The arches found over entrances of many old buildings are often set apart from the building both stylistically and structurally. Sometimes they symbolically announce the building you’re entering, and sometimes literally. And in the case of a number of historic arches across the country, they have outlived their buildings.
The first case of this that I knew about was the arch from the Chicago Stock Exchange Building (1894). Even as the building was torn down, onlookers knew they were losing something important. Several pieces of the building can still be seen: the Trading Room has been reconstructed within the Art Institute of Chicago and a set of the stunningly intricate elevator doors can be seen at the Seattle Art Museum (I just stumbled across these last week!). And, as you may have guessed, the arch from the main entrance has been preserved as a stand-alone piece just outside the Art Institute.
The more I look, the more I see examples of arches being saved from demolished buildings. In the case of the Francisco Terrance (1895), a low-income apartment complex designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Oak Park, the arch was salvaged and reinstalled in another Oak Park apartment complex in 1977.
Seattle also has an arch remembering a lost building in downtown. This arch, which stands on 1st Ave in Seattle, was originally part of the 1895 Burke Building. Today is stands out, set apart from the newer buildings. It stands next to a bus stop and invites pedestrians to walk through, though they are no longer ushered into a building on the other side.
I’d be curious, do any of you know of other stand-alone or reused arches out there?
5 thoughts on “When All That Remains is an Arch”
I have long loved arches in their stand-alone capacity–albeit my experience was limited to Texas until the past decade. As a child, I was always enamored of the former doorway to the courthouse in Young County (http://suzassippi.blogspot.com/2011/08/wpa-post-office-graham-and-young-county.html) and later, of the intricate arch from the Stephens County courthouse (http://suzassippi.blogspot.com/2011/12/texas-courthouses-j-e-flanders-1883.html).
Wow, both of these are great! So interesting that they’re both courthouse related, too.
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I cannot think of any arches, but the South has a fondness for reusing columns. My alma matter, Mississippi State University, has several columns from Atlanta’s Union Station installed in front of the Cobb Institute of Archaeology. Atlanta, being the city too busy to preserve anything, was obviously not interested in preserving anything from a building they had just demolished.
That’s interesting about reusing columns, I’ll have to keep my eye out for that! Reuse is far too rare in on the west coast, but sometimes places surprise you.
[…] Thinking about making the trip? The Seattle Art Museum has some other architectural elements in various exhibits. Keep an eye out for the top of a corinthian column (an architectural element echoed by the design of the Italian room!) in the Mediterranean exhibit. And, on your way to the Pacific Northwest art, you may catch a glimpse of the elevator grate from the Chicago Stock Exchange (which I previously mentioned, here). […]