Commonwealth Edison Substation in Chicago

Photo of Commonwealth Edison Substation in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Commonwealth Edison Substation in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

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Commonwealth Edison Substation

115 North Dearborn, Chicago, Illinois, The Loop 60602
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With the products of architecture having such a long life span, it's not uncommon for a building's function to outlast its form. In this case, it's an electrical substation in the heart of the city. It was erected in the 1930's -- a time when aesthetics were considered an integral part of public works projects. This utilitarian structure is adorned with Art Moderne flourishes such as the horizontal and vertical lines, the reliefs in the upper corners, and the tall black panel in the center, which tells your mind there is an entrance, when none is apparent. Crowning the bogus entryway is a nice relief featuring a depiction of a man commanding bolts of electricity while straddling the cityscape. It's straight out of depression-era comic books and might as well have been used in a movie poster.

Quick Facts
Notes
  • The art deco relief is called The Spirit of Electricity, and was sculpted by Sylvia Shaw Judson.
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There are two comments.

  I once did my eternal prospects no good whatever by telling a tourist photographing the building that this was the tomb of Samuel Insull.

Alan Follett - Sunday, September 9th, 2012 @ 8:08am  

  I love this little art deco gem. go and see the art deco man over the front of the building.

Kirby Cruz - Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 @ 7:26pm