The Surviving Post-Fire Buildings in Chicago’s Loop

Gabriel X. Michael 13 comments

Lake-Franklin Group, viewed from northwest corner of Lake and Franklin Streets. [Gabriel X. Michael/Chicago Patterns]

Within Chicago’s Loop neighborhood, among the urban canyons of soaring glass & steel office buildings, there is a unique and rare collection of architecture: the commercial buildings erected in the aftermath of the Great Chicago Fire. These are commonly referred to as the “Post-Fire” era buildings, built from 1872 up until the advent of modern building materials and advanced construction techniques. These unprecedented approaches to commercial architecture facilitated the birth of the multi-story “skyscraper” in the early-mid 1880s, notably William Le Baron Jenney’s Home Insurance Building erected in 1883.

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The Colorful Front-Gabled Italianate Homes at Damen and 33rd

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John Morris/Chicago Patterns

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

At the intersection of Damen and 33rd in McKinley Park is a collection of modest yet exuberant 1880s homes. After almost 130 years, the homes mostly retain their original charm.

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Twin Italianate Three-Flats

John Morris Leave a comment
John Morris/Chicago Patterns

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

These twin Italianate three-flats are located on Carptenter near Hubbard.

 


The House That Gunpowder Built and the 1886 Explosion That Shook the City

John Morris 1 comment
whitehouse (1)

John Morris/Chicago Patterns

Near the corner of 36th and Western in Brighton Park is a boarded up Italianate mansion, known as the DuPont-Whitehouse house. Financing and motivation to build the house came from DuPont de Nemours & Company, an explosives company dating to the early 1800s.

The house’s stark symmetry, boarded up windows, and tall stature command attention. The home also represents one of the largest turning points in prosperity for the Brighton Park neighborhood.

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