An ice palace crumbles

Is anyone else out there feeling a pang of sadness over the Bridgeport warehouse at 37th and Ashland going up in a fiery blaze and  soon to be demolished?

It is certainly the most beautiful ice palace, well the only ice palace, I have ever seen in my life.

Who knew what unbelievable beauty fire and ice could create?

The shapes and definition molded by all that water fighting against a raging inferno  is something really powerful.

It's a vision of what beauty can come from tragedy and a good strong battle! You could say the some 200 firefighters were like the artists, sculptures creating a one-of-a-kind masterpiece, even if it's only temporary.

Now crews will begin to demolish this 100-year-old beautiful structure because it is dangerous. Understandable.

The Harris Marcus Group Building, was once a lamp manufacturer that employed hundreds, according to
The once-majestic building is located in the heart of the historic Central Manufacturing District, the first planned industrial district in America, according to

I also read that the most recent owner of this building is sitting in a federal prison convicted of bribing a city alderman.

According to news reports the abandoned warehouse  was likely accidentally set ablaze by homeless people lighting fires to stay warm during what has been the coldest temps of the season.

But there was a time, before it was abandoned, the building, was more than just bricks and mortar, it employed people. It supported families. It was a place where a man and woman could go and put in a good, honest days work, receive a paycheck, earn health insurance, and support their families.

I wrote a story recently for the Chicago Tribune about the loss this state has had in manufacturing companies leaving for other states and countries where it is less expensive to operate. I wrote about how there are abandoned warehouses and factories dotting the Illinois landscape.

Those abandoned buildings to me represent lives in shambles. The people are still here, but the jobs are gone.

Those empty structures, some rather large like The Harris Marcus Group Building, reminds me that there are people who lost their jobs, at no fault of their own, because the manufacturers shut down and fled. That means there are men and women who no longer had a place to go to work a good, honest days job, so they can support their families.

And this beautiful building, now an ice palace, home to squatters trying to keep safe and warm, soon to be a very large vacant city lot, is just another example of great loss to our beautiful city.

I find this very sad. Perhaps if manufacturers could afford to stay open, those squatters would be employees, and not homeless people huddled in an abandoned 100-year-old building trying to keep warm.

Officials are now trying to determine the source of the fire, it's likely it was accidentally set by the "squatters" as they keep saying. Put the blame somewhere else please. And let's not forget those "squatters" are human beings with hearts, souls, feelings, they just have no where to go.

I put the blame on who ever it is making it impossible for an American city to keep its companies open for business. I blame the big decision makers for running out the very type of  work that built this city and this country.

And this is why this fire brings a pang of sadness to my heart. It's a reminder of lost hope and shattered dreams and people giving up on our city.

Anyone else?

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Until next time love each other.....











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