One of my favorite parts of Chicago, from an architectural standpoint, is the canyon at the end of LaSalle Street in the Loop’s financial district. It’s an area of a few blocks lined with 100-year old buildings. Beautiful and unique design from when the competition between the world’s greatest architects was at its zenith here.
I don’t know if there was any controversy at the time about ending a major street like LaSalle by putting a giant building in the middle of it. Perhaps I’ll Google that some time. But the result is one of the most unique features about Chicago’s downtown. I never get tired of looking at it.
The Chicago Board of Trade Building was completed in 1930 in the midst of the arc deco design era, my favorite design era. Topped with the 30 foot statue of Ceres, the Roman goddess of grain by sculptor John H. Storrs, it can be viewed for miles along LaSalle. Storrs apparently thought the building was so tall, no one would be able to see the details of the statue, so as a result, Ceres is faceless. It was Chicago’s tallest building until 1965.
Fun fact: If you find yourself near the south end of Lincoln Park, several miles north of the Board of Trade Building, there’s a statue of Robert Cavelier de La Salle, a French explorer. Walking by the statue, it seems placed at an odd angle. Until you realize it’s positioned so that La Salle is looking down the street that bears his name. It wasn’t always that way though. The statue has been moved many times since it’s dedication in 1889. Once in the 1920s, again in the 40s and once more in the 90s to its present location.
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