Hyde Park, Chicago Community Area #41 sits 7 miles south of the Loop. It is a unique community not just in the south side, or Chicago, but in the world. Hyde Park’s fortunes were made when Chicago secured the 1893 Columbian Exposition World’s Fair and settled that it would occur in Hyde Park, namely what is now Jackson Park, and the Midway Plaisance, flowing into Washington Park. This was Chicago’s moment in the sun following its rebuilding after the Great Fire. It is home to the University of Chicago, and the grand Gothic campus dotted with several notable moderns. The community around the campus is equally impressive. Luminaries like Frank Lloyd Wright, Frederick Olmsted, Lorado Taft, Dwight Perkins, George and William Keck, and Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe are but some of the giants with handsome contributions to the areas rich architectural palette. Hyde Park is full of locally owned businesses, and community organizations and caring stewards of the history of the neighborhood.
12 miles north of Chicago’s Loop sits our northern neighbor, Evanston, IL. Like much of the north side of Chicago, the area was once the land of the Pottawatomie Nation and before them, other indigenous people that used the area mainly as a portage and to traverse to steadier, harder, dryer ground than the marshy wetlands, swamp forests and savannahs that occupied this section of the Great Lakes region. The first reference to the area now known as Evanston in more modern history is as the area of Gross Pointe, referring to a point jutting out into Lake Michigan and the area around it. Evanston is home to Northwestern University, which ranks with the best universities in the nation. Today, Evanston is a thriving city with a population of over 75,000. It maintains a wide variety of build styles and architecture and an enduring and beautiful built landscape. From the mansions to the University, and from places of worship to places of business, Evanston is a city with a marvelous architectural history, and a great place to ride around. Come join us for a chance to learn about the southernmost entry in the North Shore communities, Evanston, IL.
Prairie School of Architecture on Chicago’s Northeast Side
Chicago is well regarded for its diverse architecture, but is particularly fortunate to have many examples of Prairie School architecture. The Prairie School of architecture is one of America’s indigenous art forms and the most iconic modern architectural style, and it originated in and around Chicago. Commonly identified for wide, low slung forms with overhung roofs, horizontal scale and elements and natural earth toned colors, the building style mimicked the environs from where it was born. Its greatest practitioners including Frank Lloyd Wright, Walter Burley Griffin, Dwight Perkins, George Maher and other giants of Prairie design left stunning examples of Prairie School architecture in institutional, commercial, religious and residential buildings throughout Chicago.
Lincoln Park, Community Area 7 is 3 miles north of Chicago’s Loop. It occupies what is now some of the most desirable real estate and wealthy sections of the city, but it was certainly not always this way. Stretching from North to Diversey and from the Lake to the River, Lincoln Park is the star of the north side communities, and the location of some of the cities greatest cultural icons like the Chicago History Museum, the Lincoln Park Conservatory and the Lincoln Park Zoo. For our purposes, it offers a truly exceptional pallet of architectural finds with exquisite examples of nearly every Victorian Style, exceptional green space, a free 35 acre in-city zoo, lakefront trails and beaches and a virtual paradise in the city on what used to be largely cemetery land, or didn’t exist until the landfill made it. It is a dizzying array of beautiful architecture and a built environment that grew up in the ashes and rubble of the Great Fire. Put aside your notions of what Lincoln Park is today and join us for a story of what it was, and how it came to be.
West Town, Community Area #24 sits 3 miles northwest of The Loop. In addition to the namesake neighborhood of West Town, the Community Area also contains neighborhoods like Wicker Park, Noble Square, part of Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village amongst others. The built environment in West Town is second to none and the challenge of a tour such as this is drilling down to the essentials when there are so many splendid examples of things to see and a good supply of parks, murals and neighborhood features beyond the architectural goodies.