We found several places to Pull up a Seat while walking around St. Charles the other day and so, apparently, did some other characters. The first shot was taken outside Hotel Baker, the next two along the Fox River and the last at the Flea Market at Kane County Fair Grounds.
Or should that read ‘on and by the river?’ I’m not quite sure what constitutes being ‘on the river.’ Anyway, be that as it may and not withstanding, we spent the day in St. Charles, mostly on and by the river, the river being the Fox River as you can probably tell by the statue of the foxes overlooking the river from Main Street bridge.
There are some noteworthy and historic buildings on the banks of the river near Main Street. The St. Charles Municipal Building was designed in 1940 by architect R. Harold Zook, who is also known for designing the art deco-style Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge. On the opposite side of the river is Hotel Baker which was built in 1928 on the site of the old Haines Mill and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Along the river walk we came across some interesting sculptures, the first being ‘Reflections’ by Guy J. Bellaver. Bellaver also created ‘Ekwabet’ which means ‘watching over.’ The statue was dedicated by the city and named by members of four bands of Potawatomi at a ceremony in 1988. The statue replaced an earlier tribute to the Potawatomi, erected in 1915, that was destroyed by vandalism in the 1960’s. There was also a fascinating piece made, appropriately in the shape of a fox, entirely from recycled (no pun intended) bicycle parts by Francis J. Gagnepain IV.
Walking under the bridge, just south of Pottawatomie Park, we came in sight of the James and Joann Collins Pavilion and Tower. Always up for a challenge, my daughter and I climbed to the top where we got a slightly limited view of the river.
We left the river for a few hours to visit a giant Flea Market held at the Kane County Fair Grounds but returned later for a ride on one of the paddle boats. We took a leisurely cruise past the golf course and a couple of nature preserves towards Elgin. Any boat ride on the Fox River in this area is somewhat restricted as there is a dam both in St. Charles and Elgin.
You don’t see one of these on the river every day! I must admit we were all rather alarmed when we first noticed this car driving down the ramp and straight into the water but quickly realized it was one of those fancy amphibious vehicles. It went past us several times, drawing a rousing cheer from everyone on the boat, sometimes at a sedate Sunday-drive pace and sometimes with all the power and panache of a speedboat.
As we pulled back in at the boat dock, we got another view of the gingerbread tower and pavilion at Pottawatomie Park. And as we walked back to our car, I got a nice parting shot of a cormorant perching on a light pole high above Main Street Bridge. All in all, a lovely day on and by the river.
Continuing with Becky’s Spiky Squares themed photo challenge, here are a few sculptures and plants that were just a bit on the pointy side at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
In my experience, most statues of people seem to portray them in a standing position, as if showing a person worthy of a statue in a sitting posture would be to give the impression that they were somehow guilty of slacking. However, in my travels I have come across one or two inanimate posteriors that have been allowed to sink to a supporting chair or plinth. The first three images are of an art installation call ‘Borders’ in Grant Park in downtown Chicago back in 2013.
It would seem that Abraham Lincoln wasn’t above sitting down occasionally for a quiet think or to read a good book, as seen here in Chicago’s Grant Park, Freeport in Illinois and Louisville, Kentucky.
Children can sometimes be seen sitting down but mostly only in statues. In real life you’re lucky if you can get them to keep still for more than two minutes! These shots were taken at the Green Bay Botanical Garden, Wisconsin and Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg, Illinois.
While some artist’s models are lucky enough to score a comfortable chair whilst sitting for a sculptor, others find themselves perched on a cold, hard slab or a nubby rock as shown here at the Frederik Meijer Sculpture Garden in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
And the more classical element only rate a less-than-comfy tree stump to prop up their rear ends, as these pictures, taken at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, show.
If anyone asks me to sit for a statue, I’ll be sure to specify that I want, at the very least, to be parked on a bench, seat or preferably a well-cushioned armchair. Images captured in Elk Grove, Illinois, Sioux Falls in South Dakota and Green Bay Botanic Garden, Wisconsin.
For more on the Pull Up A Seat Photo Challenge go to Photo Challenge of places we sit…or might sit…or art about sitting.
Nancy Merrill is looking for a bit of whimsy for her Photo A Week Challenge and I came across a whole garden-full of whimsical characters on a visit to Mosinee in Wisconsin recently. These were the pictures that I managed to take from the sidewalk outside the house, which luckily was on a corner lot.
I’m assuming that the person who lives in this house is the one who made these creative pieces. I tried Googling to see if I could find out anything about the artist but no luck, so if you live in the Mosinee area and know anything about these whimsical sculptures I’d love to hear from you. I had a car-full of impatient people waiting for me otherwise I might have rung the doorbell to see if anyone was home.
For more on Nancy’s Photo a Week Challenge go to Whimsical.
The topic for Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge this week is Sculptures, Statues and Carvings and this gives me the perfect opportunity to share some of the pictures that I took at The Cathedral of Saint Paul in Saint Paul, Minnesota, recently. Beautiful pieces of artwork to be seen both outside and inside the building.
For more on Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge go to Sculptures, statues, carvings
“We’re not going shopping!” I made this clear at the outset when granddaughter and I went for a day trip into downtown Chicago during her visit this summer. “This all about sightseeing, ” I told her.
Remember these words, dear reader. How futile are the best laid plans of a gullible grandparent when set against the machinations of a canny and resourceful nine-year-old.
Things started out well. We took the train to Ogilvie Station and stopped by the Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza. She slid down the shoulder of the iconic Chicago artwork a couple of times, as countless children have done before her, and then ran off to chase the pigeons. It’s funny how, at that age, girls want to act like an adult but very often behave like a five-year-old. I, on the other hand, quite frequently act like a spring chicken until my bones and bunions let me down and I feel more than twice my age!
I thought she might enjoy seeing the inside of the State of Illinois Center, or the James R Thompson Center as it’s now known, with all its lines and angles, so we crossed the street to take a look. I saw her eye the shiny glass capsules as they ascended to dizzying heights and by tacit agreement we made our way towards the nearest elevator door.
Disappointed that we were only allowed access to the 2nd floor she soon lost interest and we walked down towards Michigan Avenue and Millennium Park. It promised to be another scorching hot day so we sat for a while by the fountain at the Millennium Monument, listening to a jazz band playing beneath a nearby tent, while granddaughter dabbled her fingers in the water. Was this where the germ of a brilliant plan took shape? Quite possibly.
I was quite happy to remain there enjoying the music but granddaughter was ready to move on so we continued through the park, people-watching and gazing up at the Chicago skyline.
Young girls of a certain age who have achieved ‘princess’ status are, maybe not surprisingly, difficult to impress but sight of Cloud Gate, or The Bean as it’s more commonly called, drew a gratifying “Wow!” from the kid.
If you like this, I thought, wait till you see the Crown Fountains! As we made our way down to the lower level of the park we could hear the excited shrieks of small children and I could tell it had piqued the interested of a now rather warm and weary sightseer. “If you want to take your shoes and socks off, you can go for a paddle,” I told her. She quickly divested herself of the aforementioned footwear and, finding a seat where I could keep a close eye on the proceedings, I watched as granddaughter joined in the fun.
Bearing in mind that the only things I had in my backpack were a couple of bottles of water, a bag of Doritos and some spare camera equipment, it was inevitable that the following happened. Can you see where I’m going with this? The kid edged closer and closer to the smiling face on the fountain and, when the water suddenly gushed out from the pouting lips, she dived in.
My first reaction was to laugh but then the thought occurred to me ……. Wait! What! No! I had planned to go for lunch somewhere! You can’t exactly present the maître d’ with a sopping-wet child and ask for a table for two. I thought about calling her back but by this time she was as saturated as she could possibly be so I let her stay to enjoy a couple more cycles of the fountain. Eventually she returned with a sheepish grin. “Sorry, Grandma! I couldn’t help myself!”
There was nothing for it but to go in search of a clothes store. We headed back to State Street (there was no way I was paying Michigan Avenue prices for a dry outfit) and found a convenient Target shop. Everything from top to bloomers had to be replaced and eventually, after much deliberation and several trips to the changing room, we made our purchase and emerged back onto the street. Lunch at one of my favorite downtown restaurants followed and we were ready to continue exploring.
Back through Millennium Park we went, past the Jay Pritzker Pavilion and over the winding BP pedestrian bridge that crosses Columbus Drive and leads to Maggie Daley Park.
For someone who loves climbing, sliding and having lots of fun as much as our granddaughter, this is a kid’s paradise! We had reached the ultimate goal!
We rounded the day out with ice cream. I had my doubts when the kid asked for a double scoop on a cone, especially in that heat, and my fears were realized when, after only a few licks, the ice cream toppled to the ground. I’m not sure if I heard right but I chose to ignore the word that issued from those young lips. I couldn’t really blame her. Time to go home!
On our return to the station we stopped on the bridge over the Chicago River and waved to the tourists, some of whom waved back. Everyone was happy. I’d got to share one of my favorite places to visit and the ‘princess’ had gone shopping.
As the train pulled out of the station I could see granddaughter gazing intently at the window, not at the rapidly receding skyscrapers but, I suspect, at her own image in that new outfit. All was well.