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Sunday, October 14, 2007

Trip part 1 of 3: Chicago

My trip started off well with an unexpected upgrade to first class from American Airlines. Wow, that gave me a good feeling and a whole lot more leg room! Chicago was unseasonably warm. In fact the day my sister came down and we did the Chicago Architectural Foundation walking tour, Historic Skyscrapers, it was in the high 80s! As the Academy of Family Medicine Scientific Assembly and the Chicago marathoners were in town, and Chicago is a big city, it was packed everywhere and the boat tours were sold out. I thoroughly enjoyed this walking tour. It was a brisk two hours and we covered at least 21 buildings. I also took a bus tour of the the Robie, Glessner and the oldest "mansion" in Chicago.

The insides of these buildings are a dream of incredible decorations, and are in great shape in many cases. Parts of the elevated train system, The El, were built to go around the Loop in the late 1800s. Some of it was built for the 1890 Columbian Exposition and is still being used today. Scary!

The picture in the last row on the left is the Monadnock Building built in 1891 by Burnham and Root. It is a dark, hulking skyscraper without adornment. According to the guide, this building is most oohed and aawed over by architectural students. Guess I'm partial to the adornments myself.

I was not able to get to Knitwerks, but visited the Knitting Workshop. It was small, and no shopkeeper addressed my sister and I the whole time we were there. Strange. My niece took us to a cute bead store in Lincoln Park and I got some beetle wings and skull beads.

I did run by the Bean at night and saw Chicago reflected in it. I missed meeting MacKenzie Thorpe at the Atlas Gallery as I had a dinner engagement with my niece but got a glimpse of him through the window as we literally ran past.

Mr Sockfish and Koigu short socks posed in front of Northwestern Medical Center. They wanted to stay and get some higher education as they were neglected on this trip for Minimalist Cardigan (which I hope is a FO by the time I get to part 3!)

I stayed at the Fairfield Inn one block from Northwestern. The people at this hotel were very nice and found my sister's passport while we waited at the airport. My niece was able to bring it out for us and American Airlines put us on the next flight out without charge! And best of all this hotel had free breakfast and is one block from the Michigan Avenue!

Facts I learned about Chicago.
1. The Chicago river was reversed so it no longer flows in to Lake Michigan, but in to the Mississippi.
2. Mrs. O'Leary's cow was not guilty
3. Chicago has alley ways between most of the skyscrapers so the garbage trucks do not clog up the main streets during collection
4. Before the elevator, buildings were only 4 stories high and the top floor was the cheapest. After the elevator, the penthouse became the most desirable location.
5. Steel girder technology allowed the modern skyscraper to soar and also allowed Frank Lloyd Wright to flatten out his Prairie homes, by avoiding vertical lines.


beadlizard said...

Lovely to see some old favorites. Thank you! Your photos are beautiful.

Something I learned recently (in a trashy historical novel) is that before the fire there were wooden boardwalks and plank-covered streets! Miles and miles and miles of them... Let alone kerosene plants and such downtown.

I agree that some of the El in the Loop makes a person think twice! They've reinforced it all, but still -- yikes! --Syl

Opal said...

They reversed the flow of the river? Wow.

The people at Knitting Workshop sound really rude. That's really too bad.

da twine said...

thanks for your trip report part one! even though i grew up so close to and spent plenty time in chicagoland, i still didn't know 3 of your 5 points of interest. yeesh. if you were so close to nwu, did you happen to see the baha'i house of worship? that's another piece of interesting architecture. looking forward to your next installments.

KnitPastis said...

I have to say that I really enjoyed looking at these photos and your write-up very much! I have been to Chicago twice but only as a kid.Loved it from what I could remember. Have relatives there. It's so nice to hear about the historical points of interest.

nova said...

Great pictures! It looks like you had a great trip! I am sorry that the knit shop you went to had such bad (or rather, no) service. Poo.

Ragan Knits etc... said...

Hope that you had a great visiting Chicago...did you go to Navy Pier?
Can't wait for parts 2 and 3!

Zarzuela said...

Looks like a great trip. I really hope to get to see Chicago myself some day.


marti said...

Your photos are beautiful! I am so glad that you shared them. And an upgrade to first class sounds heavenly.

Dipsy said...

Awww, how fantastic! Thank you so much for your trip report and for sharing these great photos - you made me long to go there too one day!
I'm sorry to hear about the rudeness of the people at the Workshop - what a shame for them indeed! ;(

LisaB said...

Very cool...would love to visit there one day.