At one time in my neighborhood in Chicago most blocks had at least one storefront building, in some cases it was a corner building to catch the travel from 2 directions but sometimes it was in the middle of a block and today they are mostly gone. My block had 4, on the left side as I looked out across the street was a small grocery store and the family lived on the second floor. Across the street almost directly in front of us was a neighborhood tavern with a pool room attached. Then on the right side corner across the street was another neighborhood tavern with 2 flats above it and one was occupied by the owner of the building.
On my side of the street on the right side was my favorite store, a small candy store and the owner lived in a small apartment in back of the store with her daughter and son-in-law living in a 2nd floor apartment. Here is where I spent my $.75 I earned by helping a neighbor keep an eye on her children while she was writing a book. Almost all of it was penny candy. WOW.
Today that is valuable real estate and the small stores did not survive. Here are a few examples of how the stores have been disguised to create another apartment in the buildings that survived the wrecking ball.
I have been sharing some doors from this interesting area and have a friend who lives in a fabulous house here. I thought it would be fun to see some of the doors inside the house. The doors that separate and exit to the outside are about 10 feet high with the trim. All are solid wood.
The fact that these are intact in a house that is well over 100 years old is such a bonus. Hope you enjoy as much as I do.
Last week in Doors my subjects were colorful and elegant and in some cases very unique. That portion of the city was built by industry leaders. Store and/or shop owners, manufacturers, attorneys and doctors.
This week I am only 6 blocks away but these are 2 or 3 or 4 apartments in each building. It’s where the workers lived who staffed the shop or factory. Most have 4 or 5 buildings per block with the corner buildings being mostly 12 flats or small shops. The neighborhood grocer or tavern or deli. Sometimes a small church. A very different feel only 6 blocks away.
This challenge comes from a small writing group. We have a large series of random questions that we answer and share. The goal is to answer at least one per week. My personal goal is to do this for one full year. I am so glad this is almost over, it has now reached the tedious level and I have no plans for after it’s over. I know the writing group is getting together but I have not been brave enough to attend a gathering of that sort yet.
Describe a perfect evening under the stars.
The Chicago area has the benefit of a large variety of entertainment venues both indoor and outdoor. One of my absolute favorites is Ravinia in Highland Park, IL. Ravinia Park opened in 1904 and is the oldest music venue in the United States still in operation. It is a short train ride from Chicago which made it very popular as a place to escape from the city.
The setting is in the midst of a wooded area and has trees throughout the area. There is a large covered area with seats and a stage for the performances. There are other performance areas on the grounds but the pavilion is the main stage. Surrounding this area is a lot of lawn area and several special food service places.
Lawn seating is the least expensive seating and usually our favorite place. We would get there early to find a good space and then spread out the picnic type meal we brought along. Blankets were spread on the ground, candles at the ready for when the sun went down and the food was spread out and consumed. Not so much the fried chicken, potato salad and fruit bowl type of food.
This was where I introduced my daughters to some more “exotic” cheese other than those squares of American cheese. Flavor combinations they might not ordinarily try. I might have a little more of unique fruit in the salad combination and the crackers we used for our cheese were not saltines. This is the vibe on the lawn seating. Not unusual to have your neighbor borrow your wine bottle opener or a lighter to light their candles.
The music is as eclectic as the audience and this was an opportunity to introduce different genres to my family. From most of the lawn seating you are not able to see the performance . I can picture it now, a warm evening, good music playing in the background, laying down on the blanket on the lawn and just chilling and looking up at the stars in the sky instead.