Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Day 154 Chicago Architecture tours/river, walking & theater

River walk in Chicago
Last year I ventured to Chicago for the first time and experienced all things Chicago (see Days 84, 85, 86 and 87).  This year’s visit was all things architectural. We took a walking tour  with the  Chicago Architectural Foundation , a river tour with Sight Seeing Tours, and a back stage tour of the iconic Chicago Theater. You rarely think about a building’s history when you walk to get  from one place to another. An architectural tour brings the stories  of a city to life and  you see beautiful works of art  that you might never have noticed in the absence of a tour.  Architecture is the standing history of the past life of a city and just like  the house tours of  Day 154, these tours give you a sense of  life’s brevity.

First skyscraper-Marquette Building was only 17 floors
The walking tour from the Chicago Architectural Foundation was on the history of the city’s skyscrapers. I had no idea that this city was one of the first to develop them following the devastation of the famous Chicago fire of 1871. Many architects  flocked to Chicago to rebuild the city. They replaced the old  wood building frames with the newest steel frame in their quest for sturdier ways to build. Thus, the skyscraper was born.
Tiffany mosaics and sculptures in lobby of Marquette
The 17 floored Marquette building  was the first skyscraper and housed beautiful Tiffany mosaics. In the 1800’s most people were afraid of the building height,  so the architects  marked the top of the building with ornate rows of bricks.  
Art Deco style, Marshalls Fields Building
In 1932, King Tut’s Tomb was discovered starting the  Art Deco movement which lasted until the 1950’s.  The Marshall Field Building was a perfect example of this style.
View from the river tour
The skyline is impressive from the river. The river tours highlighted how the city continues to develop the waterfront properties.  Every inch of the land is being developed and there are plans for bigger and taller skyscrapers!
Lobby of Chicago Theater
The Chicago Theater built in 1921, was an extravagant  French Baroque style movie picture place until 1940’s. It fell into disrepair in the late 70’s/80's. As the story  goes,  no one watched moves in the floor seats during that time because of the mice and mouse traps.
The building  is seven(7) stories tall and takes up  half a  city block. The  five (5) story lobby boast of  its murals, signature windows and an opulent chandler.  It still has its original pipe organ and I enjoyed the love story between the famous organist and his mistress turned wife, both musical virtuosos in their day. 
Pipe Organ at Chicago Theater
It is a unique experience of new and old when you hear a current band in this beautiful  theater with carvings and murals surrounding the stage.  If the walls could talk they would tell the stories of the   artists  that have preformed. You can just imagine it when you see all the signatures that line back stage walls during the tour.  

Find a house or architectural tour and enjoy the stories of the past that have survived time.  
Death Cab for Cutie at the Chicago Theater

Spiritual Reflection
Teach us to realize the brevity of life,
So we may grow in wisdom (Psalm 90:12)
Back stage walls of theater
Other sources
 Chicago Architecture Foundation
Chicago Theater tour