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Trib Gets Loopy

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jul 26, 2004 4:41PM

Loop Graphic, Chicago Tribune

It might be worth shelling out for Tribunes this week. They have an in-depth feature on the Loop, and we think it might be losing a little something online. Plus you get to have newspaper smell all up in your face. Today's installment in the “Unauthorized Loop” is a history lesson, and, if the rest of this week is as slow as today, we’ll recap the daily updates the rest of this week. Definitely cruise the photo gallery, too. OK, Loopsters, here’s today’s brain food:

Why is it called the Loop? It’s not a trick or story or something: it’s called the Loop because the L forms a…wait for it…loop. The elevated trains that ran around Wells, Van Buren, Wabash and Lake were completed on October 3, 1897. The project cost the equivalent of about $13 million.

What are some really bad events that happened in the Loop? This is quite a list, and the most recent event was last year’s fire. Eh, today’s Chicagoist’s birthday, and we’re not going to recap tragedies.

For whom are downtown buildings named? We think most people know whom the Daley Center is named for, but do you know about the federal buildings? The Dirksen Federal Building is named for Everett McKinley Dirksen, a Republican who served as U.S. senator for 16 years (1951-69). Kluczynski Federal Building is named for John C. Kluczynski, “a 12-term Democratic congressman (1951-1975) who represented Chicago's Bridgeport neighborhood.” The Monadnock building is named for New Hampshire’s Mt. Monadnock, which Chicagoist has climbed. Seriously, we did. And now, for our Favorite Tribune Sentence Ever: “LaSalle Street: Robert Cavalier, Sieur de La Salle, was a testy French explorer who passed through the Chicago region in 1682.” God damn you and your testy ways, Robert Cavalier!

What plaques should I read downtown? Definitely hit the one at Bank of America on the northeast corner of LaSalle and Jackson. Bank? Boring and lame. But it’s the site of the old Grand Pacific Hotel where, in 1883, railroad officials regulated time zones.

What shops are missing from my beloved retail area? Church's English Shoes, formerly on Wabash, was apparently the “most reliable place in town for Meltonian shoe cream.” Not to be an asshole or anything, but uh, we don’t think the Meltonian shoe cream industry is what it once was. Now if you’ll excuse us, we’re going to go listen to the victrola and crank up our cars.

If I jumped in a time machine, where should I chow down in old Chicago? The Mayflower doughnut shop had a conveyor belt. A doughnut conveyor belt. Holy shit, we’re starting work on the time machine right now.