Thursday, November 20, 2008

Columbia and Clark, northwest corner

6733-37 N. Clark
Built: 1927
Architect: C.B. Kohn
Contractor: H.C. Wolf & Son
Cost: $17,000

This is a nice little liquor store that won some sort of award for its new storefront and awning. Maybe it participated in the facade rebate program before it ran out of money...

Anyway, its cold out. Not yet Chicago cold, but darn cold. As usual, when it gets cold we head out to the Botanic Gardens for some reason. We ran around the gardens and walked through numerous greenhouses. Not bad for a Sunday.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Clark and Arthur, northwest corner

6501 N. Clark
Built: 1925
Architect: Standard Oil
Contractor: Wm. Socom Bldg Co.
Cost: $2,500

If this isn't the same building it's at least constructed on the same footprint as the original gas station.

I keep finding myself more interested in the exposed side of the apartment building next to this auto repair business. But I have to give it credit for nearly landscaping itself out of existence.

Felix's birthday party went really well, and the auditorium room at Indian Boundary Park was great. We played Pin the Tail on the Monster (monster poster courtesy of Angela) and everyone ate cupcakes and drank cider. Best of all the weather held, and afterwards everyone went outside to the playground. My parents were in town, which was a nice bonus.

Felix went trick-or-treating last week as the cutest little red devil you could imagine. It'll be my new profile photo, if I ever get around to it.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Clark and Lunt, northwest corner

7000-16 N. Clark
Built: c.1900
It's been a while since I've posted. What's happened lately?

-I went to the Traditional Building Conference over at Navy Pier last month.
-My old high school friend was in town briefly and came up to Rogers Park to visit.
-My great aunt Marion had her 90th birthday party.
-Chicago is laying off employees right and left.

Last weekend we drove to the Indiana Dunes where we saw the modern homes relocated there (via lake barge) after the 1933 World's Fair. We also visited a historic homestead and farm within the Dunes State Park. We stayed overnight at a very nice hotel, and went apple picking Monday morning. Felix enjoyed it, and we ended up with 10 lbs of apples and plenty of mosquito bites. Not a bad Columbus Day. I suppose now it's okay if it becomes rainy and cold.

The biggest news is that today is Felix's third birthday. Angela made a special snack for his class, and we're going to have a small party next weekend. Hard to believe it's been 3 years since he came to complicate and enrich our lives. Some of the time I feel like we invented him entirely, and he only exists as a part of ourselves. Other times I feel like he's the most unique and unpredictable being on the planet. Sometimes when I'm away from him I feel this strange ache, and I suddenly know why parents fill their offices with photographs and keepsakes. I suppose everyone has to invent parenthood for themselves, even if it seems trite and sentimental. It's okay to be trite and sentimental now and again, right?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Clark and Touhy, southwest corner

7136 N. Clark

This building is in the process of converting from a used car lot to a fast food chicken restaurant. It's only natural. Originally this was a Standard Oil gas and service station. To the left is the old section, made out of common brick and clay tile. 

On Saturday we drove out to Marseilles, Illinois (Mar-sales, in the midwest lingo) to visit a farm. Once a week we pick up a box of vegetables and split it with our friends Carrie and Euan. Much of it comes from this farm, and everyone who subscribes was invited to come out for a tour/festival. We figured this was a good excuse to get out of Chicago for a couple days and show Felix his first farm. He seemed to like it. He kept waving a stick and yelling, "Go 'way, chickens!" We picked raspberries and saw some amazingly huge yellow and black spiders. Orb spiders, apparently. We even met up with Angela's friend, who moved to Marseilles with her family last year.

After a night at a hotel in Ottawa with an awesome (overheated) pool we went hiking at Starved Rock Park Sunday morning and were back in Chicago by 12:30. Not a bad weekend.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Clark and Pratt, northwest corner detail

6800 N. Clark
Car repair

Well, we had a nice holiday weekend, with just a few setbacks.

On Saturday we went to Lunt Avenue beach and splashed around for a while. We made a discovery a few weekends ago- if we take Felix to the beach, let him run around like a crazy toddler for an hour or so, stuff him with snacks and plop him in the stroller he'll usually fall asleep for an hour or two. Then we can go out for a leisurely, adult-style lunch while he dozes peacefully next to the table. So on Saturday we decided to go to Carmen's near Loyola, which has a great lunchtime pizza deal. After 45 minutes our waitress came to our table and said, "Can I get you any dessert, or just the check?" about our pizza? After an hour she admitted that the order was never put into the kitchen and offers to give us one of our lunches for free. Not enough, bad waitress. Meanwhile, Felix begins to stir. So we left, without our pizza. It wasn't like the place was crowded, either. Carmen's sucks. They still owe me for a piece of cheesecake that I paid for but never arrived in our delivery order.

So later that night Felix develops a fever and we spend Sunday watching cartoon movies and feeling very claustrophobic. In the evening we met our friends at the only taqueria in Rogers Park that has an outdoor patio, La Cazuela, just across the street from the library. Too bad it took us 8 years to find this place.

On Monday we took Felix to a super cool water park near Armitage and Clybourn (Adams Park). Highly recommended. Later that night, the fever returned, so everyone was up at 2 a.m. Just in time for the return of the work week.

But still, not a bad weekend. An inconvenience or two does not equal a trip to the emergency room.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Farwell and Clark, northwest corner detail

6900 N. Clark
Lawyer's offices

Well, we made it back to Ohio for Anthony's wedding a few weeks back. We left Chicago at 8 p.m. and arrived in Lorain at 3 a.m. I only started hallucinating near the end, when I imagined the road being swallowed by a huge tiger in the distance. But the wedding was very well organized, and everything was close to our hotel. We even had some down time on Saturday morning, and made it to the Cleveland Zoo. Felix was on his best behavior, although he did spend most of the reception rolling around on the dance floor in his tiny tuxedo. I don't think anyone minded. And we had a day and a half in Lorain with my parents, which was nice.

We spent the following weekend at Lunt and Foster beaches, swimming and watching the air and water show. Chicago has great beaches, but the water doesn't really warm up until August. This past weekend we all went to the WTTW Fun and Run, where Felix had his picture taken with Cookie Monster. We would have waited for Elmo, but the line was crazy long. We also went to Fred and Sarah's apartment warming, where Felix was licked by a big dog and ate too many grapes. I'll miss the summer when it's gone.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Clark and Morse, southeast corner

1703-07 W. Morse
Built: 2005

Above is a very handsome New Field elementary school, complete with a central court and clock tower.  This angle probably doesn't do it justice.  Previously there was a post office and apartment building here.  East on Morse there were a number of single family homes.  Still, not a bad addition to the neighborhood and desperately needed.

On Saturday I was a guest on a local radio show, "Live from the Heartland," on the Loyola station, WLUW. Normally it's broadcast from the Hearland Cafe, but there were technical difficulties. Three of us piled into a pickup truck and raced down to the Loyola campus, where the show went out from their studio. Goodbye free coffee. Anyway, we talked about Ultra Local Geography, and it was fun, even if very few people were listening. My parents actually listened from Lorain through the online broadcast.  Or so they claimed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Clark and Howard, east corners

7545 N. Clark
Built: 1928
Architect: J.A. Scanlon
Cost: $350,000

This building is one of the few to survive the Gateway complex constructed to the south and east.  It's a good building, although the renovation could have been better.  Bank on the first floor, and condos above.  If they sell.

Tonight we walked over to Charmers Cafe on Jarvis and Greenview for steamed bagels and Italian sodas. They had a 2 for 1 special on bagel sandwiches, which was awesome. Charmers Bar is gone, but not before giving rise to Charmers Cafe and a bagel shop. Very sensibly, the owner decided to combine the two. Dagel and Beli is somehow related to Bagel and Deli back in Oxford, Ohio where I was an undergraduate. While we were eating in an old circular booth Felix dozed in his stroller. I had the realization that I live in a pretty cool neighborhood. If only that used book store on the opposite corner was still in business...

Monday, July 28, 2008

Clark and Greenleaf, northeaste corner detail

7047 N. Clark
Rocky's Taqueria

Glazed white brick always looks good. This building has terracotta accents with glazed green insets. Maybe it's not in the best condition, but its probably the best commercial building on the block. Although the old laundromat around the corner is pretty awesome, with Sullivanesque column capitals...

Busy at work. I didn't get to go to lunch until 3:00. Tomorrow will be worse. How come everyone isn't on vacation? It's late July! Everyone go on vacation! Bastards.

We met Becky and Amy for breakfast at the Heartland on Sunday. I don't think they've seen Felix since he turned 1. It was good to catch-up, even though we had to alternate turns chasing after Felix. He spent much of his time hiding in the photo booth, spinning on the stool.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Clark and Wallen, northeast corner detail

6635 N. Clark
Las Islas Maria Taqueria

Yet again, here's a glimpse of my favorite fiberglass crayfish on Clark. By the time this project is done I'll have six different images of this massive segmented advertisement. You know what would be great? If they painted the crayfish for all the big holidays. Red white and blue for the 4th of July, green for St. Patrick's Day, etc. Heck, put a Harry Potter hat on it for Halloween.  Is there such as thing as a Harry Potter hat?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Clark and Rogers, northwest corner detail

7374 N. Clark
Insurance place (now out of business)

Last weekend we bought a tiny tuxedo for Felix on Clark Street. Amazingly, there are enough places that sell children's formal wear in our neighborhood to comparison shop. Rogers Park must be a huge market for weddings and formal birthdays.

It wasn't that we thought Felix should look spiffier in general, but we're going to the wedding of Angela's brother in August. Wedding related trips have pretty much eaten up our vacation time this year...

I saw the new batman movie with Fred and Sarah on Sunday. Good, but not as much fun as the first one. Chicago looked great. It was fun to watch a helicopter whip by the Rookery Building.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Clark and Greenleaf, northwest corner detail

7044 N. Clark
Dollar store

The sheet metal eagle is even more awkward looking than my sketch. This building used to house the Rogers Park Post Office, so it was more patriotic than typical.

Tomorrow is the great Clark Street Festival between Morse and Touhy. It's been limited to one day this summer, which is probably for the best. We'll be there, if only for the fried dough topped with ice cream. You can't throw a stone in Chicago during the summer and fail to miss a festival or two.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Clark, Rogers, and Jarvis- east corners

7369-7407 N. Clark
Flower shop, fruit market, fast food sub sandwiches

On the left is the flower shop where we got our wedding flowers.  They did a nice job.

On Saturday we took Felix to Kohl's Children's Museum in Glenview. Someone had a brilliant idea- create the most amazing toys, put a few educational plaques around and call it a museum. This may become our hang-out of choice in the winter.

It was cool in downtown Chicago today. It reminded me how much I look forward to fall in the city. That smell in the air, a chill in the shadows, and a sort of bright dustiness in the sun. I was out taking pictures of the restored stained-glass dome at the Chicago Cultural Center. Amazing job. Sometimes I remember how lucky I am to working in preservation in such an amazing city.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Clark and Lunt, southeast corner detail

(This post reminds me that I used to enjoy using colored pencils.  Maybe it's time to dig those up again.  Also, apparently I used this blog as a personal journal. Weird.)

6975-81 N. Clark
Taqueria Hernandez

A nice Fourth of July. Felix and I played on the beach yesterday morning while Angela jogged with her friend Janet. Except for having to toss away pieces of glass, it was very nice. In the afternoon we went to the Morton Grove Fourth of July Festival where we enjoyed overpriced beer and funnel cakes with our friend Ruth and little Katherine. Maybe next year they'll be big enough for the rides, but this year they both took home big inflatable hammers. Felix slept like a log, despite some amazing explosions in our neighborhood.

Tomorrow is a Shure family barbecue in Evanston, which should be fun.

Southeast Corner of Lunt and Clark

Friday, June 27, 2008

Clark and Estes, southeast corner detail

7077 N. Clark
Wishing Well Laundromat

Wow, it's been a while since I posted. Last month
we went to Milwaukee for Memorial Day weekend. It may sound strange, but Milwaukee is a great and easy getaway for Chicago types. It's 1 1/2 hours by train, and one block from the station to the Milwaukee Hilton. Just enough distance to feel like you're on vacation, but no need for a car. We went to the water park in the hotel several times, although Felix enjoyed the arcade (500 tickets for a plastic ring) more than the slides. We also went to the Milwaukee Public Museum, which had one of those butterfly exhibits. Afterwards Felix pronounced the experience to be "very scary."

Three weeks ago we went back to Ohio for the bridal shower of Angela's future sister-in-law. Felix and I stayed with my parents while Angela and her mom fulfilled their various obligations. Then we all met at Geneva-on-the-Lake, which is a lot like a sleazy carnival with large amounts of Ohio wine. My parents had never been there, and I think they got a kick out of it. It was above 90 degrees the whole time we were there.

Last week I gave my Preservation Snapshot lecture on Ultra Local Geography at the Chicago Cultural Center. There were between 40 and 50 people there, which was surprising. I got to see some old friends I wasn't even expecting. Nice to know there's so much interest out there.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Clark and North Shore, southwest corner

Built: c.1926

This is a very spiffy building at North Shore. I may need to do this one at a larger scale to convey all the nice brickwork.

I've been trying to prepare my walking tour of LaSalle Street for the Great Spaces and Places Festival next weekend. It's very distracting to find all the photos of what used to be on LaSalle. In some cases I have as many as 5 previous buildings on a single site. But is anyone interested in a tour of buildings that are long gone? Maybe I can make it work somehow.

Not busy Sunday, May 18th at 10:30 a.m.? Meet me at the NE corner of N. LaSalle and W. Wacker. There's officially a maximum of 20 people, but it's a public street, right?

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Clark and Morse, northeast corner

Built: 1906
Alterations: c.1970

A few months ago there was an attempted robbery at this bank. An amazing amount of police were called in, and the news helicopters descended. At one point the robber released the hostages, which took off like shots through the alley. Hours later the police entered the bank to find it completely empty. The robber has left along with the hostages. Nevertheless, the news reported it as a huge success. No one was hurt. Bank robber still at large.

Although it looks like a bad idea from the 1970s, there's actually a nice building somewhere underneath the colonial red brick and creepy mansard roof. You can get a glimpse of it around the back.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Clark and Devon, northwest corner

Built: 1905

Last year the owners removed the plywood covering above the storefronts and revealed these great old painted advertisements on the glass underneath. But a week later new plywood went up, recreating the same dark, creepy lounge atmosphere.

On the building next door there's a great old neon sign advertising hamburgers and chili. It's now a taqueria, but the sign remains. If you're on the Clark bus you have a perfect view into the place because of the bus stop. I once watched the woman behind the counter carefully and thoroughly pick her nose. I don't go to that taqueria.

Felix and i have a new game. I pretend to remove my nose and throw it across the room. Felix then removes his nose and throws it. I snatch his nose out of the air and attach it to my face. I then remove my ear and put it on his nose. Then we both remove our noses and ears and throw them across the room. It's great fun. Almost as much fun as the game where I pretend to eat and then vomit various large objects in the apartment.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Clark and Albion, Kwikmart detail

6601 N. Clark
Quik Mart (now out of business)

Strange how these sidewalk signs and newpaper boxes seem to attract trash. I'm curious about where these things come from. I know the cigarette companies pay a lot to place their signs at these locations. But what about those plastic boxes? Do they need permission to be placed in the public right-of-way, or at the entrance to a strip center? Do they just appear in the middle of the night?

I'm taking my first vacation days at the new job next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Angela has a meeting in Traverse City, Michigan, and we're turning it into a quick family getaway. Michigan is just as exotic as you've heard.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Clark and Estes, northwest corner

Built: 1916
Architect: L. Mecker
Cost: $5,500

Almost forgot this one. Yet another dollar store on Clark. If condos ever actually go up at the Adelphi site on the SW corner this place will have it made. Or its rent will increase and it will disappear. Probably the latter.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Clark and Wallen, west corners

Built: 1915
Architect: N. Norman
Cost: $35,000
Built: 1922
Architect: J. P. Hellinger
Cost: $50,000

At the northwest corner is Grande Noodles, a nice addition to the choices in Rogers Park. With a Chinese, Thai and Japanese menu it maybe over reaches a bit. But worth a visit just for their bubble tea.

I’ll be down in Pullman for a historic district workshop meeting on Saturday. This is one of the very few times I’m expected to work on the weekend, but I’ve been assured there will be donuts.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Clark and Albion, east corners

Built: 1915
Architect: Wolff Sextor, Harper & Truex
Cost: $26,511
Built: 1925
Architect: Leschanko & Esser
Cost: $75,000

Given the remaining corners on Clark (30?) I’m starting to combine and simplify. More to follow. I also picked up some additional reference photos this weekend. Nice to have temperatures above 40...

My old friend Fred was in town this morning! We were able to meet up for lunch at a Loop diner. He and Sarah may be moving back to Chicago this spring, which would be pretty cool. How long can anyone live in St. Louis, anyway?

Friday, April 4, 2008

Clark and Ashland

Built: c. 1901

OK, maybe this isn’t technically a corner, but it’s close enough. This is where Ashland reappears in Rogers Park after disappearing at the north end of Andersonville. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to include this, since it only has one finished facade. It generally makes up for it with a huge billboard.

Tomorrow Angela is going to her graduate school reunion downtown, and I’ll meet her there after work. I’ve been promised free food and an open bar. I strongly suspect it’s mainly a way to get alumni donations. Why doesn't my graduate program doesn’t have reunions? I know there’s a bunch of us still in the area. They most I get are invitations to attend strange events and auctions.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Clark and Lunt, southwest corner

Built: 1929

This is the store where we buy 90% of our corn chips. Now and again there’s someone dressed like a big white bear standing out front. I think they’re advertising some sort of tax service. Last time he gave Felix a lollipop. This is also where people sell CDs on the street in summer. They spread them out like tiles on the sidewalk. Someone told me that you don't need a vendor's license to sell books and music, since it's considered a form of free speech. I'd like to think this is true.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Clark and Touhy, northwest corner

Built: 1939

This may be the last remnant of the Jewish community on Clark Street in Rogers Park. You can still get every kind of Kosher meat here, but remember that it’s closed on Saturday.  Apparently I'm too meek to be served at their counter.  Seventy year old grannies kept pushing in front of me.

My mom and dad were in town this week to celebrate mom’s 65th birthday. They took a gaggle of relatives to the Bonefish Grill in Skokie. But it was a great time, and Felix was extremely well-behaved. We picked up a bunch of new toys from Walgreens, so every time he got bored we had something new to keep him busy.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Clark and Estes, southeast corner

Built: 1975

Another great sign on Clark. Not in good shape, though. Everyone understands you have to repair these things now and again, right?

It’s been 8 years since I’ve had to take my clothes to a laundromat. I don’t miss it. But I do miss the enforced solitude. I used to be able to catch up on a lot of work when I was trapped in the laundromat. Maybe now everyone has their iPod and cell phone, so it doesn’t make a difference where they do their laundry.

Happy Spring! Tonight we’re supposed to get 6 inches of snow.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Clark and Greenleaf, northwest corner

Built: 1894

There aren't many buildings in Rogers Park on Clark built before 1900, but this is one of them. Permit dates this at 1894, and that seems about right. This used to be the Rogers Park Post Office, I believe. You can still see a pressed metal eagle at the top of the tower. The owners filled in the storefronts and covered the tower with aluminum. But still a good building. This would be a great restoration, if anyone was interested.

I had the day off today. Yay Presidents' Day! Took Felix to the Tot Lot at Loyola Park Fieldhouse. Crazy cold in Chicago today.

Friday, January 25, 2008

SE Corner of Greenleaf and Clark

Built: 1913

It's the A & T Grill again! This is now officially the best diner in Rogers Park.

This intersection has a brand new stop light, which is awesome. I never knew I could get excited about that sort of thing, but it's made our life much easier. I wonder if it was because of the A&T's popularity? More likely there were just a whole bunch of accidents there.

Last night's windchill was 25 below zero. On Monday it's supposed to be 40 degrees. Yay Chicago!

We're going to a baby shower tomorrow with Felix at the same place where Angela and I were married 5 years ago. Where would we be without cheap Chicago Park District rentals?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Clark and Columbia, northeast corner detail

6701-6707 N. Clark
Clark Street entrance detail

Theres just something about this spaghetti of electrical conduit that I find very appealing... The broken pediment entry is the perfect contrast.

And now in color...

Did I ever mention that these are eventually worked out in color? It's my cut-rate version of grisaille painting, with grey markers and colored pencil. The tone sketch is just to help me simplify things. I tried working entirely in colored marker last year, but it just made everything look so darn cheerful.

Our car is in the shop. After pouring money into it so we could get to Ohio safely (which we did) the steering went out entirely on Monday. And of course, steering isn't covered by the extended warranty.

I submitted a proposal to lead a tour downtown for the "Great Places and Spaces" festival, which offers hundreds of free tours of Chicago in May. I proposed "The LaSalle Street Canyon Tour," and invited Professor Euan to be co-tour guide. I'll look at things from the architectural standpoint, and he can talk about geography and social history. Who wouldn't enjoy that?