...on the web, that is.
I got sick of trying to make Blogger show my photos right, so I got lazy and haven't been posting. But I really do have a lot of cool stuff to show you guys, and I can't keep it in any longer, so I'm moving to Tumblr. Here's my new blog address: http://oldcoolthings.tumblr.com . Hope to see you there! -Loosh
Saturday, January 1, 2011
...on the web, that is.
Thursday, April 29, 2010
While wandering around in Oak Park one morning, we discovered this. Not sure what to make of it. I would call it "Hobbit style" but I think it's officially some sort of English Cottage style. I can't help wondering how they roof it - and what do the rafters look like?
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
If there is a truly forgotten architectural mecca in Chicagoland, it is the town of Blue Island, just south of Chicago. It has neither had the redevelopment pressure to have teardowns, nor has it had the disinvestment that prompts neglect and arson. Rather, for the past 170 years, it has been stable but working class. That is the perfect environment for preservation.
Blue Island has much architectural grandeur, and you will see some of it here in the future, because I will definitely be exploring it more. But, just as interesting is its amazing array of ancient infrastructure. We were wandering around town one day and came across this old bridge. Obviously it's seen better days. Actually, it's kind of collapsed. But, if you look closely, you can see that the roadbed used to be wood planks. The supports are steel or iron, in patterns much like those you see on the oldest parts of the 'L'. So, I would date this bridge back to perhaps 1900, just as a guess.
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Textures. An old brick hotel morphed and mutated by the materials of its modernist neighbor across the street. Awesomeness.
Monday, April 26, 2010
This Chicago Landmark is fairly well-known, but it's the first time I've seen it in person. Located at 58th & Lafayette in the Englewood neighborhood, it is a three story brick building. At first glance, and really at any glance, it's a fairly ordinary Chicago apartment building. There are a couple of reasons that it was made a city landmark, though. First of all, it predates the Chicago Fire, though not by much. Property records date its construction to 1869 or 1870. Also unique is that it was built as a country house, on a huge open lot, before Englewood even became a suburb, not to mention an urban neighborhood.
As you can see, though, it is in sorry condition. In 1895, it was divided into apartments and kept that arrangement until its abandonment and decay. The Englewood neighborhood was an extremely vibrant neighborhood up until the 1950s, but since then it has fallen about as hard as an urban neighborhood can fall. It has among the highest crime rates in the city and among its highest rates of foreclosure and abandonment. It has become something of an urban prairie, though not to the extent seen in neighborhoods of some rust belt cities, such as Detroit. The house has taken the brunt of the ravages of the neighborhood around it. Neglect and arson have taken a deep toll. However, it still stands, though mostly gutted. Ironically, though, when it was built 140 years ago, the house stood alone and stands mostly alone today.
An idea that has sprouted from that ironic state is to create an urban park that mostly mimics the old country estate in its form, about eight acres in size. This would require very little eminent domain and demolition. The idea is being actively recruited as part of a plan for a brighter future for the neighborhood surrounding it, though it will probably take many years to actually realize.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
In honor of VersionFest 2010, or perhaps because I think that Bridgeport Coffeehouse is one of the best coffee houses in the city, I was walking down Morgan Street in Bridgeport this morning. Walking down that street, it is pretty obvious why artists have selected it as their next frontier. Lots of beautiful old building spared the destruction that is the usual wrath of time. The street is full of Czech gables and iron fronts. Even more rarely, though, is a sighting of intact prism glass in the city. For some reason, at least in economically stable parts of the city, it has become increasingly rare. Prism glass used to be quite popular in storefronts before the widespread introduction of electric lighting, and was used to throw light into the back reaches of a long, dark shop spaces. In the inner suburbs, such as Oak Park, you see it a bit more often.
Anyways, this is the fabulously forgotten building at 3143-3145 S. Morgan:
Friday, April 23, 2010
The Chicago 'L' has been described as the eighth wonder of the world. How many cities, after all, have flying trains?? In reality though, the 'L' is very much an earthbound system, and one with twelve decades of history. Over those many years, it has had things tied to it, riveted onto it, welded to it, strapped to it, and crashed into it. It has been many colors over the years. The whole thing was that putrid yellow color until they painted it maroon last year, actually. Such are the necessary truths, or perhaps necessary evils, in order for a Victorian-era train system to enter the twenty-first century. The many layers of its fabric sure make for interesting perspectives.