Ever since the Great Fire of 1871, a cycle of destruction and rebuilding has been central to the
1 On the
3 Chicago's Gold Coast began its gilding in 1885 when merchant Potter Palmer and his socialite wife, Bertha, opened their "castle" at 1350 N. Lake Shore Drive. The turreted brownstone mansion had 42 rooms, a great hall with a stained-glass dome and a gallery full of impressionist masterpieces that would later be donated to the
4 Back when taking a bath was neither a regular habit for many Chicagoans nor very easy to accomplish, the city opened a series of public bathhouses to promote cleanliness and public health. At their most popular around 1910, more than a million baths were taken annually in the 11 bathhouses then running. But the effort didn't get off to such a clean start. The very first bathhouse, a converted boathouse at Chicago Avenue and the lake, was a huge success its first full summer in 1893, with 1,000 boys a day enjoying a bath. But over the winter, the Tribune reported, the structure was torn down "until not a vestige of it remains" — apparently by residents needing firewood. While few signs of the bathhouses remain today, keep an eye out for "Joseph Medill Public Bath" engraved in stone along the 2100 block of West Grand Avenue.
5 Chicago hasn't been eager to preserve its gangland past. The SMC Cartage Co. at 2122 N. Clark St., scene of the
6 One of the first structures ever built in Chicago had a spectacular demolition. That's the original Fort Dearborn, which was torched by Indians after their bloody battle with U.S. troops in 1812.
7 One of Chicago's grandest theaters, McVicker's, was built on Madison Street in 1857, consumed by the Great Fire and then rebuilt, only to be knocked down and rebuilt in the 1920s, then demolished for good in the mid-'80s. It took its name from James McVicker, who ran the resident acting company.
8 The original Ferris wheel, which helped turn the 1893 Columbian Exposition into such a success, was unceremoniously dismantled and left by the side of railroad tracks not far from the South Side site of its former glory. Writing a story in December 1894 about the famous attraction's whereabouts — had it been moved to
9 Chicago's Federal Building (1905-65) had a 300-foot-tall rotunda and a dome that was 100 feet in diameter — bigger than America's most famous dome, the one on the U.S. Capitol.
10 A great Chicagoan met his end in the razing of a building. Richard Nickel, a photographer who energized the city's preservationist movement, died trying to save parts of a Louis Sullivan treasure, the Stock Exchange Building, during its demolition in 1972. A floor collapsed, and Nickel's body was found in the rubble a month later.
Mark Jacob is a deputy metro editor at the Tribune; Stephan Benzkofer is the newspaper's weekend editor.