In the early decades of the last century, a section of the West side north of Jackson and on either side of Ashland became home to a large number of unions. Nearly thirty still make their headquarters there today. Some of the buildings are pretty basic, such as the United Electrical Workers, with it's 1997 mural "celebrating solidarity with Mexican workers" . . .
click images for larger viewSome are more grand, such as the UNITE! Hall at 333 S. Ashland. As recounted by the Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters website, it was "built in 1929 with a library, bowling alley, gymnasium and dental clinic . . . and was the original home of the Amalgamated Clothing Workers of America . . ."
. . . and the Truck Drivers . . .
The Teamsters have their own Teamsters City, in mid-century modern . . .
despite the fact that their logo continues to feature a pair of horses, alluding to the time of the union's founding when a "teamster" was someone who drove a "team" of horses pulling drayage carts.
some union buildings have been decommissioned . . .
But perhaps the most interesting could be called Art Deco meets the Vienna Secession, the headquarters of Painters District Council 14, at Adams and Laflin, constructed in 1956 to the designs of the architectural firm of Vitzthum and Burns.
Built of limestone and polished granite it's one of the most distinctive structures in the district.
. . . and, as the AIA Guide to Chicago notes, there's "not a painted surface in sight."
Happy Labor Day!