Len-Artists: Reflections of…

Guest host Shower of Blessings has given us the theme for Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #87: Reflections.

My car is a source of several types of reflections:

Reflections of holiday lights on its hood
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Light from its headlights reflecting on snowfall
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An image in its driver’s side mirror (Rocky Mountain National Park)
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Bodies of water are also great sources for photographing reflections:

One of the ponds at our senior community – the reflection was clearer on the water side (left) than the ice side (right).20200108_155657
Hippo and its reflection (Serengeti National Park, Tanzania)
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Egrets on the edge of a lake (Tarangire National Park, Tanzania)
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In this close-up of two geese that are part of a sculpture, the reflection of the top of the sculpture, geese in flight, can be seen in the pond. (Chicago Botanic Gardens)
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Polished surfaces, such as glass and mirrors, are good places to look for reflections.

Glass pots on display at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington – the pattern at the bottom of the pot on the left is reflected on the platform.
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Glass bowl
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Glass sculpture on the roof of the museum after a rainfall – the birds are actually reflected in the puddle – it reminded me of the egrets in Tanzania!
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The polished floor in the courtyard of a mosque in Cairo, Egypt
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It took me awhile looking at this photo to realize it was actually a mirror image I was photographing, at a restaurant in Cairo. There was also a mirror at the far end, where the actual scene of our group having dinner was reflected, in the second photo.
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Finally, semi-spherical mirrors were used to enhance flower exhibits at the annual orchid show (Chicago Botanic Gardens). This photo is a bit blurry but I liked the reflection – and you can see my camera in my hand at left!
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And now, a theme-related video of a golden oldie from the 1960s!

 

Pull Up a Seat Challenge

I have not participated in XingfuMama’s Pull Up a Seat Photo Challenge in awhile. So here goes!

At holiday light show, Lightscape, Chicago Botanic Gardens
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Glass sculptures made by schoolchildren, Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA
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The following three are miniatures, from Whimsical Wonderland, an annual display/fair/competition of miniatures.
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Choir seat, with unique carving (you’d pull the seat down to sit on it), Oude Kerk, Amsterdam
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Balcony cafe, Melk, Austria
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Thursday Doors: Two Chicago Churches

I am entering this post into Norm’s Thursday Doors, as part of my tour of Chicago’s places of worship. Today I feature two Roman Catholic churches, St. Edward Church and St. Gregory the Great Church, both on the north side.

We visited St. Edward Roman Catholic Church during Open House Chicago, having put it on my “must see” list because it contains a painted replica of the Bayeux Tapestry. We had seen the original in Bayeux, France only a few months before.20191019_11582320191019_115850
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St. Edward’s take on the story of the tapestry focuses on Edward who had been king of England and his benevolence as king. He was very pious and supposedly saw visions and cured people by his touch, which later earned him the status of a saint in the Roman Catholic Church. Edward was childless and William of Normandy was his cousin.

In Normandy, France, we didn’t hear much about Edward. There the emphasis was on William, Duke of Normandy (also known as “the Conqueror”), who invaded England in 1066 and took the English throne from Harold, who had succeeded Edward as king.  Harold did not have long to rule: he became king in January of 1066, following Edward’s death, and William’s invasion, known as the Battle of Hastings, happened later that same year.
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The replica was painted in oils on the ceiling of the narthex of St. Edward Church by Mae Connor-Anderson and is about 75 feet long. It is not complete, containing only 24 scenes and the Latin inscriptions were removed. The 24 scenes tell of St. Edward’s role in the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
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The merger of the Saxon and Norman cultures created a new culture from which the English language evolved. Government was a mix of Norman and Saxon traditions.
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St. Edward Parish was founded in 1899 and its current church building was dedicated in 1940.

This is one of the doors from the narthex leading into the sanctuary. There are several of these which all have the same design.
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Confessional and confessional door

The stained glass windows throughout the sanctuary depict many important events in Christianity and the life of Jesus Christ. The pair pictured below depicts the birth of Jesus and his presentation in the temple with Simeon.

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St. Gregory the Great Roman Catholic Church has been serving the north side of Chicago since 1904, when immigrants from Luxembourg petitioned for a new parish. Its congregation today comprises many immigrant and ethnic groups.
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Although it was one of the sites open to the public during Open House Chicago, my visit there was with a friend for a concert by International Chamber Artists, who perform there often. The music director at the church arranges these and other concerts and is a fine musician himself.

St. Gregory is absolutely gorgeous inside. It was built in the 1920s in Norman Gothic style. It has a lavishly decorated ceiling and an intricate white reredos* behind the altar. The pulpit, shrines and stations of the cross were all hand-carved in Germany. The windows are made of English and jewel glass.
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The door at the front of the church…
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was not actually where we entered. Because we were ushers for the concert, we had to arrive an hour early to help with the preparation for the concert. Here is the door we entered.
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You will notice that this and other doors in the church have small windows with diamond shapes in them.
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The main sanctuary with its colorful and intricate decoration.
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The main altar, with its white reredos in front of the back wall.20191103_144204
Shrine to the Virgin Mary, common in Catholic churches (St. Edward has one also, pictured above).
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Inside the front entrance door
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Confessional and its door

An inner door – I noticed that the diamond shapes all had pictures, symbols or Greek writing inside them.
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I began to look at these more closely and saw a variety of pictures, each one unique.
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On the church’s web site is their mission statement and that, guided by the Holy Spirit, they are committed to:
*Celebrating and sharing God’s goodness by providing beautiful experiences of prayer and worship
*Providing opportunities for people to grow in their faith, hope, and love
*Extending the healing of Christ into the lives of all people so that they may come to know and share in the love Christ has for our world
*Offering opportunities for fellowship, hospitality, and service
*Evangelizing (spreading) the Good News of Jesus Christ through experiences of the fine arts

Of the two churches, I found St. Gregory to be the more beautiful and it has more interesting doors, but I enjoyed looking at the paintings of the tapestry panels at St. Edward, which were explained in a booklet the docents were giving out.

*What is a reredos? Promounced “RARE-eh-dahs,”according to Miriam Webster online, it is an ornamental wood or stone screen or partition wall behind the altar of a church. The term’s first known use was in the 14th century.

Sources:
St. Edward Church – publications obtained at the church
St. Gregory the Great Church – the church’s web site and Open House Chicago web site.

Thursday Doors: Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral is the most noticeable building as you approach this city on the north Rhine River, with its Gothic spires soaring high above the landscape. At 157 meters (515 ft.) ir the third tallest twin-spired church in the world. The towers for its spires make its façade the tallest in the world.
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From the river it is quite imposing, close as it is to the riverfront.  DSC00868
20190627_223155This Catholic cathedral is the most visited landmark in Germany, with 20,000 visitors average per day.

It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and of the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.

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Front main entrance

Details above front door:


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The cathedral’s official name in English is the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter (in German, Hohe Domkirche Sankt Petrus).

Inside the main transept:

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Front doors from the inside

Construction of the cathedral was begun in 1248 but was halted, unfinished, in 1473. Work did not recommence until the 1840s (!) and was completed according to its Medieval plan in 1880.
20190627_154133When construction began in 1248, the site had been occupied by several previous structures; from the 4th century CE (AD) on, these were Christian buildings.
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Legend has it that Kris Kringle (Germany’s Santa Claus) would take naughty kids to the cathedral, where he would punish them and if they resisted, he would drop them off the South Tower! That must have been a great incentive for children to be good! Visitors can go up the South Tower today – that is, when Kris Kringle is not around!!

Tower details:

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Model of the finial o top of the Cathedral towers in original size: 9.5 m high, 4.6 m wide

DSC00911.JPGIn the 19th century, there was a resurgence of romantic interest in the Middle Ages, and with the original plan for the façade having been discovered, the Protestant Prussian Court gave its approval for the cathedral’s completion. The Court provided a 3rd of its cost to improve relations with its growing number of Catholic subjects.

Stained glass:

On August 14, 1880, the completion of the cathedral was celebrated as a national event, 632 years after it had been begun! It was the tallest building in the world until the completion of the Washington Monument four years later.

As in most large cathedrals, there are relics and burials. Many graves were discovered during the excavations in the 19th century.
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Door to a crypt

Although the cathedral suffered 14 hits by Allied aerial bombings during World War II, and was badly damaged, it nevertheless remained standing in a city which was mostly destroyed.

Repairs of the war damage were completed in 1956. Repair and maintenance work is constant due to wind, rain and pollution which eat away at the stone, so there is almost always scaffolding on some part of the cathedral.*
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As we were leaving, I saw this most unusual door on one side of the cathedral.DSC00910
Both inside and out, the Cologne Cathedral is the most impressive and magnificent cathedral I have ever seen!

Posted for Norm’s Thursday Doors, 8/29/19.

*Historical information was obtained from the Wikipedia article, Cologne Cathedral.

 

Bayeux: Tapestry and Cathedral

The city of Bayeux, in the province of Normandy, France, has three main tourist attractions. The first is a famous tapestry that tells the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy’s successful campaign to invade and take over England. William became king of England, later passing the throne to his son Henry. This tapestry is about 68.3 m/224 ft long and no photography of the actual tapestry is allowed. I was able to take photos of reproductions of sections of the embroidery in the gift shop.

A more accurate description is that the Bayeux Tapestry is “narrative embroidery” – it was hand embroidered on linen by various embroiderers in the late 11th century. It contains 9 panels of linen cloth joined together, containing text as well as pictures. It was commissioned by the Bishop of Bayeux (and William’s half-brother) for display in the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Bayeux, consecrated in 1077. (More information about the Bayeux Tapestry can be found at The Bayeux Tapestry: the epic adventure of William the Conqueror in 1066.)

The cathedral is the second main attraction in Bayeux, with its beautiful stained glass windows, a variety of interesting embellishments and details, and its variety of doors. Below are photos of the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Bayeux, featuring the doors for Norm’s Thursday Doors.
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The cathedral was built in the 11th-12th centuries in the Gothic style, and was dedicated in the presence of William the Conqueror in 1077. It was the first home of the Bayeux tapestry.

Approach to the front entrance:
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William and his beloved wife, Mathilde, are carved on the cathedral’s main doorway.
20190618_122008jThe main entrance from the inside:20190618_122459
One of the smaller doorways that flank the main entrance:
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Interior view:
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Spectacular stained glass windows:

The organ:
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The pulpit:
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Interior gate leading to the gift shop
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There are many carvings and interesting Norman-era embellishments in the nave. These were completed at the beginning of the 12th century.

The ceiling

Other statuary

Paintings

More doors
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Across from the cathedral is a small square.
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More doors and a gateway that we discovered on our walk back to our car.
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We passed this old-fashioned water mill.

We parked on the edge of Bayeux’s beautiful botanic gardens, and it is possible to reach the city’s center via walking trails through the gardens, but we were unable to spend the time to admire them, because we were on our way to Mont St.-Michel.

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This WWII tank was on display near the parking lot.

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Caen’s Church of Saint-Pierre

(June 17, 2019)

While in Caen, after touring the Chateau, we had lunch, then went to see the cathedral. Or at least, we THOUGHT it was the cathedral, but this is a mistake by tourists due to its size and soaring Gothic elements. It is actually called the Church of St. Peter (St. Pierre) and known as Saint-Pierre of Darnetal, Saint-Pierre-sous-Caen, Saint-Pierre-du-Châtel, and Saint-Pierre-en-Rive.

Even though it isn’t the official cathedral, St. Pierre is an imposing structure.
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It was built between the 13th and 16th centuries. During the Middle Ages, most public ceremonies took place in this church. The spire of the church was destroyed by a British navy shell in 1944, meant for the German forces, and it was rebuilt in the same style.  Remarkably, although 75% of Caen was in ruins at the end of WWII, the Church of Saint-Pierre remained mostly intact.

Front entrance:

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Architecturally, the church represents the transition from Gothic to Renaissance style. It ceased to be a church building in 1793, to become the Temple of Reason. From 1795 to 1933, the building was used for Catholic worship services.
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More of the church’s doors
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Stained glass windows

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Posted for Norm’s Thursday Doors 8/8/19.

Although I took most of the photos, I have included some of my son’s photos using his Samsung Galaxy 9 (the first time he has experimented with photography), most notably ceiling details.

Information on the Church of St.-Pierre’s history was obtained from a Wikipedia article, Church of Saint-Pierre, Caen.

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Thursday Doors: Sigma Alpha Epsilon National Headquarters (OHC 2018)

During Open House Chicago 2018, we visited several sites in Evanston, including the national headquarters of the fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon.
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Regardless of my personal opinion of this fraternity’s history of hazing (for which it has been disciplined at least nine times) as well as of fraternities in general, the headquarters building is an austere German Gothic structure, whose interior is contemplative, far away from typical college campus fraternity activity.

This building had several interesting doors, and photos of them, such as this one of the front entrance are scattered throughout this post, as contribution to Norm’s Thursday Doors 12/20/18.
20181014_151902Located on the campus of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, the building of what is officially called Levere Memorial Temple was begun in 1929 and was dedicated in December, 1930. The headquarters, also known as Fraternity Service Center, honors members of the fraternity who have served in the armed forces since 1856.

Beautiful Tiffany stained glass windows in the chapel and elsewhere depict scenes which men have experienced in wartime as well as historical and Greek subjects.
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The interior décor of the chapel was simple and elegant.
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The building today is used for social and academic ceremonies and receptions at Northwestern University as well as fraternity national conferences and weddings. There is a museum on the bottom floor and a library contains annual volumes of fraternity affairs going back a century.
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To learn more about Sigma Alpha Epsilon and its history, go to the Wikipedia article online.
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First Presbyterian Church of Evanston – Open House Chicago 2018, Part 5

One of the most beautiful churches in Evanston, particularly its stained glass windows, is the First Presbyterian Church, which we visited during Open House Chicago 2018 in mid-October.  The architect of this building was Daniel H. Burnham, the same man who made Chicago famous for the design of the White City during the World’s Columbian Exhibition in 1893. (If you have read Devil in the White City, you have learned a lot about him.)
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The church was built in 1894 and completed in 1895 after a fire that destroyed the previous sanctuary.
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Additions to the Joliet limestone building included a Sunday School wing (1926) and the Walker Chapel (1969).
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The stained glass windows contain a lot of sapphire blue, which is City Sonnet’s color of the day today.

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These large windows which flank the north and south sides of the church depict the Old Testament (south window) and the New Testament (north window).
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If you look closely at this window depicting the Ascension, you can see Jesus’ feet and the bottom of his turquoise robe, just above the heads of the witnesses!
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These windows tell the story of Adam and Eve.

The Balcony Rose Window is the most beautiful of all! Fully illuminated by the setting sun, it draws its inspiration from the Beatitudes which Jesus shared during his “Sermon on the Mount.” (Matthew 5:3-11) Each “petal” depicts one of the Beatitudes.

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From Top and moving Clockwise: Dove (Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven); Lily (Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God); Scales of Justice (Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled); Crown with Stars (Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven); Inverted Torch (Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted); Olive Branch (Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God); Lamb (Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth); Broken Sword (Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy).

Looking toward the altar from the main entrance. Everything on the platform on which the altar sits is removable so the space is very flexible for concerts, pageants and other performances. The sanctuary plus the balcony seats 1,100 people.
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The lectern
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The altar
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Much of the wood trim has carvings, such as these angels. All the columns and decorative trim were not part of the original structure and were added later. The types of wood used were red oak and Georgian pine.

 

Also notable is the splendid organ, which the organist let me try out! The organ is an amalgamation of parts from the original 1895 organ, the 1940 installation and the 1958 Aeolian Skinner instrument.
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The sounds of different instruments, such as the oboe, flutes or violins, can be produced using the levers on the left and right; the sound is transmitted through the approximately 3,500 pipes arranged in 64 ranks.
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The organ pipes, as seen from the balcony. The blue ceiling and back-lighting in the organ chamber were added as part of a major renovation of the church in 2001.
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Light fixture
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The original building cost $80,000 to build.

http://www.liahona.net

Open House Chicago 2018-Part 1

Open House Chicago is an annual event – on a weekend in mid-October, about 250 buildings in the Chicago area are open to visitors. Each has a few volunteers who can tell you about the building. It is sometimes called the “architecture tour” because many of these buildings were built 100+ years ago and some were designed by well-known architects.

Chicago is known for its diverse architectural styles. It is impossible to visit all the buildings during the Open House weekend, and especially if you only dedicate a few hours to seeing them. I had wanted to go downtown, but Saturday was unseasonably cold, so we chose an area that we could easily drive to and find parking near the various sites. Another priority was to get into buildings that are rarely open to the public.

We saw three sites on the Far North Side of Chicago. The first of these was a rarely-open old mansion, called the Gunder House at the Berger Park Cultural Center, 6219 N. Sheridan Road, in the Edgewater neighborhood of Chicago. This was a booming, affluent neighborhood in the early 1900s until after World War II.
20181013_124953This house was designed by Myron H. Church in the Classic Revival style and was completed in 1910. It was built for Samuel and Nettie Gunder, who paid $20,000 for it!

Like many of these historically significant buildings, there were many interesting details in the design as well as interesting doors and windows. I am going to blog about each of the sites, but this first post of OHC 2018 incorporates two photo challenges: Norm’s Thursday Doors and Nancy’s Photo a Week Through Glass.

We easily found street parking and headed for the front door, with the official OHC 2018 sign out front.
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Same door, from the inside
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Many of these big, old houses had several fireplaces, often beautifully decorated.
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The Viatorian order of Catholic priests owned the Gunder House and neighboring mansion to house student priests for 30 years.  In 1945, the coach houses were converted to dormitories.
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When they moved, the priests sold the mansions to the Chicago Park District in 1981 for half the price of offers from developers.

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Internal door separating rooms, with beautiful stained glass ornamentation
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The same door from the passageway behind it.

The ornamentation is based on the style of the Italian Renaissance.
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Most of the rooms were nearly bare of furniture.

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This group of arched mirrors shows the room behind me, with its curved alcove.
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This is the same room from outside, in back of the house.

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The design of the house reflects an early 20th century taste for historic-revival houses based on Classicism.

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I climbed the stairway to take this photo of the windows on the stairwell. The 2nd floor was roped off.
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Farther up the stairs is this little window.

The Park District had plans to demolish the house, but the community rallied to save it. It was restored, then used by a non-profit cultural center from 1987 to 2012.
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Currently the mansion is in disrepair.  The Chicago Park District is renovating it with supplementary funds raised by Berger Park Advisory Council volunteers.
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The Advisory Council hopes to generate public interest in the mansion’s use for community activities.

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Having finished our tour of the first floor, we went out back to see the park’s children’s play area and view of Lake Michigan.
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Thursday Doors: The Richards House B&B

The Richards House is a Bed and Breakfast lodging in Dubuque, Iowa. I reserved online in advance and had no idea what it would look like, but I guess I imagined a sunny white or yellow house with a fancy sign out front. Instead, when we arrived at the address at dusk, my heart sank. It looked like a haunted house! Even spookier because it had been raining!
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I reminded myself of the old adage, “You can’t tell a book by its cover” but even so, I mounted the wet stairs* with trepidation. And we were richly rewarded – inside the house, we were surrounded by old-fashioned opulence! The family who built and owned this house previously were obviously quite wealthy, and the neighborhood contains many big old houses that most likely have been repurposed.
20181001_090245All the doors and windows at the Richard House had stained glass on and over them.

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These elegant double doors were the front entrance to the house.

Even the door hinges were beautiful!
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Our hostess, Michelle, showed us many features of the house, including these door hinges. She and her partner have owned the house for 29 years, which she calls “a work in progress.” They bought the house as a “fixer upper.”

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This corner of our room shows the door to the room and the open door to the bathroom.

The bathroom had some old-fashioned features, including a genuine “water closet” that made a loud racket when the flush chain was pulled!

Our bathroom did have a modern shower with a glass door, but one of the rooms downstairs had a half bath plus this:20180930_171912This shows most of the room we stayed in – I was standing in front of the door when I took this photo.
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Our chandelier and fireplace (there are fireplaces in each room, each of them surrounded by unique tiles).

 

Michelle invited us to have a “snack” – in the hallway outside our room was a refrigerator with boxed wine and two crystal cake holders, one of which was blueberry cake and the other pumpkin cake, both left over from that morning’s breakfast.  Plates, glassware and silverware were provided. I poured Dale and myself glasses of wine and helped myself to a large piece of pumpkin cake.
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I wanted to take pictures of everything in the house before we left! In the morning, we joined five other people at the dining room table for an amazing breakfast – warm (freshly made) blueberry cake, bacon, egg casserole, French toast, freshly squeezed orange juice and rich coffee served in mugs with “The Richards House” embossed on the side.

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Dining room windows
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Dining room chandelier

Door to our room from the outside
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Doors to other rooms (I think the house can accommodate 8 couples maximum at one time):
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There is also a living room, or parlor, with this baby grand piano. Michelle told us that when they first got it, it had several coats of white paint on it!
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Other fireplaces (there were a few more I didn’t have a chance to take photos of):

Looking down on the reception table from upstairs* where our room was:
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Window on the stairwell:
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Ceiling and embossed wallpaper details:

For $85 per night, this place was a steal, with all the amenities that were offered! There are different prices, I think, depending on what room you are in. A young single man paid $64 for his room. This was our last night in Iowa – the next night we were in our own bed. I strongly encourage anyone who stays overnight in Dubuque to book lodgings at the Richards House. You will not be disappointed – it’s so much cozier and interesting than a hotel room!

*If you have trouble with stairs, please note there is a stairway (about 6 steps) to get up to the front door of the house, and you should let the proprietors know that you need a downstairs room.

Posted for Norm’s Thursday Doors, 10/4/18.