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Chicago Rambler Dealership Building (built 1911) Demolished


Malo48

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Just thought I'd pass the word.  The Rambler dealership building, in Chicago on the Michigan Ave. motor row and built in 1911, was demolished.  The building was a city landmark (as are most of the rest of the dealership buildings in the vicinity) but was left vacant and deteriorating after sitting vacant for many years.  

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2 hours ago, Graham Man said:

1904 to 1936 Automobile Row Chicago

https://chicagology.com/motorrow/

 

The link above, which Graham Man provided,

is superb.  It reprints articles from the 1910's

that have very interesting text, along with

many pictures of buildings on "automobile row."

Locomobile, Stearns, Reo, Ford, Mitchell, Cartercar,

Chalmers, Cadillac, Detroit Electric, Maxwell-Briscoe,

Moline, Pierce, Packard, Premier, Stoddard-Dayton,

Studebaker, etc. all have their buildings pictured.

 

Even then, the article said that property values

were soaring.  For several blocks, new auto-related

buildings were replacing high-quality residences,

which were being town down.  The buildings were 

said to be of medium quality and fireproof--rather

utilitarian but with ornament.  And even then, they

acknowledged that those auto buildings would be 

replaced at some point with something else!

 

panorama

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46 minutes ago, Walt G said:

Did not know that source before and the list of all the known dealerships at the time is just astounding!

 

Notice how many of the dealerships were along

Michigan Avenue.  I wonder what those blocks

look like today, and how many buildings are still

there and recognizable.  Can any Chicagoans tell us?

 

Small towns, I think, do a much better job of preserving

architecture.  There isn't much development pressure,

and a downtown picture from, say, 1890 may look

much the same today.

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I used to drive a delivery truck past there about 45 years ago long before I knew anything about an automotive row but do remember seeing car names on the buildings.  For a long time there was a building on north Clark street near Howard that had Fordson on the front of the building. I suspect as today car dealers tended to gather together in close quarters.  It seems like if one builds a store almost anywhere others follow. The only exception seems to be Tesla as the closest one is in a converted warehouse about three miles from most of the other area dealers.

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I sold computer main frames back in the 70's and had a territory from 12th st south to 36th and from the lake to Racine Aveune on the south side of Chicago. Some of those buildings were being use as warehouses, furniture stores & small mfg companies. About half were boarded up and empty.  The ones that had parking lots next to them put fences and guards at the gate so you were safe to park and go into the furniture type places.  I use to tell my boss in our sales meetings I had 3 gangs as potential clients as they wanted the computer for inventory on stolen goods.  When he wanted to go on calls with me I would park in a well known gang area and start to get out of the car. He was a little guy and would usually say there was no way he was leaving the car. We would go get lunch instead.  The south side of Chicago has been making a come back since mayor Dailey had some high end condos built near Michigan Ave and Lake Shore Dr.  Since the rehab of Soldier Field (looks like the tidy bowl now) and McCormick place expansion it has improved. I haven't been on the south side in years so I would guess the improvement is continuing.  Chicago is a great city to visit, the Lake Shore museums, restaurants, parks, shopping and art galleries are amazing. Besides it's the best place in the USA for pizza or hot dogs!   

dave s

Edited by SC38DLS (see edit history)
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9 hours ago, SC38DLS said:

I sold computer main frames back in the 70's and had a territory from 12th st south to 36th and from the lake to Racine Aveune on the south side of Chicago. Some of those buildings were being use as warehouses, furniture stores & small mfg companies. About half were boarded up and empty.  The ones that had parking lots next to them put fences and guards at the gate so you were safe to park and go into the furniture type places.  I use to tell my boss in our sales meetings I had 3 gangs as potential clients as they wanted the computer for inventory on stolen goods.  When he wanted to go on calls with me I would park in a well known gang area and start to get out of the car. He was a little guy and would usually say there was no way he was leaving the car. We would go get lunch instead.  The south side of Chicago has been making a come back since mayor Dailey had some high end condos built near Michigan Ave and Lake Shore Dr.  Since the rehab of Soldier Field (looks like the tidy bowl now) and McCormick place expansion it has improved. I haven't been on the south side in years so I would guess the improvement is continuing.  Chicago is a great city to visit, the Lake Shore museums, restaurants, parks, shopping and art galleries are amazing. Besides it's the best place in the USA for pizza or hot dogs!   

dave s

The South loop and areas near Hyde Park are doing well as is the near north side. Some Other spots not so good.

Edited by plymouthcranbrook (see edit history)
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What a  real treat to see these magnificent structures. Cast figure ornamentation, wrought iron , wood paneled doors, all sorts of "period" of the era ornamentation that today may sometimes be replicated /imitated in plastic, etc.  I hope somewhere that courses are given on 20th century commercial architecture appreciation. Imagine the signage that accompanied the buildings - equal in "class" and complimenting the character /style of the building.

It is why when I was on the team here in my village that wrote the laws for architectural guidelines to the construction or alteration of existing buildings it also included acceptable and appropriate signage.  I was not to popular with many of the people who appeared before the Architectural Review board ( yes I started that too) who wanted to put up the cheapest and at the fasted way possible anything that would work for the owners. All this decades ago , the law still stands and was copied by many other towns when they realized something had to be done.

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14 minutes ago, SC38DLS said:

You can take a Chicago river architectural boat tour that is very interesting. Leaves from just under Michigan avenue and goes on both the south and north branch of the river. If you visit Chicago try go on it. 
dave s 

 

Been there, done that......with a famous car collector as our guide. Wonderful day in the city.

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The best preserved building on this street is the Locomobile dealership. It still retains most of its original facade and the word Locomobile is still visible. I think it is now some sort of workout facility on the first floor with mixed use spaces on the top floors. A friend purchased the Marmon building shown above and has made some great improvements to it.

A few years ago, I had a blue V-16 coupe listed here for sale. It was originally sold by the Cadillac dealership on this street. Interestingly, the new owner lives not far from here. Always fun when you can return a car to its home.

Edited by motoringicons (see edit history)
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