Marginalia, Graduate Blog

Open House Chicago – Exploring the Past

Steph Jurusz

[flickr id=”10448781855″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”medium_640″ group=”” align=”none”] Walking around Chicago, I’ve often had moments in which I thought “I wish I could go in there!” or “I wonder what it looks like inside.” I am particularly drawn to older buildings, ones rich with history and character. I prefer old apartments to shiny high rises, and I absolutely love riding the Brown Line into the Loop and seeing details like carved faces press outward from the brick and stone. Buildings aren’t made like this anymore. Some of the newer structures look like they could have been placed by extraterrestrials into the urban landscape, already fully assembled. I prefer buildings that have more evidence of being crafted by human hands.When I heard about Open House Chicago I jumped at my chance to get inside some of the places I’ve always wanted to see without being the out of place (and likely soon-to-be-kicked-out) intruder.

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Open House Chicago is a two-day event that just celebrated its third year. I wish I had time to go on both days because there is so much more that I wanted to see, but I was only able to go out on Sunday (such is the life of a student!). Regardless, I had a wonderful time exploring and touring some great landmarks of Chicago.

First on my list was the Tribune Tower.

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From there I went to the Monroe Building.

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And then the Fine Arts Building, which may have become one of my new favorites.

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Fun fact: Frank Lloyd Wright once had a studio on the 10th floor of the Fine Arts Building.

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Really taking the time to stop and look is so important. I think it’s easy to get lost in routine and swept up in anonymity of living in a city as large as Chicago. You go on your same routes to work, to class, to and from your apartment each day and sometimes you forget to take in what’s around you.

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Place has always held a special place for me in my writing, but so has history. Beautiful buildings and (now) rare touches make history very apparent in artifacts that people live with and experience daily. While some of the buildings I visited have been renovated for new purposes and tenants, some buildings retain many vestiges of the past, so I can see them nearly the same as they looked a century ago.

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If you went to Open House Chicago, what were some of your favorite sites? What did you stop to really take a closer look at?

Open House Chicago – Exploring the Past

[flickr id=”10448781855″ thumbnail=”medium_640″ overlay=”true” size=”medium_640″ group=”” align=”none”] Walking around Chicago, I’ve often had moments in which I thought “I wish I could go in there!” or “I wonder what it …

Creative Writing - Nonfiction MFA Steph Jurusz, stephanie.jurusz@loop.colum.edu
600 S. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60605