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Wrigley Field Construction Update: October 7

Nothing's really happened since the last update in this series, but a new Tribune article has some further details on the renovation/restoration project.

Al Yellon

You've surely seen the little house depicted above if you've walked around the Waveland side of Wrigley Field. Perhaps you even knew that it was originally constructed for Cubs head groundskeeper Bobby Dorr and his family in 1923. In recent years it's been the home of the offices for Levy Restaurants, the Cubs' concessionaire.

This Chicago Tribune article details the plans for this little building, as well as other parts of the Wrigley renovation project that hadn't been previously published. Architect T. "Gunny" Harboe (and what an awesome name that is!) was hired by the Cubs to "oversee the restoration of historic features," according to the article. Regarding the house, which is considered a "significant historical feature":

Harboe plans to restore the house by removing paint, and repairing and replacing brick.

"The bricks have about 20 coats of paint on them," Harboe said. "We're intending to clean that up."

But before he can start the project, the cottage has to be moved because it limits access to the stadium's structural elements, Green said.

The team initially thought that the building, because of its age, may not be able to be moved in one piece. In that case, the team would disassemble the walls and reassemble them on a new foundation, using the current brick as much as possible. But the team plans to move the house in one piece and relocate it to a nearby parking lot, Green said.

You can almost see all 20 coats of paint in the photo above (which I took Tuesday morning), but it was easy to see all that paint if you walk closely by the house now, or if you had seen its west wall, which is visible inside Wrigley Field, during the last few years. I'm glad they're going to restore this building, although I'm not sure where "nearby" is going to be.

The article also notes several other "significant" features that Harboe found in his 105-page report on Wrigley Field:

• "Steel pipe hand and guard railing at the ramps and aisles. The pipe railings vary in construction based on their date. The earlier pipe railings are believed to be those with connection fittings, while the later have welded connections. Both types of railings, however, are believed to date from the period of significance."

• "Diamond pattern, woven wire mesh in fill elements at some of the pipe railings. The wire mesh from the period of significance is found at some of the upper grandstand circulation ramps and at the ends of the lower right and left grandstand wings."

• "The chain link fencing with the curved top rail that terraces down at the end of the lower grandstands."

• "Curved metal bleacher seat brackets at center field, upper seating area."

The most interesting one of those to me is the "curved metal bleacher seat brackets." Those would have been attached to the original wooden benches, most of which have now been replaced. There's a photo gallery at the Tribune link that shows some of these brackets, still attached to the new metal bleachers. The gallery also shows some of the other things mentioned in Harboe's report. Unfortunately, unless you have a Tribune subscription, you'll just have to trust my description, because these photos are all behind their paywall.

While the giant video board will be the biggest change in Wrigley Field when we all return next April, the team is doing its best to keep traditional features and restore some other ones that had existed in the past and were removed in various renovations over the years. The article says:

The ballpark went through two major renovations in the 1920s, when the grandstands were expanded and upper levels added.

In the 1930s, the team added the marquee above the entrance at Clark and Addison streets, designed the outfield bleachers in a boomerang configuration and installed a scoreboard atop the center-field bleachers.

Since then, the team has made numerous alterations, but Harboe kept coming back to the 1930s because the period, he said, is when the park was "mature."

"At the end of the day, there has to be a focus on a period of time so you know what it is you need to preserve in the project," he said.

The 1930s, of course, were also a period when the Cubs won three pennants (four, if you count 1929, just before that decade). We could all go for that, too, over the next decade.