Category Archives: CHICAGO

Chicago Harbor Lighthouse (1893). This active lighthouse has had a significant role in the development of Chicago and the U.S. Midwest.

Chicago Harbor Lighthouse (1893), Chicago, Illinois, 2017.

Known as the “Chicago Light,” the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse is an active automated lighthouse dating from 1893.

About one-half mile beyond Navy Pier, the lighthouse stands at the north of the main entrance of the Chicago Harbor in Lake Michigan. The lighthouse has had a significant role in the development of Chicago and the American Midwest and remains an active aid to nautical navigation today.

For more than a century, the U.S. Coast Guard has staffed this lighthouse at the breakwater outside the Chicago Harbor Lock. The lock separates Lake Michigan from the mouth of the Chicago River.

The lock was built in the mid-1930’s and is operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The lock is one of the entrances into the Illinois Waterway system at the Great Lakes. The waterway system is a commercial and recreational shipping connection to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

The “Chicago Light” is at that waterway system’s headwaters as it stands in the outer harbor constructed in 1880. The Chicago Light’s conical tower dates from 1893. Twenty-five years later, in 1918, the tower was reconstructed and the base building which contains a fog-signal room and boathouse was added. The architects are not identified.

Through its breakwaters, the main entrance into Chicago Harbor is 580 feet wide. The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse was designated a Chicago Landmark on April 9, 2003. It is the only surviving lighthouse in Chicago and one of two remaining examples in the state of Illinois.

The mouth of the Chicago River at Lake Michigan in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. About one mile ahead, the Chicago Harbor Lock, built in the 1930’s, provides the entrance/exit of the Illinois Waterway system at the Great Lakes. The waterway system is a commercial and recreational shipping connection from the Great Lakes to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers.

PHOTO Credits:

Chicago Light–by John P. Walsh.

Chicago River —“chicago river.” by alyssaBLACK. is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

SOURCES:

The Chicago River: an illustrated history and guide to the river and its waterways, David M. Solzman, Wild Onion Books, Chicago, 1998, pp.126-128.
Chicago Landmarks Map [brochure], City of Chicago, 2006.
https://web.archive.org/web/20070410173708/http://www.ci.chi.il.us/Landmarks/C/ChicagoHarborLighthouse.html – retrieved December 2, 2017.

The Chicago Avenue Bridge (1914). Demolished in 2018. Chicago, Illinois. A significant example of evolutionary progress in bridge design in an early 20th century American metropolis.

By John P. Walsh

Built in 1914 by Ketler-Elliot Erection Company of Chicago, the Chicago Avenue Bridge was one of the oldest pony truss bascule bridges in Chicago. Connecting River North and River West, the steel bridge was, after 104 years, demolished in 2018 and replaced, in 2019, by a temporary bridge. A new, permanent immovable concrete bridge is expected to open over the Chicago River in this location in 2021.

The expanse of the Chicago Avenue Bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River near Goose Island. The bridge with its steel beam pony truss was built in 1914 and demolished in 2018. The bridge was replaced by a temporary crossing in 2019.

A pony truss bridge is a steel truss bridge that allows traffic over and through the truss, but with no cross brace across the top connecting its two sides. The truss bridge assembly of the Chicago Avenue Bridge was made of riveted steel beams—a witness to the early 20th century industrial manufacturing might of Chicago. In addition to being “Hog Butcher For The World, Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat, Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler” as Carl Sandberg wrote in his 1914 poem, “Chicago,” published in the then-new (1912) Poetry magazine the same year the Chicago Avenue Bridge was built, Chicago was also at that time a world leader in steel production and bridge design.

In 1914 when the Chicago Avenue Bridge was first opened, Chicago was a world leader in steel production and bridge design, among many other industries that built America and the world. Chicago Mayor Carter H. Harrison, Jr. (1860-1953) served for five terms as a Democrat from 1897 to 1905 and again from 1911 to 1915, the years when the Chicago Avenue Bridge began operation.

The basic design of any bascule bridge is similar to a medieval castle drawbridge—a leaf or span that rises and descends so to permit traffic upon it—and, in the case of the Chicago Avenue Bridge, traffic also below it on the navigable—and today mainly recreational—Chicago River.

There are more than 50 movable bridges in Chicago. Single-leaf (truss) bascule bridges were constructed where the river was not very wide and often used for train traffic (Chicago is the railroad capital of the U.S.) where a single bridge deck goes up and down between abutments.

The more common double-leaf (truss) bascule bridge, which included the Chicago Avenue Bridge, consists of two leaves or spans which meet in the middle over the river. Counterweights on each side of the bridge beneath it in a river pit (or pits) balances, stabilizes and fortifies the vertical movement of the bridge deck. If the bridge deck is one leaf, the “Chicago Style” bridge rises in a piece vertically to one side of the river; if two leaves, each rise to their side of the river and descend to close again by meeting in the middle of the bridge deck.

Bascule bridges are the most commonly found moveable bridges in the world because they operate quickly and efficiently. The Chicago Avenue Bridge was operated from a companion pitched-roof bridge house with rounded corners and rows of windows clad in decorative (today oxidized green) copper. The bridge house portion of the structure was not demolished in 2018.

Looking east, a portion of the pony truss bascule Chicago Avenue Bridge before its demolition with its partially obscured bridge house in May 2016. Photograph by author.

The Chicago Avenue Bridge’s pitched-roof bridge house with its design of rounded corners and rows of windows clad in decorative (and today green oxidized) copper.

There are numerous variations and designs of the bascule bridge which in Chicago includes the trunnion (“pivot point”) bascule (“seesaw’) bridge. The nation’s first such bridge started operation in Chicago in 1902 over the north branch of the Chicago River at Cortland Street which can still be seen in operation today. The bridge design became known as the “Chicago Style” as its leaf or leaves, suspended on axles (trunnions) with massive concrete counterweights located below the bridge in the riverbank pit, opens and lifts a single or dual bridge deck to clear the river for traffic without blocking the waterway with a central pier.

Chicago’s bascule bridges—and the Chicago Avenue Bridge was one of them—were designed to its specific location. Each was designed to take on heavy loads and the attendant vibration which also included the ice and snow pack of Chicago’s winters. The design and construction into bedrock took into account wind resistance, whether the bridge leaves were open or closed, and to wind speeds of 100 miles per hour in any and all directions.

By 1920, improvements in bascule bridge design allowed for the construction of a double deck trunnion bascule bridge where car, truck and foot traffic could be carried simultaneously on its upper and lower decks. The first such double deck trunnion bascule bridge in Chicago was near the site of the old Fort Dearborn on the Chicago River at Michigan Avenue—today’s busy Michigan Avenue Bridge. In October 2010, the bridge was renamed DuSable Bridge in honor of Haitian-born Jean Baptiste Point du Sable (c.1750-1818), Chicago’s first permanent resident who established a trading settlement nearby.

Looking east from the Chicago Avenue Bridge to Chicago’s Downtown and Magnificent Mile along Lake Michigan.

Looking west from the old Chicago Avenue Bridge. A pony truss bridge is a steel truss bridge that allows traffic over and through the truss, but with no cross brace across the top connecting its two sides.

SOURCES:

Solzman, David M., The Chicago River: An Illustrated History and Guide to the River and Its Waterways, Wild Onion Books, Chicago, 1998.

http://chicagoloopbridges.com/Ctype.html

https://preservationchicago.org/newsletter_posts/threatened-historic-chicago-avenue-bridge-targeted-for-demolition/

https://chicago.curbed.com/2018/10/29/18038134/construction-chicago-avenue-bridge-traffic

https://www.archpaper.com/2018/06/chicago-offers-historic-chicago-avenue-bridge-free/

PHOTO Credits:

“Chicago Avenue Bridge” by swanksalot is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Carter H Harrison Mayor marker – Chicago Avenue Bridge” by swanksalot is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Author’s Photograph. Taken May 6, 2016. All rights reserved.

“Offering a historic bridge for sale is a meaningless and empty gesture. RIP Chicago Avenue bridge.” by reallyboring is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

“File:Architecture Tour 25 Chicago Avenue Bridge (185544768).jpg” by discosour is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

“Looking east on Chicago Avenue bridge” by Steven Vance is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Looking west on Chicago Avenue bridge” by Steven Vance is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

“Chicago – Chicago Avenue bridge, north branch of Chicago river” by ukdamian is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Temporary replacement bridge, Chicago Avenue at the Chicago River, 2019. The temporary bridge was installed after the Chicago Avenue Bridge, built in 1914, was demolished in 2018 after 104 years of service.

Street Photography II. (28 Photos).

Photographs ©John P. Walsh

The Logan Theatre, Chicago, illinois, February 2013.

Lakefront, East Chicago, Indiana, July 2016.

Chicago (The Loop), November 2017.

Downers Grove, Illinois, July 2018.

Chicago (Michigan Avenue), August 2015.

Chicago (Michigan Avenue), May 2014.

Chicago, July 2016.

Chicago, July 2016.

Chicago, July 2016.

Chicago, September 2015.

Chicago (Navy Pier), September 2016.

Chicago, August 2015.

Chicago (West Loop/East Garfield Park), October 2016.

Chicago (Millennium Monument), September 2016.

Chicago, Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church, 4600 S. King Drive, October 2016. Originally a synagogue founded in 1861 by German Jewish immigrants, the neo-Classical building was home to Chicago Sinai Congregation from 1912 until the 1940s. In 1961, Mount Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church moved into the building. The church community brought a strong commitment to social justice and played an instrumental role in bringing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference to Chicago. Since the late 1960’s the church has provided a neighborhood food bank.

Chicago (Navy Pier), September 2015.

May 2019.

June 2020.

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 2018.

Chicago (Edgewater), 2014.

Oakbrook, Illinois, summer 2019.

Summer 2019.

Summer 2019.

Metropolitan Correctional Center, Chicago (1975) in late 2017. The 28-story building is a right triangle shape. Architect Harry Weese (1915-1998) designed each cell with a floor-to-ceiling slit window, 7 feet (2.1 m) long by 5 inches (130 mm) wide. The windows were narrow enough that they did not require bars and beveled out to allow natural light to pass inside.

Chicago, August 2017.

Magnificent Mile, Chicago, May 2016.

skyline (artist), September 2015.

Crown Fountain (Millennium Park), Chicago, September 2016.

Four Seasons by Marc Chagall, 1974. Chase Tower Plaza, Chicago, Illinois.

Feature Image: Chase Tower Plaza, Chicago, 2017.

Four Seasons by Marc Chagall, 1974. Chase Tower Plaza, Chicago, Illinois. May 2014.

EXPO Chicago 2018, Festival Hall, Navy Pier. Seventh Annual International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, September 27-30, 2018. (58 Photos).

Photographs ©John P. Walsh

Expo Chicago/2018 is the 7th annual exhibition of international contemporary and modern art held in Chicago at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. It took place September 27-30, 2018. Expo Chicago/2018 presented 135 galleries and exhibitors representing 27 countries and 63 cities from around the world. This post’s 60 photographs are of that event.

Expo Chicago/2018 includes exhibitors four sections categorized to a specific aim:
Exposure are galleries founded since 2010 featuring one or two artists;
Profile are international galleries featuring solo or collective artists with focused installations, exhibitions and projects;
Editions + Books highlight artist books, editions, prints, collectibles, photography, collage, drawing, etc.;
Special Exhibitions” feature site specific work.

More Expo Chicago/2018 sections include:
IN/SITU highlighting curated large-scale installations (a second, outside version features large-scale sculptures in various Chicago locations);
EXPO VIDEO highlighting curated film, video and new media work;
EXPO SOUND highlighting curated sound installations and projects.

Expo Chicago/2018 was held in Festival Hall on Navy Pier in Chicago. The annual event, held since 2012, is in its seventh year.

Expo Chicago/2018 attracts thousands of attendees to visit with hundreds of gallery owners and artists from all over the world.

Expo Chicago is a major modern and contemporary art event held each year to open the Fall art season. It is held nearby to downtown Chicago and the Magnificent Mile on historic Navy Pier which is one of Chicago’s most popular tourist magnets.

One of the information desks at Expo Chicago/2018.

Expo Chicago/2018 welcomed 135 international art galleries from 27 countries and 63 cities.

Georgia Scherman Projects, Toronto. Within the framework of the show’s sections, each booth showcases the artwork of their choosing .

The artwork of Marcus Jansen was featured at Casterline/ Goodman Gallery, Aspen, CO, Chicago, and Nantucket, MA.

Artist Gina Pellón (center) at Cerunda Arte, Coral Gables, FL.

Surrealist painter Fred Stonehouse, Night King, 2018, acrylic on canvas, Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee, WI.

Richard Hughes, Hot Step, 2017, cast polyester resin and enamel paint, Anton Kern Gallery, New York.

Ridley Howard, Blue Dress, Blue Sky, 2016, acrylic on linen, Frederic Snitzer Gallery, Miami, FL.

Admissions.

Library Street Collective, Detroit, MI.         

Artist Francesco Clemente, 2018, oil on canvas at Maruani Mercier Gallery, Brussels, Belgium.

Artwork of Larry Poons, Yares Art, New York, Palm Springs, Santa Fe.

Artwork of Austin White, 2018, Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco and New York.

In/Situ: Postcommodity, Repellent Fence, 2015, Bockley Gallery, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Peter Blake Gallery, Laguna Beach, CA.

Artwork by Asmund Havsteen Mikkelsen at the booth shared by Fold Gallery, London, and Galleri Kant, Copenhagen.

Prune Nourry, River Man (detail), 2018, patinated copper tubes, Galerie Templon, Paris.

Gérard Garouste, The Eagle Owl and the One-Eared Woman, 2016, Galerie Templon, Paris.

Two views of Jaume Plensa’s Laura Asia in White, 2017, polyester resin and marble dust, at Richard Gray Gallery, Chicago.

William Kentridge, Blue Rubrics, 2018, lapis lazuli pigment on thesaurus pages, NFP Field Tate Editions, Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Frances Stark, According to This…, 2018, Silk screen on linen on panel, Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, New York and Rome.

David Driskell, Jazz Singer (Lady of Leisure, Fox), 1974, oil and collage on canvas, DC Moore New York City.

Jansson Stegner, Swordswoman, 2018, oil on linen, Nino Mier Gallery, Los Angeles.

Brian Calvin, Eternal Return, 2009, acrylic on canvas, Anton Kern Gallery, New York.

Margot Bergman, Gloria, 2014, acrylic on linen, Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago.

Ceysson & Bénétière, New York Luxembourg Paris Saint-Étienne.

Julie Heffernan, Self-Portrait with Nuala, 2018, oil on canvas, Zolla/Lieberman Chicago.

Chloe Wise, You would have been a castle for a moment, 2016, Galerie Division, Montreal and Toronto.

Expo Chicago/2018.

Expo Chicago/2018.

2018 artworks of Devan Shimoyama, De Buck Gallery New York City.

Expo Chicago/2018.

Chie Fueki, Kyle, 2017, DC Moore Gallery, New York City.

Naudline Pierre, Deal Kindly and Truly With Me, 2018, oil on canvas, 56 x 52 inches, Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles.

Clare Sherman, Sea Cave, 2017, oil on canvas, 84 x 66 in., DC Moore Gallery, New York City.

Roberto Fabelo, Gothic Habanero, n.d., oil on canvas, Cerunda Arte, Coral Gables, FL.

Expo Chicago/2018 brings a world of modern and contemporary art to Chicago for the collector.

Expo Chicago/2018 offers the art lover in one place a plethora of opportunities to encounter the latest in modern and contemporary art from around the world.

Expo Chicago/2018 covers tens of thousands of square feet with modern and contemporary art of many kinds from 27 countries and 63 global cities.

A quiet moment with modern art.

Sculpture, painting, and other visual art forms were in evidence at Expo Chicago/2018. There is a popular on-site cafe that serves snacks and beverages.

Expo Chicago/2018.

Sharing smiles at Expo Chicago/2018.

A point of artistic interest at Expo Chicago/2018 brings out the cellphones.

Juan Roberto Diago, Grito, 1997. The artist talks about his artistic debt to Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Fort Gansevoort, New York City.

The latest artwork of Nick Dawes, 2018, Galerie Kornfeld, Berlin.

Tsailing Tseng, Black Moor Everything, Everything, 2018, oil on linen, Tuttle Fellowship.

Roberto Lugo, porcelain china, paint, luster, 2018, Wexler Gallery, Philadelphia. PA.

Lavar Munroe, Spy Boy, 2018, acrylic and earring stud on canvas, Jenkins Johnson Gallery San Francisco New York.

In/Situ: Ivan Argote, Among Us — Across History…, 2017.

Richard Hudson, Tear, 2016, polished mirrored steel, Michael Goedhuis London Beijing New York.


Aniela Sobieksi,  Girl with a Garden, 2018, oil on panel, Tory Folliard Gallery, Milwaukee. The painting next to it sold right before I took this photograph.

The Hole NYC.

Barnaby Barford (b. 1977), Celebrity, 2018, Giclée Print, David Gill Gallery, London.

All photographs and text©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system. (CR)

Sea of Flags (2004), a street mural by Gamaliel Ramirez in Chicago’s Humboldt Park neighborhood.

Photograph and Text ©John P. Walsh

SEA OF FLAGS, 2004, 2500 West Division Street, Chicago (Humboldt Park) by Gamaliel Ramirez (b. 1949) with the assistance of community members.  

The mural entitled Sea of Flags depicts Fiesta Boricua (De Bandera a Bandera), an annual 3-day music and cultural event in the Humboldt Park neighborhood in Chicago. Attracting tens of thousands of visitors, the fiesta is held starting in late August or early September. In 2018 the Fiesta Boricua celebrated its 25th anniversary and offered 3 stages booked back to back with scores of musical and cultural performers specializing in the pulsating rhythms of Puerto Rican salsa, reggaeton, bomba, plena, and merengue music, and more.

Some of the famous people depicted in the mural Sea of Flags include Puerto Rican nationalist Lolita Lebrón (1919-2010), Nuyorican (“New York City/Puerto Rican”) poet and playwright Pedro Pietri (1944-2004) and, depicted as a bronze statue on the image’s left side, Don Pedro Albizu Campos (1891-1965), the leading figure in the Puerto Rican independence movement.

An abundance of Puerto Rican flags in the mural is intentional by the artist and his assistants. Since Spain ceded Puerto Rico to the United States in 1898 following the Spanish-American War — and ceded the Philippines and the island of Guam at the same time — Puerto Rico and the U.S. have had a complicated political relationship that is yet to be completely mutually resolved today.

Gamaliel Ramirez was born in the Bronx in New York in 1949. He spent most of his career in Chicago teaching and as a working artist. After 35 years in Chicago he retired to Santa Rita, San Juan, Puerto Rico. After Hurricane Maria in September 2017, Mr. Ramirez was hospitalized for many months and passed away on May 21, 2018. The artist of this colorful mural has left behind for us a legacy of paintings, other murals, photography and poetry.

EXPO Chicago 2017, Festival Hall, Navy Pier. Sixth Annual International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, September 13-17, 2017. (34 photos).

Photographs ©John P. Walsh

Expo Chicago/2017 is the 6th annual exhibition of international contemporary and modern art held in Chicago at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. It took place September 13-17, 2017. Expo Chicago/2017 presented 135 galleries representing 25 countries and 58 cities from around the world.

This post’s 34 photographs are of that event.

Expo Chicago 2017
Expo Chicago 2017.

Brian Calvin, Momentary Monument, 2017
Brian Calvin, Momentary Monument, 2017, acrylic on canvas, Anton Kern Gallery, New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

Expo Chicago 2017Admissions, Expo Chicago 2017.

Expo Chicago 2017
Information desk, Expo Chicago 2017.

Lara Schnitger, Suffragette City, 2015-2017.Lara Schnitger, Suffragette City, 2015-2017, Cotton, and linen, quilted and bleached, Anton Kern Gallery, New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

The War We Won, Roger Brown, 1991
The War We Won, Roger Brown, oil on canvas, 80 x 120 in., Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago. Expo Chicago 2017.

Doug Argue, Dream Song 12, 2017
Doug Argue, Dream Song 12, 2017, oil on paper, 40,x,60 in., Marc Straus, New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

CarrerasMugica Contemporary Art Gallery, Bilbao
CarrerasMugica Contemporary Art Gallery, Bilbao. Expo Chicago 2017.

Galerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, SwitzerlandGalerie Gmurzynska, Zurich, Switzerland, with booth design by Antonio Manfreda. Expo Chicago 2017. Germano Celant, theorist of the Arte Povera movement. From 2015 he was the artistic director of the Prada Foundation in Milan.

Matthew Monahan, Hurricane Nickel, 2016 and Aquarius Gemini, 2016.
Matthew Monahan, Hurricane Nickel, 2016, and Aquarius Gemini, 2016, Anton Kern Gallery, New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

Anton Kern Gallery, New YorkAnton Kern Gallery, New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

Rita McBride, Halicarnassus and Pantheon 2.
Rita McBride, Halicarnassus, 2010, bronze and grey limestone, and Pantheon 2, bronze and markina marble, CarrerasMugica Contemporary Art Gallery, Bibao. Expo Chicago 2017.

Wardell Milan
Wardell Milan, The New Sun Will Warm our Proud and Naked Bodies, 2016, charcoal, oil, oil pastel, pastel, gesso, acrylic, color pencil, cut paper on paper, David Nolan Gallery, New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

Meleko Mokgosi
Meleko Mokgosi, Honor Fraser Gallery, Los Angeles. Expo Chicago 2017.

John SealJohn A. Seal, König Galerie, Berlin. Expo Chicago 2017.

Alan Stone Projects, New YorkAlfred Leslie, Oval Collage, 1959, Diana Moore, White Head, 1988  and Willem de Kooning, 1965, charcoal on paper, Alan Stone Projects, New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

Expo Chicago 2017Thinks I, To Myself. Expo Chicago 2017.

Expo Chicago 2017.
Expo Chicago 2017.

Expo Chicago 2017
Expo Chicago 2017.

Rhona Hoffman Gallery Expo Chicago 2017Jackie Saccoccio, Portrait (Bomba), 2017, and Faheem Majeed, Hopscotch I,  2011, and Pause, 2010, Rhona Hoffman Gallery Chicago. Expo Chicago 2017.

Expo Chicago 2017
Expo Chicago 2017.

Garth Greenan Gallery New York
Garth Greenan Gallery, New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

Iva Gueorguieva, Listen, 2017
Iva Gueorguieva, Listen, 2017, acrylic oil collage on canvas, Miles McEnery Gallery, New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

Hayal Pozanti
Hayal Pozanti, 70 (million m.p.h that the earth orbit around the sun), 2017, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 132 in., Jessica Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, California. Expo Chicago 2017.

Lavar Munroe, Instinctual, 2017
Lavar Munroe, Instinctual, 2017, acrylic on canvas, 48 x 42 in., Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco. Expo Chicago 2017.

Expo Chicago 2017
Expo Chicago 2017.

Peres Projects Berlin
Peres Projects Berlin. Expo Chicago 2017.

Ransome Stanley, Untitled, 2017
Ransome Stanley, Untitled, 2017, oil on canvas, 59 x 78 in., Gallery MOMO, South Africa. Expo Chicago 2017.

Expo Chicago 2017
Booth 839, Expo Chicago 2017.

Caroline WalkerCaroline Walker, Grimm Gallery Amsterdam New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

Expo Chicago 2017
Expo Chicago 2017.

Nicolas Africano
Nicolas Africano, Untitled, 2017, cast glass, Weinstein Gallery Minneapolis. Expo Chicago 2017.

Paul Kasmin Gallery New YorkPaul Kasmin Gallery New York. Expo Chicago 2017.

Miro 1925Artist’s Signature (Miró). Expo Chicago 2017.

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

Ray Kroc’s very first McDonald’s franchise restaurant started in 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois, is slated to meet the wrecking ball.

First McDonald's franchise restaurant, 1955, May 2018.
McDonald’s very first franchise restaurant on its original site, 1955 (replica, 1985) is slated to be razed by McDonald’s Corporation immediately. — John P. Walsh, May 6, 2018.

By John P. Walsh

A closed-down weather-beaten replica of the very first McDonald’s franchise restaurant started by Ray Kroc (1902-1984) on April 15, 1955 standing on its original site in Des Plaines, Illinois, is slated to be demolished by McDonald’s Corporation with its land donated or possibly sold.

It was not long ago that McDonald’s touted that approximately one in every eight American workers had been employed by the company (Source: McDonald’s estimate in 1996) and that even today McDonald’s hires around 1 million workers in the U.S. every year. By 1961 there were 230 McDonald’s franchises in the United States. In 2017 there was 37, 241 McDonald’s restaurants worldwide. Not only historians and historic preservationists decry the imminent demolition of the first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, just west of Chicago, but others impressed by its direct significance to the growth and impact to U.S. labor history as well as the American restaurant industry and American automotive culture in the post-World War II era. Further, McDonald’s restaurants today reach into 121 other countries around the world influencing and being influenced by global cuisine. That all of this cultural and business import was born on a now-threatened patch of land on Lee Street in Des Plaines, Illinois, is impressive.

It appears that if and when McDonald’s follows through on its November 2017 decision to raze the building and give up the site, this originally-designed McDonald’s restaurant on Ray Kroc’s original site in Des Plaines will be forever lost. The story of how that planned demolition of this unique piece of Americana came to be began 35 years ago. It was on March 3, 1984 that after 29 years of continual operation the original franchise restaurant on the original site was permanently closed and demolished. Founder and former McDonald’s Corporation chairman Ray Kroc had died less than six weeks before in January 1984 at 81 years old in San Diego, California.

The McDonald’s restaurant brand opened its first burger bar called McDonald’s Bar-B-Q in California in 1940 – and, by 1953, brothers Maurice and Richard McDonald started a small franchise business in Phoenix, Arizona and Downey, California. Today’s nationwide and global franchise empire that serves 75 burgers every second (Source: McDonald’s Operations and Training Manual) began when Oak Park, Illinois-born Ray Kroc, a paper-cup-turned-milkshake-machine salesman, convinced the McDonald brothers to let him franchise their business nationwide. Kroc offered to manage the franchises in the U.S., excepting the brothers’ first franchises in Arizona and California, and the pair were to receive a tiny percentage of gross sales nationwide in return.

Kroc’s first walk-up franchise McDonald’s restaurant at the “Five Corners” intersection in Des Plaines, Illinois, served an assembly-line format menu of hamburgers, cheeseburgers, french fries and a selection of drinks. In 1955, he founded McDonald’s System, Inc., a predecessor of the McDonald’s Corporation, and six years later bought the exclusive rights to the McDonald’s name and operating system. By 1961, Ray Kroc’s vision had clearly paid off for the now 59-year-old former paper cup salesman. That same year, Kroc bought out the McDonald brothers for $2.7 million and launched his strict training program, later called “Hamburger University, ” in nearby Elk Grove Village, Illinois, at another of his 230 new McDonald’s restaurants. Ray Kroc’s original vision was that there should be 1,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the United States. When Kroc died in January 1984, his goal had been exceeded six fold — there were 6,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. and internationally in 1980.

The Des Plaines suburban location of Ray Kroc’s very first McDonald’s franchise retains its relatively humble setting even as the McDonald’s Corporation it spawned earns $27 billion in annual sales making it the 90th-largest economy in the world (Source: SEC). Kroc, the milkshake machine salesman who convinced the McDonald brothers to let him franchise their fast-food operation nationwide, saw his original McDonald’s franchise at 400 Lee St. in Des Plaines open for business until, shortly after his death, it closed on Saturday, March 3, 1984.

47-ray-kroc-quotes
Ray Kroc (1902-1984) with his highly successful McDonald’s franchise restaurant. The franchise started in Des Plaines, Illinois, in 1955 has had a significant impact on U.S labor history as well as the American restaurant industry and automotive culture in the post-World War II era. 

In 1984 there were no plans to preserve the site – its golden arches and road sign had been carted away –  but a public outcry prompted McDonald’s in 1985 to return the restaurant’s restored original sign designed by Andrew Bork and Joe Sicuro of Laco Signs of Libertyville, Illinois, and dedicate a restaurant replica that still exists today on the original site though it is now slated for demolition. The historic red neon-lettered sign turned on for the opening of Kroc’s first store on April 15, 1955 – there is one similar to it preserved in The Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Michigan dating from 1960 – proclaimed “McDonald’s Hamburgers” and “We Have Sold Over 1 Million” and, intersecting with an iconic golden arch displayed a neon-animated “Speedee” chef, the fast food chain’s original mascot. (The clown figure of Ronald McDonald first appeared in 1963).

Newspaper advertisement
Newspaper advertisement announcing the opening of Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. It featured the franchise’s first mascot, Speedee who was significant to the assembly- line format menu and prevailing automotive culture.
Ray Kroc_s first McDonald_s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois April 15, 1955.
Ray Kroc’s first McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois on April 15, 1955.
McDonald's first franchise Des Plaines IL.
The replica of McDonald’s first franchise restaurant is missing its golden arches, “McDonald’s” sign over the entrance, and original 1955 Speedee neon lettered sign. In January 2018 they were dismantled and removed by McDonald’s to an undisclosed location out of public view – John P. Walsh, May 6, 2018.

The day after the original restaurant closed –  Sunday, March 4, 1984 – a McDonald’s restaurant franchise moved across the street into a state-of-the-art new building on a site that once accommodated a Howard Johnson’s and, after that, a Ground Round. The full-service McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois, today continues to operate out of that 1984 building. It may confuse the visitor which exactly is the original site of the first McDonald’s as the newer 1984 building not on the first site displays inside a high-relief metal sign that reads: “The national chain of McDonald’s was born on this spot with the opening of this restaurant.” Though undated, it is signed by Ray Kroc which points to it being brought over from the original restaurant when it was closed. At the replica restaurant on the original site two metal plaques (dated April 15, 1985) properly proclaim: “Ray A. Kroc, founder of McDonald’s Corporation, opened his first McDonald’s franchise (the ninth McDonald’s drive-in in the U.S.) on this site, April 15, 1955.”

A few months after the first franchise restaurant was closed and demolished in 1984, the parcel of land on which it sat – it had only always been leased since 1955 – was purchased by McDonald’s at the same time they announced plans for the replica landmark restaurant.

The original architectural plans by architect Robert Stauber from the mid1950’s were lost, so 1980’s planners applied architectural drawings of McDonald’s restaurants built in the late 1950’s for the replica. Its kitchen included refurbished equipment brought out of storage, including the restaurant’s original six-foot grill. It also displayed one of Ray Kroc’s original multimixers like the ones he sold to Maurice and Richard McDonald that started a fast-food partnership in the 1950’s which by the mid-1960’s inspired many well-known copy cats of McDonald’s model, including Burger King, Burger Chef, Arbys, KFC, and Hardee’s.

Soda_fountain_Multimixer_5-head_malt machine_mfgd_by Sterling_Multiproducts (1)
Soda fountain multimixer.

The original restaurant had been remodeled several times during its almost 30 years of operation but never had much in the way of indoor seating or a drive-through. It did feature a basement and furnace built for Chicago’s four seasons and was used by the replica museum to exhibit items. The McDonald’s Museum was open for tours until September 2008 when the site experienced record-setting flooding from the nearby Des Plaines River. In April 2013 another record flood in Des Plaines submerged the McDonald’s Museum and produced serious speculation that the site would be moved or permanently closed.

Aerial 2013 Des Plaines
An aerial view during the April 2013 Des Plaines River flood shows the replica first McDonald’s franchise restaurant (right) with its original Speedee neon sign that was first lit on April 15, 1955 — Chris Walker, Chicago Tribune, April 19, 2013.

In mid-July 2017, only four years since the last significant flood, the area experienced its worst flooding on record. In November 2017 McDonald’s announced it would raze the replica restaurant structure and by May 2018 the site had had its utilities disconnected and its golden arches, Speedee sign, and main entrance McDonald’s sign dismantled and removed. These historically valuable items were taken by McDonald’s out of public view to an undisclosed location. Once again, and this time more seriously it appears, the prospect of pleas by Des Plaines municipal authorities, historic preservationists, social media and others for McDonald’s Corporation to preserve the site intact is murky at best.

first night Des Plaines
The original Des Plaines McDonald’s restaurant (pictured here in 1955) was demolished in 1984. A replica restaurant built in 1985 was based on architectural plans of later McDonald’s restaurants. The historic site is awaiting demolition announced by McDonald’s in late 2017.  

Notes:

number of franchises in U.S. 1961 – http://sterlingmulti.com/multimixer_history.html# – retrieved May 8, 2018

number of restaurants 2017- https://www.statista.com/statistics/219454/mcdonalds-restaurants-worldwide/ -retrieved May 8, 2018.

121 countries – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_with_McDonald%27s_restaurants – retrieved May 8, 2018.

McDonald’s System, Inc; McDonald brothers for $2.7 million; Hamburger University; Kroc’s 1,000 restaurant vision – https://www.mcdonalds.com/us/en-us/about-us/our-history.html – retrieved May 8, 2018.

6,000 McDonald’s restaurants by 1980- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_McDonald%27s#1980s – retrieved May 8, 2018

original architectural plans lost – http://www.dailyherald.com/news/20171120/mcdonalds-plans-to-tear-down-des-plaines-replica-retrieved May 6, 2018.

2008 Des Plaines River flood- http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-04-18/news/chi-des-plaines-roads-flooded-after-storm-20130418_1_des-plaines-river-big-bend-lake-water-levels- retrieved May 8, 2018.

2013 Des Plaines River flood – https://patch.com/illinois/desplaines/bp–des-plaines-river-flood-information-03bfa82b– retrieved May 8, 2018.

2017 Des Plaines River flood

©John P. Walsh. All rights reserved. No part of this material may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, which includes but is not limited to facsimile transmission, photocopying, recording, rekeying, or using any information storage or retrieval system.

EXPO Chicago 2016, Festival Hall, Navy Pier. Fifth International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, September 22-25, 2016. (43 Photos).

Photographs ©John P. Walsh

Expo Chicago/2016 is the 5th annual exhibition of international contemporary and modern art held in Chicago at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall. It took place from September 22-25, 2016. Expo Chicago/2016 presents 145 galleries representing 22 countries and 53 cities from around the world. This post’s photographs are of that event.

Jeff Koons' 17th Art Car.

Jeff Koons, BMW M3 GT2, Expo Chicago/2016.

Alfredo Jaar, Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible, 2015 neon edition GALERIE THOMAS SCHULTE DSC_0742 (1)

Alfredo Jaar, Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible, 2015, neon, edition 3/3 + 3AP, Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin, Germany. Expo Chicago/2016.

At Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin (resized).

At Dittrich & Schlechtriem, Berlin, Germany includes artwork by Klaus Jörres and Julian Charrière. Expo Chicago/2016.

At Cernuda Arte Coral Gables FL. (resize)

At Cernuda Arte Coral Gables, FL. Manuel Mendive (foreground) Este Lugar Sagrado/This Sacred Place, 2009, acrylic on canvas. Expo Chicago/2016.

Art+Language Made in Zurich 1965-1972, London.

Paintings I, Art+Language, Made in Zurich 1965-1972, London. Expo Chicago/2016.

Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden.

The Art + Language group’s Michael Baldwin and Mel Ramsden in Chicago. Founded in the mid1960s in the United Kingdom by Terry Atkinson (b. 1939), David Bainbridge (b. 1941), Michael Baldwin (b. 1945) and Harold Hurrell (b. 1940), artist Mel Ramsden joined in 1970. Throughout the 1970s Art + Language dealt with questions about art production and attempted a shift from conventional forms of art, such as painting and sculpture, to theoretically linguistic (text)-based artwork. Art + Language remains active today in several collaborative projects. 

At Galerie Thomas Schulte (resize).

Jonathan Lasker, The Handicapper’s Faith, 2011, Galerie Thomas Schulte, Berlin, Germany. Expo Chicago/2016.

Gallery MOMO, South Africa (resize).

At Gallery MOMO Cape Town/Johannesburg, South Africa. Artwork by Mary Sibande. Expo Chicago/2016.

Dialogues.

Expo Chicago/2016.

Andrew Moore, Mirador, Gibara, Cuba, 2008Andrew Moore, Mirador, Gibara, Cuba, 2008, 46 x 58 inch archival pigment print, Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York. 

Margot Bergman, Agnes, 2016.

Margot Bergman, Agnes, acrylic on canvas, 2016, Corbett vs. Dempsey. Expo Chicago/2016.

Shannon Finley, Googol, 2015.

Shannon Finley, Googol, 2015, acrylic on linen, 4 panels 95 x 189 in., Carrie Secrist Gallery, Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.

#12 FINAL COPY FUB BURST DSC_0867

Euan Uglow, Sue Wearing a Blue Swimming Cap, 1978/80, oil on canvas 19.5 x 27.5 in., Browse & Darby London. Expo Chicago/2016.

Deborah Butterfield, Hala, 2016.

Deborah Butterfield, Hala, 2016, cast bronze with patina, Zolla Lieberman Gallery Inc., Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.

at Álvaro Alcázar Gallery, Madrid (resize).

Juan Garaizabal, Álvaro Alcázar Gallery, Madrid. Expo Chicago/2016.

April Martin, The Sun had not yet Risen, 2016.

April Martin, The Sun had not yet Risen, 2016, copper, thread, glass, vinegar, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.

Hermann Nitsch, Schüttbild (Shaped Image), 2013, Acrylic on Canvas, Marc Straus Gallery, New York City.

Dialogue with Miguel Aguilar and Chris Silva.

Dialogue with Miguel Aguilar and Chris Silva, Conversation Pieces. Expo Chicago/2016.

Louise Bourgeois, Girl with hair, 2007, archival dye on silk, edition of 12, Carolina Nitsch, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Pace Gallery, New York City. (resize)

Pace Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Carolina Nitsch labels.

Expo Chicago 2016.

Genieve Figgis, Half Gallery, NYC (resize)

Genieve Figgis, Half Gallery, New York City. Genieve Figgis is an artist from Ireland who began her artistic career on social media. Expo Chicago/2016.

Buddha's tight ringlet curls by Qi Yu.

Buddha’s tight ringlet curls by Qi Yu. Ceramic cinnabar mineral mounted on canvas. Expo Chicago/2016.

Qi Yu, Beijing, China.

Artist Qi Yu of Redbrick Art Museum, Beijing, China.

North Cafe.

North Cafe. Expo Chicago/2016.

Art Catalogs. (resize).

Expo Chicago/2016.

Amy Sherald, Monique Meloche Gallery.

Amy Sherald, Listen, you a wonder. you a city of a woman. you got a geography of your own., 54 x 43 in., oil on canvas, 2016, Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016. The artist’s title quotes American poet Lucille Clifton (1936-2010): “listen, you a wonder. you a city of a woman. you got a geography of your own. listen, somebody need a map to understand you. somebody need directions to move around you. listen, woman, you not a noplace anonymous girl; mister with his hands on you he got his hands on some damn body!”

Sandro Miller, American Bikers 1990-1995.

Sandro Miller, American Bikers 1990-1995, Catherine Edleman Gallery, Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.

Bettina Pousttchi, Rotunda, 2016.

Bettina Pousttchi, Rotunda, 2016, photographic print on textile, 25′ diameter, Buchmann Galerie, Berlin/Lugano. Expo Chicago/2016.

Raffi Kalenderian, Sekula Benner Street, 2016.

Raffi Kalenderian, Sekula Benner Street, 2016, oil on canvas, Buchmann Galerie Berlin/Lugano. Expo Chicago/2016.

Kate Werble  Ernesto Burgos (resize).

Ernesto Burgos, Kate Werble Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Sims Reed Gallery London (resize)

Sims Reed Gallery London. Expo Chicago/2016.

Ann Agee, Negishi Heights 1957, 2015, (resize)

Ann Agee, Negishi Heights 1957, 2015, acrylic on Thai Mulberry paper, P.P.O.W. Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

At the Expo.

Expo Chicago/2016.

Artistic performance. (resize)

Performance outside Zwirner Gallery, New York City. Background: Raymond Pettibon, No Title (Manhattan rising, advancing—), 2010, ink and acrylic on paper, 59 x 118 inches. Expo Chicago/2016.

Mel Bochner and Aloyson Shotz.

Mel Bochner, Blah Blah Blah, 2016 and Aloyson Shotz, Flow Fold #3, 2015, Carolina Nitsch Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Alicja Kwade, Hypotheisches  Gebilde, 2016 (resize)

Alicja Kwade, Hypotheisches Gebilde, 2016, König Galerie Berlin, Germany. Expo Chicago/2016.

Bernar Venet, Indeterminate Line, 2013.

Bernar Venet, Indeterminate Line, 2013, rolled steel, 75 1/2 × 80 × 62 in. Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York City. Expo Chicago/2016.

Richard Norton Gallery (resize)

Richard Norton Gallery. Expos Chicago/2016.

Jannis Varelas, New Flags for a New Country, The Breeder, Athens, Greece. Expo Chicago/2016.

Expo's end.

Expo Chicago/2016.

Jenn Smith, Untitled (Snake), oil and acrylic on canvas, 2016, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Expo Chicago/2016.

Atelier Van Lieshout, The Beginning of Everything, foam, paint, wood, paverpoll, 2016. Expo Chicago/2016. The molecule represents Glucose (C6H12O6), the primary source of energy for human life.  Without glucose, nothing would function: neither the brain, intelligence, thought, muscles, movement or sports. Without energy, our lives would come to a standstill.