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Answer to your Chicago architecture questions

By Amanda on February 17, 2011


Answers to questions from our Loop Interior Architecture Walking Tour!

What kind of stone is Chase made of? Well, I knew it was granite, but what kind of granite was the question. Pearl Gray Granite. Where did it come from? A tour guest who worked on the building in the 1960s was happy to research this one, and we are still stumped. Records of stone mining and transportation are hard to come by.

Why is Northwestern University called Northwestern? It was founded in the earliest days of settlement in the region and references the old Northwest Territory which Chicago was once a part of.

What are all the stars on the Chicago flag? I knew I had this one in my brain somewhere and couldn’t remember all the stars! They are all for major events in Chicago history: Fort Dearborn (first institutional settlement, 1803), the Great Fire of 1871, the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, and the Century of Progress of 1933. Just fyi, the stripes are for the three areas of Chicago: North, West and South.

What are the marks around the walls of the First United Methodist Church? We addressed this in a previous post. The church pews used to be flush against the wall, and then they changed the layout when they made the seating arrangement and altar handicap accessible a few years ago.

If you asked a question on a tour, and you don’t see the answer here, then either we cannot find the answer or we’re still working on it!


Chicago Detours offers guided walking and bus tours of architecture, history and culture to public and private groups. We are a passionate team of educators, historians, artists and storytellers, and are proud to be one of very few tour companies in Chicago that is rated five stars on both Google and TripAdvisor.


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