Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Uptown Sold to Jam Productions

Uptown Theater Main Lobby
Originally uploaded by primeau
There may be hope yet to re-open one of the greatest public spaces in Chicago Architecture. Jam Productions.

The pricetag was only $5 Million, which would get you a good sized house in Winnetka, (or about 1/2 of any of the last 20 botched restoration projects pursued in the Archdiocese), but there is at least $10 Million in restoration to be done (in my estimate, but I am sure the owners will ask for more).

Like most of these projects, these things are never 100% perfect, but it is great to see that this grand facility may be put back into use.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Did Barat Condo Conversion Fail?

I received a call from a real estate agent (a Barat Grad) Saturday concerning the continuing tragedy of Barat Chapel in Lake Forest, Illinois. Apparently the condo conversion has gone bust, perhaps proving the market for sacreligious destruction of Holy Sites is not what it used to be.

But not before the Stained Glass and much of the liturgical goods had been removed from the chapel. It seems as though the developer had put such a priority on destruction of the chapel that he was not able to prioritize his spending on actual construction and sale of residential units.

I will follow up Monday with a few calls, and post something more than my brief conversation.

Here's a pleasant video tour of Barat

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Marian Devotion, High Altars, and 19th Century Kenosha Episcopalianism

One of the most pleasant sites in all of the Midwest is the Kemper Hall, a convent and girls boarding school on the Kenosha, Wisconsin Lakefront. Run for over 100 years by the Sisters of St. Mary, a small order of Episcopalian nuns, the former Durkee Mansion and school complex is in remarkably good condition to this day, thanks to the dedication of many volunteers and donors, as well as the management of the local Episcopalians in keeping this site as a much used public facility.

The chapel interior is more Catholic in style than most Roman Catholic facilities, with a massive wooden high altar, Marian imagery, stations of the cross, and magnificent-if not always consistent-stained glass.

The chapel is pretty much open to the public. There is a kind staff in the adjoining Durkee Mansion more than willing to show you around the grounds, as well as leave you alone for contemplation and devotion.

This is a grand place, right on Lake Michigan, available for weddings and other sacraments, with catering in the adjoining (rather fine) halls.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Walking Around Oak Street in Evanston

While waiting for an appointment in Evanston last week, I took some snapshots of the Oak Street neighborhood looking pretty good in early summer.

I'll start with Holabird and Roche's Masonic Temple, which is supposed to be undergoing some type of adaptive re-use. It is very empty, and locked tight, needing a yard mowing. It is also very beautiful and looks to have some stained glass inside.

The Emmanuel United Methodist Church is a Red Brick Prairie (sort of) Church by Burnham and Root on the south end of my tour. The Brick is in remarkably good condition for a Church built in 1891. It sort of looks like the same brick as St. Gabriel's on the South Side.

Here's the Rectory at St. Mary's Roman Catholic, an arts and crafts beauty, in need of some HVAC work and a coat of paint.

This Queen Anne is the Catholic Woman's Club of Evanston. I think it is closed, or maybe not, but it is a standout bit of Architecture.

Here is Botti Studio, the premier stained glass restoration facility in the United States, aptly managed by Chris Botti, under a Papal Warrant from the 15th Century. Chris recently finished work on the Chicago Cultural Center Tiffany Dome.

The Merrick Rose Garden is a large urban garden giving a shot of floral beauty to this pleasant neighborhood. It is larger than I expected, occupying about 4 lots.

Here is the Entrance to the Margarita Club, a Catholic Woman's residence of 1927 Vintage. It is in remarkably good condition, and is in use as a bed and breakfast, with Va Pensiero restaurant inside (a good one the last time we went). Perhaps my favorite building in Evanston.

Sun-Times Notes Locked Doors on Churches

Repeating a theme from the Society of St. Barbara, the Chicago Sun Times notes that many Churches in Chicago near downtown have locked doors, and a few have open doors. The story is mostly individual reflections on open or locked churches.

The Sun-Times decided to only list Roman Catholic Churches that are locked, while I have noticed that locking churches is an ecumenical practice. Only Fourth Presbyterian has been generally open in my many years of Chicago Church Touring, though the United Methodist Temple is mainly accessible as well, through a security guard.

The included photo is of St. Michael's Church in Old Town.