Reply Sat 4 Nov, 2006 05:26 pm
New -


Fire destroys historic Chicago home designed by Sullivan

November 4, 2006
A historic North Side home designed by renown architect Louis Sullivan has been ravaged by fire, the third such city structure brought down by a blaze this year.
Members of the Chicago fire and police departments are working together Saturday morning to determine if anyone was living in the 2 ½ story residential building that caught fire about 1:30 a.m., Fire Media Affairs Chief Kevin MacGregor said. The building was under construction at the time of the fire and firefighters have received several conflicting reports from neighbors.

Smoke filled the Wrigleyville neighborhood when a 2-11 alarm fire broke out on the second floor of the home at 600 W. Stratford Pl., MacGregor said.

"We battled the blaze from the exterior because of the high volume of fire," he said.

The unstable nature of the burning building caused firefighters to evacuate the residents in the building immediately to the west. "It was too dangerous for us to enter the building, which partially collapsed," he said.

The home, known as the George Harvey House, was designed by Sullivan and fellow architect Dankmar Adler and was completed in 1888, according to Preservation Chicago.

The home was one of only three wood-frame structures made by Sullivan. The other two, situated in Mississippi, were swept away last year by Hurricane Katrina.

The owner of the Stratford Place home had recently applied for a demolition permit to build new condos.

Residents of the nearby homes were expected to be allowed back into their homes early Saturday, MacGregor said as of 4:45 a.m.

A police Town Hall District Captain said no one was living in the home at the time of the fire.

The fire was secured at 3 a.m. but fire crews remained on the scene early Saturday treating hot spots and investigating the cause of the blaze.

As of 4:45 a.m., there were no reports of injuries, MacGregor said.

Contributing: AP

I find it odd/sad that we are at the rather celebrated 150th anniversary of Sullivan's birth .. and that three structures have burned recently. I'm not a conspiracy theorist type and assume there are good reasons all three burned. Just thinking of the book someone could concoct..
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Reply Sun 5 Nov, 2006 10:16 pm
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Reply Sat 11 Nov, 2006 12:19 pm
And now, an arson investigation...

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Reply Tue 14 Nov, 2006 08:36 pm
I'm very impressed by the focus, energy, and precision of both Walter (I am startled that he knows more about aspects of this country than I do) and Ossobuco. I should think that if they were partners in some kind of business it would be very successful.
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Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2006 12:00 pm

In this case, Walter and CI and I were on an architectural tour together, back in May in Chicago, and saw the remnants of the first Louis Sullivan building burned recently. And then Walter's and my different hotels were both quite close to the second Sullivan building burned. And now, there is this third one... whether it's arson or not, I find it interesting.

My interest in Chicago has picked up since my visit, which added some coherence to my and my family's moving around the country, kind of a bookend to some childhood years spent there. Looks like both Walter and I scan the Tribune, and Walter's going back to Chicago next year.
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Walter Hinteler
Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2006 12:05 pm
Walter gets the Tribune in the print version, has - thanks to joefromchicago - some books about Chicago .... and thinks, Chicago is my kind of town Laughing
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Reply Wed 15 Nov, 2006 12:12 pm
More on the effect of these three fires --

link - Preserving our cultural patrimony

Part of the article -

Preserving the city's cultural patrimony
Far more measures needed to protect prized buildings

By Blair Kamin
Tribune architecture critic
Published November 12, 2006

For anyone who loves Chicago architecture, the scene at 630 S. Wabash Ave. can only be described as gut-wrenching.

A jagged corner of Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler's destroyed Wirt-Dexter Building rises beside the elevated tracks like a giant shard. Two yellow backhoes lift mounds of brick and singed wood timbers with their huge claws, depositing them in big red trucks with a sickening thud. Workmen hose down the remains of the building, a modest commercial loft structure that Chicago's landmarks commission once called "an irreplaceable link in the chain of work of one of the nation's most important architectural partnerships."

Scenes like this are becoming all too common.

The succession of fires that has destroyed three Adler & Sullivan buildings in Chicago this year, casting a pall over the 150th anniversary of Sullivan's birth, presents a daunting challenge to city officials: How to prevent fire from sending more of Chicago's architectural treasures to the graveyard?

The stakes are enormous. Tourists by the planeload come here to visit the birthplace of modern architecture. In the city's neighborhoods, where houses are crammed cheek-by-jowl, the safety of individual homes depends upon contractors carrying out work on historic buildings without setting them aflame.

Irreplaceable treasures

Ultimately, however, the stakes are about art. Louis Sullivan was the father of modern architecture. Every time Chicago loses one of his buildings, the city says goodbye to an irreplaceable part of its cultural patrimony.

Preservationists have rightly criticized city officials for doing too little to protect Adler & Sullivan's treasures, though they admit that no amount of regulation can stop an arsonist.

Police say they are investigating the most recent blaze, which last Saturday destroyed the North Side home thought to be Adler & Sullivan's last surviving wood-frame house, as a possible arson. Torches used in repairs were blamed for the fires that destroyed the Pilgrim Baptist Church at 33rd Street and Indiana Avenue in January and the Wirt-Dexter Building last month.

A jolted Daley administration now appears to be coming to grips with the tragedies and determining how to avoid them.

"We have been in communication with the Buildings Department and the Fire Department," said Constance Buscemi, a spokeswoman for the Department of Planning and Development and its Commission on Chicago Landmarks. "Collectively, we are looking at what could be done with regard to not just landmark buildings but older buildings that have heavy timbers and the use of open flames."

In the past, the destruction of great Adler & Sullivan buildings in Chicago has produced widespread outrage and lasting reform.

The senseless demolition of their Garrick Theater Building in 1961 and Chicago Stock Exchange Building in 1972 helped spawn the creation of Chicago's preservation law, the city commission responsible for enforcing that law as well as a leading advocacy group, Landmarks Illinois, that fights to save historic buildings.

A clear message

Indeed, Sullivan's mark is encrypted like genetic code in the symbol of Landmarks Illinois. The group's logo is a drawing of the Stock Exchange's magnificent entry arch, which was saved from wrecking crews and now graces the grounds of the Art Institute of Chicago. The logo's message is clear: This building died so that others might live.

But will the same be true of the three Adler & Sullivan buildings that succumbed to flames rather than the wrecker's ball?

The Wirt-Dexter Building and the George M. Harvey House, the three-story Lakeview home that burned last Saturday, were not masterpieces. Even the Pilgrim Baptist Church, a handsome neighborhood landmark renowned as the birthplace of gospel music, does not rank with such monuments as Adler & Sullivan's pioneering Wainwright Building skyscraper in St. Louis or Sullivan's Carson Pirie Scott & Co. store at State and Madison Streets.

Yet a city is more than a collection of greatest hits. These buildings not only lent matchless character to their neighborhoods. They also told the story of Adler & Sullivan's aesthetic development -- and how it influenced subsequent generations of architects
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