Last Thursday, late in the afternoon but before dark — Daytime Saving Time is good for something — I took a walk through parts of the the Fulton Market District. Like most urban neighborhoods, it’s a little fuzzy in definition, but roughly speaking the area is on the near West Side of Chicago, west of the Kennedy Expressway and a few blocks to the north and south of Randolph St., until you get to Ogden Ave.
The district is in the midst of a boom. Here are a few headlines about it just from 2017 in Curbed Chicago:
Bright two-bedroom Fulton Market timber loft lists for $475K
Fulton Market office project changes design, again
West Loop residents say five-story proposal looks ‘prison-like’
Ace Hotel in Fulton Market to open in the autumn
Rehab work begins on two older Fulton Market buildings
Another Fulton Market food distributer looks to sell-out to developers
Demolition to clear path for 170-room Fulton Market hotel
The area, formerly a distribution — food wholesalers, mainly — and light industrial district, is giving way to apartments, hotels, restaurants and entertainment. The pattern is a familiar one in Chicago and elsewhere.
West Randolph, looking east, back toward the Loop.
Umami Burger looked intriguing, but I didn’t stop there.
The corner of Randolph and Carpenter St. is home to a particularly striking building, the former Richters Food Products building, which dates from the early 1930s.
The exterior has been immaculately preserved. Forgotten Chicago says that “the architect was H. Peter Henschien, a noted and prolific Chicago-based designer of meat packing plants. The Tribune described the new building at the time of construction as being ‘of pleasing design.’ Bruno Richter had started the firm about ten years earlier in Jefferson Park, with the idea of ‘marketing sausage through extensive advertising.’ ”
Remarkably, Mr. Henschien’s Tribune obit from 1959 is online. A remarkable line from it: “He and his firm designed more than 300 packing plants in the United States and in Russia, Pakistan, Cairo, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, and Canada.” People have their niches, mostly unknown, or in his case, forgotten.
An update on the Forgotten Chicago post: the Richters Food Products is now occupied by Venue One, which “offers 25,000 square feet of customizable event and meeting space.” The construction crane in the picture doesn’t have anything to do with Venue One, except being nearby. It was merely one of the cranes rising over a number of other projects in the area.
My destination for the evening: City Winery, at Racine Ave. and Randolph.
A cool venue indeed, though it’s a little hard to tell from this picture. More about it tomorrow.