Along the Magnificent Mile

You can see the Mag Mile from up here. Actually, you can see the entire city here in Willis. On a clear day, four states, can be seen in the observation deck. This is the 103rd floor.

The Tribune HQ.

Dearborn Mural. The Indians against the White man.

These Americans knows the constitutions quite well.

I thought the name of the avenue was “Magnificent Mile”. Well, they call it that, but its not an avenue, it’s a neighborhood that run thru N. Michigan Ave., up to the North Side where Wrigley Field is located.

This part of Chicago is comparable to what Ayala is to Makati, or an Alabang with Muntinlupa. The main neighborhood where business and residential spaces are considered prime. A relative told me, “this is the main thoroughfare of downtown Chicago”. You’ve never been to Chi town unless you see this place.

Before we went here, I already looked up in advance the location of the historic Neo Gothic Tribune tower. The HQ of the company I worked for as a 3rd party vendor in my 20’s. The first time I saw this building was in the company website almost a decade ago, sitting in my tiny cubicle, somewhere in Alabang. There’s an interesting exhibition of stones and fragments in this building. These rocks were collected from all over the world. Small pieces from places like the Taj Mahal, Reim Cathedral, Parthenon and the Pyramids.

Mag Mile was part of Daniel Burnham’s concept for Chicago. Yes, the guy that brought us Baguio and the Americanesque portion of Manila. Burnham saw the future and he knew what it needs. So advanced was his ideas that many doubted whether they could be carried out.

I once saw a picture of the Chicagoan Burnham that I brlieve was taken in Benguet. A bearish mustached man, his back against the camera in deep contemplation. As if thinking about how he’s going to build the city on top of a mountain. We can only imagine what goes inside the mind of a man tasked to build a city.

The Mag Mile attracts tourist in droves. First time I’ve seen so many different nationalities in one road. Most tourist are drawn by the best shops, restaurants (around 200) and hotels America could offer – it’s all here in Mag Mile.

Another interesting area is where Fort Dearborn used to stand. It’s a military camp erected in the early 1800’s, later destroyed during a battle against the Indians. Much of the camps grounds gave way to the widening of the river. There were some portion of the camp that was preserved up until the 1870’s before it being completely destroyed, casualty of the “great Chicago fire of 1871”.

The area around the Michigan Avenue Bridge was the site of the historic “Battle of Fort Dearborn” , where Indian’s defeated US troops. It was a massacre with estimates of around 500 dead. The Indian’s won several battles with the White man, unfortunately (or fortunately, depends where you stand) they lost the war.

Do you know what a bascule bridge is? I don’t but I saw one here. The Michigan Avenue bridge. Its a movable bridge that allows ships to pass. I wanted to see how it works but it moves only twice in a month. And its not scheduled that day.

This bridge have great murals of the “Battle of Fort Dearborn”. Where the bridge stands was once part of that historic fort.

There’s great history around here but the problem is that I don’t know much about Chicago. Aside from Chiacgo figures like Burnham, Jordan, Obama and Oprah, whose works I had the chance to read, my Chicago history is on the minus side.

The history of the city and its architecture is amazing. Its reputed to be a corrupt city but that’s something that we Filipinos hear all the time. For me, Chicago remains ans is truly one of the greatest cities of our time.


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