Wednesday, March 31, 2010

2160 N. Ashland- Hayes Mechanical

Every day I take the Metra Union Pacific North line from Rogers Park to Ogilvie Station and back.  It's the best commute I've ever had.  Twenty minutes each way.  I can read, or doze, or stare out the window.  The view from the train can't be found anywhere else.  You go right through the city's backyard, including some very interesting industrial areas.  I've always regretted that the windows have a heavy green tint.  But last week I made an interesting discovery.  If you take a photo and run it through an auto adjust filter the green disappears and (except for reflections) you've got a fairly decent reference photo.

So I thought I would put together a series of views from my commute.  And maybe even from some other Metra lines. 

The factory complex above was built in 1945, and was most recently part of Hayes Mechanical.  Their website doesn't give this address, so maybe they've relocated.  And there are never any cars in the parking lot. 

At first I couldn't figure out why it was so appealing.   But looking a bit closer it approximates an urban plaza.  There are a variety of textures and materials and a pleasing sense of enclosure.  It probably helps that it's paved with old gravel with grass growing up through it.  But I keep imagining it with awnings and cafe tables.  As if Chicago needs more of those.


  1. You seem to be one of the few who still use public transport. I do too. And I really enjoy sitting in the train and looking out. Although sometimes I so wish that some people have some civic sense as not to talk so loudly over their phones at public places.
    But a wonderful experience anyways.

  2. I love the train. No matter where I end up I'll remember this as my best commute. As far as cell phone go, I've become a terrible eavesdropper. To the point where sometimes I want to take notes. -Larry

  3. Talk about loud cell phone users..
    I can write essays on them!!!
    I dread if one comes and sits next to me..
    and it does happen sometimes!!

    Okay now that a hint that if you are one of those cell phone addicts on the train,
    you know what people like me feel about it!!
    I do hope you are not!!

  4. Beautiful drawing of the building!
    My non-profit organization, the ReBuilding Exchange just moved in last month.
    We salvage old building materials and make them available to the public for reuse. A nice use for this old gem of an industrial building, in my opinion.

  5. As I write this, it's being torn down & will be turned into a Mariano's grocery store.

    It was however built for the Starck Piano Company & on weekends, people looking to buy pianos at the company store, which was at the NE corner of the building were allowed to wander the factory floor & look at the way they were built.
    I got to do that when I was 10, in 1959 or 60.