I love this booklet. It was from a Museum of Modern Art's 1947 exhibit, Modern Rooms of the Last Fifty Years.
Here is what is not modern interior design but maybe at their respective times, maybe they were considered modern:
What do you think about these now?
As you may know, I have a thing for real estate trivia and humor. So fasten your nerd hat on your head and check this out.
Look at the aerial photo on the left. First, see that helicopter? That is a commuter helicopter service that used to go between Winnetka, Meigs Field, Midway Airport and O'Hare....but that's not the story here.
The important part of the photo is what's missing around the Prudential Building? Lot's of things like the Standard Oil Building (now AON Building), the Blue Cross Blue Shield Building, Illinois Center plus a zillion new condo buildings. Instead in their place are parking lots and tons of train tracks. How did all those buildings get built where the tracks are?
The man on the right is Arthur Rubloff, literally a Hall of Fame Member of the Illinois Association of Realtors. He had the vision of air rights. He decided that he could negotiate to purchase the space above a space to build on this upper level. It happens all the time now but not then. This was way out there.
Rubloff negotiated with the city and state to basically build a huge platform above all those tracks and parking lots. They didn't have to move at all. Rubloff just made it possible to build thousands of square feet of office, retail and residential space in thin air.
Pretty powerful realtor, huh?
So say you're driving down Cermak Rd just west of Chicago around Cicero Avenue. You'd see something you can see basically all over America - a big strip mall with a Taco Bell, a dollar store and lots of similar businesses.
BUT wait a sec - what the heck is a medieval tower doing behind it?!?!
Let me explain. You are looking at the tower that once belonged to the enormous Western Electric Hawthorne Works. (Guess what the name of the strip mall is today by the way? Hawthorne Works Shopping Center.) Anyway, around the late 1920's and early 1930's, this plant was where most of the country's telephone equipment was made. The plant covered 200 acres and employed thousands.
Northbrook might be the place to head to go shopping or to play golf but usually I don't think to go there to go fly in an airplane. If it was 1929 though I really could.
Funny story - during training for WWII, many a Glenview Naval Air Station trainee pilot would mistake Sky Harbor's runways for the naval base's, just south east of here. When this happened, most often the plane was too large to safely take off from Sky Harbor's runways. So mechanics from GNAS would have to drive over to Sky Harbor and strip the plane of nearly all fuel and all its armament to lighten it for a safe takeoff.
For more great information on Chicago's old airfields, go to www.airfields-freeman.com. It's an amazing site!
Sarah Rothschild, Realtor & Architectural History Nerd.