Thursday, August 10, 2006

Restoration 3: From Chicago to the Raj

Take a look at the cover of Simon Winchester's book on the Architecture of the Raj. You may assume that the dandy uniforms, and classical architecture were the result of the grand English building tradition, muscularly showing itself over its empire. In that, you would not be entirely accurate.

The Glory of the Raj was mainly a marketing technique to show permanancy, power, and stability in a contested region, something that would be in perfect position on ....... State Street in Chicago. The Viceroy, Marquess Curzon, wasn't the designed of his Raj. Nor was the Raj concoted on Pall Mall in London. Rather the Raj was a design target of Lady Curzon, or Mary Leiter. Mary designed uniforms for the Indian Colonial Armies, commissioned buildings on a grand scale, and, yes ordered the restoration of the Taj Mahal.

But State Street? How is this connected. Daniel Burnham designed this store on State Street, as the grand temple of commerce. Burnham, a leading Swedenborgian (sort of the Opus Dei of Lutheranism, if Opus Dei was mostly devoted to beautiful craftwork), designed Marhall Fields, the largest and most powerful department store in the world, during the period of the Raj. And the 50% owner of Fields? Why yes, none other than Levi Leiter, father of Lady Curzon, and the onetime business partner of Potter Palmer and Marshall Fields himself. You see the pomp, grandeur and beauty of the English Empire, owes itself mightily to the daughter of the shopkeeper, and Chicago's own Mary Leiter. And now you know...

Restoration 1 How the Restoration Started Restoration 2-Welcome to Chicago IL Believe it or not, this story is going somewhere. I am reading The Geographers Library and I can assure you, the tale of Chicago Churches is tighter than Jon Fasman's bestseller. It is more lke Paul Harvey's rest of the story.

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