Chicago Patterns: Neighborhood storytelling through photography

Driveway, Drexel Boulevard (A Merry Xmas to You)

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This week in our long overdue Flashback Friday series, we look at a holiday greeting postmarked Dec. 23, 1908 on a picture postcard of Chicago’s famed Drexel Boulevard on the South Side.

Although most, if not all, of the homes pictured above have since been demolished, the boulevard still boasts some of the city’s grandest homes.

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Living Landmark: Grant Memorial AME Church, Formerly First Church of Christ, Scientist

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

Along Drexel Boulevard on the South Side is Grant Memorial AME Church, which for more than 60 years has been a pillar of faith and giving back to the community. The church building is beautifully designed in the Neoclassical style, and is an important part of architectural and ecclesiastical history.

Designed by noted architect Solon Spencer Beman, this was the first Christian Science church built in the Greek Revival style, which would become the common building style of Christian Science and other churches for decades.

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Day Into Night at Damen and Division

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The corner of Damen and Division is always buzzing with pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. I set up a camera on a particularly colorful evening recently and recorded the transition from day into night, compressing it to about 60 seconds.

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On Death Row in Lake View: Gothic-Styled Herdegen-Brieske Funeral Home

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At the intersection of Wellington and Southport, a 1920s Gothic-styled funeral home sits empty and faces an uncertain future. A few weeks ago it was released from the city’s Demolition Delay list, a status change that allows for demolition to proceed. Since 1985, this architecturally significant structure has been the Herdegen-Brieske Funeral Home. But business recently ceased operations and both the land and building are up for sale.

The funeral home was described by a real estate holding group as a “rarely available development site,” and it certainly is. It’s also one of the few remaining purpose-built Gothic funeral homes in the city.

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