck Hotel. Speaking of ghosts, no one reported capturing any mysterious orbs on photograhs they took on Couch Place, in back of the Ford Theatre. We even had a good look at what was Pickwick Place, now addressed as 22 E. Jackson Boulevard.
The Great Train Stations of Clinton Street was back after a year’s hiatus; fortunately, Johnny Depp’s filming of “Public Enemies” was not. That production reaked havoc on last year’s Union Station presentation, as the entire station – Great Hall, Concourse and platforms – was closed at the last minute for filming. This year, everything was open. Amtrak, the Union Pacific Railroad and the Chicago Transit Authority were all very helpful, it all came off well. We even had a presentation from Mason Pritchett of Casimir Kujawa Architect, Mason being part of the design team that won an Honorable Mention in the Chicago Architectural Club’s design competition to integrate high speed rail into Union Station. Caz – who was one of my interns years ago – couldn’t make the presentation and Mason was an excellent stand in. A college chum in town from California for a conference in Chicago who took this tour noted that an intern of an intern of mine made the presentation.
This presentation of Just a Bit of Chicago’s Transit Archaeology was a walking tour adaptation of a trolly bus presentation I made last year. There are many bits’n’pieces of transit archaeology all over Chicago. The trolley ride between the sites was a bit much of dead air, so a walking tour od a portion of that presenattion was tried this year.
I trust that Great Chicago Places and Spaces will continue on next year. Am hoping that some of the really classic tour presentations, like “Inside a Bridgehouse” or the rendition of “Rooftop Real Estate” that saw the entire group taken up to the roof of the Sears Tower may be back.