Look Up, Chicago! A Walking Tour of The Loop (North End)
by Doug Gelbert
There is no better way to see America than on foot. And there is no better way to appreciate what you are looking at than with a walking tour. Whether you are preparing for a road trip or just out to look at your own town in a new way, a downloadable walking tour is ready to explore when you are.
Each walking tour describes historical and architectural landmarks and provides pictures to help out when those pesky street addresses are missing. Every tour also includes a quick primer on identifying architectural styles seen on American streets.
The Loop, defined by the Chicago River to the west and north, Roosevelt Boulevard to the south and, of course, Lake Michigan to the east, is city's commercial hub (roughly some 16,000 of Chicago's nearly three million residents live here). It is the second largest central business district in the country, housing the world's biggest commodities market.
The Loop initially took its name from the circuitous route 19th century streetcars took but later became defined by the elevated train tracks that lead here from every part of the city. The Loop has always been dominated by high-rises. The first tall building to be supported, both inside and outside, by a fireproof metal frame, the Home Insurance Building, was built here in 1884. Also the first high-rise to be torn down took place in the Loop - in the early 1900s when Marshall Field's was expanding. The tallest building in the United States has been here for almost forty years.
Our walking tour of the northern end of the Loop will take in the theater district, the "cliffs" of Michigan Avenue, Chicago River, City Hall and more but before we descend into the great canyons of Chicago we will start in a treasured open space whose lakefront existence can be attributed to a single man...
- Doug Gelbert, August 2011
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