Jul 212016

125 W. Fullerton Parkway
Lincoln Park
Chicago, Illinois

Alfred Caldwell's Lily Pond

Chicago’s official motto is “Urbs in Horto,” which translates to “City in a Garden”, much of the garden aspects of this town can be attributed to Alfred Caldwell and his mentor Jens Jensen.

Lily Pond is the work of Alfred Caldwell. During the depression, Caldwell worked on and off for the Chicago Park District. It was a tumultuous relationship, but it was also steady work. In 1936, under the guise of the Park District and with WPA money Caldwell designed the Lily Pool.

Caldwell suggested that “besides being a nature garden,” the Lily Pool is “a geological statement.”

He explains: “The landscape of all Chicago was once a lake formed by the melting ice of the Late Wisconsin Glacier. These dammed-up waters finally broke through the moraine ridge at the southwest extremity of the area. This surging torrent carved out the underlying strata of Niagara limestone. The present Des Plaines River, in part follows that channel; and the stone bluffs are a veritable statement of the natural forces that created the terrain of Chicago.”

The front gate

The front gate

You enter this small oasis through a stunning wood and stone gate. Originally there was to be a Prairie style lantern at the entrance to the park, placed within the stone entryway, this was eliminated from the original project.

Prairie River Alfred CaldwellThe center of the park is a large body of water, it was called the prairie river by Caldwell. The intent was to emulate the melted glacial waters that had cut through the Niagara limestone. The curved shape gives the illusion of a larger space with views and scenery continuously changing.

On the northwest side, to the right as you enter, Caldwell created a small waterfall out of slabs of limestone. Caldwell suggested that, “A body of water presumes a source. Hence the waterfall.”

Lily Pool Alfred Caldwell

The waterfall

On the southeast side of the river is a circular round bench made of stone called a council ring. Although Caldwell included council rings in many of his park plans, this is the only one in Chicago that followed his exact specifications.

Circle at Lily Pond

The Council Ring

The most prominent feature is the wood pavilion. This Prairie style edifice is often wrongly attributed to Frank Lloyd Wright.

Lily Pool by Alfred Caldwell

Two stone and wood shelters are joined together by a large horizontal wood beam, to Caldwell “The spreading horizontal structure is like a tree, rooted in a rock ledge.”

The Lily Pool in Lincoln Park is the most fully realized surviving example of the work of landscape architect Alfred Caldwell. The disciple of renowned Prairie style landscape designer and conservationist, Jens Jensen, Caldwell “…imbibed deeply of Jensen’s philosophy. A total respect for the processes of nature was the basis. The landscape architect was an artist, or more correctly a poet, who would interpret and reveal nature, by using its materials.” …    Richard Guy Wilson – Commonwealth Professor in Architectural History at the University of Virginia

There are two interesting stories regarding this project by Caldwell. The first is regarding the plantings.

The park service had decided to cut the budget for the wildflower plantings that Caldwell has proposed.

Caldwell later told the story: “So not to be beat, I talked it over with my wife. I had recently taken out an insurance policy for $5,000 dollars. I cashed in my insurance policy. I got $250 dollars. I went up to Wisconsin. I hired a truck. I had three or four people and they worked like mad for a whole day and a half. I loaded all these thousand and thousands of plants. I loaded them and brought them in all the way from Sauk County, Wisconsin. When I got back to the Lincoln Park Lily Pond, it was 6:00 pm on a Saturday night. We spread all the stuff out on the side of the slopes where they were to go. In the morning we planted them all. We finished the whole thing by 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. The lily pond was finished. The Juneberry trees were in blossom. It was like paradise.

Lily Pool by Alfred CaldwellA second story, that comes down through Paul Finfer, a student of Caldwell’s, is of three men that would not only have a impact on Chicago and the world of architecture, but on Caldwell’s career itself.

Caldwell explains that while working on the pool three mysterious men in black overcoats stood and watched. “They spoke in German. The tall one could speak a little English.”

As the men studied the pavilion at the Lily Pool, Caldwell approached. They pointed to the pavilion and asked, “Frank Lloyd Wright?” He thumped himself on the chest and replied, “No, Alfred Caldwell.” Caldwell remembered that one of the men was also intrigued with the way plants were growing between the crevices of the rocks. The three men left, and Caldwell “often wondered mightily about them.” It wasn’t until a couple of years later that Caldwell learned that they were Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Ludwig Hilberseimer and Walter Peterhans, the famous architects and planners who fled Nazi Germany to settle in Chicago to teach at the Armour Institute (now Illinois Institute of Chicago).


Sadly, by 1946 the Park district had allowed the nearby zoo to encroach upon the pool. Exotic birds left droppings in the pool and destroyed much of the vegetation. This allowed invasive plants to take over cutting down on the sunlight, causing erosion and destroying the design created by Caldwell.

In 1997 a non-profit group was formed to raise funds and work with the park department to restore the Lily Pool.

During this period the original entry gate was replaced. White oak barn wood was used to match the original and photographs were carefully studied to ensure accuracy of the elements. Also, during the restoration, the light fixture was recreated and placed as Caldwell had envisioned.

Caldwell's light fixture was added during the restoration. Photo courtesy of the Park Service

Caldwell’s entrance light fixture was recreated and added during the restoration.                                   Photo courtesy of Wolff Landscape Architecture – Chicago.

Alfred Caldwell was born in St. Louis in 1903, he moved to Chicago when he was a young boy. He enrolled in University of Illinois in Champaign- Urbana, but quickly became disillusioned. After a few missteps and thanks to some well-intentioned connections, he found himself apprenticed to renowned landscape architect Jens Jensen. He worked as a superintendent for Jensen for 5 ½ years. During this time he met Frank Lloyd Wright and was asked to join Wright at Taliesen. Caldwell’s wife had misgivings and he turned down the offer, although he did spend a few weeks there.

By now the depression was beginning to rear its ugly head and Jensen could no longer keep Caldwell on. At this point he was hired for a large project in Dubuque, Iowa, this project was to be Eagle Point Park.

Fired in January of 1936, most likely because he just did not fit in, he returned to Chicago.

He decided to sit for the Illinois architects exam and began attending classes. His instructors were the three Germans dressed in black overcoats that watched over him while planting Lily Pond. Caldwell passed the exam without difficulty.

Caldwell designed scores of landscapes, he also taught for more than 35 years at the Illinois Institute of Technology and the University of Southern California and was a visiting professor at Virginia Polythechnic Institute. Despite all of this he remained relatively unknown. In a 1977 article, architectural historian Richard Guy Wilson changed all of that with his article “Alfred Caldwell Illuminates Nature’s Ways,” in Landscape Architecture Magazine.

“…as historians begin to inspect the [1930s] period it becomes increasingly obvious that certain strains of indigenous American creativity have been overlooked. Alfred Caldwell’s work encompasses the broadest definitions of landscape architecture, an activity not simply of plant types and topography, but a vision and philosophy of man and nature that is at the core of the American dream.”

Alfred Caldwell's Lily Pond


Jul 192016

951 Chicago Avenue
Oak Park, Chicago

Boulder ManOn the piers flanking the entry to Frank Lloyd Wrights 1898 architectural studio in Oak Park, Illinois, sit these two pieces, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and executed by Richard Bock.

“Boulder Man” is the most valuable of Richard Bock’s work.  He originally designed and modeled the piece to top a gate post.  The body, apparently half buried in the earth is stunning from every angle.  These sculptures are reproductions.  They were re-created from photographs.  The originals had disintegrated beyond repair, the replicas were done during the 1980s restoration of Frank Lloyd Wrights home and studio.

The story goes that Wright wanted two sculptures, but could only afford one.  To get reflecting sculptures, i.e. a right and a left, two separate sculptures must be made and then two separate molds and final castings, so he simply turned one of them to a different angle, giving the sense of two different sculptures.

Richard Bock was born 1865 in Schloppe, Germany. He moved to Chicago, with his family as a youth, where he grew up in German neighborhoods.

Frank Lloyd Wrights StudioBock spent three years at the Berlin Academy studying and later at the Ecole des Beaux Arts School in Paris.  In 1891 he returned Chicago to establish a permanent sculpture studio. Almost immediately upon Bock’s return to America, he received three major commissions and for the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, he sculpted major architectural works for the Mining and Electricity Exposition Halls.

He created interior bas-reliefs for Chicago’s  Schiller Building, during which time, in the winter of 1891 to 1892, Bock studied under its architect Louis Sullivan. It was in the Sullivan’s office that Bock met Frank Lloyd Wright.

From 1903 to 1913, Bock worked almost exclusively with Wright on multiple projects, The two became close friends and their families often spent time together.

The close working relationship came to end when Wright invited Bock to accompany him to Japan. Bock, a family man, declined. Though they remained friends they were never worked together again or visited much afterwards.

In 1929, Bock became the head of the Sculptural Department at the University of Oregon, he retired in 1932.

In the 1940s, Bock and his wife moved to California where in 1949 he died at the age of 84 of Parkinson’s Disease.

Richard Bock

Jul 172016

Off N. Lake Shore Drive near W. North Avenue
Screen Shot 2016-07-09 at 5.00.36 PM

This is one of the two sculptures in Lincoln Park that were bequeathed to Chicago upon the death of lumberman Eli Bates.

This 12 foot tall figure known as the “Standing Lincoln” was the first of Saint-Gaudens’ statues of Lincoln. He received the commission for this monument in 1884 and began work the following year.

Lincoln had made quite an impression on Saint-Gaudens when he saw Lincoln in 1860 . “Lincoln stood tall in the carriage, his dark uncovered head bent in contemplative acknowledgement of the waiting people, and the broadcloth of his black coat shone rich and silken in the sunlight”.

To capture Lincoln’s appearance, Saint-Gaudens relied on plaster life masks made by Leonard Volk of Lincoln’s Hands and face. To achieve the pose Saint-Gardens used Langdon Morse a 6 foot 4 farmer from Windsor Vermont.

As he worked out the design for the statue, St. Gaudens experimented with a variety of poses: seated and standing, arms crossed in front of his body, or holding a document. Art critic Marianna Griswold Van Rensselaer described the decision  in her review of the statue in The Century (1887):

“The first question to be decided must have been: Shall the impression to be given base itself primarily upon the man of action or upon the man of affairs? Shall the statue be standing or seated? In the solution of this question we find the most striking originality of the work. The impression given bases itself in equal measure upon the man of action and the
man of affairs. Lincoln is standing, but stands in front of a chair from which he has just risen. He is before the people to counsel and direct them, but has just turned from that other phase of his activity in which he was their executive and their protector. Two ideas are thus expressed in the composition, but they are not separately, independently expressed to the detriment of unity. The artist has blended them to the eye as our own thought blends them when we speak of Lincoln. The pose reveals the man of action, but represents a man ready for action, not really engaged in it; and the chair clearly typical of the Chair of State reveals his title to act no less than his methods of self-preparation. We see, therefore, that completeness of expression has been arrived at through a symbolic, idealistic conception.”

Standing LincolnArchitect, Stanford White, of the New York firm of McKim, Mead and White, designed the monument’s base. He added the long, curving exedra bench to encourage visitors to sit and enjoy the statue,

This was one of 20 such artistic collaborations between White and Saint-Gaudens who also became close friends.

The monument was cast in bronze by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company in New York, and dedicated on October 22, 1887, to a large crowd. Lincoln’s son, Robert, considered this the best sculpture of his father of the many that were done.

After Saint-Gaudens’ death, his wife authorized an edition of smaller bronze copies. These are found in public institutions around the country. Full- size casts of the statue were later installed in London, England, Mexico City, Cambridge, Massachusetts and Hollywood Hills, California. The image of Lincoln used for the commemorative stamp
of 1909, was drawn from the head of this statue.

Saint-Gaudens has been in this site before, you can read about him here.

Abraham Lincoln

Jul 162016

N. Lincoln Parkway West and W. Belden Avenue

ShakespeareAccording to the Chicago Parks Department:

“When Samuel Johnston, a successful north side businessman, died in 1886, he left a sizeable gift in his will for several charities as well as money for a memorial to William Shakespeare in Lincoln Park.

A competition was held to select a sculptor. The winner was a Columbia University graduate, William Ordway Partridge (1861–1930), who had studied sculpture in France and Italy after a short stint as an actor.

This commission presented a unique challenge for Partridge since the only known portraits of William Shakespeare (1564–1616) had been done after the death of the famous English playwright and poet. Partridge made an intensive study of Shakespeare and life in Elizabethan England. He visited Stratford and London, reviewed dozens of existing artworks, and examined a death mask that was then believed to have been authentic.

Partridge also consulted with Shakespearean actors including Henry Irving and his costumer, Seymour Lucas, who helped him portray the world-renowned literary figure in authentic period clothing.

Partridge displayed a plaster model of the William Shakespeare Monument at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. He had the work cast in bronze in Paris and shipped to Chicago.

The donor’s grandniece, Miss Cornelia Williams, unveiled the sculpture on April 23, 1894, the supposed anniversary of both Shakespeare’s birth and death. At the dedication ceremony, Partridge said: “Shakespeare needs nothing of bronze. His monument is England, America, and the whole of Saxondom. He placed us upon a pedestal, but one cannot place him on one, for he belongs among the people whom he so dearly loved.” The artist’s remarks offer insight into the sculpture’s unusually low pedestal, which provides exceptional visual and physical access to the artwork.”


On the base is inscribed Shakespeare’s words from Hamlet.
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! How infinite in faculty!

On the opposite side are Samuel T. Coleridge’s words,
“he was not for an age but for all time, our myriad- minded Shakespeare….”

William Partridge was born in Paris to American parents. Partridge travelled to America to attend Adelphi Academy in Brooklyn and Columbia University (graduated 1883) in New York. After a year of experimentation in theatre, he went abroad to study sculpture.

Aside from his public commissions, his work consisted mostly of portrait busts. In 1893 eleven of his works were displayed at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago

Partridge went on to lecture at Stanford University in California, and assumed a professorship at Columbian University, now George Washington University, in Washington, D.C.

He died in Manhattan on May 22, 1930.

Jul 152016

Eli Bates FountainThis whimsical fountain is known as both the Eli Bates Fountain and “Storks at Play”.

Eli Bates was a Chicago lumberman who died in 1881. He bequeathed a fund for the commission of Standing Lincoln, also by Saint-Gaudens, and this fountain, both to be placed in Lincoln Park.

Installed in 1887 it was a joint collaboration between Augustus Saint-Gaudens and his student Frederick W. MacMonnies

Storks at PlayThe figures for the fountain were cast by the Henry-Bonnard Bronze Company of New York.

Augustus Saint-Gaudens has been in this site before, you can read about him here.

In 1880 MacMonnies began an apprenticeship under Augustus Saint-Gaudens, and was soon promoted to studio assistant, beginning his lifelong friendship with the acclaimed sculptor. MacMonnies studied at night with the National Academy of Design and The Art Students League of New York.

In Saint-Gaudens’ studio, he met Stanford White, who was using Saint-Gaudens for the prominent sculptures required for his architecture.
Augustus Saint-GaudensIn 1888, Stanford White helped MacMonnies win two major commissions for garden sculpture, a decorative Pan fountain sculpture for Rohallion, the New Jersey mansion of banker Edward Adams, and a work for ambassador Joseph H. Choate, at Naumkeag, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

In 1891 he was awarded the commission for the Columbian Fountain, the centerpiece of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago: the sculpture of Columbia in her Grand Barge of State, in the central fountain of the Court of Honor became the focal point at the Exposition and established MacMonnies as one of the important sculptors of the time.

MacMonniesIn 1894, Stanford White brought MacMonnies a commission for three bronze groups for the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Arch in Brooklyn’s Grand Army Plaza.

Three of MacMonnies’ best-known sculptures are Nathan Hale, Bacchante and Infant Faun, and Diana.

Lincoln Park Fountain

Jul 112016

6000 Cottage Grove Avenue
Chicago, Illinois


Fountain of Time, or simply Time, is a 126 foot long sculpture by Lorado Taft, within Washington Park in Chicago, Illinois.

The sculpture was inspired by Henry Austin Dobson’s poem, “Paradox of Time”. “Time goes, you say? Ah no, Alas, time stays, we go”.

Father Time

Father Time

The sculpture includes Father Time, hooded and carrying a scythe. He watches over a parade of 100 figures showing humanity at various stages of life.

The Sculptor

The Sculptor Lorado Taft


Although most of the figures are generic Taft included himself, with one of his assistants following him, along the west side of the sculpture. He is wearing a smock, his head is bowed and his  hands are clasped behind his back. His daughters also served as models for some of the figures.

The work was created as a monument to the first 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain, resulting from the Treaty of Ghent in 1814 and funded by a 1905, $1 million ($26.3 million today), gift from Benjamin Ferguson. The gift formed a charitable trust to “memorialize events in American History”.

TimeLorado Taft initially conceived a sculpture carved from granite or Georgia marble, however, the trust only allotted enough funds for a concrete structure.

In 1999, Robert Jones, director of design and construction for the Art Institute of Chicago stated that Time was the first finished art piece to be made of any type of concrete.

The sculpture is made of  steel reinforced cast concrete. It was cast in a 4,500-piece mold, using 230 tons of a material described as “concrete-like”, which incorporated pebbles from the Potomac River.

TimeLorado Zadoc Taft was born in Elmwood, Illinois, in 1860 and died in his home studio in Chicago in 1936.

After being homeschooled by his parents, Taft earned his bachelor’s degree (1879) and master’s degree (1880) from the Illinois Industrial University (later renamed the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign).

Taft attended the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts from 1880 to 1883, he returned to Chicago in 1883 and taught at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago until 1929.

Taft also taught at the University of Chicago from 1893 to 1900 and again in 1909 as a lecturer of art history. He also wrote a number of books on art history.

TimeTaft’s body of work is impressive. Some notable sculptures around Chicago include Eternal Silence and The Crusader both at Graceland Cemetery, and Fountain of the Great Lakes at the Art Institute. He also sculpted the Columbus Fountain at Union Station in Washington DC.

Jul 092016

Nichols Bridgeway
Off E. Jackson and South Michigan Avenue

Great Lakes Fountain

Fountain of the Great Lakes or Spirit of the Great Lakes Fountain is an allegorical sculpture by Lorado Taft at the Art Institute of Chicago.  The fountain was moved to this spot in the 1960s.

Lake Superior

Lake Superior

Created between 1907-1913, the bronze fountain depicts five women arranged so that the water flows through them in the same way water passes through the Great Lakes.

The fountain is Taft’s response to Daniel Burnham’s complaint at the Columbian Exposition in 1893 that the sculptors charged with ornamenting the fairgrounds failed to produce anything that represented the great natural resources of the west, especially the Great Lakes.

It is said that Taft used the Greek myth of the Danaides, forty-nine sisters who were sent to Hades for killing their husbands on their wedding nights as inspiration. As punishment for this crime, the sisters were eternally condemned to hopelessly carry water in sieves.

Taft envisioned a fountain with five female figures each representing one of the Great Lakes. In 1902 Taft assigned Nellie Walker, Angelica McNulty, Clara Leonard, Lily Schoenbrun, and Edith Parker to bring his design to life.

“Five of my young sculptors made from a sketch of mine the first model of the “Great Lakes.” [The figures] were less than life size, they were not very good and being made separately they did not fit together well.  But the people like the idea and I was encouraged to do them again.  I did so, this time doing the work entirely myself.”

Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie

Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie

The fountain consists of a series of female figures symbolizing the general flow of the Great Lakes. Lake Superior sits at the top, the water from her mingles with that of Lake Michigan and empties into a shell held by Lake Huron.  The water then continues onto Lake Erie, and finally passes to Lake Ontario.

At the opening ceremony for the fountain Taft said of Lake Ontario waters “escape from her basin and hasten into the unknown, she reaches wistfully after them as though questioning whether she has been neglectful of her charge”.

Lake Ontario

Lake Ontario

Once erected, the fountain received largely positive reviews, but a few critics questioned the symbolism of the sculpture. Others were caught up in sociopolitical subtexts of the day, with regard to obscenity laws as it related to public art and this semi-nude work. The degree to which nudity in public art was more for the “sake of nudity than for the sake of art” was a contemporary issue involving confiscated Paul Chabas fully nude painting. This led to a 1913 amendment to the Chicago municipal obscenity laws which passed three months before the dedication of Taft’s partially nude fountain.


Jul 092016


Eternal SilenceThe Eternal Silence, (also called Eternal Silence or Statue of Death)  marks the grave of Dexter Graves, who led a group of thirteen families that moved from Ohio to Chicago in 1831, making them some of Chicago’s earliest settlers. Graves died in 1844, seventy-five years before the creation of the statue, and sixteen years before Graceland Cemetery was founded; his body was presumably moved to Graceland from the old City Cemetery.  The funds for the monument were provided in the will of his son, Henry, who died in 1907. The will provided $250,000 for a Graves family mausoleum, they received the statue instead.

The Eternal SilenceThe statue was sculpted by Lorado Taft and cast by a Chicago foundry owned by Jules Bercham.

The hooded figure was influenced by Taft’s own “ideas on death and silence”. Historically speaking, the figure in Eternal Silence is related to the sculpted funeral procession around the tomb of Philip the Bold in Dijon, France and the Adams Memorial by Augustus Saint-Gaudens in Rock Creek Cemetery in Washington, D.C.


Another grave stone carved by Loredo Taft is The Crusader.  This is also in Graceland Cemetery in Chicago

The Crusader

The Crusader is a medieval knight, and is used to symbolize the character of Victor Lawson, publisher of the Chicago Daily News. Standing over thirteen feet tall, it was carved out of a solid block of highly polished dark granite supplied by the Henry C. Smalley Granite Company of Quincy, Massachusetts. The knight, with a large sword and shield, was an image that Taft had contemplated for years; he used it in numerous works besides The Crusader.

Unlike Taft’s earlier work, The Crusader emphasizes its “sheer mass”. While there is no name on the grave stone there is an inscription:   “Above all things truth beareth away victory”,  a quote from 1 Esdras 3:12.

Jun 232016

The Marquette Building
140 South Dearborn

Tiffany Mosaics

This spectacular, and difficult to photograph, mosaic is in the rotund of the Marquette building.  Designed by J.A. Holler of the Tiffany Company it depicts the Mississippi voyage of Louis Jolliet and Father Marquette.

Louis Tiffany was the son of jeweler Charles Tiffany. His career took off after the display of his mosaics in the chapel at the 1893 Columbian Exposition, also known as the Worlds Fair in Chicago.

marquette buildingJacob Adolph Holzer was a Swiss artist who worked for Tiffany as chief designer and art director,  he was responsible for the design and execution of the Marquette murals.

Jacob Adolphus Holzer (1858–1938) was associated with both John La Farge and Augustus Saint-Gaudens before he left to direct the mosaic workshops of Louis Comfort Tiffany. Holzer worked with Tiffany until 1898. In 1898 he left to form his own studio.

Holzer designed the sculptural electrified lantern that became famous at that World’s Columbian Exposition, one of two electrified lanterns that have been called the “ancestors” of all later Tiffany lamps.

Tiffany ChicagoHolzer’s works include: in New York, the lobby of The Osborne, 205 West 57th Street. In Boston, the Central Congregational Church, 67 Newbury Street (1893), and perhaps the Frederick Ayer Mansion, Commonwealth Avenue (1899–1901). In Chicago, the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 East Washington Street, as well as the Marquette Building.  At Princeton, his mosaics of subjects from Homer fill the rear wall of Alexander Hall. In Troy, New York, his stained-glass east window and baptistry mosaics can be seen in St Paul’s Church.

On leaving Tiffany studios, he traveled in the Near East. He provided some of the illustrations for Mary Bowers Warren, Little Journeys Abroad (Boston, 1894).

In 1923 Holzer moved to Florence where he lived out his life painting and taking on mosaic commissions until his death at the age of 80.

Tiffany Mosaics Chicago

Jun 192016

The Marquette Building
140 South Dearborn


Herman Atkins MacNeil ChicagoThese four bronze plaques sit above the entry doors of the Marquette Building in Chicago.  They were done in 1895 by Henry MacNeil (1866-1947).  At the time MacNeil shared a studio in the building with painter Charles F. Browne.

Louis Jolliet and Jesuit Father Jacques Marquette, were the first non-Natives to explore and map the Mississippi River in 1673. The four bronze plaques are the story of their journey. They depict the launching of the canoes, the meeting of the Michigamea Indians, the arriving at the Chicago River and finally the interring of Marquette’s body.

MacNeil, born in Massachusetts, studied at the Normal Art School in Boston.  He was an instructor in industrial art and modeling at Cornell before heading to Paris to study at the Ecole des Beaux Arts.

MacNeil returned to Chicago and began assisting on the sculptures for the Worlds Columbian Exposition of 1893, also known as the White City or the Worlds Fair. He later settled in Chicago and taught at the Art Institute.

Herman MacNeil ChicagoAfter attending one of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Shows at the Worlds Fair he began depicting the American Indian throughout his art.

He latter befriended Black Pipe, a Sioux warrior from the show, who he found down-and-out on the Chicago streets after the carnival midways of the Fair had closed. Black Pipe, at the invitation of MacNeil, assisted in his studio for the next year. Inspired by these native subjects MacNeil, along with writer Hamlin Garland and painter C.F. Browne  traveled to the four-corners territories (now, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah) seeing American Indians (Navajo, and Moqui — now Hopi) and studied the changing cultural element on these various reservations.

The Marquette Building ChicagoPerhaps his best known work is as the designer of the Standing Liberty quarter, which was minted from 1916 to 1930, and carries his initial to the right of the date.

He also sculpted Justice, the Guardian of Liberty, on the east pediment of the United States Supreme Court building.

One of his last works was the Pony Express statue dedicated in 1940 in St. Joseph, Missouri.

Marquette Building Chicago


Jun 162014

June 2014Chicago Architectural Tours

There are several river cruises available to take in Chicago, and I highly recommend that you take at least one.  While it is a touristy thing to do, it is also a great way to see the city, and can be a great place to cool off if your day gets too hot and muggy.


We chose to take the Chicago Architecture Foundation river cruise aboard “Chicago’s First Lady”. The tour is 90 minutes long and at this point – June 2014 – it cost $37.85/person plus tax, WHICH is 9.75% in Chicago.


We took the last tour of the day, which in June was 7:30 pm.  This gave us the opportunity to leave in the day light and travel through the sunset arriving back at dark.  It was a great time enjoy the sun setting on the city.

Wrigley Building

The boat takes off from the Southeast corner of Michigan and Wacker, so you are able to sit and enjoy the Wrigley building while waiting to take off.

When ground was broken for the Wrigley Building in 1920, there were no major office buildings north of the Chicago River and the Michigan Avenue Bridge, which spans the river just south of the building was still under construction. The land was selected by William Wrigley Jr. to headquarter his gum company. The building was designed by the architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White using the shape of the Giralda tower of Seville’s Cathedral combined with French Renaissance details. The  south tower was completed in April 1921 and the north tower in May 1924.

The building is clad in glazed terra-cotta. On occasion, the entire building is hand washed to preserve the terra cotta. The Wrigley Building was Chicago’s first air-conditioned office building.

Glass building on chicago river tour

This is 333 Wacker Drive. Designed by Kohn Pederson Fox, it sits on an awkward triangular site where the chicago river makes a sharp turn.

Chicago River Pollution

An interesting smaller structure on the river is the Union Station power plant building, which stands today at 301 S. Taylor Street. Built in 1931 and designed by architects Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, its construction  was urged along, because its predecessor occupied the future site of the new Post Office.  Construction on the Post Office could not be started until the old power plant was replaced and demolished.

You will pass the Old Main Post Office on the tour.  It has been abandoned for now and is awaiting someone to grab it up for rehabilitation/reuse. There have been proposals, but it is a whopping 2.7 Million square feet, a project that could take decades if it gets under way.

Spirit of Progress Chicago

This is the Spirit of Progress.  She sits atop a tower, which is a part of the Montgomery Ward complex.  Montgomery Ward was a large part of Chicago history, and now it is a large part of the adaptive re-use program along the river.  You will see the buildings and learn a lot about the role of Mr Ward and historic preservation.

Speaking of progress…In earlier times the Chicago River was used to dump sewage, factory, and other wastes that badly polluted the river. The river was connected to Lake Michigan, the source of water for Chicago residents. When the Chicago River watershed became too big because of rain storms, the river overflowed into the lake. A particularly heavy rainstorm in 1885 caused sewage to be flushed into the lake beyond the clean water intakes. The resulting typhoid, cholera, and dysentery epidemics killed an estimated 12 percent of Chicago’s 750,000 residents, and raised a public outcry to find a permanent solution to the city’s water supply and sewage disposal crisis.

The city’s solution? Make the river run backwards via the Sanitary and Ship Canal, constructed in the 1920’s and 30’s at an estimated cost of over $70,000,000.

The reversal of the Chicago River was the largest municipal earth-moving project ever completed. Significant new excavation technology and techniques developed and perfected on the project contributed to the construction of the Panama Canal.


Navy Pier

One of the turn around spots is Navy Pier.  Navy Pier was planned and built to serve as a mixed-purpose piece of public infrastructure. Its primary purpose was as a cargo facility for lake freighters, and warehouses were built up and down the Pier. However, the Pier was also designed to provide docking space for passenger excursion steamers, and in the pre–air conditioning era parts of the Pier, especially its outermost tip, were designed to serve as cool places for public gathering and entertainment. I was surprised to learn that today, Navy Pier is Chicago’s number one tourist attraction

The Navy Pier Ferris Wheel opened on July 1, 1995. It operates year-round, weather permitting, and has 40 gondolas, each seating up to 6 passengers. Its 40 spokes, span a diameter of 140 feet.

Bridges of Chicago

Did you know there are 18 yep Eighteen, movable bridges on the loop?  If you love bridges, or just want to learn a little bit more about the Chicago Loop Bridges check out this site.  

Corncob buildings in Chicago

Some of my favorite buildings in Chicago make up Marina City. Marina City is a complex of two 60-story towers built in 1964 by Bertrand Goldberg, a student of Mies van der Rohe. It consists of apartments, recreation facilities, offices, restaurants, banks, a theater and 18 stories of parking space.

The experimental complex was financed by unions who feared that the outflow of people from the cities in the early sixties would lead to a decrease in jobs.

The cylindrical shape was used to cut down on wind pressure. The architect chose reinforced concrete instead of steel as this was the only material in which he could create the petal shapes of the apartments.  When finished, the two towers were both the tallest residential buildings and the tallest reinforced concrete structures in the world. It was also the first building in the United States to be erected with tower cranes.

River City

Further down on the tour you will see River City II, also designed by Bertrand Goldberg. River City II represents the last of Goldbergs buildings in this style.

River City II was the one part of the larger River City plan that was constructed. It was a portion of the “snake” that was ultimately completed as River City II.

River City II was a mid-rise housing complex, containing 446 residences. Unlike Marina City, the units did not feature balconies, but did have clerestories on their “inner side” to gain light from the interior atrium. The curvilinear structure, eight to fifteen stories in height, featured a private interior passageway called “the River Road,” . The project was cast in place concrete, unusual for the time and the very large and long sklyight over River Road was made of glass block held in thin concrete ribbing. Originally designed as rental housing, the owners of the project later converted it to condominiums.

Trump Tower Chicago

Trump Tower, designed by Skidmore Owens and Merrill  includes, from the ground up, retail space, a parking garage, a 366 room hotel, and condominiums.  The sign had just gone up the day before our tour, and is very controversial.  I find it offensive, way out of scale with its surroundings, but Trump thinks it is d-i-v-i-n-e, and insists the world loves it.  How he would know that, since it had only been installed a few days of this writing when the controversy began, is interesting.

Lake Point Tower

Near Navy Pier is Lake Point Tower. The building was designed by John Heinrich and George Schipporeit, who were both students of Mies van der Rohe. The design was partially derived from a sketch Mies van der Rohe made in 1921. The original proposal made by the architects consisted of a building with 4 wings, but was ultimately replaced by a design which included only 3 wings due to cost. The advantages of the latter were a shorter construction time and a 120 degree angle between the wings, so that the apartments would not face each other.

skyscrapers of Chicago235 West Van Buren by Perkins and Will

Chicago River Architecture Tour


Chicago River Tour

You will pass so many, many more beautiful sites along the cruise and learn about the architecture that formed and is still transforming Chicago.  Enjoy!

Jun 152014

43 East Ohio Street
Chicago, Illinois

Eataly of Chicago

This is Eataly and an experience not to be missed! Owned by Mario Batali, Oscar Farinetti, Joe and Lidia Bastianich, Adam and Alex Saper, Eataly is an extravaganza,covering 62,000 square feet, on two floors, that is EVERYTHING Italian.

Eataly Chicago

In January 2007, Italian businessman Oscar Farinetti converted a closed vermouth factory in Turin into the first location of Eataly. September 2010, Eataly opened in New York near Madison Square park, with a partnership that included Mario Batali, Lidia Bastianich and her son Joe Bastianich, and brothers Adam and Alex Saper. The chain has additional locations in Italy, Japan, Dubai and Turkey.  The Chicago store opened in December 2013.

Eataly Chicago

The Chicago store is open seven days a week, and is so very much more than just a shopping experience.

La Pizza & La Pasta Chicago Eataly

 There are several places with tables and chairs to grab a bite to eat.  There is La Pizza and La Pasta serving Rossopomodoro Pizza as well as house made pasta. Rossopomodoro is a branch of an Italian chain that has locations all over Italy, as well as, in London, Buenos Aires, Reykjavik, Tokyo, and Naples, Florida.

We chose to sit at the Il Pesce bar, but you can sit at Le Verdure, or La Piazza.  They each have a special chalk board with menu items, that you can get at each of these three bars, or you can go for the specialty of the bar itself.  There were fresh oysters at Il Pesce, and the food at each of the other spots looked fabulous as well.

Bruschetta at Eataly in Chicago

The special was a three bruschetta plate, and each are truly wonderful.

Meat Department

We moved onto La Carne, which is a nice quiet corner of the second floor with windows out onto the world, white cloth napkins and wonderful service.  I can’t rave enough about everything we dined on.

Cafe Vergnano Chicago Eataly

There are two spots to grab coffee.  On the first floor is Gran Bar Lavazza and on the second is Caffe Vergnano. 

Wine store at Eataly Chicago

There is not only a large selection of wine for sale, you can taste wine at the Vino Libero that also includes tastings of salumi and verdure.

Birreria Eataly Chicago

Yes, they have their own on-site craft brewery with a dining area and of course, beer.

Cookies Chicago Eataly

You can buy sweets galore from Italy or head over to the pastry, or gelato areas on the first floor.

Eataly Gelato Bar

If you simply want sandwiches there is La Rosticceria with a selection of hand carved sandwiches, and rotisserie chicken available from 11:30 to 5:00.

Housewares at Eataly Chicago

Then there is the housewares department, you could spend thousands of hours, (and dollars) happily filling your shopping cart with items from all over and for every wild and imaginable use.

Mario Batali Cookware

You know they are going to have Mario Batali’s cookware,

Alessi Cookware

but you will also find other great names as well.


Cookware Eataly

There is a great bookstore.  Yes there are the ubiquitous cook books, but there are also some nice travel books as well.

Bookstore at Eataly

You must appreciate a spot that puts its guest services desk smack in the middle of the first floor.

Guest Services at Eataly

Nutella Bar

Oh, did I fail to mention they have a Nutella Bar?

We spent several hours in Eataly, and I warn you that you will too.  So when you are in Chicago, put it on your MUST DO list, and plan on coffee and pastries, maybe just some mezes/tapas/enotheche, or a full meal, but give yourself lots of time to explore.

My only down thing were the restrooms, it was Father’s Day around noon and they were really filthy.

That, however, should not keep you from making sure you put it on your Chicago Trip Things to Do!

Olive Bar at Eataly

Olive Oil Bar at Eataly



Jun 132014

10 South Dearborn
Exelon Plaza

Chagall in Chicago

Composed of thousands of inlaid chips in over 250 colors, this mosaic is by Marc Chagall.  Titled The Four Seasons, it  portrays six scenes of Chicago. Chagall maintained, “the seasons represent human life, both physical and spiritual, at its different ages.” The design for this mosaic was created in Chagall’s studio in France, transferred onto full-scale panels and installed in Chicago with the help of a skilled mosaicist.

Chagall in Chicago Tiles

Chagall continued to modify his design after its arrival in Chicago, bringing up-to-date the areas containing the city’s skyline (last seen by the artist 30 years before installation) and adding pieces of native Chicago brick.

Chagall Tile Mosaic

The mosaic was a gift to the City of Chicago by Frederick H. Prince (via the Prince Charitable Trusts). It is wrapped around four sides of a 70 feet long, 14 feet high by 10 feet  wide  box, and was dedicated on September 27, 1974. It was renovated in 1994.

Chagall's Four Season

Marc Zakharovich Chagall (1887 – 1985) was a Belarussian-Russian-French artist. Art critic Robert Hughes referred to Chagall as “the quintessential Jewish artist of the twentieth century” (though Chagall saw his work as ‘not the dream of one people but of all humanity’). An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic medium, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.

Chagall Signature on Mosaic




Chagall Four Seasons



*Chagall's Four Season