Shikaakwa is a Native American word that means the land of smelly onions and stinky garlic. The French explorer LaSalle first rendered the word as Checagou and when it was later anglicized it became Chicago. After our breakfast at the Plymouth, we headed off in search of the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

We first thought that it was on State, but it turned out to be two blocks over just off of Michigan. We found this out when we ducked into the lobby of one of the many institutions of higher learning that abound in downtown Chicago. There are some 80,000 students attending classes in downtown Chicago now. This particular lobby was for a law school. The security guard didn’t know the answer, but he flagged down an arriving professor who did. At the turnstile the professor gave us the answer that we needed within seconds, but then he began to lecture. I think in Anne he recognized a good student. He rightly never paid me much mind. By the end of his mini-lecture the security guard who announced himself as an art and architecture student, was telling us that he too was going to tour this Chicago foundation.

We just made Joan’s ten o’clock tour. She is a former Saint Louis resident. When I asked her where she had lived, she gave me her entire history, including her high school. Her tour was the historical architectural tour. She was an excellent tour guide and really knew her stuff, but any time someone drilled too deeply another specialty tour was soon found. It was cold, below freezing and even the occasional lobby warm-ups were not enough to prevent my camera from occasionally freezing up.

The tour was two-hours. We saw the Marquette, Field, Rookery, Monadnock, Fisher and Manhattan buildings and many more. We saw architectural examples of art deco, beaux-arts, neo-classic and of course the Chicago school. We learned the difference between masonry and skeletal steel construction. After spending all morning looking up at skyscrapers, we ascended the Willis tower (formerly the Sears tower) and got to look down on them all. Then it was off to Daley Plaza to see the Chicago Picasso, lunch at the Berghoff, then back to the hotel to pick up our bags and then off to Union Station and the Megabus.

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