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Lost Chicago

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  166 ratings  ·  15 reviews
30th Anniversary

These dazzling, poignant pages recreate the magical built environment that thrilled generations of Chicago residents and visitors alike before falling victim to the wrecking ball of “progress.”

Here are the grand residences and hotels, opulent theaters, legendary trains, and state-of-the-art office buildings and department stores—including the world’s first
Paperback, 272 pages
Published October 1st 2000 by Watson-Guptill (first published 1975)
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4.23  · 
Rating details
 ·  166 ratings  ·  15 reviews

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Gary Inbinder
I first read this book in 1975 and I still have that early edition. Filled with great old photographs and a lively and engaging text, I think it's a must for anyone interested in Chicago's history. It also makes a convincing argument for the preservation of historical landmarks.
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Any Chicagoan with even the faintest interest in architecture will be fascinated by the history of buildings in the city prior to the fire, the rebuilding, the fairs, and most of all the unfortunate loss (hence the title) of magnificent structures. The book has just enough text to give background and keep the reader interested, and photographs galore of buildings residential, commercial, and governmental. I’ve often wandered the Loop, looking up at what I thought were some interesting castings, ...more
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In its use of planting and its open, welcoming entrance, Purcell, Feick and Elmslie's Edison Phonograph Shop, built at 229 South Wabash Avenue in 1912, was a stellar example of how a small store can humanize a busy street. Its bold, geometric design in buff brick relieved only by touches of formal floral ornamentation was also a notable example of the influence of the Vienna Secession movement on Chicago design. In 1957 the Commission on Chicago Landmarks described the shop as "a place of dignit ...more
Oct 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Excellent book for its publication date. I read the original edition which had black & white photos more in line of Xerox copies, but almost 35 years ago that is acceptable.

Interesting topics discussed and Lowe writes clearly and concisely.
Jul 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: art, non-fiction, skimmed
While there's a fair amount of text, I mostly skipped over it looking for pictures of smaller commercial buildings and residences. There were a some nice ones, but more on mansions and grand civil buildings as well as a fun photo section on the 1893 Columbian Exhibition(see The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America). A fun factoid; most of Chicago had to be filled because most of the original city was close to the ground water level. A fun skim for ...more
Ana Rusness-petersen
Aug 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book!! Definitely worth the read, but one gets sad about how many really amazing old buildings with HUGE significance have been torn down - especially during the 1950s to 1970s. Richard Nickel lived through some of the worst of it. Lots of cool photos are included, which is fun and educational. One interesting note is the author's focus and promotion of John Wellborn Root and his talents, and how the author downplayed everything Daniel Burnham was a part of. Apparently someone isn't co ...more
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: chicago
This volume presents the growth of Chicago as viewed through its architectural progress. Since so much of the art and architecture from Chicago's past endures only in photographs, this work is correctly labeled Lost Chicago. Students of local and public history will take special interest in this work. Illustrated with more than 200 black & white photographs.
Leonard Pierce
Oct 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Classic book of lost Chicago history and architecture. I've bought several copies of this as gifts for people and always try to keep my own. Quite beautiful and sad in its way.
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Loved this book. Photograph's of Chicago long gone. It was even more glamorous than today.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved this!
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully illustrated with drawings and photos. Excellent look at wonderful buildings in Chicago that are no longer with us, including the Columbian Exposition of 1893. A gem.
Sep 03, 2008 rated it it was amazing
If you are a chicago native you must own this book
Dec 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
As a native Chicagoan, I find this book a real treasure!
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