Once a year, Chicago's closed-to-the-public architectural gems open their doors wide to welcome visitors from near and far. If you've ever dreamed of going behind-the-scenes, inside a Chicago masterpiece, you won't want to miss Open House Chicago, hosted by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. This free, two-day public event, held this year on October 14 and 15, offers access to our city's exclusive, magnificent mansions, skyscrapers, theaters, private clubs, industrial facilities, private offices and sacred spaces. While the open sites can be discovered in just about every neighborhood in the city, this year marks the first time that the Northwest Side neighborhood of Logan Square/Avondale will be joining the mix.
Though today it's best known for it's hot dining and cocktail scene, Logan Square is also home to a plethora of interesting, architectural sites. Here are seven architecturally significant sites in Logan Square/Avondale that you'll want to discover at this year's Open House Chicago event.
Built in 1926 as a movie palace. the Congress Theater was just recently added to the National Register of Historic Places and has been closed to the public for over three years as it undergoes an extensive restoration. During Open House Chicago, you'll be able to step inside to see the restoration work in progress and view the grand lobby and elegant auditorium, which was designed to recall the Italian Renaissance. (2135 N. Milwaukee Avenue)
Located in the actual Logan Square, across from the beloved Eagle Monument, the Logan Square Auditorium has been a popular live music venue since it first opened its doors in 1915. During Open House Chicago, visitors will be able to see the grand ballroom as well as the additional top-floor auditorium, which is usually only open for concerts and special events. (2539 N. Kedzie Boulevard)
The picturesque Stan Mansion was built in 1928 for the Humboldt Park Commandry No. 79 of the Knights Templar. Today, it's a popular wedding and events venue. During OHC, this former Masonic lodge will welcome visitors into its marble-lined foyer and stunning Ceremony Hall, which are usually only open for private events. (2408 N. Kedzie Boulevard)
In a historic, 109-year-old church in the heart of Logan Square, acrobatics have replaced altars; poles, prayers; balancers, bibles; clown arts, catechism. Light still streams in through the colorful, stained-glass windows, but instead of shining upon parishioners, they illuminate artists twirling and swirling on 40-foot-long ropes suspended from the high ceiling. OHC is the perfect opportunity to check out this sanctuary turned circus training center, which stands as one of the top spots in the city to learn trapeze, trampoline and tight-wire. (3324 W. Wrightwood Avenue)
Logan Square's rich immigrant history is reflected in the red brick Norwegian Lutheran Memorial Church, a beautiful 1912 Gothic Revival structure best known for its amazing acoustics. (2614 N. Kedzie Avenue)
Normally open only to its members, Pumping Station: One is a unique hackerspace where over 400+ carpenters, metalworkers, web developers and crafters work collaboratively in the onsite metal shop, woodshop and 3D printer studio. OHC marks one of the few times this self-governed space opens its doors to the public. (3519 N. Elston Avenue)
Cap off your day exploring Logan Square's hidden architectural gems by sipping one of this beloved brewery's 16 award-winning beers. Located in a bow-truss factory building with 30+ foot ceiling heights, Revolution offers the great Munich Oktoberfest beer hall experience in Chicago. (3340 N. Kedzie Avenue)
Access to OHC sites is free and does not require a reservation, but participants are encouraged to sign up to receive event newsletters and last-minute announcements. Sites will accept visitors on a first-come, first-served basis. In addition to free access, OHC offers activities in various sites all weekend long, including cultural performances, lectures and more.
For a complete list of participating sites, visit openhousechicago.org. Get the latest news and fun facts about #OHC2017 by following Chicago Architecture Foundation on Facebook (facebook.com/chiarchitecture) and Twitter (@chiarchitecture).