Monday, June 14, 2010

A Print Shop Remnant?

A Prelude to Louisville

Last August, I drove out to Maywood, IL, a suburb of Chicago, just west of the city and right near Oak Park. It had once been a quiet little town, embraced by the prairies of the midwest, but now lies almost supine along the expressway, engulfed by the outward urban sprawl of the ever expanding (or is it convulsing?) city-scape. The reason I drove to Maywood was to check out the former location of the Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, which no longer exists, save its archival remnants in the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), where I work. The plot of land where the seminary was once located is now an empty field, its former buildings torn down. A dilapidated elementary school sits on one corner of the plot and another building on an adjacent corner. It was a rainy day last August, so I didn't get out of my car. And soon, I drove back toward the city. On my way home, I drove through a main stretch of Maywood, and stopped at a light, when I noticed something curious: a small shop, run-down, boarded up, with a beautiful little facade of a printing press embossed in concrete crowing the one-story building! I stopped and took a photo, because it was so interesting to me. And I figured that in some not too distant future, this little structure would fall into disrepair and destruction. I'd thought of this photo over the past year, and again yesterday, as I drove by the Michael Reese Hospital in the south loop of Chicago, as it stood naked against the wrecking balls, and I once again pulled out my camera. I will write about the Michael Reese legacy in a forthcoming blog, but for now, I offer this less famous example of architectural eye-candy, which surely has its own (now almost certainly lost) history...a print shop in old Maywood?

So here is my tribute to the ever-fading past...of old buildings, facades, histories, and stories, which may never be told, as I push off to good ol' Louisville, Kentucky soon. I'll be sure to keep my eyes and camera trained on the bookish and historical gems of Louisville. See you soon!

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