Friday, September 25, 2020

September 25, 1961 -- Michigan Avenue's Water Tower Inn Opens
September 25, 1961 – Mayor Richard J. Daley receives a symbolic golden key as the $6 million Water Tower Inn is opened at 800 North Michigan Avenue.  Standing next to the historic Water Tower, the 15-story hotel will have 300 rooms and indoor parking for 150 cars.  At a luncheon after the ceremony Hugh Michaels, the president of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association, says, “The opening of the Water Tower Inn provides north Michigan avenue with a new luxury that is not only exciting in its architectural design, but also is outstanding in its facilities.”  [Chicago Tribune, September 26, 1961]  The hotel brings a greener look to Michigan Avenue with the planting of more than 100 trees, 700 bushes, and 2,000 flowering plants on the Michigan Avenue and Chicago Avenue sides of the building.  The hotel will never make it to middle age.  It is demolished in 1997 to make way for the Park Hyatt.  The Water Tower Inn is shown in the top photo.  Its replacement, the Park Hyatt tower, is shown in the second photo.

September 25, 1930 – An exhibition of the latest works of Frank Lloyd Wright opens at the Art Institute of Chicago, a display to run through October 12, a collection that comes to the Art Institute from the Architectural League in New York City.  Wright, caught while helping to set up the exhibit the day before its opening, says, “I obtained my motif from an intimate study of nature rather than as a product of studies of architectural styles.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, September 24, 1930]  He explains that there “must be no conflict between architecture and nature,” illustrating that concept with a development he has proposed for Hollywood Hills, California, in which houses of concrete blocks conform with the contours of the hills in which they are built.  The exhibit also includes models of a tall apartment building of glass and steel and a gasoline filling station in which gas and oil tanks are hung from a cantilevered roof so that there are no obstructions in the way of motorists.

September 25, 1927 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that construction will soon begin on “one of the city’s most notable cooperative apartment buildings . .. . thoroughly American in its exterior design and in its interior treatment.”  The Powhatan, to be located at Fiftieth Street and Chicago Beach Drive, a design of Robert S. De Golyer and Charles Morgan, combines the modern qualities of Art Deco’s fascination with historical references.  The building will hold 45 apartments, ranging in size form six to ten rooms, that “will be the last word in luxury, with wood burning fireplaces, galleries with plaster beam ceilings, libraries, enough bathrooms to keep an entire family happy and so on.”  The twentieth floor will hold a ballroom, and owners will enjoy a community swimming pool on the first floor.  Today the Powhatan is an Art Deco jewel that has to be seen to be appreciated fully.  According to Emporis it is the most expensive residential high-rise on Chicago’s south side.  For the full story on this amazing building you can turn to this link. 

September 25, 1907 – The city’s Commissioner of Public Works, John Hanberg, following a conference with officials of Marshall Field and Company, rescinds his decree against public clocks on State Street, issued two days earlier. The commissioner had earlier also notified Spaulding and Co., Lewy Bros., and J. Florsheim to remove clocks from the street even though the city council had passed permits for them, noting that they violated the city’s prohibition against projecting advertising signs.  Marshall Field officials agree to omit any advertising features from the clock, so the timepiece, one of the main features of State Street today, is allowed.

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