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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Marquette Building - Into Strange Lands

The Marquette Building is located at 140 South Dearborn Street and is full of so many treasures it's like visiting a museum.  It was built in the year of the World Fair, that event that is such a cornerstone of Chicago's history and development.

Named after Jesuit explorer Pere Jacques Marquette, the building showcases a lot of history related to the exploration of the New World by Marquette on his famous trip through the region with Louis Joliet.  Can you imagine exploring the wilderness by canoe armed with a peace pipe given to you by a Native American Chief, hoping it will be enough to protect you from potentially hostile tribes who don't speak your language?

The bronze panels over the entry feature scenes and quotes from Marquette's diary and the peace pipe called a Calumet was showcased in one of the panels over the door and on the kickplates.

The building was designed as commercial space for a variety of tenants and the descendants of the original architectural firm occupy space in the Marquette building today.  Over the years the building has undergone structural changes including the removal of the granite Ionic columns at the entrance.

But the lobby is like no other and remains much the same as it did when the building opened in 1895.  From the marble to the Tiffany mosaics and bronze sculptures over the elevators there is so much to examine.  It's hard to believe this ground floor was designed for stores and restaurants.

The six mosaic panels depict scenes from Marquette's life and I climbed the stairs to the second story to get a closer look at them.

There is an interpretive display just off the lobby on the history of the building and the fabulous art it contains, and I'm glad that this gem was restored and not razed decades ago.

Another of Chicago's many lion heads on the door's pushplate

Going out into the wind and cold in Chicago is never pleasant, but having places like this to duck in to make up for it.  Our region experienced another wintry event this time every year I'm wondering will it ever be spring in the Midwest??

1 comment:

  1. I'd send you some of my daffodils or my beautiful blooming forsythia, but ....

    Gorgeous building. "They don't make them like this anymore."