We had hoped in retirement to travel the world. So far we have done a pretty good job with trips to Mexico, Hawaii, Holland, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Germany, Austria, Italy, Spain and The Czech Republic. However the pandemic has stopped all of that for a while. So while waiting for Africa, Alaska and Scandinavia, our current travel is going to have to be virtual. Today’s stop is Chicago.
This city is really important to me. Our daughter and her family live there. It is also historically and strategically important to the USA.It is one of the largest lake shipping ports in the world. Thanks to the Saint Lawrence Seaway it is a major point of entry into the United States. It is also the latest rail hub in the United States. Culturally and ethnically Chicago is unique and important to the cultural fabric of our country.
There are many myths on why Chicago is called The Second City. Of course egocentric New Yorkers think it is because Chicago is second to New York. This is odd because if you think about population Los Angeles is first and if you think about age both Boston and Philadelphia are older. Bur of course New Yorkers tend to be full of themselves.
The one that is probably real is that the Chicago we know today rose from the ashes of the Great Chicago Fire of 1837. The great fire destroyed an area about 4 miles long and encompassing an area of more than 2,000 acres. It destroyed were more than 73 miles of roads, 120 miles of sidewalk, 2,000 lampposts and 17,500 buildings. Of the 300,000 inhabitants of Chicago at the time,100,000 were left homeless. The City was entirely rebuilt and as you can see is looking pretty good.
This view is from the 22nd floor of a Chicago Loop high rise and prints can be purchased on my commercial site.
I have traveled a lot to Chicago over the years and stayed in most of the really good hotels. I never stayed at The Drake but had cocktails there. I have stayed at all the Westin hotels, The Sheraton, The Chicago Hilton,The Hyatt, The Intercontinental, the Ritz and many others. Last week we stayed in a suite at the Palmer House as part of my daughter’s wedding. Is it the most beautiful in Chicago? Who knows. It is certainly in the same class as the Intercontinental and the Ritz and one of the best hotels I have ever stayed at. Not only is it beautiful but the service and attention by the entire staff was perfect.
I know New Yorkers don’t want to believe this but Chicago is called “The Second City” since it rebuilt itself after the Great Chicago Fire. Chicago has many nicknames, The Windy City and The City That Works among them. Theodore Dreiser called it “This Florence of the West”. I love the architecture and public art of Chicago. When I revisited Millennium Park after my daughter’s wedding, I found a wonderful new art installation that will be there for the next year or so. Like all the art in that area it is interesting and spectacular.
I had never been to Chicago’s Millennium Park in the Summer before and I had only seen the Mosaic “talking” heads in the cold weather. I had no idea it was a fountain. We wandered over there after lunch and hours spent at the Art Institute Museum. I was watching the kids playing in the water when all of sudden this happened and the talking head turned in to a super gobber!
Last week we had a suite at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago as part of our only daughter’s wedding. I was fascinated by the strange full length mirrors on our floor. I spent some time trying to get only my head in the mirror and take the shot. Couldn’t do it handheld without falling down so settled for a wave instead.
We are headed out tomorrow to see our family in Chicago.A few years ago I constructed this piece of nonsense which was shot in Chicago but has little to do with the great city or my family. It is a little surreal which is probably why I like it. Please let me know your thoughts and I will be back with more in about a week.
About six years ago my Daughter moved to Chicago and made it her home. Later this year she will be married at a Chicago Landmark, The Palmer House Hotel. Of course Mom and Dad have traveled there a lot over the last six years and thus I have collected what I think are a few decent images. Later this week we will make another journey to America’s “Second City”. Here are some of the better images and most are available for purchase as prints.
I used to travel a lot and was away on a few Halloweens. One thing I discovered is that it is pretty much the same everywhere in the United States but people from foreign cultures really don’t understand the insanity that Americans have with this day. This year I traveled to Chicago and sure enough they have Halloween there too.
Last weekend we visited Chicago to search for venues for my daughter’s wedding. The tour of the Palmer House came with a history tour that was very enlightening. The first hotel was built as a wedding present from Potter Palmer to his bride Bertha Honoré. It opened on September 26, 1871, but 13 days later it burned in the Chicago Fire. Palmer hired architect John M. Van Osdel to rebuild it. The hotel was rebuilt again in 1925 and in 1945 was purchased by Conrad Hilton for $20 million.
Palmer House Lobby
Many famous visitors have stayed there including Grover Cleveland, Ulysses S. Grant, William Jennings Bryan,William McKinley, Mark Twain, L. Frank Baum, and Oscar Wilde. Next year it will host my daughter’s wedding in awesome style.