She’s An Old Town Girl (Old Town)

From contemporary residential developments in South Loop to historic rowhouses laden with old school charm in Gold Coast, the Windy City has a plethora of buildings that are as equally diverse in architectural character as they are historically amusing. Putting on my “Lena the Explorer” hat this weekend, I came across a robust neighborhood in the heart of Chicago that pioneers some of the city’s earliest structural forms. Driving north on Wells street from the bustling shopping mecca in Gold Coast to the scintillating Second City theater on North Avenue, I came across Old Town Triangle District, a neighborhood with a unique set of architectural designs embodied by small frame worker’s style cottages and red brick houses with white patios.

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What used to be marshlands settled in the 1850s by Catholic immigrants from Germany has turned into a grub hub infused with Italian trattorias, French bistros, and American sports bars (good ol’ hot wings with German stouts). As I walked down the stone-cobbled floors past restaurants, salons, and boutique shops, I was amazed by the knowledge that Old Town was one of the 7 districts that withstood the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. Wooden-framed doors and panels were seldom used as rudimentary support for construction, which was why brick and stone used to construct Victorian-era rowhouses and apartments post the conflagration remain the signature building blocks of Old Town. Not to mention how standalone unique it is in defying the Chicago grid system (by which addresses relate to distances from a particular downtown intersection) and is on the national register of historic places. Nifty I must say!

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There were 2 renowned landmarks in Chicago that I was *again* amazed by their grandeur architectural designs. The first is Moody Church, which features a few structural feats like Romanesque and Byzantine architecture, a non-pillar auditorium, and a pair of “movie” screens in the sanctuary that are currently the tallest in the US (IMAX officially de-throned). The second is the Chicago History Museum, which resonates with the 1932 Federal-style structure clad in limestone and red brick. With exhibition galleries exploring both Chicago and American History, from American conflicts over freedom in the span of 1850s to 1970s, to Abraham Lincoln alcoves highlighting the late President’s rise to leadership and his remarkable feats during the Civil War, the discoveries were amusing and rewarding, synonymous to the abundance of neighborhood insights attained while touring Roscoe Village a few miles west of Old Town (HERE).

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My journey ended with a photo shoot in the vicinity, where I styled a black silk button-down shirt with a pair of flowy colorful shorts from Marshalls. With my outfit I wanted to emulate the flamboyant character of Old Town — one that I’ve come across as both visually stimulating and diverse in its architectural flair. Uptown Girl step aside, the Old Town muse has arrived 🙂

Xoxo~ Lena

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Top: Banana// Shorts: Marshalls// Boots: BP// Bag: March Jacobs// Shades: Prada

Credits: Jason J Photography

17 thoughts on “She’s An Old Town Girl (Old Town)

    • Thanks Ginny! They were major steals at Marshalls and I love them! Great for outdoorsy traveling adventures I’ve been on lately. I’m sure you’re having lots of fun traveling too! Take care Ginny! 🙂 – Lena


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