Saturday, March 25, 2017
I love the look of old buildings, and being a midwestern boy myself (born just outside of Chicago), I am especially fond of the midwest. Today I have two vintage slides featuring some nice old structures.
First up is this slide (undated, but almost certainly from the 1950's) looking across the city of Detroit, with Hudson's department store in the foreground. Hudson's was a chain of department stores, and this 25-story building was its flagship store, and it was the tallest department store in the world ("...as of 1961" says Wikipedia). This flagship store closed in 1983; Hudson's was bought out by the company that owns the Macy's chain of stores. The building was imploded in 1998.
The flat landscape is kind of impressive in its vastness; I am unsure as to which building this photo would have been taken from; one guess is the David Stott Building (a lovely art deco edifice, 38 stories tall).
Next comes this fairly spectacular slide, helpfully hand-labeled "View from KC courthouse". I just love all of those old brick high-rises! And the view all the way to the horizon is pretty sweet. I wish I could find a contemporary shot looking in the same direction.
At first I was quite baffled by the gothic building in front of us; I looked and looked at recent photos of buildings near the Kansas City courthouse, and nothing resembled this at all.
Finally I happened upon this nice shot (courtesy of LIFE) that told me it was the Bell Telephone Building - now known as the Oak Tower. 28 stories high, completed in 1920 after many delays due to WWI. It was originally only 14 stories tall, but Bell needed more space, so they doubled the height in 1929.
So, here's a current photo of Kansas City's courthouse - a suitably solid and impressive-looking structure. But where is the nearby gothic building seen in the previous image?
It turns out that the rather plain white tower to the left is the very same high-rise! Apparently the building was sold in 1974, and all of the elaborate ornamentation was either removed or covered with stucco. Even the window arrangement is different at the top, so much remodeling must have been done.
Here's how it looks today! I like the way it looked with all of the filigree. Not that anybody asked me.
I hope you have enjoyed your visit to the Midwest!