The Chicago Sun-Times Building we could have had (and other cool Chicago stuff revealed on eBay)

November 30, 2010

I took a look at this photo last night on eBay and thought: zowie!

The 1955 photo shows an architectural model of an early, almost space-age version of the old Chicago Sun-Times Building. In this architectural bizzaro world, the gray barge-like building that stood at 401 N. Wabash is sleeker with curved corners and that huge, multi-story glass wall smiling out onto the Chicago River.

Is it a better-looking structure than the one that got built in 1958? I can't quite tell. Still, there wouldn't have been another downtown building like it and I would wager modernist preservationists would have raised a stink when the bulldozers came for this one in 2004 to build Trump Tower,

The photo was taken from a 4x6 film negative for sale on eBay. The item is part of a huge collection of original Sun-Times negatives for sale on eBay. A year ago, the paper sold its photo archives--millions of negatives--to an Arkansas businessman who is creating a searchable digital archive. The stuff sold in eBay is but a fraction of the haul --"not the best items" the businessman, John Rodgers, told the Reader's Mike Miner earlier this year.

I dunno; I think there are more than a few good nuggets to be found. I liked this photo of architect Paul Schweikher's Faith United Protestant Church, a beauty with a recessed glass curtain wall in south suburban Park Forest. The church at 10 Hemlock Street looks as good today as it did when it was built in 1953:

While looking at the collection, I couldn't help but wander around a bit. These women were Homecoming Queen finalists at Wilson Junior College in 1963. I wonder who won because they're all beautiful:

Here, a delegation from Japan visits the still-under construction Cabrini-Green housing project and vowing when they returned--I can only hope--never to build anything like that in their own country.

And that 4x6 negative of the Sun-Times building? Don't go looking to buy it, I'm afraid. It got snapped up last night. By me.