Chicago architecture transports visitors to a different era

Some blocks in and around the city remain intact from their original construction, giving residents and tourists a taste of a different era.

August 6, 2012

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A blog post at Chicago Architecture Blog recently caught our eye. "Chicago's Best Worst Block" features a stretch of S. Clark St. straight out of the 1960s. Neon lights and seedy-looking storefronts recall the The Blues Brothers or the Chicago of Good Times. Writer and photographer Wayne Lorentz, who runs the blog, points to the area's appeal because it is "the opposite of modern-day downtown Chicago with its dog parks and Trump spires and cupcake boutiques."

Lorentz looks for gems like this stretch in Chicago's South Loop everyday to keep his blog active. He moved to Chicago in 2003 after a visit from Seattle. His photos and blog posts mostly center around the Loop because that's where he spends most of his time; the content is right at his fingertips. Lorentz says it starts with a photo op, then he digs deeper to learn more about the history of the spot. He asks area business owners and residents, and conducts his own research in newspaper archives. He says many of his readers are architects or building enthusiasts from other countries whose visits to Chicago spark their interest in the origins of the architecture. In the decade Lorentz has been living and working in Chicago he's seen the streets continually transform around him. While he appreciates the need to beautify and modernize the area, he says he doesn't want to forget the foundation that made Chicago an architectural destination, and hopes his historical adventures help readers remember.

Below are some of Wayne's favorite spots in the Chicago area that recollect a different time.

What are your favorite spots around Chicago to re-live a past era? Wayne Lorentz and WBEZ's Lee Bey join Jason Marck Tuesday on Afternoon Shift to share their picks, but we want to hear from you. Upload them to our Flickr page and then call us at 312-923-9239 to join the conversation. Afterall, there must be corners of the city we're forgetting-make sure those places are remembered!