Open House Chicago 2013

October marked a second successful Open House Chicago event by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, where historic sites and businesses opened their doors to the public for one grand weekend. I mentioned it in a post last year, at their inaugural event (

My personal affinity to Tribune Tower led me to visit there again. Instead of the penthouse office they opened up last year, this time they displayed one of the old refurbished press rooms in the basement. The sight was rather underwhelming, but I enjoyed seeing the track lines for carts that at one time carried enormous rolls of newsprint for the paper. If you have 20 minutes to kill, watch this 1937 educational video on the process, entitled “Trees to Tribune”(

The track lines for carts carrying newsprint

The track lines for carts carrying newsprint


Imagining those giant paper rolls running down the underground tracks

This next picture is actually my favorite, because I was so proud of myself to have spotted this significant cornerstone in the Tribune building. I can’t recommend people to go see it, as its in a spot not technically on public property. But the cornerstone is located below street level on Wacker, by the employee parking lot. I’ve juxtaposed it with a historic photo of Robert McCormick at an outdoor ceremony in the same location in 1920. So much history is here.


An unseen corner of this building, when it was first dedicated!

After leaving Tribune Tower with my friends, my zig-zagged our way down and around Michigan Ave, visiting historic interiors like the Monroe Building and Fine Arts Building, and the swanky office of a modern architectural firm. Some Open House Chicago (OHC) locations are always open to the public, but the event gives you the excuse to walk around and explore. Below is a picture of the Empire Room at the Palmer House Hotel, where a set of Bertha Palmer’s extravagant gold-rimmed dinner service was on display.


Inside the publicly accessible Palmer House Hotel

Wanting to also visit something that was not normally accessible, we checked out the Cliff Dwellers private club dedicated to the arts, on the penthouse of the Symphony Center. As far as private clubs go, the interior was rather sparse and reserved, but illustrious members have included Louis Sullivan, Frank Lloyd Wright, Carl Sandburg, Lorado Taft and many others. The most impressive part was the view from the terrace, with all of the lakefront laid out before your eyes!


Dining room of the private club, the “Cliff Dwellers”, dedicated to the arts


View from the terrace of the Cliff Dwellers private club

These are just a few highlights, but I hope to be back next year to explore a new neighborhood. Afterall, its so fun to act like a tourist in your own city!

New Challenges and Opportunities

Now that I’ve returned home from my year in the UK, I’m faced with different kinds of challenges. For instance, paying off all those amazing weekend trips around the UK and Europe! Job hunting is never something one looks forward to doing. But I am grateful that I’ve found two temporary part-time positions that will keep me occupied into the new year.

So, my new life back home in Chicago-land is slightly less stimulating than my year abroad, but there are still things to boast about. Like cheering for Chicago’s soccer team (many of you didn’t even know Chicago has a soccer team, right?), attending ‘Open House Chicago‘ at historic sites across the city, and getting my own personal tour through the Sears/Willis Tower (it will always be the Sears Tower to me!). Even in the most familiar of places, there are always new things to discover!

The ‘Firehouse’ cheering section at a Chicago Fire game. Notice the Chicago skyline in the background.

The view from the rarely-open 24th floor office of the Tribune Tower.

View towards Lake Michigan from the Sears Tower.

Klas, reportedly the oldest Czechoslovakian restaurant in the US. Yum!