Living Landmarks of Chicago (Paperback)
Living Landmarks of Chicago goes beyond the what, when, and where to tell the how and why of fifty Chicago landmarks. More than a book about architecture, these are stories of the people who made Chicago and many of its most popular tourist attractions what they are today. From the parlor used as a meat locker to the fight over the Field Museum, history comes to life in these tantalizing tales. Each chapter is a vignette that introduces the landmark and brings it to life, and the book is organized chronologically to illustrate the development of the city's distinct personality. These fifty landmarks weave an interconnected tale of Chicago between 1836 and 1932 (and beyond).
History lines Chicago's sidewalks. Stroll down LaSalle or Dearborn or State and you'll see skyscrapers that have been there for a century or more. It's easy to scurry by, to dismiss the building itself, but a hunt for placards turns up landmarks every few feet, it seems. Here's a Chicago landmark; there's a National Historic landmark. They're everywhere.
Ironically, these skyscrapers keep the city grounded; they illustrate a past where visionaries took fanciful, impossible ideas and made them reality. Buildings sinking? Raise them. River polluting the lake and its precious drinking water? Reverse it. Overpopulation and urban sprawl making it challenging to get to work? Build up. From the bare to the ornate, from exposed beams to ornamented facades, the city's architecture is unrestrainedly various yet provides a cohesive, beautiful skyline that illustrates the creativity of necessity, and the necessity of creativity.
After a sound-bite history of the city's origins, you'll meet the oldest house in Chicago-or is it? Kinda. Sorta. Depends on who you ask.
That's Chicago. Nothing's simple, and nothing can be taken for granted. The reason the city has a gorgeous skyline and a vibrant culture and a notorious reputation for graft is because of those who built it, envisioned it, manipulated it.
"What you learn in this book is not so much where the landmarks are or how they were made (you will learn those things) as much as why they matter, why their grandeur persists. Every chapter's story is supported by a journalist's tenacious research to find not merely the first brick in a building, but to track down the very moment the ghost of its form was born." Award-winning author Bull Garlington