Category: Chicago

Chicago’s “most common” contribution to architecture deserves a tour

In the dozen or so years I’ve been a Chicago Greeter, my tours have stayed near the lakefront — the Loop, the South Loop, Prairie Avenue, Andersonville, Argyle Street, Graceland Cemetery, Lincoln Park Zoo. It’s familiar territory, since I’ve lived within walking distance of the lake for nearly 30 years and rarely venture west of... Read more »

Chatting with a locked-down parent

Many of us likely make lists before important conversations. As a journalist, I would jot down points before interviewing someone to make sure everything important would be covered. But a list to talk to your mother? My mother has been in coronavirus lockdown in an assisted living residence for 11 weeks. No visitors, no leaving... Read more »

Good time to add to Chicago knowledge

Adding to my Chicago knowledge has been a fun diversion during isolation and a useful activity for a Chicago Greeter. I wish I’d taken notes while watching nine of Geoffrey Baer’s Chicago tours. His more than three dozen programs are available on the WTTW website. I did note new facts learned from Chicago Days: 150... Read more »
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Let's not force people to change healthcare plans they like

They say we become more conservative as we age. (Sorry to sound like the harebrained president with that ambiguous “they.”) I don’t know whether I’ve moved right or others have moved left, but I’ve been finding myself not always agreeing with the most liberal positions anymore. I’m aligning more with the moderates than with the... Read more »

Say it ain’t so, Atticus

So, all lovers of To Kill a Mockingbird — I know there are a lot of us; it placed first on PBS’s Great American Read last fall — did you realize that not everyone admires Atticus? Learning that Atticus Finch, the book’s hero, has critics came as a surprise after I finished my umpteenth reread... Read more »

On architecture and two lighter topics

What do architecture, spelling, and window cleaners have in common? Not much, except this post. Snippets solve the dilemma of not having enough to say on a single topic. ***** ARCHITECTURE FOR ALL OF US Without featuring all kinds of skyscrapers in a city known for its architecture, my Chicago Greeter tours of the Loop... Read more »
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Can Chicago still claim to be skyscraper's birthplace?

Number 82 in Chicago By the Book: 101 Publications That Shaped the City and Its Image (2018) is Carl W. Condit’s The Chicago School of Architecture, first published in 1964. A comment that UIC architectural historian Robert Bruegmann makes in his essay about the book dumbfounded me: Condit’s claim that Chicago was the birthplace of... Read more »

Focus on the Bauhaus: an exhibit and a film

If you pay any attention to Chicago architecture, you’ve probably heard of the Bauhaus in connection with Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, its last director, who came to Chicago in 1933 when the school closed under pressure from the Nazis. For someone who associated the Bauhaus with Mies and modern architecture, the current exhibit at the... Read more »

How not to be overwhelmed in a museum

Illinois residents’ annual winter bonanza of free admission to Chicago’s major museums ended in late February. I took advantage of it quite a bit, both for the obvious reason of not paying and because winter is my preferred time to be in museums. But no need for regrets, those of you who didn’t: there are... Read more »
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South Looper looking for a winter hangout

The biggest lack in my condo building is a community room, and the lack is especially felt when we’ve had it up to here with winter. There’s no where to go inside the building when you’re climbing your own walls. On days without plans, I’ve been putting on winter gear and venturing outside to hunt... Read more »