The Windy City – Scaffolding Everywhere!

This all started innocently with a weekend road trip for a Cincinnati Reds game against the Chicago Cubs.

Yet, it’s really hard to go to Chicago JUST for a baseball game. Especially with Wrigley Field up on the north side of town, at the opposite end from our approach to Chicago.

The road from Cincinnati leads past the Museum of Science and Industry, the Adler Planetarium, Buckingham Fountain, deep-dish pizza, deep-dish pizza and more deep-dish pizza, on the drive to and up The Miracle Mile (aka Michigan Avenue).   So many distractions were ready to snare us before we even approached the Lincoln Park Zoo, and FINALLY, Wrigleyville!!

One of the first sights to stop us in our tracks was none other than, yes, scaffolding. Frankly, you can’t miss it in Chicago. Still, stopping and starting amongst blaring taxis, this site caught my attention: the historic Tribune Tower with scaffolding perched just near the top of it.

Barely visible at street level to the typical pedestrian or motorist, it sang out to me, as one whose blood almost runs through scaffolding.

The Chicago Tribune building
Chicago Tribune Building, close up view of scaffolding.

More on the project at the Tribune Tower another time, because almost right below this site/sight, is the new flagship Apple Store, also perched, and in its case, at the edge of the Chicago River.

The Apple Store upon completion

Yes, a store is really here. Look close, and see the Apple logo at the left side of the photo.

The apple store with an apple logo in the window.

Past Scaffolding

In its finished state, this store seems nearly invisible. It wasn’t always that way. I couldn’t resist taking a look at the construction work of this building. Where nothing but clear air seems to occupy the site now, early on, it was well wrapped in scaffolding:

Scaffolding on an Apple Store under construction
Scaffolding on an Apple Store.

And, the Wrigley building behind the Apple Store was a good reminder to move on to baseball and Wrigley Field.

The Apple Store from behind.

Current Scaffolding

The game that prompted the trip to Chicago put one in the win column for the Cincinnati Reds, a typical experience for Cubs fans and a delightful one for Reds’ followers. But, in a city of historical architecture – and so much scaffolding – Wrigley Field was actually more interesting than the game.

Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in the major leagues after Fenway Park. Where city after city seems to build and rebuild sparkling new baseball stadiums, Wrigley Field endures in location and in structure. Its rich history, its charm as “The Friendly Confines”, and probably even its location – convenient to public transportation – and all sorts of after game entertainment, seem to secure it almost as a monument-to-baseball for years to come.

However, that doesn’t mean Wrigley becomes outdated. Wrigley bowed to the pressures of media to play games at night, and installed lights. It’s had several facelifts over the years. And, how could we live with ourselves in the scaffolding business without pointing out post season renovations going on at this very time?

Just two weeks after postseason play ended at Wrigley, renovations began, and for now, Wrigley Field is enfolded in scaffolding!

Scoreboard with scaffolding.
Stadium stands with scaffolding

To think this story started with a chance spotting of scaffolding on the Tribune Tower!

That scaffolding has a story all its own. Watch for our next post, where we’ll highlight the Tribune Tower project along with other Windy City initiatives. A city this rich in architectural history and construction activity deserves another post!