Vanishing vintage vantages


SE corner of Augusta at Willard Ct.

Condos have since been shoehorned on to this once weedy, asymmetrical lot along the Metra rail line in the River West neighborhood.


Cell tower along West Grand (1998)


Endangered species
White water tower, South Loop (1997.)

"They're as much a part of Chicago as the blues and the Sears Tower, and very visible signs of our industrial past. Yet, one by one, water tanks are vanishing from our skyline.",0,6494179.story?coll=wgntv-coverstory-1


Com-Ed substation on Noble at Kinzie (1998.)
"Turns out this order of Anguilliformes is an untapped source of alternative energy. At the Aqua Toto Gifu aquarium in Kakamigahara, Gifu, an electric eel powers up a Christmas tree each time it touches a cooper wire installed in its tank. The wire sends the eel's natural electricity up to the globes in the tree, which shine down some holiday cheer on couples (Christmas is considered a time for romance in the country, and the eel is expected to be a popular date attraction.) Nearly blind, eels use electricity to shock their prey into submission before they chow down."


Gift where?
1700 block of West Chicago (2000.)

This store was long gone when this image was captured at the turn of the century. The ghost signage has been subsequently finally removed.


Ghost of Jew town
Jerry's at 1247 S. Halsted

This building was razed along with the rest of the old Maxwell Street Market earlier this decade.


The Hub, bub
The former Hub Theater at 1746 W. Chicago

This is now home to a Catholic Charities office. I recall seeing the double feature "House Party" and "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" here in 1990 or 1991.
"I was born in 1952 and remember the HUB Theater very well. Every Sunday my four sisters and I spent the afternoon there to give my parents a break. The floors were always sticky with chewing gum and the theater permeated like popcorn Heaven! As kids we thought we could get away with something without our parents but the HUB had ushers in uniforms with big flashlights and they acted like the secret police (maybe they were Catholic nuns in disquise, I don't know)! Anyone caught talking or goofing off got escorted out the door so we learned quickly to behave ourselves. Next door was Bravermans and their hamburgers were about a pound each. I especially loved the ones that were smothered in onions. Yes!"


Escape plan
Fire escape in back of Uptown Theater @ Magnolia and Lawrence (1999.)

The Uptown, designed by Rapp & Rapp and opened in 1925, is the nation's largest freestanding vintage theater building. It has been dark, as a theater, since 1981. This white elephant of a venue has become a spectacular gothic ruin as water damage, vandalism, and wear and tear slowly but steadily push it beyond the point of rehabilitation.


Skylights at night
Jackson at Canal, Union Station (1997.)


Orange Line
Holden Court at Congress with an Elevated approaching the Loop (1996.)


Ghost sign
Jay's ghost on South Michigan in the South Loop (1997.)


Terra cotta and semi-trailer at the SE corner of Western and Chicago Avenue (1999.)

This handsome, ornate terra cotta structure was most recently home to a Payless Shoe Store. The building has been razed and the lot is currently vacant.


Raised by the dead
St. Boniface cemetery along Lawrence Avenue in Uptown (1999.)


Which way to Uptown?
Uptown-Broadway Building at 4703-15 N. Broadway (1999.)

This wild terra cotta nightmare/fever dream is currently undergoing remodeling.
"The cherubic figure on the entrance of the Uptown Broadway Building surveys the street. The baby-faced sentry, molded from terra- cotta, sees all."


Thank you for not smoking
Smokestack totems at the northern terminus of Ogden Avenue (2000.)


Condo with cityscape
Smokestack and water tower, West Loop (2001.)


Powerhouse theme
Lathrop Homes powerhouse as seen from Elston Avenue, (2000.)


Salisbury Rubber
Water tower as cell tower, Kinzie Industrial Corridor (1999.)


Gears and tower
Foote Building on Aberdeen, between Lake Street and Fulton Market (2000.)


Awaiting conversion
The original Goldblatt's Department Store, on Chicago Avenue just west of Ashland (late 1990's.)

*This historic landmark building was scheduled to be razed until neighborhood activists successfully persuaded the City of Chicago to rehab it. It now houses City of Chicago administrative offices.


The Office Equipment Company
Water tower for the Office Equipment Company, at Lake and Franklin, in the Loop (1997.)


View of the previous CPD HQ at 11th and State as seen alongside the Roosevelt stop on the Orange Line (1995.)

*This dungeon has since been razed.


Paving bricks
Looking north down Beasley (between Elston and the Kennedy) at North Avenue (1999.)


- Curtis Locke