Lost Chicago

Lost Chicago

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by David Lowe
     
 

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The City of Big Shoulders has always been our most quintessentially American—and world-class—architectural metropolis. In the wake of the Great Fire of 1871, a great building boom—still the largest in the history of the nation—introduced the first modern skyscrapers to the Chicago skyline and began what would become a legacy of

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Overview

 

The City of Big Shoulders has always been our most quintessentially American—and world-class—architectural metropolis. In the wake of the Great Fire of 1871, a great building boom—still the largest in the history of the nation—introduced the first modern skyscrapers to the Chicago skyline and began what would become a legacy of diverse, influential, and iconoclastic contributions to the city’s built environment. Though this trend continued well into the twentieth century, sour city finances and unnecessary acts of demolishment left many previous cultural attractions abandoned and then destroyed.

 

Lost Chicago explores the architectural and cultural history of this great American city,  a city whose architectural heritage was recklessly squandered during the second half of the twentieth century. David Garrard Lowe’s crisp, lively prose and over 270 rare photographs and prints, illuminate the decades when Gustavus Swift and Philip D. Armour ruled the greatest stockyards in the world; when industrialists and entrepreneurs such as Cyrus McCormick, Potter Palmer, George Pullman, and Marshall Field made Prairie Avenue and State Street the rivals of New York City’s Fifth Avenue; and when Louis Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, and Frank Lloyd Wright were designing buildings of incomparable excellence. Here are the mansions and grand hotels, the office buildings that met technical perfection (including the first skyscraper), and the stores, trains, movie palaces, parks, and racetracks that thrilled residents and tourists alike before falling victim to the wrecking ball of progress.

 

Lost Chicago is more than just another coffee table gift, more than merely a history of the city’s architecture; it is a history of the whole city as a cultural creation.”—New York Times Book Review

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Lowe's evangelistic eulogy of Chicago's destroyed architecture was a rallying cry for historic preservationists when it appeared in 1975, and it remains an icon to the movement. In the preface to this new edition, Lowe laments that, sadly, further demolition of Chicago's built heritage warrants a recapitulation. Additions include newly discovered illustrations of earlier losses as well as images of more recent ones, textual revisions (particularly regarding captions), and a final chapter that brings the work to the present. The vanished glories of Chicago residences, railways, hotels, commercial buildings, and entertainment palaces are thematically and chronologically exposed, along with a great deal of city history. Lowe is a rousing polemicist, and the photographs are wrenching. Readers today will be moved, as they first were a quarter of a century ago, by this documentary of the Windy City's ransacking. Strongly recommended for architecture, urbanism, and preservation collections, including those holding the original edition, which could likely use a facelift.--Russell T. Clement, Northwestern Univ. Lib., Evanston, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
In Lost Chicago, historian David Lowe explores the architectural and cultural history of America's great "heartland" city. This is a community who architectural heritage was all to often squandered during the last five decades of its growth and evolution. Lowe's elegant, and informative text is wonderfully enhanced with more than 270 rare, period photos and prints (many of them published here for the first time). Lost Chicago is a celebration of the age of Gustavus Swift and Philip D. Armour and the greatest stockyards in the world; when Cyrus McCormick, Potter Palmer, George Pullman, and Marshall Field were the national barons of business and industry; when Prairie Avenue and State streets rivaled New York's Fifth Avenue; when architectural giants ranging from Louis Sullivan to Frank Lloyd Wright were designing buildings of incomparable excellence and innovation. Lost Chicago is a "must" for students of Chicago history, architecture, and personalities.
New York Times

“An elaborate and handsome volume that is as much an ode to the city as it is a work about landmarks and their role in the urban fabric."

— Paul Goldberger

Newsweek

"Lowe's book excels on its visual ground: page after page of gilded hotels, lovely parks, grand mansions and smashing restaurants, all vanished. . . . But there is more here than simple nostalgia, reinforced by mouth-watering photographs. There is also the real story of Chicago architecture, very different from the one we have been fed in textbooks and college survey courses."—Newsweek

— Douglas Davis

New York Times Book Review

Lost Chicago is more than just another coffee table gift, more than merely a history of the city’s architecture; it is a history of the whole city as a cultural creation.”—New York Times Book Review

— Mark Smith

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780517468883
Publisher:
Random House Value Publishing, Incorporated
Publication date:
03/07/1993
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
9.45(w) x 11.42(h) x (d)

Meet the Author

David Garrard Lowe is a lecturer, cultural historian, and the president of the Beaux Arts Alliance in New York City. He is the author of Stanford White’s New York, Beaux Arts New  York, Art Deco New York, and Chicago Interiors.

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