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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
i was curious to see what the DP development looks like, because everyone says it was a huge mistake, and i would just like to see what it looks like. there doesn't seem to be many pictures online, at least that i could find, except aerials, but i'd like to see the buildings/architecture by itself. does anyone have any pictures of the development? thanks :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
those pictures, to me, look nice...just not fitting for that area. some of those pics show homes with some character, but that kind of density doesn't belong, well, right next to the loop. are these the people that keep shooting down all the proposals for the south loop...or at least the ones that throw fits about them?
 

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those pictures are in south of Roosevelt Road. Some one correct me but I think that was built in the mid 90s. The original runs from Polk to 11th street. With the Mid-rises along State looks like a prison.
 

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Dearborn Park I opened 1979-83--with one exception. UrbanSophist's very last picture shows the "Garden Homes," which opened in 1987 where the third highrise had been planned at the northwest corner of Plymouth and Roosevelt.

By 1989, Dearborn Park Corp. had lost so much money trying to build higher density projects that they decided to just parcel out Phase II to developers, all of whom built townhouses and single-family, opened between 1990 and 1997. Two parcels almost had a different fate: at the southeast corner of Clark and Roosevelt, a midrise designed by Stanley Tigerman was under construction (foundations were in) when the developer pulled the plug. Townhouses (Federal Square) ended up there instead. And the southwest corner of State and Roosevelt was discussed for a minimall for a while (this was long before the Jewel got city assistance). Instead, that ended up as the "Chicago homes." After experimenting with every conceivable way to organize townhouses around courtyards, mewses, parking closes, and the like, the very last piece to be developed was single-family houses on 25-by-125 lots, with garages off the alley. Just like Chicago neighborhoods have been built for 150 years.

I highly recommend that anyone interested look up "Dearborn Park: What's in a name--and what isn't," by Nory Miller, in Inland Architect, June 1977, to read the behind-the-scenes story of various architectural and urban design decisions.
 

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i was curious to see what the DP development looks like, because everyone says it was a huge mistake, and i would just like to see what it looks like. there doesn't seem to be many pictures online, at least that i could find, except aerials, but i'd like to see the buildings/architecture by itself. does anyone have any pictures of the development? thanks :)
The mistake was not building Dearborn Park, The mistake was building it as an urban fortress cut off from the rest of the south loop.

In fairness, it was planned in the mid-to-late 1970's, roughly the high water of white flight, in the middle of an area that had been, since the very beginning of Chicago, a sleazy, run down area famous for whores and flop houses.

Nobody knew for certain it was going to work, so the design was optimized around personal safety. This meant keeping as many of the winos and sleazebags out of the neighborhood as possible, or at least making it obvious that they didn't belong there.

It is easy to look at today's safe, walkable south loop and foget how sleazy the area used to be. But those of us who remember the bad old days understand why Dearborn Park is the way it is.

That said, I had no use for it back then, and even less use for it today.

By the way, that Draper and Kramer piece about the history of that area has one important thing wrong. There was a thriving loft scene in Printer's Row in the mid-70's, including a bunch of art and architecture students from Circle Campus (now UIC) which is how I heard about it. THEY are the ones who "proved" the area was viable, and all were evicted shortly after Dearborn Park was built, when the Printer's Row lofts were developed commercially.
 

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^Thats interesting about printer's row. It almost always seems like art students are the first people who make a seemingly sketchy area viable, or at least trendy. Its almost like whenever you see art students and artists move into rough areas, thats sure to be your next 'trendy' area, and full-blow gentrification follows.

Even though Dearborn park sucks for today's south loop, I can see how important it was for that area. I dont mind it quite as much as DPII - which is looking more and more like a waste of space. Neither should be so closed off, they should open them up to the street grid at least. Still, its easy to forget that these developments played a role in the revitalization, because they look so out of date now and appear to be holding development back. Funny how things change.
 

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State Place has had a very hard time attracting premium retail leases for their South State frontage. One reason cited is the lack of any retail (or anything) across the street. It's just a blank wall that says "get lost pal".
 

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...some of those pics show homes with some character....
Those homes with "character" are of a fake 19th century Victorian style that never really existed in Chicago. That is part of the problem. They are mimicking a style that is more indicative of a different city, more Bay Area if anything. It is a true disservice to the original architecture to build such poor quality knock-offs.

It is no different than when they cover a microwave oven in plastic woodgrain. We all know microwave ovens were never made of wood, and should never try to be something it isn't.
 

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Those homes with "character" are of a fake 19th century Victorian style that never really existed in Chicago.
They seem like fairly faithful adaptations of the wooden cottages found in Old Town, Old Irving Park, West Town or other Chicago neighborhoods that were originally outside the Fire Limits. What details strike you as inauthentic?
 

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I will admit that at first glance they look sorta Victorian... But upon closer inspection, they are all wrong.

It's all in the proportions. They are completely out of whack when compared to their authentic originals. The windows are just wrong, the woodwork came from Home Depot and only resembles the original, and the gabled roofs are definitely not a Chicago style.

You can put lipstick on a pig, but it is still a pig.

Personally, I would be embarrassed to live in or own one of them. Kind of like wearing a Rolex you bought on the street for $20.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
i don't mind those homes. sure, they evoke a time long-past, but so did art deco, neo-gothic, etc. don't get me wrong, they put alot more effort into buildings back when those styles were popular, but i think they did a pretty good job in those pictures. plus, the fact that they don't look exactly like old victorian homes gives them a uniqueness, i think. are these homes "affordable" or priced more towards the upper class?
 

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Said it before and I'll say it again. The only good thing about Dearborn Park is that the rest can look over it. Except for the very high end single family homes not the ones pictured there isn't a quality piece of architecture in the entire development.
 

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It is no different than when they cover a microwave oven in plastic woodgrain. We all know microwave ovens were never made of wood, and should never try to be something it isn't.
Nice analogy.
 
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