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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Walking the Downtown Loop and Magnificent Mile, Chicago, Illinois: May 1-3, 2023

Chicago River with Wrigley Building (clock face) beyond the Wabash Ave Bridge

On our way to Columbus, Ohio, we stopped for a few days in Chicago. I've never been to Chicago and Dan may not have been to the city since he graduated from Northwestern School of Law about 55 years ago. It was time to visit.

Chicago is a beautiful city--at least the parts we visited. The first two days were gray and a little wet, but we didn't let a little weather stop us from walking all over the Downtown Loop to admire and slip into historic buildings, seek out public art, and spend some time in art museums. 

Gentlemen by artist Ju Ming, 2015
In our short time in Chicago, we managed to walk through Millennium Park several times. The Cloud (bean) always had an audience and everyone seemed as fascinated as I was about its surface and how it captured and warped whatever it reflected. The underside view resembles Rorschach test images.

Tulips everywhere
Wandering around, we stumbled upon the Palmer House Hilton on State St. The first Palmer House Hotel, grand opening September 26, 1870, one year later became a victim of the Great Chicago Fire. The second Palmer House hotel, relocated slightly, opened in 1873. It is the nation's oldest continually operating hotel. Since 1873, three bronze peacock doors (for the House of Peacock) designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany have stood in the hotel. Each door weighs more than a half-ton and all three are valued at more than $1 mil. Two large, gold candelabra statues also designed by Tiffany stand at the base of the stairs which lead to the Empire Dining Room. 

Federal Plaza consists of three elegant, "less is more" Mies van der Rohe designed buildings. 
Alexander Calder's Flamingo (1974) in Federal Plaza
Detail of Marc Chagall mosaic, Four Seasons, at Chase Tower Plaza (1974)
Chicago Picasso (1967) Daley Plaza
We entered Daley Plaza building and were allowed to wander about. The courtrooms are on the upper floors. On the 30th floor there is a great view through the windows of the Lake Michigan and surrounding skyscrapers. 

The steeple in the front belongs to the Chicago Temple ( United Methodist Church. It is possible to have a tour of the sanctuary on Sundays after services or a tour of the sky church (the two floors under the steeple). The website has dates and times--we missed all of them.

A lovely Miro sculpture stands unobtrusively in a quiet alcove to the left of the Chicago Temple.

Miro's Chicago (formerly The Sun, the Moon and One Star) 
Above the entrance to 120 N LaSalle St and across from City Hall is a huge mosaic designed by artist Roger Brown. 

The Flight of Daedalus and Icarus
There are two beautiful domes inside of the the Chicago Cultural Center (formerly Chicago Public Library). One is made of Louis Comfort Tiffany's fish-scale shaped favrile glass. Approximately 30,000 pieces of glass make up this dome. It is 38 feet in diameter and spans more than 1,000 square feet. It was installed in 1897 and restored in 2008. It is magnificent. It is on the third floor.

1897 Tiffany Dome of fish-scale shaped favrile glass

The other dome also installed in 1897 is on the second floor in the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) Hall. This Tiffany designed, but not made, dome is 40-feet in diameter and contains 62,000 pieces of art glass. Also, magnificent.

Dan scheduled a tour at Northwestern's School of Law. To get there we walked the beautiful Magnificent Mile portion of Michigan Avenue. The day was clear, warm and tulips were everywhere. 

The School of Law, founded in 1859, has changed a bit in the last 55 years, but some of the more historical rooms remain. After a donation of $100 million dollars from J. Pritzker, the law school is now known as the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law. The primary intent of such a large donation was to ensure that the brightest students could get a legal education at one of the top law schools in the country, regardless of ability to pay. Pritzker is the 43rd governor of Illinois. 

A couple of the classrooms in the new sections have views of Lake Michigan. There is a peaceful inner courtyard where a bust of Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens (1920-2019) was about to be inaugurated. Stevens was a 1947 alum of Northwestern.


We weren't able to go into many rooms because students were in finals and allowed to take their final anywhere they would be comfortable. The graduation was scheduled for May 12 at the Chicago Theater in the Downtown Loop.

Back on the Magnificent Mile and surrounded by very contemporary, skyscraper structures is a Gothic revival, castle-like structure that was created to conceal a standpipe.

By the 1860s, Chicago’s water supply was inadequate for its growing population. To solve the problem, Chief Engineer Ellis S. Chesbrough looked to Lake Michigan. Near-shore lake water was too polluted to be used because of runoff from the Chicago River. This prompted an innovative solution. Chesbrough designed a water supply tunnel system running nearly two miles offshore to an intake crib. When the tunnel was completed in 1867, lake water was pumped back to shore through a pumping station. Because the original pumps produced pressure surges and pulsation in the water, a standpipe system was added in 1869

Chicago's Standpipe
The Chicago River as 37 operating moveable bridges. Beginning at 9:00 am they are raised sequentially Saturdays and Wednesdays. Each bridge opening takes between 8 and 12 minutes. Each year in the spring and fall there is an annual Bridge Lift of 27 bridges raised in sequence by bridge tenders to allow sailboats to move from or to boat storage and harbors in Lake Michigan.

Wabash Bridge a "Chicago Style" Moveable Bridge

We stayed at the perfectly located and reasonably priced Royal Sonesta Hotel. They graciously put us in a room on the 26th floor with a view of the Chicago River. The only unfortunate part was that the hotel was across the river from ..., and every time I looked out the window, there was that reminder of something I'd prefer not to ever be reminded of. The author of the bridge graffiti agrees.

Being high above the Chicago River was a perfect place to take photos of city lights.

Marina City Towers (on the right)
Tomorrow more exploring and an architectural tour on the Chicago River.