Back to Chinatown

In the first Chinatown post, I showed you the Nine Dragon Wall, the first ‘welcome’ to this fascinating Chicago neighborhood. Just beyond the wall is this lovely pagoda, the second ‘welcome’, as it were.

Magnificently constructed, the pagoda was still decorated with greens for the holidays.

Magnificently constructed, the pagoda was still decorated with greens for the holidays.

Here’s a closer look at the roof of this fine structure:

Chinatown-3

As I understand, the glazed terra cotta tiles for this pagoda and the Nine Dragon Wall were made in China…obviously by excellent craftsmen, because the detail is amazing!

Directly across Cermak Road is the Chinatown Gate–the third ‘welcome’–designed by architect Peter Fung, and erected in 1975.

The Chinese characters are hand-painted tiles, declaring, "The world belongs to the commonwealth"...pretty provocative, isn't it?

The Chinese characters are hand-painted tiles, declaring, “The world belongs to the commonwealth”…pretty provocative, isn’t it?

The building on the right, with the twin pagodas I showed you previously, is the Pui Tak Building, designed by Christian S. Michaelsen and Sigurd A. Rognstad in 1928 for the On Leong Merchants Association.  In 1993, it was purchased and renovated/restored by the Chinese Christian Union Church.

After you enter the Gate, you are bombarded with signs like these, in both Chinese and English.

Chinatown Signs-1

Chinatown Signs-2

Chinatown Signs-3

Chinatown Signs-4

There’s even one of these, located in the alleyway just before the Pui Tak Building:

Chinatown Signs-5

More, much more on Chinatown tomorrow!

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After yesterday’s appointment with my wonderful doctor…

…(who is very happy I am doing so well while taking the blood thinning medication!), I hopped on the Red Line “L”, and ventured to the south side of Chicago–Chinatown to be exact!

Chinatown is about two and a half miles south of the Loop.  This is the view when you get off the "L" and look back toward downtown.


Chinatown is about two and a half miles south of the Loop. This is the view when you get off the “L” at Cermak Road and look back toward downtown.

I haven’t been here in almost ten years!  In 2002, I was working about four miles west, just off of Cermak Road, for a theatrical rigging company, and would come through Chinatown every evening I could.  Things have changed a bit; the entrance to the “L” is now enclosed (thank you!) and upon exiting, there is this lovely, huge piece of glazed terra-cotta construction:

The 9 Dragons Wall erected in 2003

The Nine Dragon Wall, erected in 2003

Here are the first three dragons...

Here are the first three dragons…

...and here are the rest.  The 9 Dragons Wall looks to be about twenty-five feet long and about twelve feet high!  Gorgeous craftsmanship, isn't it?

…and here are the rest. The Nine Dragon Wall looks to be about twenty-five feet long and about twelve feet (or more) high! Gorgeous craftsmanship, isn’t it?

This plaque on a pedestal in front of the wall explains everything; thankfully, and English translation is provided!

This plaque on a pedestal in front of the wall explains everything; thankfully, an English translation is provided!

This is just a tease!  I’ll be posting more of Chinatown over the next week, as I took over 85 shots in just under an hour (the other half hour I spent shopping in a great little store–you’ll be seeing that, too)!