Sunday, July 17, 2016

All passes - Art alone endures

What a fab time at the Chicago DeTours 1893 World's Fair Tour with Bars and Food tour.  I can't even begin to describe all the marble staircases and intricate metal work accent designs and the amazing architecture of the marble brick and mortar buildings of this era.  To get an opportunity to not only see the insides of these buildings (well most, The Palmer House is so exclusive they don't allow tours) was a real gift.  I'm grateful to have been invited by my Neighbor Ez and her friend.

I posted the best of the pictures I took yesterday starting with The Congress Plaza Hotel, which was our first drink stop.  the crystal rectangular chandeliers and mosaic tile work were breathtaking, but the metal work clock stole the show.  They even had a popcorn maker from the time, which was a new gourmet treat in 1893.

We then walked to the Roosevelt University with its huge marble columns and marble and iron staircases fit for Scarlet Ohara to descend, well I was swept away to a time that I now wish I could have seen.  How impressive to be standing in such history and see a building built with only marble and mortar, not steel supports, still not only standing but seem much more able to stand forever than some of the modern buildings that grace our skyline.  

It was at the Fine Art building next where we saw the phrase All Passes - ART Alone Endure over the entrance, and that statement proved true.  Not only with all the huge hallways all in, you guessed it marble, and the beautiful paintings and interior architecture, but the only human working elevator left in downtown Chicago.  All twelve of us barely fit into the elevator and the operator carefully watched the floors go by and had to guess at where the floor would meet the elevator.  So while the ride itself was very quiet and smooth, the stop was a bit jumpy as he made his selection.  While this skill was obviously learned from experience he made it look a lot easier than I'm sure it was.  The view from the 10th floor was beautiful.  We could see from Navy Pier to the planetarium.   

We then walked by a small alley, which reminded me of Diagon alley in HP,  that people used to claim survived the great Chicago fire, however, that information is not correct.  It is called Pickwick Place and what once was a mutton shop with an apartment for the owner above it is now a coffee shop.  I must go back there when it's open. 

We then arrived at Berghoff Bar, which in its day was a workingman's rowdy bar, with no women allowed until 1960, when Gloria Steinem went in and refused to leave until served.  Yay Women's movement. We all sat down and had a 1893 Worlds fair type meal with beer flight or wine and a brought worst with german potato salad and a strange new creation for that time, chili con carne.  They also have the number one, so first, liquor license in the city of Chicago which they kept during prohibition by selling root beer.  The painting and stained glass were lovely there along with the woodwork.  Dark heavy wood everywhere, I felt like it could have been a bar in any D&D story I had played. 

The Palmer House was next and I wish we could have seen it.  But they don't allow tours, so the mystery of one of the most exclusive hotels in Chicago will have to wait. 

The next stop I'd actually been in before, the Target downtown which is their flag store is set in a beautiful pillared building and iron and wood worked revolving doors which target of course has kept in all it's 1893 glory.  Good for them. 

The final stop was at the Chicago Atheltic Associaton where I have also been before for a birthday party in The Game Room, which in 1893 was called the Emerald battle.  For the green felt on the pool tables.  There are still pool tables in the game room but it's been updated of course with more modern games as well.  The woodwork again here was dark and the lightings original fixtures cast a luminance that both warmed and secluded.  For meetings both business or forbidden, with secluded corners and several bars and restaurants including some of the hottest stops in Chicago right now, with lines that we didn't really want to stand in.  So once our tour officially ended, my friends took me on an after tour, tour.  And we sampled tapas and more martinis at Mercat near the Blackstone.  I even was passed a free drink card from a passerby which will force me to go back. Oh darn!  Oh I almost forgot that my team won the most points in the scavenger hunts we did throughout the tour and our price was hand rolled candy from Whimsical Candy company, and it was yummy.

My personal facebook page has pictures posted if you are curious to see some of these beautiful Chicago landmarks from before 1893.  Enjoy