While most of Chicago's attention was focused on downtown and Soldier Field Thursday for the Blackhawks parade and rally, David Sameshima and I were on the North Side near Wrigley Field to document the move of the groundskeeper's cottage back from the Blue Lot, where it spent the winter and spring, to its original location adjacent to Wrigley Field.
The move took a bit over an hour, and went very slowly, as you can see in these videos:
At times, it looks like it's not moving at all, but if you look at the wheels underneath the device holding up the cottage, it's definitely moving. Large steel panels were laid over the dirt of the triangle lot for the wheels to run over.
I know some of you have said you don't see the point of all this, but this cottage is a major part of Wrigley Field's history. Originally built in 1923, it was occupied by groundskeeper Bobby Dorr and his family until Dorr's death in 1957. Cubs traveling secretary Robert Lewis then moved in and stayed until 1964. Granted, it looks pretty rough right now, having been painted multiple times over the last 90 years and having been moved twice in the last year. It's going to be completely restored to its original appearance. There's more in this Tribune article from last October, which quotes Chicago architect T. "Gunny" Harboe, who is a consultant on the restoration:
Though the groundskeeper's house is used by the Cubs as office space, given its age and integrity, Harboe's report said, it is a significant historical feature. At one point, the house had an enclosed backyard, but that has since been removed.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."
The article notes the cottage was being used as office space. That could continue, or the Cubs could possibly use it for other purposes, possibly a museum.
The first 16 photos in the gallery were taken by me during the cottage move. The rest of this set was taken by BCB's David Sameshima, who also filed this report:
The first thing I noticed was that the bear statue in front of the "EAMUS CATULI" building, on Sheffield Avenue, was being dismantled. I asked one of workers what was going to happen to the statue. He wasn't sure, but thought it was going into the dumpster. When they left, the statue had been removed from the base. They were in the process of breaking up the concrete base.They were continuing to install panels to enclose the back of the right field video board. They were continuing to work on the two utility excavation projects outside the bleachers. One is outside the main bleacher entrance, at Sheffield and Waveland. The second one is on Waveland Avenue, near Kenmore, and underneath the left field video board.The groundskeeper's cottage was back in the triangle lot, as you see in Al's photos. It was still in a holding pattern, and waiting to be slid back against the side of the ballpark.As I was about to leave, Blackhawks fans began to spill off of the CTA Red Line trains. I ended up seeing an employee who had arrived early to have lunch, before working a Kerry Wood's charity event at the ballpark. I stayed to have lunch with him. While we ate, crowds continued to flood the neighborhood, all wearing Blackhawks apparel. T-shirt vendors also appeared on street corners. It was turning into a gameday atmosphere around the ballpark, without the auto traffic.
David will be visiting Wrigley Friday afternoon, when there's likely to be less activity, or at least fewer Blackhawks fans. We'll have more photos here tomorrow.