The South Loop makes a name for itself
09/06/2011 12:03 PM
Out of a dozen recent awards for Preservation Excellence given out by the Chicago Landmarks Commission, the South Loop got two. Yes! We garnered a full one-sixth of the honors right here in our stomping grounds.
One was given to the owners of Luciano's and Gourmet Chicken on East Cermak for rehabbing the 80-year-old White Castle #16--which forms a part of their restaurant "complex." This beautiful work didn't stop a Chicagoist blogger from complaining a bit about glorifying the fast food industry. You can read more about the White Castle restoration here.
Not to be outdone, Columbia College Chicago garnered an award for restoration on the exterior of their administration building at 600 S. Michigan. That was the original (International) Harvester building--built when several farm equipment businesses merged to form the famous corporation. It also happens to be the building I teach in when I am doing my part-time gig at Columbia. And I must say, I do find it poignant that I am working in the same building in which John Glessner (whose farm implement business was part of the merger and who built the famous Glessner House on Prairie Avenue) worked for many years--until his death in 1936.
One thing I have always wanted to see is the original way the Michigan Avenue lower facade of the building looked in Glessner's day. When I mentioned that recently at a Greater South Loop Association Meeting, I was told that the "new" facade--which was done in the 1930s--is also a landmark now--so no going back to the beginning with a restoration.
In any case, there are still more kudos that have come out for South Loop preservation lately. A recent list of the 40 best preservation projects in Illinois in the last 40 years has three in our very own neck of the woods: Clarke House Museum on South Indiana Avenue is on the list--it's the oldest house in Chicago. And so is Holy Family Church on West Roosevelt and the South Michigan Avenue historic streetwall which runs a mile--right into the heart of the South Loop.