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Posted July 7, 2014
Posted December 24, 2000
Richard Nickels was a strange fellow, and I don't know if most people would be comfortable in his company. He desperately wanted to save what he considered to be Chicago¿s architectural landmarks, but in the end grew terribly disconsolate, finding few allies in Mayor Daley or others within the city¿s power structure. He managed to save many bits and pieces before the wrecker¿s ball arrived, some of which went to Southern Illinois University, but tons of which ended up in landfills after his death. Do you need this book? If it sickens you to see a beautiful old building torn down, then yes. If you read ¿Lost Chicago¿ and were amazed at the priceless treasures we¿ve squandered, then yes. If you think the now burgeoning architectural salvage industry is a good thing, then yes. Nickels fought to save buildings, but when that failed, he saved everything he could. The book doesn¿t claim he was a pioneer or innovator in that regard, but then I haven¿t heard of anyone else who dedicated their life to the field. The Trading Room from the Stock Exchange Building ¿ where Nickel¿s died ¿ survives in the Art Institute of Chicago today only because of his efforts. We almost certainly owe him a far greater debt than the book has claimed, since he helped to publicize the threat to our architectural heritage and started building a consensus towards preservation and salvage. The book will amaze and annoy you. You¿ll learn much more about Nickels¿ personal life than you would want to know. You¿ll wish he had finished some of the writing projects he started. And you¿ll wonder how much more he might have accomplished if he had lived a bit longer. It¿s a book that makes you think, and one you won¿t soon forget. - tjmWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.