Unexpected Chicagoland

Overview

With an Aesthetic Vision that has been hailed by the New York Times as "persuasive and moving," Camilo Jose Vergara has observed and recorded the evolution of America's inner cities for a quarter century, documenting the effects of time, commercialism, culture, and neglect on the built environment.

Here, in collaboration with Timothy J. Samuelson, Chicago's leading architectural historian, Vergara probes the power and resonance of one of America's greatest cities. Unexpected ...

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Overview

With an Aesthetic Vision that has been hailed by the New York Times as "persuasive and moving," Camilo Jose Vergara has observed and recorded the evolution of America's inner cities for a quarter century, documenting the effects of time, commercialism, culture, and neglect on the built environment.

Here, in collaboration with Timothy J. Samuelson, Chicago's leading architectural historian, Vergara probes the power and resonance of one of America's greatest cities. Unexpected Chicagoland includes over two hundred stunning color photographs, accompanied by a fascinating narrative of the hidden history of Chicago's renowned architectural past. Vergara's photographs are a treasure trove of historically and visually interesting buildings and environments, most of them on the abandoned urban fringes. Included are examples of rarely seen work by some of the greatest architects of the twentieth century, such as Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Walter Burley Griffin, as well as dazzling examples of Art Deco design.

Unexpected Chicagoland presents an authentic and gritty view of the metropolis at a time when the public's understanding of American cities has become increasingly sanitized and homogenized.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781565847019
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 12/31/2001
  • Pages: 164
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 11.25 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword xiii
Map xiv
Preface xvii
Nineteenth-Century Survivors
Raber House, 1874, now the Fishbowl House, stranded on the South Side of Chicago 1
Muddy Waters House, South Side, Chicago, 1889 2
Neo-Gothic entrance, a fragment of a Louis Sullivan building from 1891 4
Neo-Gothic monument with a bronze statue of the youthful Christopher Columbus cast in Rome, South Chicago, 1892 5
Jim's Original on Maxwell Street, Chicago, "World Famous Since 1939" 6
Turrets commanding the corner 7
Distinctive Popular Housing
Samuel Eberly Gross, the high priest of home ownership, Chicago 24
Marktown, East Chicago, Indiana, founded in 1917, Howard van Doren Shaw, architect 27
George Pullman's Dream in Ruins, Pullman, Chicago
"A spectacular ruin," Pullman's main building and clock tower, Solon S. Beman, architect, 1880 28
Pullman Trust and Savings Bank, by Howard Van Doren Shaw, 1924. Now True Vine Holiness M. B. Church 32
Terra-cotta horse head decorating a former beer distributing warehouse in Pullman 35
Hammond's Second Coming: "Not Quite What City Hall Had in Mind"
"The world's largest Sunday school," State Street, Hammond, Indiana 36
Former Werth's appliance center, now part of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana 38
Chicagoland's Rust Belt: Bridges and Boats
Golden rust: Vertical lift bridge over the Calumet River by 96th Street, South Chicago 42
The J. B. Ford, "the boat that never leaves the dock," Calumet Harbor by 130th Street, ca. 1904 44
Bohemian National Cemetery
Columbarium niches, Bohemian National Cemetery, 1919: Ordinary life as Paradise 47
Art Moderne
Art Moderne office building on Lake Street, Abel Faidy and Julius Floto, architects, West Side, Chicago, 1938 54
Lithuanian Art Deco
Office building, Lithuanian National Cemetery, Justice, Illinois, 1937 57
Preserving traces of Lithuania: Traditional wayside crosses in New World guises 58
Monument to Darius and Girenas, Lithuanian heroes, designed by Raoul Josset, Marquette Park, Chicago, 1935 60
The 1950s: "It Broke the Old Rules" 63
Motels by the "Lost Highway"
Avenue Motel (demolished in 2000), downtown, Chicago 64
Seville Motel, The Modern Motel for the Modern Family, Stony Island Avenue, Chicago 65
Commercial Buildings and Extinguished Neon Signs
Pride Cleaners, a structural tour de force, Gerald A. Siegwart, architect, 1959, 79th Street, Chicago 67
A former Carroll Hamburgers, "a franchise that didn't make it," Gary, Indiana 69
An American windmill, Benton Harbor, Michigan, late 1950s 72
The end of the Neon Age 73
Hardheaded Practicality: "You Have a Need, You Get to the Point"
"Mexican Food," Chicago Avenue, Chicago 81
"Chicago's Pinocchio," Apollo 2000 sign, Cermak Road, Chicago 82
Cherub with industrial light fixture mounted in its belly, apartment building, West Side, Chicago 83
Terra-cotta
"Chinatown City Hall," On Leong Chinese Merchants Association Building, Chicago, 1927 85
Egyptian Lacquer Works, West Side, Chicago, 1926 86
Uptown Broadway Building, Chicago, 1927 88
Former Laramie State Bank, remodeled by Meyer and Cook, architects, Chicago Avenue, Chicago, 1928 90
Sullivanesque decorations on the facade of New Life M. B. Church, Roseland, Chicago 92
Wright on the Ropes: "Why Shouldn't Frank Lloyd Wright Be Abandoned? Everyone Else Is."
The Waller Apartments, West Side, Chicago, 1895 95
The Wynant House, a Frank Lloyd Wright American System Built House, Gary, Indiana, 1916 96
Snowflake Crystal Motel in St. Joseph, Michigan; renamed Villager Lodge, 1959 98
Modernism and Postmodernism
Modernism among the junk piles: "Cornell Store and Flats," Walter Burley Griffin, architect, Grand Crossing, Chicago, 1908 101
Bruce Goff's Myron Bachman House, remodeled in 1948, North Side, Chicago 103
A postmodern relic: Stanley Tigerman's Pensacola Place, North Side, Chicago, 1981 104
"That Is Where Poor People Went": CHA Family High-Rises 107
"Da Bone Yard!!!" 3615 South Federal Street, Stateway Gardens (1959), 2000 110
Unto dust: Lake Park Houses, South Side, Chicago 114
Robert Taylor Homes, Chicago: "It was fun while it lasted, now it is time to move on. Power to the People!" 116
Churches
Pilgrim Baptist Church, South Chicago, ca. 1890 121
"A Monument to Robbins," Growing in Grace Ministry Church of God, Robbins, Illinois, 2000 122
Two former synagogues, Lawndale, Chicago 124
Truth, purity, and beauty: Christ Temple Mission Church, Gary, Indiana 126
Billboards
The street furnishings of segregation: Public service billboards 129
Signs from the Heart
Assorted signs: "A desire for a world of innocence" 135
The white couch fantasy, advertisement for Seaway Furniture, South Side, Chicago, 1999 138
Queen Bee Exquisite Hi-Tech Beauty Salon, 47th Street, Chicago, 2000 140
Fading whale, River Slim Live Fish, West Side, Chicago 143
"I wish Mom and Dad would take me to Sunday School," Gary, Indiana, 1985 148
Postscript 151
Acknowledgments 160
Selected Bibliography 163
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 14, 2002

    Unexpected is not always good

    There indeed is much "unexpected" in this book, some good, some bad. The good news is, there are several glimpses into nooks and crannies you'd probably never find on your own. There's also an homage to some truly great and unique Chicago landmarks, like the huge old railroad bridges, and a fascinating study of disappearing turrets on buildings. The bad news is, the author wanders rather far afield geographically, into Indiana and even Michigan. That would be OK for "Unexpected Midwest", but when you plunk down your money for a book on Chicago, it's an inexcusable heresy. Also unexpected is, a lot of space is devoted to things you may not really care about. You'll spend time inside the Bohemian National Cemetery Columbarium, exploring niches full of urns, photos, mementos, et al. Several pages are devoted to "extinguished neon signs", and six pages show seven different modern billboards. Four pages go to a single whale sign on a West Chicago building. If you're mainly interested in old buildings and architecture in general, look elsewhere. Otherwise, I'd strongly recommend you check this book out of your local library and see if it's to your taste, before buying a copy.

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