I went on a lake sail earlier this week and the trip took us--and my camera--close to the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, the six-story lighted sentinel south of Navy Pier on the northern breakwater.
Built for the 1893 World's Fair, the lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a Chicago landmark. The 120-year-old structure is a reminder of the city's once-active shipping industry. The lighthouse was originally constructed at the mouth of Chicago River, then was moved to its current site in 1917. Today, the automatic lighthouse guides pleasure and tour craft in and out of the harbor.
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This 1930 U.S.. Coast Guard photograph shows the still-young city growing up behind the lighthouse.
A cylindrical 48 ft. tall brick and steel tower, a boathouse and a fog signal building compose the lighthouse.
Here's a fun look at Chicago in the 1970s: a 16mm film depicting a day in the life of our fair city.
Chicago Breakdown by Gary Brown looks as if it was made around 1976, judging by a glimpse of an Bicentennial license plate on one of the cars. You'll also see legendary radio jock Larry Lujack at WCFL-AM, where he was on air from 1972 to 1976.
Breakdown begins a little slow with sunrise shots and a quiet country music score, but things pick up. I like when a worker, concluding a night shift, climbs into his Cadillac Coupe De Ville and shifts into gear as the Ohio Players' Love Rollercoaster comes on the car radio.
The 14 minute film features good aerial footage of the John Hancock Building and Lake Point Tower. The sped-up point of view footage taken from inside an 'L' car and along Lake Shore Drive and timed to match the musical "breakdown" hinted at in the title is also nice. We also see Wrigley Field fan yelling to get Cubs outfielder Jose Cardenal's autograph and darkened interior of the University of Chicago. A Playboy magazine shoot is briefly shown, so a word of caution there for sensitive readers.
The movie comes courtesy of the Chicago Film Archives,
Lake Point Tower was George Schipporeit and John Heinrich's first commission as architects — and it was a knock-out: a 70-story skyscraper, completed in 1968, that would become one of the most beautiful buildings on the Chicago skyline.
Schipporeit, who was also an associate professor at IIT's College of Architecture, died Thursday. He was 80. (Heinrich died in 1993 at age 65). Schipporeit's work would include the residential tower Asbury Plaza at 750 N. Dearborn and the dark brown, 22-story former Chase Tower in Evanston.
But Lake Point Tower would be Schipporeit's best-known and most spectacular work. Schipporeit and Heinrich — both students of architect Mies van der Rohe — took the modernist box and gave it curves, creating a skyscraper that rivaled the best efforts of their teacher.
Which brings us to the video above. It's the first part of a 1969 documentary, Lake Point Tower: The Story of Building a Building. Schipporeit narrates the documentary and fills it with rich observations and details. Looking at it now, the documentary is a fitting tribute to Schipporeit, Heinrich and the team that created the architectural masterpiece at 505 N.