This was such a spectacular looking fire; I left work early Tuesday and walked to the "L" station at Roosevelt, where I saw the trains slow down and take their time negotiating the stretch of track in the shot. I chalked it up to crews working on the tracks. It wasn't until I made it home that someone called me with the news that the Dexter Building was on fire.
I don't know how the fire started, but I can guarantee that the liquor on the bar at ground level certainly accelerated it at some point. The Dexter Building is also known as the former home of George Diamond steakhouse. Although the place has been boarded up for years, I managed to walk into the dining area last year when the doors were open for prospective buyers. The dining area was still intact, the dark mahogany bar itself just a dusting and line bleed away from being fully functional. The Dexter Building is also the second Louis Sullivan building to go up in flames tis year. The city lost Pilgrim Baptist Church in January. It certainly hasn't been a good year for classic Chicago architecture.
Later Tuesday, I met up with the new Chicagoist foodies at Patty Burger on Adams Tuesday night (don't go, we were all woefully disappointed) and decided to walk as close to the fire as I could get from the train station. Smoke filled Michigan Avenue (photos are on my flickr page), but it didn't stop a few intrepid folks from firing up their cigarettes nonetheless. I guess if you're already inhaling carcinogens...
I made it to Patty Burger reeking of smoke and in need of a beer. Seeing only Heineken, Amstel Light, and Coors, I opted for wine instead. Wednesday was spent cancelling, re-ordering, and cancelling again, orders for the bar. Finally worked last night, riding in the rain to get there. At Milwaukee and Desplaines I could smell the faint traces of smoke and fire, they intensified when I headed down Harrison. When I locked the bike up in front of HotHouse the fire department was still fighting flash fires durng the demolition. Through it all, the Quiznos banner is still intact, looking none the worse for wear.
Someone asked me the other day what I was gonna do now that HotHouse burned down. I corrected him, but judging from the looks of some of the folks I saw today, maybe it should have.
I have a stalker, go read her.