I hope you all had a Merry Christmas! I haven't had a lot of time to blog, because December was a very busy month for me. One of the things that kept me busy, was a day trip to Chicago. A week before Christmas, my Mom and I visited Chicago to see the decorations and do some shopping. It took us a little over an hour by train to get down there. We did end up finding some deals, and enjoyed looking through the Macy's Christmas window displays. There's also a nice (and quite crowded) German Christmas Market there.
Along with visiting the traditional Chicago stops, I had an unexpected treat. While walking down State Street, I saw a beautiful, ornamental, and slightly spooky building. The details on this building stopped me in my tracks. I said "What is that building!?" My Mom actually knew the name of it! It was the Carson Pirie Scott Building, which was designed by Louis Sullivan in 1899. Here are a few photos I managed to capture of its details. I say managed, because it was hard to stand still in the crowds and not get any people in my shots!
I had to learn more about this fantastic building, so I got to googling as soon as I got home. Of course, the building has it's own Wikipedia page: Carson Pirie Scott Building Wiki
The basic history of the building is this: The building was created for the retail firm Schlesinger & Mayer in 1899, and expanded and sold to Carson Pirie Scott in 1904. The Carson Pirie Scott company was a department store. I don't remember ever shopping there, but the store was probably a lot like Boston Store. I noticed that the Carson Pirie Scott logo looked exactly like the current Boston Store logo. (It was a Bon-Ton store like Boston Store.)
Anyway, the building existed as a Carson Pirie Scott department store until the year 2007. That's the year the department store chain went out of business. It is now referred to as the Sullivan Center. The rumor online is that there will be a Target store in the building soon.
The building has a steel structure, because it was built after the Chicago Great Fire of 1871. No one wanted a flammable building after that! The gorgeous ornamental details I took photos of are bronze plated cast iron.
Here's some trivia (from the Wiki page) for all you Horror fans:
"The Carson Pirie Scott building was briefly featured in the 1988 horror film Child's Play, as the place where Andy Barclay's mother works. Carson's signage can be found during the scene where Karen Barclay buys the Good Guy doll from the homeless peddler."
The only Chucky movie I've seen is Bride of Chucky, so I'll have to take Wiki's word on that one.
An old photo of the building gives you an idea of its size. I found this picture online and I would guess it's a postcard. Under the photo are the words, "The busiest corner in the world." It still feels that way! If you look at the photo closely, you'll see horse drawn carriages and trolleys.
Here's one of my photos of the building in its current state:
If you've read The Devil in the White City, you're already familiar with the building's architect, Louis Sullivan:
By the way, if you haven't read that book, go and find it! It's one of my favorites. If you are into architecture, true crime, or history in general, you'll love it. You'll learn about several prominent architects, The Chicago World's Fair of 1893, and one of the most notorious serial killers in America's history. I should probably just stop writing about that book, and save the topic for an entire blog post!
This is an absolutely gorgeous video filled with samples of Sullivan's work, set to dramatic music. It's listed as a trailer, so maybe there was a TV special about Sullivan at one point.
You can see even closer details of the Carson Pirie Scott Building, by looking at photos from the recent restoration:
If you find yourself in Chicago, and would like to see this building, you can find it here: 1 South State Street at the corner of East Madison Street
If any of you have an architectural wonder in your area, or have run across one in your travels, I'd love to hear about it!