Get up close and personal with Chicago at the Chicago Architectural Foundation’s (CAF) third annual Open House Chicago (OHC) that explores over 150 of Chicago’s greatest places and spaces in 15 diverse city neighborhoods. The free public event takes place this weekend, October 19 and 20 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days).
The self-guided tour gives participants an opportunity to go beyond Chicago’s iconic Bean for behind-the-scenes access to neighborhoods including downtown Chicago, Bridgeport/Back of the Yards (New for 2013) Prairie District, Downtown Pullman (New for 2013) Garfield Park/North Lawndale, Rogers Park/West Ridge, Gold Coast, South Shore, Hyde Park, Uptown, Lincoln Park (New for 2013), and Pilsen.
Chicago is a lot more than the “Bean” and anyone who gives beans about the city will want to get on-board from architecture buffs to history enthusiasts to families and individuals who want to experience the diversity of Chicago’s architecture, and gain access to sites uncommonly seen and “restricted access” areas of public buildings, factories, historic mansions, a boat, private clubs, sacred spaces, schools, professional offices and cultural institutions giving a face to Chicago’s notorious past, its present and its future.
Created in London 18 years ago, by the organization now known as Open-City, the Open House model has gone worldwide with similar popular programs in dozens of cities including New York, London and Tel Aviv.
Even if you think you know Chicago, you’re sure to make new discoveries at Open House Chicago. Check out Show Me Chicago’s Chicago Challenge below.
The Chicago Challenge (answers at bottom of post):
1, What and where is The Plant?
2. What and where is the MV Abegeit?
3. What do these men have in common: Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld, gang leader Dion O’Bannion and actor Charlie Chaplin?
4. What is the the oldest building north of the river on Michigan Avenue (besides the Old Water Tower) and when was it built?
5. What company cast the ornamental plaster that helped to create the moldings that adorned the buildings and halls showcased in the “White City” at the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and where are they located?
6. Who runs the largest barrel-aging program in the U.S. brewing industry and where is their campus?
7. Where is the compact Prairie style home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a country house with views of Lake Michigan and a spacious yard that is one of his last examples of Prairie style architecture located?
1. The Plant, located at 1400 W. 46th St., was originally a 93,000-square-foot meatpacking facility. This urban farm is now a hallmark of Chicago’s sustainability movement. It features sophisticated growing systems and will be powered by a massive anaerobic digester. Step inside this groundbreaking facility and tour the aquaponic gardens, a glimpse at the future of urban food production.
2. The Columbia Yacht Club at 111 N. Lakeshore Dr. is home to the MV Abegeit, a 372-foot, 7,000-ton railway, vehicle and passenger ferry from Canada that serves as the club ship and headquarters. Visitors can step aboard the ship and tour one of Chicago’s premier private boating club’s dining room, outdoor deck, steering room, and lower level where rail cars and motor vehicles were stored during the ship’s passage of the Northumberland Straight from 1947 to 1982
3. Illinois Governor John Peter Altgeld and gang leader Dion O’Bannion lived at the Brewster Apartments at one time and rumor has it that actor Charlie Chaplin also lived at the Brewster although this has not been officially verified. The Brewster Apartments at 2800 N. Pine Grove Ave. were designed by Enoch Hill Tumock in 1893 and have been featured in movies such as Child’s Play, Running Scared and Hoodlum. Landmarked in 1982, this Romanesque-Revival style building has maintained its original architectural integrity. Ride the caged elevator to an upper floor and experience the unique atrium from one of the Brewster’s signature glass-block, bridge-style walkways.
4. The Fourth Presbyterian Church at 126 E. Chestnut St. was designed by Ralph Adams Cram, America’s leading Gothic revival architect, and was dedicated in 1914. Except for the Old Water Tower, this church remains the oldest building north of the river on Michigan Avenue. In November 2012 the congregation dedicated an 80,000-square-foot addition, the Gratz Center, designed by Gensler. Visitors can tour the old church and brand new Gratz Center with Fourth Church’s docents.
5. Decorators Supply Company at 3610 S. Morgan St. was a manufacturer of cast ornamental plaster that helped to create the moldings that adorned the buildings and halls showcased in the “White City” at the Columbian Exposition of 1893. Today, Decorators Supply still operates as a family-owned business and maintains the largest repository of molds used to cast period architecture details in two historic materials: wood composition and plaster. Step inside the vault archive of wooden molds used for projects dating back to the beginnings of Decorators Supply.
6. Goose Island Beer Company at 1800 W. Fulton St. is home to the largest barrel-aging program in the U.S. brewing industry. It has been the production headquarters for Chicago’s award-winning beers since 1995. Visitors can tour the main brewing facility where beer is produced and see the barrel-aging warehouse.
7. The Emil Bach House at 7415 N. Sheridan Rd. was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1915 as the a compact Prairie style home located in the oldest section of Rogers Park. Originally built for Emil Bach, co-owner of the Bach Brick Company, it was designed as a country house with views of Lake Michigan and a spacious yard. It is one of the last examples of Wright’s use of Prairie style architecture.
For more information a complete list of properties open for touring click here.
Subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email
If you would like to keep in touch with what’s happening in Chicago, like us on Facebook or subscribe to Show Me Chicago by email. To subscribe, type your email address in the box below and click the “create subscription” button. Our list is completely spam free, and you can opt out at any time.