Forgotten Chicago Corporate Kings North Bus Tour
On Sunday, September 29, Forgotten Chicago will present the next chapter in our exclusive (and previously sold out) "Corporate Kings" series of tours, this time focusing on little-studied and architecturally significant sites in the suburbs north of Chicago. Notable buildings we'll see include the former World War II-era headquarters of G.D. Searle, a company that invented NutraSweet, Dramamine and Enovid, sold as the first oral birth control pill.
Regional shopping centers and branches of Chicago-based retailers have been a part of the economy in northern Cook and southern Lake Counties for nearly 100 years; we will explore some overlooked examples during this tour. One of the most forgotten branch department stores in the region was the once-glamorous 1956 Maurice L. Rothschild & Company by A. Epstein & Sons (now Epstein); this retailer is long gone, but this building still stands across from Westfield Old Orchard.
This tour will also visit two intact and very period enclosed shopping centers. The first was originally named "Candlelight Courte" and is nearly completely intact from its 1976 completion, currently a thriving mall largely catering to the immigrant community in Niles. We will also visit the interior of another unrenovated enclosed mall that features an odd frog-and-mushroom themed fountain. Although situated on a busy intersection in an affluent area, this enclosed mall is almost completely vacant.
In 2012, Forgotten Chicago rediscovered a virtually unknown commission by one of the most overlooked architects of the twentieth century, Minoru Yamasaki, architect of New York City's original World Trade Center and Chicago's former Montgomery Ward headquarters. Originally built for Detroit-based pharmaceutical giant Parke-Davis, this former office and warehouse is nearly completely intact, although now with a far different use than originally built.
The Corporate Kings North tour will also take a look at the intact hangar of the former 1929 Sky Harbor Aviation Country Club, which was abandoned ten years later in 1939, reopened during World War II, and finally closed for good in 1973, with the airport itself becoming an industrial/office park. All of the new workers in the area attracted new restaurants, hotels and recreational facilities; we'll examine two period neon signs in Wheeling's "neon district."
This tour will also explore overlooked mid-century modern residential projects, including "contractor modern" housing developments from the 1950s and 60s. An interesting example we will look at is Greenwood Estates from the late 1950s in Niles, much of which remains intact today. The architect for these homes was Frank LaPasso, who designed four of the Shoreline Motels (Tides, Sands, Sands addition, and the 50th on the Lake) Forgotten Chicago researched for a series of articles. Additionally, we will cruise by the "Purple Hotel" -- Hausner & Macsai's former Hyatt House in Lincolnwood, currently undergoing demolition.
We will also discuss manufacturing history and notable factories in the area, including Skidmore, Owings & Merrill's 1958 AIA Honor Award-winning Avon Products cosmetics plant in Morton Grove. Finally, we'll take a look at transportation remnants, former roadhouses, and the usual oddities and unexpected sites seen on every Forgotten Chicago tour.
To cruise the north suburbs in style, we are upgrading from our trusty yellow school bus to an air-conditioned motor coach for this tour. We hope to see you there!
When? Sunday September 29 at 1 PM. Rain or shine.
Where? The tour will begin and end in front of the Dempster Skokie Swift (Yellow Line) station, located at 5001 Dempster Street in Skokie. Located just east of the Dempster exit off the Edens Expressway, parking in the lot is available for $3, and free street parking is possible nearby.
How Long? The tour will last about 4 hours (including several stops where we will get on and off the bus), returning to the Dempster station around 5 PM.
How much? $30 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.
Dempster Yellow Line Station (Tour Start) (View)
5001 Dempster Street
Skokie, IL 60077
|Kid Friendly: Yes!|
|Dog Friendly: No|
|Wheelchair Accessible: No|