Forgotten Chicago Downtown Evanston Walking Tour
New starting point and interior visits added!
Celebrating its 150th birthday in 2013, Evanston is one of the most unique communities in the region, and until now unexplored by Forgotten Chicago. On Sunday, August 18, join us for an in-depth walking tour of Evanston's lesser known built environment. Along with the usual overlooked oddities found on every Forgotten Chicago tour, we'll explain how Evanston's downtown remains one of the most dynamic in the region, despite (or perhaps because of) an unbuilt scheme in the early 1960s to turn part of it into a pedestrian mall.
Perhaps no demolition was a larger loss for downtown Evanston than Holabird & Root & Burgee's stunning 1950 Wieboldt's. On our tour, we'll share non-digitized and little-seen interior and exterior images of this remarkable landmark department store. At its opening, Wieboldt's had an attached parking structure which held 744 cars; notably, the footprint of the store's parking garage was larger than the store itself. We will also take a look at the current Murphy/Jahn building constructed on this site, announced in 1982.
Downtown Evanston also has a noteworthy, though now significantly altered, building from prolific local firm Shaw, Metz & Dolio. Built in 1951 for Lytton's department store by the same principal architect of an earlier Bonwit Teller store on Michigan Avenue explored by Forgotten Chicago, eagle-eyed readers may recognize this building as the former home to Barnes & Noble prior their move across the street. It is not know why (or by whom) this dignified modernist building was altered to the "Prairie Pile" style of architecture.
For more than three quarters of a century, Evanston has been home to some of the most widely overlooked and cutting-edge modernist architecture in the region. A long-time favorite of Forgotten Chicago is the former Marshall Field's parking structure and Firestone service station, still very much extant more than 75 years after its completion. Unlike its neighboring former department store, this may be the most forgotten building in downtown Evanston; we'll examine this building's many intact exterior details during this tour.
Arguably, the most impactful building for downtown Evanston built since World War II was built in neighboring Skokie. The massive, $30 million (in 1956 dollars) Old Orchard shopping center significantly changed Evanston's downtown and spelled eventual doom for its four major department stores. We'll look closely at how Evanston successfully fought back against this retail threat, and take a close look at the area around Friedman, Alschuler & Sincere's overlooked, but still extant, 1948 department store built for Maurice L. Rothschild Company, still a commanding presence on Fountain Square.
We are also planning some surprise interior visits that are not normally open to the public. Of course, we'll also discover and talk about other architectural oddities, long-forgotten landmarks, and curiosities in the built environment during our walking tour of the dynamic environment of downtown Evanston.
We'll end our tour with complimentary appetizers at World of Beer, a recently opened venue featuring over 500 beers from around the world.
When? Sunday, August 18 at Noon. Rain or shine.
Where? The tour will meet and begin at the offices of Downtown Evanston, 820 Davis Street. The offices of Downtown Evanston are just south of the CTA Purple Line and Metra Davis Street stations, between Benson and Sherman Avenues. We will end at World of Beer, facing Fountain Square, a couple blocks from these same stations.
How Long? The tour will consist of approximately 3 1/2 miles of walking and will last about 3 hours.
How much? $15 per person. Advance purchase is required. No walk-ups. All sales are final. No refunds or exchanges. If severe weather cancels the tour, credit will be issued for use on a tour of equal value.
Offices of Downtown Evanston (Tour Start) (View)
Evanston, IL 60201