Chicago Off The Beaten Path Tips by Dabs Top 5 Page for this destination
Chicago Off The Beaten Path: 435 reviews and 641 photos
I've passed by the Charnley-Persky House before, access is only available to the public on a couple of days and at very limited times so I had never been inside. We were able to visit during Chicago's Open House weekend when they open up many places like this for free. I imagine that the paid tour is more comprehensive, the tour listed on the website says it takes 60 minutes and we were done visiting in less than 20 minutes. The noon tour on Wednesday is free, otherwise the admission is currently $10.
The house was designed in a colloboration of Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright when Wright was working under Sullivan, you can see evidence of both architects style, the ornamentation that Sullivan became known for and the horizontal planes that Wright would become known for later in his Prairie style. I wasn't overly impressed with the house, it's not that large of a house once you factor in the
The house was built for James Charnley in 1891-1892, Seymour Persky was the philanthropist that saved the house. It is located in the Gold Coast neighborhood of Chicago at 1365 N. Astor Street
We 1st visited Beverly probably around 20 years ago when we used to go out to Maple Tree Inn when it was located in Chicago on Western, we would drive down Longwood and gape at the beautiful mansions up on the ridge before heading to dinner. Once a year we would participate in the History/Mystery bicycle tour and then they stopped doing the bike ride, Maple Tree Inn moved to Blue Island and we stopped going to Beverly
So I was pleasantly surprised when Groupon had an offer for the The Beverly Area Planning Association’s (BAPA) History Mystery Bike Tour, they had revived it in 2009 after taking 10 years off. I was even more pleasantly surprised when we had a beautiful sunny 80 degree day in October. The bike ride is not timed, you fill out clue sheets while riding through the neighborhood, one year we even won a bicycle.
The southwest side neighborhood is filled with beautiful large homes in many American styles, Victorian, Queen Anne, Colonial, Georgian, Art Moderne, Prairie Style, Chicago Bungalow, and more with buildings designed by well known architects Frank Lloyd Wright, Daniel Burnham, and Howard Van Doren Shaw.
Memorial to Potter and Bertha Palmer
Last visit June 2011
We did this tour with the Architecture Foundation the 1st time we went and it was a bit heavy on the architecture and a bit light on the history of the people buried here. A better idea might be to pick up a guide at the entrance and self tour which is what we did in June 2011. You can print out some of the histories from their website and easily self tour.
You can park at the entrance, they told us there that they recommend about 2 hours to self tour. We only had about an hour before they locked the gates at 4:30pm so we drove to the far end and parked, walking around the section near the lake with the most famous people buried nearby.
Graceland, located at the NE corner of Irving Park and Clark, was established in 1860 and covers 119 acres. It was designed as a garden cemetery where people could visit the dead in a park-like setting.
Many famous Chicagoans are buried in Graceland including businessmen such as George Pullman (Pullman sleeping car), Marshall Field (retail), Potter Palmer and Phillip Armour (meat packing) and architects such as Daniel Burnham, Louis Sullivan and Ludwig Mies Van Der Rohe. Many of the tombs were designed by Louis Sullivan as well, his own gravestone is very subdued in comparison to those he built for others. Daniel Burnham's is located on an island in the lake and is merely a rock with his name and dates on it.
In addition to the more well known residents' graves, also be sure to locate the monument to Dexter Graves, an eight foot tall bronze by sculptor Lorado Taft called "Eternal Silence". It's eerie black face, hidden with the green patina of the robes is quite haunting.
Sometimes even I get shown a new thing or two about Chicago, I knew that Oz Park existed and I knew that there was a statue of the tin man on one of the corners but I didn't know that he was joined by the scarecrow, cowardly lion, Dorothy and Toto. Ed (Kaspian) had this on his list of Chicago things to visit on this trip so we drove up to Lincoln Park and wandered around the park to find the four statues. Sadly, there is not a yellow brick road running through it.
The park is named in honor of L. Frank Baum, the author of 14 Oz books, the 1st of which became the classic film "The Wizard of Oz" with Judy Garland. Baum was not born in Chicago, nor did he die in Chicago, but he did live in Chicago when he wrote the 1st Oz book. He also didn't live Lincoln Park where Oz Park is located but rather several miles away in Humboldt Park. The statues were done by artisit John Kearney, the Tin Man was the 1st to be installed in 1995 followed by the Cowardly Lion in 2001, the Scarecrow in 2005 and finally Dorothy and Toto in 2007. Parts of the park are named after parts of the Oz books, the "Emerald Garden" and "Dorothy's Playlot."
Oz Park is located in the Lincoln Park neighborhood at 2021 North Burling Street which is between Lincoln Avenue and Halsted.
Heller House, 1897, Frank Lloyd Wright
November 15, 2008 update, now that Barack Obama is our President elect, you can no longer get anywhere near his mansion, the street is closed off to non residents and there are police and secret service everywhere
As part of the Great Places and Spaces weekend, we did a tour of the southside neighborhood of Kenwood with a guide from the Chicago Architecture Foundation. The CAF gives a similar tour several times a year.
According to our guide, Kenwood became popular as a place for the wealthy to live after the area around 18th Street and Prairie Avenue fell out of favor. It was developed as a suburb around 1850-1880, it was annexed by the city of Chicago in 1889. Some of the areas famous former residents include Sears Roebuck executives Julius Rosenwald and Max Adler (as in Adler Planetarium), meatpacker Gustavus Swift, Nation of Islam's Louis Farrakhan (the Elijah Muhammad House) and boxer Muhammed Ali.
We started the tour at the K.A.M. Isaiah Israel Temple, 1100 E. Hyde Park Boulevard, which happens to be right across the street from Barack Obama's mansion on Greenwood (psst, Mr. Obama, you might want to get rid of some of those dead bushes on Mr. Rezko's, I mean your property), you could see all the cars filled with Secret Service agents. From there we did a 2 hour and 20 minute walking tour through an area filled with mansions of incredibly diverse architectural styles.
Most of the houses are mansions dating back to the late 1800s, early 1900s but Kenwood went through a period where it wasn't such a desirable place to live and many of the houses fell into disrepair and were eventually torn down and replaced, some with styles that integrate into the neighborhood, some that were definitely reflective of the time when they were built.
For me the highlight was the several examples of houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, two of which I never would have guessed were his designs, the George Blossom House at 4858 S. Kenwood (1892) and the Warren McArthur house at 4852 S. Kenwood (1892). The Isadore Heller house at 5132 S. Woodlawn (1897) which resembles the Prairie style architecture that he designed in the early 1900s. You will also see examples of many other styles including Prairie style by architects other than Wright, Tudor, Colonial Revival, Queen Anne, Italianate and several modern houses.
General Logan statue in Grant Park
The statue is of General John Alexander Logan who fought in the Civil War on the side of the Union (north) and went on to be an Illinois Congressman. But what I thought was interesting about his story was that he came up with the idea for Memorial Day, a Federal holiday that falls on the last Monday in May every year.
The first Memorial Day was celebrated in 1868 although back then it was known as Decoration Day. In 1882 it was changed to Memorial Day and it became a Federal Holiday in 1971.
Also interesting is that it was designed by two men, one to sculpt the man and the other to sculpt the horse.
It was unveiled in 1897 and is in Grant Park near the corner of Michigan Avenue and 9th Street. It shows a triumphant Logan on his horse holding an enemy (Confederate) banner seized while he was in command during battle.
I snapped this picture thinking it was a statue of Civil War general Ulysses S. Grant since it is sitting in Grant Park. I'm sure most people passing by, if they give it any thought at all, assume the same thing. A statue of Grant resides in Lincoln Park near the zoo, Grant Park was not established at the time the statue was dedicated.
Next ride July 10th, 2010, start time changed to midnight and the route changed to include a portion of Chinatown and some west side neighborhoods
Held on the 2nd Saturday of July (Saturday night/Sunday morning), thousands of bicyclists gather for the L.A.T.E. ride, a 25 mile ride through Chicago's neighborhoods and lakefront. Most riders finish right about the time the sun is coming up. If you're visiting from out of town, they do have a program for bike rentals. They've been doing this ride since 1989, in the earlier years in was called the Insomnia Cycle, now it's the L.A.T.E ride (long after twilight ends). In past years, the ride has started at 1:30am, in 2010 they moved it to midnight which actually was better for me sleepwise although the traffic was heavier.
We've been doing this ride annually since 1996, every year I whine and moan as my husband is shaking me awake at midnight but once you start riding and get the adrenaline going, it's a lot of fun, especially when you ride through the still heavily populated Greektown section of Chicago with all the drunks cheering you on. I thought it was kind of funny this year when my husband, after completing the ride, said "That wasn't so bad" instead of "Wasn't that fun?" Just another sign that we are getting old!!!! But not so old that I still can't zip past some of those 20 something year olds, just call me Speed Racer!!!
The snacks used to be better in the earlier years, slices of pizza, ice cream and Ann Sather's cinnamon rolls have been replaced by bananas and water that tasted like toothpaste. We decided to skip the included breakfast which someone said was a beverage and apple slices. My complaint lodged with the Friends of the Park has obviously been ignored as it seems to get worse every year.
I don't think it has ever rained on us, every year they announce that they selected the date because it was the least rainy Saturday night. The entrance fee goes to support the Friends of the Park.
The Loyola Museum of Art is a little known art museum right on the Magnificent Mile nestled in between the Park Hyatt and the Hershey store. I had an hour to kill before meeting up with a friend and decided to pop in to see two of their current special exhibits on the sculptures of Rodin and a Paris-Chicago photo exhibit which run through August 16, 2009. Both exhibits were interesting, the Rodin exhibit explained a lot about Rodin's life and showed how a bronze sculpture was created from start to finish.
It's a very small museum, the Rodin exhibit occupied two rooms and the photography exhibit three rooms, upstairs is their permanent collection which is mostly religious art. I didn't find the permanent collection interesting with the exception of a couple of pieces but I am not a religious art enthusiast. But I will certainly keep my eye open for further special exhibits.
Admission is currently a suggested $6
Located at 820 N. Michigan Avenue, just behind the Water Tower
Tuesday: 11:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. (free admission)
Wednesday - Sunday: 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Free Guided Tours: noon and 2:00 p.m.
2009 dates July 24-26
Located a mere 1/2 hour away from Chicago is the small town of Whiting Indiana. Held the last full weekend of July every year, Pierogi Fest is full of fun things to see and do-the Pierogi Parade, Eastern Bloc jeopardy, ethnic dancers, not to mention tons of pierogis! Pierogi Fest has received national attention appearing on cable on both the Food Network and the Travel Channel.
In 2003, fellow Vter Dave (dlandt) and his wife Miyuki came down for the festivities and in 2004 Julie (travelmad478), Sam (sambarnett) and Katja (pedersdottir) came to Whiting for the fun filled weekend! In 2005, Sam (sambarnett) dressed up as a babushka lady and marched in the parade with me and was quite a hit with the ladies ;-) 2006 brought the dynamic duo from Windsor, Hansi (Waalewiener) and Lori (LoriPori), plus Jen (Coair13) and her son Ethan (Coair19), Hansi and Ethan were a delight as babushka ladies!
Go have a look at my Whiting page for more info and some pics.
On the corner of 94th and Ewing (Schuba's site lists this one at 92nd and Ewing but it is 94th and Ewing), there's a bar with a globe above the door with the words "Trademark" and "Schlitz". This is one of several former Schlitz, a Milwaukee based brewer, tied-houses that can be found in Chicago, the other notable ones are Shuba's and Southport Lanes.
A tied-house was an arrangement many brewers had with their customers. The company rented these taverns to merchants and provided them with all of the equipment to run a tavern in exchange for a promise to sell Schlitz products exclusively.
The tied-house inspired the saying "I own you lock, stock and barrel." In a tied-house arrangement, the brewer advanced money for tavern construction (lock), provided the fixtures (stock), and an initial inventory of beer (barrel).
We recently came across another as we were traveling in the Uptown neighborhood on Broadway at Winona, apparently there are a lot of these left from many breweries according to Forgotten Chicago
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