Fifty-six thousand souls, the size of Fargo when I was growing up. But not an oasis in the middle of nowhere - it's a Cook County burb, and old. It split off from Cicero in 1908.

Just because it’s an old burb doesn’t mean it doesn’t have substantial commercial architecture. Like this:

really like this building. They could have gone up to the corner, and maybe I wish they had, but this is different.

It’s the Berwyn State Bank

Opened in 1930.

Classic prosperous commercial block found outside of big city core districts.


Fraternal orgs in old burbs? Why not?

The ground floor rehab forever robbed this building of its original impact. None of those decorations are allowed to finish their sentences.

Stark and modern as it looks, don’t be fooled:

The bottom floor was redone 40 years after the top floor. They don’t match. I think the architect would've been horrified to think the rehab was intended to fit. YOU KNOW NOTHING AT ALL. NOTHING

Whoa! You know right away that it’s something public - school, hospital, medical school. It’s not residential. It’s not an office building.

It gives off the institutional vibe: if you don't work here, you're not part of the culture of this place. You're already an outsider.

I love the colored-brick movement in the 60s. Not enough were built.

Why wouldn’t you want colored brick?


Original abstract art to remind everyone we severing ourselves from history here


Urp. If you don’t like the colored-brick International Style, this was what came along shortly after. Confused and cheap.

A 1000X better. The thin stone, the clean lines - nice little post-war office.

This could be a picture from 1966.

This could be a picture from a 1966 low-budget sci-fi movie.

The Twenties: solid as a dollar.

The post-war era: through spareness we will be modern and develop the mental discipline and agility needed to beat the Reds.

Not bad, but the way the columns don’t line up on the right-side building is an architectural error. Unless you’re being all Po-Mo, then it’s a comment on expectation!

Next door: the little apartment building that could! 

They made a million of those in the 50s. Everywhere. Every city. No ornament. Light brick. Dark brick between the windows. So many of them! And we’ve no idea of the history of the lives that flowed through just this one.