Central Loop

The Stevens Hotel (Hilton Chicago)

Sometimes a hotel is just a hotel. It’s a place to sleep for the night, and that’s all it was ever meant to be. But sometimes, a hotel is an obsession. One particular hotel was the obsession of two men and their fixations had contrasting outcomes: For one, it was a heralded achievement, but for …

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Union Station

In the waiting room of the Union Station service - Source: Library of Congress

848 was a big year for Chicago. The Illinois and Michigan Canal finally connected the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico. The first telegraph message was received (from Milwaukee). Far-sighted merchants founded the Chicago Board of Trade. And, the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad opened. All of these developments fueled the growth of the …

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The Blackstone Hotel

Blackstone Hotel, photo courtesy Library of Congress

The Blackstone Hotel is woven into the mythology of Chicago. It’s hosted politicians, gangsters, movie stars, jazz greats, and royalty. It’s the Hotel of Presidents and claims the original smoke-filled room. The day after it opened, the Chicago Tribune declared: “The Blackstone is to be, in fact it already is, one of the landmarks of …

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Schlesinger & Mayer (Sullivan Center)

Schlesinger & Mayer, now the Sullivan Center

Form follows function is an architectural mantra that has been repeated so often that it’s become white noise. It’s something someone says when they’re talking about architecture, especially when they’re talking about architecture in Chicago in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. But for one architect, form ever follows function was a plea for …

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