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Monday, January 9, 2006

Sullivan Synagogue Gutted by Fire

In his lifetime, Louis Sullivan designed many buildings. Of his designs, 238 were built. As of Friday, only 50 still stood -- and one of them, Kehilath Anshe Ma' ariv Synagogue (Later Pilgrim Baptist Church burned on that same day.

The interior and unique roof was totally lost, and the limestone exterior walls are left unstable.

The historic synagogue was one of the most formative designs in the collaboration of Dankmar Adler and Sullivan, demonstrating Adler's deft structural mind and the maturation of Sullivan's patterns of ornament.

The Place Where We Live has more information: Adler & Sullivan Historic Church Destroyed by Fire

Hopefully, the walls can be stabilized even if the interior spaces and roof structure are lost forever. The city of Chicago and the world cannot afford to lose the last traces of a Louis Sullivan building. By now, the callous city that tore down so many before may realize just how valuable Sullivan's work really is.

Or not.

Chicago continues to drain its heritage: CTA platform expansion has claimed both the 1929 Hays-Healy Gymnasium at DePaul University as well as the Co-Operative Temperance Society Building (lately housing the Bottom Lounge) at Wilton and Belmont; Marshall Field's will become Macy's in September; the landmark Berghoff restaurant will close February 28; yet another turreted corner building is threatened; and so forth.


Robert Powers said...


Well, now I've got my mission for next weekend's Chicago trip.

Jennifer said...

And don't forget that the CTA expansion also killed Demon Dogs which was tucked under the Fullerton stop. It's been closed for a while. Drove by today and saw that it's completely destroyed. Sigh.

Michael Allen said...

We did also see that Demon Dogs was gone when we were in Chicago for New Year's.

There's also a little closed sandwich shop under the Belmont platform adjacent to the Co-Operative Temperance Society building being torn down, too.

The under-the-El food shops give Chicago great character and signal its high density. Their demolition erases one of the neatest features of Chicago, and points to a future of lower overall city density (even if certain neighborhoods are gaining hyperdensity).

Claire Nowak-Boyd said...

All those years, and I never did bother to have my picture taken holding a basket of fries in front of the "POLISH WITH FRIES $2.99" sign in the window of the little diner under the Belmont stop! I should have known this was going to happen!