AIA Guide to Chicago
Publication Year: 2014
Published by: University of Illinois Press
Title page, Copyright Page
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Guide to the Guide
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The AIA Guide to Chicago is the largest portable source of information on the city’s built environment. The book will serve both as an introduction to Chicago’s architecture for neophytes and as a sourcebook for those seeking to expand their knowledge beyond the well-documented buildings. The city’s...
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The cover of this book isn’t big enough to acknowledge all of the people who contributed to it, so we will do it here. First, we thank the architects, contractors, craftspeople, tradespeople, and clients who created these structures. If they had been ordinary, this would be a very small book...
Note From the Preface to the First Edition
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This guide should clarify our vision of Chicago. For the past two years, Alice Sinkevitch has sent into our neighborhoods a dedicated troop of scouts who have trained themselves to see the city with open minds and keen eyes. There were a few practicing architects among them, but the majority were amateurs...
Preface to the Third Edition
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In the historically crowded working-class Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport, on the Southwest Side, one of the city’s oldest limestone quarries has been creatively converted into Palmisano Park. A sloping path leads down to a lake, where the old quarry walls tower overhead, bringing to mind the ancient...
The Shaping of Chicago
Perry R. Duis
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Chicago holds a special place in the history of American cities. It frequently assumes the role of the great American exaggeration, the place where common characteristics are stretched to their limits. Other cities grew during the nineteenth century, but Chicago mushroomed. Every town had its boosters, but the Windy City’s were obstreperously boastful. Crime and...
Key to Maps
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Loop and South Loop
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The Loop is quintessential Chicago! Here the City of Big Shoulders flaunts its continuing vitality with an unequaled display of dazzling towers and crowded streets. Jammed with a medley of cars, trucks, buses, and darting pedestrians, the Loop is an urban canvas framed by its famous El. It is home to banks, national...
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As one of Chicago’s earliest settlements, the South Loop was among the first areas to experience the typical urban cycles of prosperity, decay, and renewal, and it now contains the city’s most intensely polyglot collection of buildings and neighborhoods. Its shifting boundaries testify to the area’s...
North and Northwest
North Michigan Ave/Streeterville
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In a city notable for dramatic transformations, the story of North Michigan Avenue/ Streeterville deserves a special place. It is amazing to contrast a picture of today’s densely built-up neighborhood with an aerial photograph taken in 1926. Then, apart from a handful of scattered buildings, the roughly square-mile...
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River North is the newest name for one of Chicago’s oldest neighborhoods. In the 1970s, the long-forgotten area north and west of the towers that border the Chicago River and N. Michigan Ave. featured open blocks of surface parking in its southeastern sector, with ranks of mill-construction factory and...
Gold Coast/Old Town
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Throughout most of their history, the neighborhoods of the Gold Coast and Old Town presented a sharp contrast between rich and poor, elegance and squalor. Today, however, their demographics are surprisingly similar. While many Gold Coast mansions have been replaced by high-rises or subdivided...
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No other Chicago neighborhood has witnessed as dramatic a resurgence as Lincoln Park. The 1950 Local Community Fact Book, the city’s decennial oracle of sociological trends, predicted “the end of much of Lincoln Park as a residential community.” Today, however, many people see it as the city’s most...
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Over time, the North Side communities of Lakeview, Uptown, and Ravenswood carved themselves out of a much larger government entity, the township of Lake View. When organized in 1857, Lake View Township extended north from Fullerton Ave. to Devon Ave. and from the lake to Western Ave. Today...
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The story of Edgewater and Rogers Park is a tale of metamorphosis from genteel suburb to urban neighborhood. As usual, the catalyst was the extension of a transit line that made the community more accessible to legions of Loop office workers. Highway construction brought further changes, turning quiet...
West Town/Wicker Park/Bucktown/Logan Square/Irving Park
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The Northwest Side comprises disparate neighborhoods united by the important artery of Milwaukee Ave. Like many of Chicago’s diagonal streets, it began as an Indian trail, was developed as a plank road and streetcar route, and remains a heavily traveled commercial thoroughfare. The many changes...
Chicago-O'Hare International Airport
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In June 1942, the federal government bought 1,000 acres surrounding the small Orchard Place Airport to establish the Douglas Aircraft Co. factory, which built C-54 transport planes there during World War II. In 1945, an urgent search to replace Midway Airport, then the world’s busiest, led to this wartime factory site. Although it was located fifteen miles northwest of the Loop and would require...
West Side and Oak Park
Near West Side
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The Near West Side is a patchwork of past and present, with historic blocks separated by vast stretches of urban renewal and pockets of blight. From a Civil War–era residence and church to converted industrial lofts and modern institutional complexes, the area displays the cycles of growth, decline, and...
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To those traveling from Western Ave. to the city limits—past empty lots, crumbling six-flats, well-maintained graystones, battered retail areas, and sturdy churches—the suburban origins of these neighborhoods may seem remote and invisible. But the area from Western Ave. to Harlem Ave. in Oak Park and...
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Arriving in waves after the Chicago Fire, settlers came to Oak Park by the thousands to build homes: freestanding, sun-filled, hygienic, secure. Fleeing the city’s crowded, combustible flats and row houses, cholera epidemics, and corruption, they sought to create a community in harmony with God and with...
Pilsen/Heart of Chicago/Little Village/Lawndale
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The communities of Pilsen, Heart of Chicago, Little Village, and Lawndale grew up with Chicago’s industry, thriving in the 1870s when the city was becoming an industrial powerhouse and declining a century later as the manufacturing base withered away. The flats, cottages, and commercial buildings that met...
South and Southwest
Near South Side
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The Near South Side offers striking examples of urban renewal on a variety of scales, from multiacre developments to individual houses. It has some of the city’s earliest residential neighborhoods, which were also among the first to be leveled and rebuilt as part of grand schemes in the 1940s. Sandwiched...
Bridgeport/Canaryville/McKinley Park/Back of the Yards
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“They were left standing upon the corner, staring; down a side street there were two rows of brick houses, and between them a vista: half a dozen chimneys, tall as the tallest of buildings, touching the very sky—and leaping from them half a dozen columns of smoke, thick, oily, and black as night . . . stretching...
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The residential development of this area reflects two contrasting ideals: the urban boulevard house and the country retreat. Chicago’s earliest boulevards were established just north of Washington Park, and their popularity with wealthy homeowners set the pattern for other areas. Along the lake...
Hyde Park/South Shore
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The World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 had a powerful and lasting impact on Chicago’s urban development, and nowhere were these effects felt as strongly as in Hyde Park. The enormous annexation of 1889, in which the city swallowed up huge townships like Lake View, Jefferson, and Hyde Park, was...
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If communities still adopted Latin mottos, Beverly–Morgan Park might bill itself as Suburbia in Urbe. With its towering trees, broad lawns, and sprawling old houses, it looks more like an affluent North Shore suburb than a Chicago neighborhood. The hilly topography and winding streets also set it apart from...
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In 1878, the swampy land now locked between the Dan Ryan and Calumet Expressways contained a few Dutch farms in the community of Roseland, high ground along what is now Michigan Ave., and fewer than twenty houses in the village of Kensington, centering on the railroad junction at...
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About the Authors, Publisher Notes
Page Count: 624
Publication Year: 2014