There weren't as many postcard vendors as in the past at last week's Printer's Row Book Fair, but I was still able to pick up several interesting views into Chicago's architectural past, including this one of the Chicago Inter Ocean's building, completed 1900, W. Carbys Zimmerman architect, which stood on Monroe Street across from what is now the hanging gardens of Chase Plaza.
Now forgotten, it was one of Chicago's major daily newspapers, beginning its life in 1865 as the Chicago Republican, and renamed the Inter Ocean in 1871, perhaps symbolic of the city's emerging global prominence. It was said to have started going downhill after being acquired by transit mogul Charles T. Yerkes, builder of the Loop "L", who used the paper as a mouthpiece in his battles against reformers' threats to the lucrative traction franchises that he had secured through wide-scale bribery.
The Inter Ocean's previous building, at the southeast corner of Dearborn and Madison, was replaced in 1902 by the 17 story Chicago Tribune Building by architects Holabird and Roche, a palatial headquarters that went into a long decline after the Trib moved to its present gothic skyscraper on North Michigan avenue. It was demolished in 2003 to make way for DeStefano+Partners distinctive One South Dearborn.
Yerkes died in 1905; the Inter Ocean in 1914. If you're old enough to remember the Monroe Theater - that was the Inter Ocean. It was retrofitted into a movie theater in 1920, and by the 1950's was a grind house showing such classics as Cannibal Girls and Raw Meat. It ended its days as a soft porn house, before being demolished to make way for Helmut Jahn's 1980 Xerox Centre.
And in our own increasingly globalized world, wouldn't the Inter Ocean be a great name for a internationally-focused web-based newspaper, taking up the slack from all the international coverage that Sam Zell is reportedly killing off at the once great Tribune Company newspapers he now controls?