A few weeks ago my girlfriend Tricia and I took a random Friday off to play “Chicago tourist.” There are so many places to see and visit here in Chicago, and as natives we often take opportunities to take advantage of them for granted.
To satiate our taste for some culture and design, Tricia treated us to a Chicago Architecture tour via Summer of George (operated by Chicago Lakefront Cruises). I have to say it was truly fantastic.
We lucked out with gorgeous weather and we saw the wonderful architecture from an entirely new perspective. I also learned quite a bit over the 90 minute excursion to boot.
Did you know?
- The Chicago Fire of 1871 was tragic, wiping out more than 2,000 acres of land and homes. Yet as horrific as it was, there was a silver lining. It afforded an opportunity for the world’s architects. Competitively inspired, they designed and rebuilt the city with a stunning quickness, desperate to leave their architectural mark.
- On July 24, 1915, the SS Eastland capsized in the Chicago River. It was too top-heavy from its passengers and lifeboats. In total, 844 passengers and crew perished in what was the greatest loss of life on the Great Lakes to this day. Most of those who were killed were in their 20’s, and entire families were lost in the tragedy.
- A pack of cigarettes inspired the design of the Sears (Willis) Tower. Bruce Graham and Fazlur Rahman Khan were working tirelessly to determine how they could make the building as tall as it is without impeding upon its structural integrity and aesthetics. It’s said that Graham, in his frustration, dropped a pack of cigarettes. They fell on the ground in a manner that inspired the building’s design!
I invite you to have a gander at my favorite photos of the tour, in no particular order. If you have any questions about the tour, please let me know in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer them.