Wednesday, May 19, 2010

way-back wednesday...chicago, mid-90s

as i prepare to leave for chicago this weekend 
(little business, little fun!)
i started to reminisce about my years there in the mid-90s.

i have always loved chicago, and had the opportunity to intern for a magazine there during my senior year of college, then returned a few months after graduation to work for three years.

my biggest issue at the time was where to live...

where would be a safe place for a 20 year old girl, in a nice neighborhood, near all the city sites?

i found my home at the three arts club located on north dearborn parkway in the heart of the gold coast neighborhood -- just steps from michigan avenue and lake shore drive.

founded as a home for girls/women in the arts, in 1912, there was a screening process with letters of recommendation and everything to be considered for residnece! most of the residents were students studying the arts, recent graduates and even some women who were artists in residence. 

it was a fabulous old building, with a door-woman and buzzer system (very safe!), no boys were permitted after 11 pm and they were only allowed into one's room if they left their ID at the front desk.

we all ate together in a common dining room, and with our rent payment, came a substantial breakfast and dinner and were encouraged to talk about our arts and share our talents. in the summer we ate in the courtyard around this fabulous fountain!

our rooms were simple, with a twin bed, closet and sink and community bathroom down the hall with showers. some larger rooms had claw-foot tubs and bathrooms (oh, how I loved my claw-foot tub after a cold walk home from my internship during a very snowy december)

this was before cell phones, so if i was to receive a phone call, my room would be buzzed, i would run down the hall to a common hallway phone, pick up the receiver and the operator would transfer my call! how old fashioned that sounds now!

i met so many friends there, and went on to live with a modern dancer and ballerina that i had met when i was a resident.

the building was sold a few years ago, and is no longer a residence, but still remains today as a museum.


  1. What a beautiful area of Chicago you lived in! Your community breakfasts and dinners sound lovely, especially the al fresco dinners by that gorgeous fountain, I can just picture it now! The claw-foot tubs sound marvelous (I so want one someday!) and it sounds like an all around fabulous experience for you! It must have been so cool to be living with so many people around your age that were in the same field. What a wonderful way-back post this was! Oh! And let's add sipping wine and watching Under the Tuscan Sun to our girls weekend whenever we get to plan it, ok?! xox Have a safe and fun trip to CHI!! Lots of love~

  2. This is so cool and does sound old fashioned! That's wonderful that you made so many friends there and it just sounds like a wonderful experience overall!

  3. You had me at claw-foot tub. Sigh. Sounds like such a lovely experience and the pictures are absolutely beautiful! Have a fabulous time in Chicago! XO

  4. Sounds great!!!! One of my best friends from high school lives in Chicago. I haven't been able to visit her yet but I fully intend to one day!!!! I'll have to ask you for some advice when I plan my trip! :)

  5. What a great place to live in during your internship!

  6. What a great place to have lived when you were 20! I love that you all dined together.

  7. Love this area. These photos are so beautiful! I visited a friend there about two years ago, and fell in love with Chicago too. Love that place!