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Showing posts from November, 2019

The Other White City

The entrance at the White City amusement park on south 63rd Street in Chicago. Published by Curt Teich & Co., Inc., of Chicago. The name “White City” often confuses people. The “White City” wasn’t just a nickname used to describe the beautiful neoclassical structures at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, it was also the name of a popular amusement park that opened up in Chicago about a decade later. The amusement park, which tried to recapture the same scenic elements as the Columbian Exposition, opened in 1905 and was built on the site of a former cornfield at 63 rd Street and South Parkway (now Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive). While there was no admission to get into the White City, people purchased tickets for special features such as the circus show or the arcade. The park also had a ballroom, roller rink, beer garden and boardwalk, among other attractions. A view of the grounds and buildings at White City. Publisher is unknown. The park was prob

The Second City on the Third Coast

People are bathing at a sandy beach on South 76th Street in Chicago, likely in the 1920s. Published by Max Rigot Selling Co., Chicago. European explorers who first encountered Lake Michigan and the four other Great Lakes described the huge bodies of water as “inland seas.” In a way they were correct. These glacial lakes contain 90 percent of the fresh water in the United States and 20 percent of all surface water in the world, according to environmental groups. And Chicago, which is located near the southwestern portion of Lake Michigan, was built at its current site for only one reason: to use the resources of this huge freshwater lake for drinking, fishing, building and transportation. Some people today refer to the Great Lakes region as the “third coast,” noting that the nearby state of Michigan borders more coastline than any other state–yes, even more shoreline than California and Florida. Chicago has about 28 miles of shoreline on the lakefront. The city also has o

Miss Buckingham and Her Fountain

A colorful western sky at the Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain in Grant Park. Published by Curt Teich & Co., Inc.  This is a story about a sister’s love for her brother. It was her love and wealth that helped transform an empty parcel of land in Grant Park into a beautiful oasis with a magnificent fountain. Kate Sturges Buckingham donated one million dollars in the 1920s for the construction of the fountain in memory of her brother, Clarence Buckingham, who died in 1913. Kate and Clarence made their fortune by investing in grain elevators, real estate and steel. They were also avid art collectors and donated many objects to the Art Institute of Chicago.The Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain is one of the largest fountains in the world. Architect Edward H. Bennett designed the fountain and French artist Marcel Francois Loyau produced the sculptural elements. The fountain was made out of granite and pink Georgia marble. The lower part of the fountain includes fou

A Vacation-Style Resort in the Big City

The Edgewater Beach Hotel was a popular place for celebrities to stay at the time. Some of them include Charlie Chaplin, Frank Sinatra and civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. Published by Curt Teich Co., Inc., of Chicago. Soon after my grandparents were married in the 1940s, they took a cab to the 5300 block of N. Sheridan Road, just like so many other newlyweds living in the Chicago area did at that time, to celebrate their honeymoon. The Edgewater Beach Hotel was a vacation-style resort in the big city. The taller of the two sunset-pink French-Rivera style buildings had 400 rooms and resembled a cross. The building was constructed in 1916, and a second building with 600 additional rooms opened up just eight years later. It was designed by Benjamin H. Marshall and Charles E. Fox. The hotel featured beautiful reception areas, ballrooms, hallways and promenade areas. It also had restaurants, cocktail lounges and a dance floor with live entertainment every even