North Loop

Federal Life Building (Hotel Julian)

In 1916, Rand McNally & Company published a panoramic photo of Michigan Avenue. The image stretched across two pages of their annual compendium, One Hundred and Twenty-Five Photographic Views of Chicago, and captured a row of buildings that overlooked Grant Park. The scene was a man-made cliff with beginnings in 1885, and if you compare …

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Majestic Building and Theater (CIBC Theatre)

Majestic Building and Theatre

By the early 1900s, Chicago’s cultural options were impressive. The Auditorium Theatre presented opera in an acoustically perfect setting. Orchestra Hall showcased, well, the Chicago Orchestra. The Fine Arts Building fostered a vertical village of creativity. The Art Institute’s collections were growing at an astounding rate, and the Newberry, Crerar, and Chicago Public Libraries educated …

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Chicago Public Library (Chicago Cultural Center)

The Chicago Cultural Center is big, bold, and beautiful. It’s a solid institution in a solid building anchoring the intersection of Randolph and Michigan. Filling an entire block, the stone structure stands as an impressive monument to culture; it seems like it was always meant to be. The short story is that the People’s Palace, …

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Marshall Field & Company (Macy’s on State Street)

When Macy’s renamed Marshall Field’s in 2006, people protested. They picketed and blocked sidewalks. The protesters didn’t get riled up because the New York giant had purchased the beloved chain: the Field family hadn’t owned the department store since the 1960s and in those intervening forty years the brand had gone through multiple owners. No, …

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