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Chicago Patterns: Neighborhood storytelling through photography

Awaiting a New Tenant: Pioneer Arcade at North and Pulaski

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Pioneer Arcade

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

At North and Pulaski is Pioneer Arcade, a vacant Spanish Baroque building with a long history in Humboldt Park. This faded but magnificent structure designed by Jens J. Jensen served as an entertainment venue for more than 80 years.

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Patroness of the Road that Never Was: Loyola’s Madonna della Strada Chapel

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Madonna della Strada Chapel postcard

This week’s installment of Flashback Friday brings us to a rare type of architecture: ecclesiastical Art Deco. The Madaonna della Strada Chapel is a unique cultural icon on Loyola campus, with its front door on the lake.

The beautiful view outside of the sanctuary was planned to be much different than what exists today.

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The Other Side of Old Town: Remnants of Swede Town and Little Sicily

Viewing east towards the Near North skyline, from 900 block of Hudson Avenue. Vacant former site of Cabrini Extension South high-rises in foreground.

Viewing east towards the Near North skyline from 900 block of Hudson Avenue. Vacant former site of Cabrini Extension South high-rises in foreground. Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns

Located just north of downtown and on the eastern side of Chicago’s man-made Goose Island and North Branch Canal, the Lower Near North Side has been called many names, and served as home to Chicago’s poor working class and multi-ethnic waves of immigrants.

It was notably put under a microscope by urban sociologist Harvey Warren Zorbaugh in his highly-influential and precedential book The Gold Coast and the Slum (1929), where he chronicled its notorious living conditions, detailed its socio-economic makeup, and elucidated tangled patterns of dysfunction sustaining this “slum’s” existence, blocks from one of Chicago’s wealthiest communities to the east. Central to his philosophy was the idea of “natural areas” within a city–the unplanned, organic enclaves that emerge out of a coincidence of physical geography and cultural segregration: the Lower Near North Side being a prime example of this urban phenomena.

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Trianon, “World’s Most Beautiful Ballroom”

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This week for Flashback Friday we step back to the era of dancing and luxurious ballrooms with a look at Trianon, hailed as the most beautiful in the world. This phrase was more than just a slogan on a postcard, it was audible on many recordings and broadcasts here.

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Under Demolition: 2821 North Avers Avenue

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Viewing east towards front facade of 2821 North Avers Avenue house, circa 1880s, under demolition

Viewing east towards front facade of 2821 North Avers Avenue house under demolition. Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns

After some time on the city’s Demolition Delay Hold List, the review period has ended and demolition will be proceeding for the “orange-rated” house at 2821 North Avers Avenue. I recently visited one late afternoon to check on the site, and photograph the current state of the structure.

Looking into available public records, conflicting information exists regarding the actual age of this building: by all real estate-related and Cook County Assessor’s Office information that can be obtained, this house was built in 1908. However, the City of Chicago’s Historic Resources Survey–a ground-level, detailed effort completed nearly 20 years ago–also indicates this as a significant, “orange-rated” structure, circa 1880s.

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