11 January 2011

Lost City: Chicago Edition: Carson Pirie Scott Building Still Empty


The Carson Pirie Scott Building on State Street, one of the greatest achievement of architect Louis Sullivan, and a one-time commercial anchor of downtown Chicago, remains vacant and empty, three years after the department store chain abandoned its flagship home. 


I was in Chicago recently, and decided to check out the downtown for the first time since it was gutted of all soul by the swift departures of Marshall Field's, Berghoff's, and Carson Pirie Scott. Field's is now a Macy's and some Chicagoans I spoke to are still angry about it. But at least the grand building is open for business. The Scott structure, just two blocks to the south, is a sad ghost of itself, the breathtakingly ornate cast iron frontage put to no use. 

Supposedly a Target may inhabit the space. Is that better or worse than it's remaining empty? Isn't it awful that the only businesses today that can use a grand space such as this are the soulless, big-box chains the blight our landscape?



7 comments:

Camille said...

I remember my parents taking us shoppin there about 35 years ago. I was in college and studying Interior Design and I was in love with this building. I'm with those that are angry at Macy's taking over all of the great old dept. stores.

Kurt said...

That is some amazing cast iron; sad to imagine a Target framed in the circle up top.

ange said...

good blog

The Monkey said...

Ex-New York and Chicago resident here who is shocked to read this landmark is still shuttered. I shopped there (or loitered, to see the building) back in the mid 1990s. State Street can't be quite the same without these classics and the nearby Berghoff -- what next, an Imax in the Chicago Theater?

Great blog.

Some Assembly Required said...

I remember going shopping there on a trip to Chicago in the early '90s. The store was magnificent; the merchandise, not so much. It's a shame to see it not being used.

Hushpuppy212 said...

I used to love going to the loop and spending time at Field's and CPS. Carson's was a working-class person's store. It had a solid, middle-class feel to it, not unlike Gimbels in New York, The Emporium in San Francisco, or The May Company in Cleveland. All now sadly gone.

Chelsea A said...

It's official as of today: Target will be occupying the space, they hope by October of this year. Target claims they want to maintain the original architecture, and are still formulating how they will put their name and/or logo on the front in a way that doesn't diminish or detract from the wrought iron.