One South State...

After what has seemed like a decade (but really was only four years), the scaffolding over the sidewalk on the corner of State and Madison has finally come down, and a whole new generation of architecture students gets to see what all the hubbub is about.

Carson Pirie Scott is one the most historic structures in the city of Chicago, and arguably one of the most important buildings of the first half of the last century. It started out as a nine story mid-block building on Madison (which is why there is such an ornate canopy there now) in 1899 for Schlesinger and Mayer. By 1903, what was now Carson Pirie Scott, had been extended over to and down State Street, and extended further south again in 1961. The store embodies architect Louis H. Sullivan's philosophy of "form follows function". The upper walls reflect the function of the space within, while the decorative panels at the street level invite the pedestrian to stop, look, and come inside. The rounded corner entrance below announces the entrance for all.

Yeah, I know that it was the top of the building that just underwent an extensive restoration after having had the original cornice removed in the 40s, but it is the base of the building at street level which was always so available to us in the past, and has been essentially covered up for the past four years.

Standing at the corner looking up at the restored cornice.

This detail is on the canopy of the original 1899 entrance along Madison St.

The detail on the corner is incredible, and if you look carefully, you can find a few hidden gems...

...Such as this. "LHS" for Louis H Sullivan. Who says there were no "Starchitects" with egos in the past?

The Carson Pirie Scott sign may not be there much longer since the recent purchase by The Bon-Ton Stores Inc. from Saks. Fortunately, the building is on the National Historic Register.

In case you were wondering if I was going to post images of the top, not to worry, I will do a follow-up to this post as soon as I can get a few good shots. In the meantime, I will tease you with a shot I took in January.

Oh, and thanks for pushing my hit count to more than 40,000!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

To bad the place looks like a dump inside. Carson's doesn't deserve this building.

5/04/2006 8:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting the pictures. I never knew about the initials. Any other secrets?

5/05/2006 12:57 PM  

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