Friday, November 9, 2012

Back In The Day...

A reader sent in this postcard of the Sheridan Plaza in its heyday.  (Goes nicely with the opening year photo we ran last week.)  We are so happy to see this Uptown classic come back to life over the past few years!  Kudos to Horizon Management for ensuring its comeback.


  1. "Uptown business center of Chicago"... that's an interesting way to describe the area. I always thought Uptown was an entertainment district.

  2. What are those things that look like lights on top of the building.

  3. Not sure what they are. That would be very cool if they were lights. I've looked at various old pics and noticed that lots of ornamental decoration has been removed from the tops of buildings in our neighborhood. The same is true of Somerset. I hope they've saved these things are will restore them to their original unique styles.

  4. Could the detail atop the Sheridan Plaza be the urns & 'grotesques' noted by Open House Chicago:

    Great point re. lights & details, ScottFreeCDs. Uptown was known for building illumination when "Architecture of the Night" was in its heyday. The McJunkin Building across from Wilson Ave CTA station was the first building (!) designed to be fully illuminated in color lights. Once-beautiful light strands ring buildings like the Norman Hotel, integrated into ironwork or terra-cotta foils designed to make it glow softly.

    See the 1927 publication "Building Floodlighting And Its Possibilities With Terra Cotta" for more on how terra-cotta was used to give a special night-time aura. The authors wrote: "Not the least satisfaction has been the discovery that illumination costs can be greatly reduced, thus placing magnificent night lighting effects within easy reach of the average property holder. The far reaching importance of this not only to building owners, but to communities and municipal authorities concerned with problems of street lighting, will be appreciated from perusal of the following pages."

    Optimizing our streetlighting to show off the subtle drama of restored building lighting—even more economically achieved today with LEDs & roof-top solar panels—could really highlight Uptown's architectural history and provide fantastic night-time definition in a way rarely achieved by the newer approaches with archways and streetscaping, though those are important too.