One of the things I discovered on my visit to Wrigley Tuesday afternoon that neither David Sameshima nor Mike Bojanowski had told me is how loud the work going on at Wrigley Field is.
Yes, loud. Standing on the corner of Clark & Addison, in front of the Cubby Bear, where the first photo in this set was taken, the work going on behind the shrouds you see in that photo is so loud it's hard to carry on normal conversation. This must be work being done on the structural steel; obviously, with the shrouds, it's impossible to know for sure.
Beyond that, I have for you a view inside the ballpark to show you exactly what's going on in the seating area on the left-field side, where we showed you back on November 2 that seats in the 200 level had been removed (click to embiggen any of the photos below):
My understanding of the renovation plans is that concrete is being replaced in the entire ballpark, in sections. This would appear to be the first area where that's being done. The concrete in that area dates from the late 1960s, when the lower seating area had all the concrete and seats replaced and the seating in the corner was curved to face home plate.
The reason I was able to take photos 15, 16 and 17, showing this work, is thanks to a friend of mine who lives at the building at 3701 N. Kenmore. You know this building better as the "Budweiser building," for the ad that was on its roof for most of the 1980s, 1990s and early 2000s. It's also, over the years, sported ads for WGN, United Airlines, and this one (photo taken April 29, 1961), a political ad for a local candidate, left over from the 1960 election:
You can see in that photo that there was an "alcove" in the attic of that building. That lasted many years, in fact; it was covered over only in the last few years. In order to take the photos, it required climbing a ladder to the top of the roof, where there's an opening. From there, you can see into the ballpark, as shown.
A little history now, if you don't mind. The building in question was built in 1890. It's one of the oldest existing buildings anywhere in Lakeview. As noted in Mike's history of the original Wrigley Field structure, that building predated even the Chicago Lutheran Seminary, which stood on the ground now occupied by Wrigley Field. Here's a photo of some of the seminary buildings as they appeared in 1909:
You can see the still-standing 3701 N. Kenmore building at the right of the photo. The larger building in the foreground, immediately to the left of 3701 N. Kenmore, would be in deep right field at Wrigley. The building to the left of that one would be almost exactly where my seat is in the bleachers. And the two buildings in the background (one of them mostly obscured by the one in front of it) continued to stand for a time after Weeghman Park was first completed in 1914. You can see them next to the left-field grandstand in this 1915 photo:
Those were eventually torn down when the grandstand was expanded.
You can also see in this photoset what they are doing with the commemorative brick pavers that were removed from in front of the ballpark in last year's work. They're being placed on Waveland and Sheffield adjacent to the bleachers. Every so often, on these sidewalks, there's a plaque with a name of a famous Cub. It's not easy to see through the tarps they have up on the fences, but I did see Ernie Banks and Joe Tinker's names. Photo 18 shows some of the brick pavers through a hole in one of the tarps. If you had a brick paver removed last year, the Cubs should be contacting you at some point to tell you exactly where the replacement will be located.
We should have more photos here over the weekend.