[Through My Lens] Discovering Hidden Gems with Open House Chicago

Photos by AngieStar Photo

For one weekend every year, the Chicago Architecture Foundation opens 150 sites around the city that aren’t typically open to the public. Everything from modern marvels to old cathedrals, to vintage mansions, libraries, and more are put on display for anyone to enter- for free. The annual event is titled Open House Chicago, and it highlights the deep history, diverse culture, and innovating aspects of architecture that makes the city the unique marvel that it is. Allowing the public to discover hidden gems around the city, while providing guided tours, proves to be a great success every year, and I could only see it growing.

Although it’s hard to see every site in just one weekend, tons of information and maps are provided so that each person can find locations to their liking. As a local, I sought out locations that I thought may not be as popular, hidden inside neighborhoods that not many stray to see. I also sought out historical buildings that we all may see frequently from the outside, but can never see inside.

From Casa Bonita, the vintage luxury condominiums in Rogers Park, to Uptown rehabs and theaters, Edgewater’s famed roaring 20’s celebrity hangouts, the historical Newberry Library, Palette & Chisel Academy of Fine Arts in Gold Coast, The 1893 Brewster Building and the Elks National Memorial in Lincoln Park, old cathedrals in Ukrainian Village, to the 40th floor Luxury Library and the Federal Reserve Building in the Financial District. All had a story to tell, with secrets that reach far beyond what the eye can see. And others were shear examples of lost eras in history, full of unique architectural beauty and innovation.

Check out some of the photos along the way, and imagine all the decades of light and people they’ve seen. Be sure to find more here.

Angela E. Mejia

Angela is a photographer/photojournalist/visionary raised in the mean streets of Chicago. Since 2008, she's covered everything from concerts for underground and mainstream artists, to food editorial, to just about every type of photography you can think of. Other interests include traveling, anything artsy, Chicago sports, and eating tacos.

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