Thursday, February 23, 2017

What is the opposite...

...of a "pet peeve"? I Googled it and came up with a whole bunch of bad answers.

"Pet pleasure" sounds a little sexual in nature. "Soft spot" sounds like you're referring to a defect in your cranium. "Hobbyhorse" is defined in one place as "something you can't stop talking about," which sounds like something someone with OCD is suffering from. "Penchant" isn't too bad, but sounds like a cross between pretentious and trenchant. I can just hear people saying, "Huh? What?"

So until I come up with something I like I'll just have to use [opposite of pet peeve].

And one of my [opposite of pet peeve]s are those seemingly random, nondescript buildings with names featured prominently on them. I feel like I see these all the time but haven't been photographing or calling any attention to them until now. (This could be a recurring feature in this blog.)

The first one is of a building now called Kingsbaker Court, at 900-910 W. Van Buren in the West Loop. I passed it yesterday while walking my dog and couldn't resist capturing the word "Kingsbaker" chiseled in, what? What is that, limestone? (I don't know enough about architecture.) I couldn't find out too much about it, except that it was completed in 1904 and is a "heavy timber seven-story office building."

But who, or what, was Kingsbaker? The original company that owned the building? The architect, or builder? As far as I can tell, it's been lost to the mists of time. Perhaps it was some thriving family business and the Kingsbaker clan was a big deal at the turn of the last century. Are there any family members left? Anyone named "Kingsbaker" still living in Chicago? Do they know anything about this building? Do they ever drive by and tell their children about their illustrious ancestors who built the structure?

Was it a prominent building at one time? Did people merely have to say they worked in the "Kingsbaker" and everyone else would just nod in recognition? "Oh, the Kingsbaker! Sure, over on West Van Buren. I know it well. Nice building." I imagine today people don't even mention the name when asked where their office is. I'll bet they just give the address and say something like, "It's an old loft building in the West Loop. It has a sign over one of the doors -- Kings-something-or-other."

But whoever it was who put that there intended for it to inform later generations of someone or something called "Kingsbaker." Now we have only the sign.

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