July 23, 2012

Celebrating Chicago's Architecture: Walking Tours with the CAF

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St. Peter's Church , one of the sites on Chicago Architecture Foundation's 'Sacred Spaces in Downtown Chicago' walking tour. Photo by Rachelle Bowden via.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation celebrates Chicago architecture with such a wide reach that we couldn’t resist giving our members the chance to enjoy what the nonprofit has to offer. So all of our members get a Buy One, Get One Free Walking Tour benefit to use with CAF. With two months of summer and the temperate bliss (we’re crossing our fingers) of Chicago autumn still before us, it’s a perfect time for a stroll through the city, is it not?

There are literally dozens of amazing tours to choose from, all detailed on CAF’s website, that explore Chicago and the suburbs surrounding it. We recommend, for starters,

  • A Daniel Burnham tour takes you to the great architect’s landmarks, both famous and lesser-known, and explores his lasting impact on this city.
  • The Preservation & Pubs series explores issues of preservation and how it shapes the future of Chicago. There are three different routes and themes, but all of them unravel questions of how politics plays a part in preservation efforts, the pros and cons of obtaining landmark status, and how to protect a building from demolition.
  • Three unique tours on the North Side in Graceland Cemetery take you to the elaborate graves of such Chicago luminaries as Daniel Burnham, Potter and Bertha Palmer, and Walter Newberry.
  • A tour of Chicago’s Streetwall, consisting of 13 blocks of east-facing buildings along Michigan Avenue downtown, explores the work of many notable architects in a variety of architectural styles.
  • For a rainy day: the Palmer House Hotel was recently restored to the peak of its former glamour. The tour takes you from the lobby to renovated guest rooms and clues you in on the history of the country’s oldest operating hotel.
  • Well, we might be biased, but the River North tour—taking you past the Samuel M. Nickerson Mansion and the Henry Ives Cobb-designed Ransom Cable House—is worth checking out for its focus on the old and the new, including cutting-edge 21st-century buildings that mingle with historic ones like ours.
  • Sacred Spaces in Downtown Chicago offers a glimpse of the interiors and exteriors of striking houses of worship downtown.
  • Since Chicago is home to some of the world’s earliest skyscrapers, it’s worth learning how technology and styles have evolved over time, starting in 1872 and leading up to today in a Skyscraper Walk Through Time.
  • Tiffany Treasures in Chicago takes you to four magnificent stained glass installations by the famed 19th-century designer Louis C. Tiffany.
  • The South Side’s Jackson Park was overhauled by the great landscape designer Frederick Law Olmsted for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, transforming a swamp into the gorgeous park it still is today. On the White City Revisited tour, visit sites of former Fair buildings, Olmsted’s Japanese Garden on Wooded Island, and the Statue of the Republic.

All of these tours and many, many more worthy of checking out can be found on the CAF website, Architecture.org. While you don’t have to be a member of the Driehaus Museum to enjoy CAF Walking Tours, the Buy One, Get One Free benefit we offer is just one way to deepen your knowledge of historic architecture through the Driehaus Museum. For more information about membership, call 312 482 8933, ext. 39 or email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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