Mile 9: 58th-50th Street
This painting is a part of my Western Avenue Series, through which I'll be making 24 watercolor paintings, one to document each mile of Western Avenue, in Chicago. I started this project because while it is not considered to be among the most “beautiful” of Chicago’s streets, Western Avenue is a perfect place to document the humanness of Chicago, the positive and the negative. In the words of Stuart Dybek, "Western, with apologies to State Street, is a great street, Unlike State, it is a street that goes to the interior, the heart of the city, as it glides and glows through a United Nations of neighborhoods." Check back next Monday to see a post about the next mile of Western.
The painting representing this mile of the Western Avenue depicts the Fire Museum of Chicago. I couldn't help but settle upon the Fire Museum as a subject matter because it was one of the things that surprised me as I made my journey down Western--I had no idea there was a "Fire Museum of Greater Chicago!" The architectural style of the fire museum, which was built 94 years ago, is similar to fire houses found all over Chicago.
The Fire Museum of Greater Chicago opened to the public for the first time in May 2010 after 15 years of volunteer work to bring the museum to life. In an a story on ABC News, the exhibits were described as having the intention of capturing the sounds, sights and memories of more than 150 years of Chicago Fire Department history. The items on exhibit include a scale model of the Our Lady of Angels School, where many died in 1958, as well as just one old fire truck (more to come). In addition to more fire trucks, visitors can expect the the re-installation of fire poles (which were invented in Chicago in 1878) sometime soon.
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Did you know Chicago had a Fire Museum?