Sunday, April 20, 2014

Chicagopedia returns! Ballon frame, goo-goo, Chicagoland and more.

The Sun-Times decided to revive Chicagopedia, an occasional definition of words and phrases of particular interest to Chicagoans. I kicked in four for the debut (click on the link to read my take on "Chicagoland"), including the one below, and plan to write a new one every week. I hope they're half as fun to read as they are to write. 

Editor's note: the paper's link is down, and the entries aren't on Nexis, so we'll have to settle for this one. Apologies.




balloon frame: (BAH-loon frehm) adj.
A technique of constructing buildings using a light lattice of sawed timbers, typically two-by-fours, as opposed to heavier posts and beams found in European mortise and tenon construction. Pioneered in Chicago in the early 1830s by carpenter Augustine Deodat Taylor. Detractors coined the “balloon” name in derision, suggesting light construction would make them blow away in the first strong wind. And they were so easy to take apart, they were nearly portable: an early balloon frame building, the city’s first Catholic church (St. Mary’s Church), at State and Lake, was taken down and relocated three times in 10 years to follow its shifting congregation. The technique allowed homes to be built far faster and cheaper than before, permitting the rapid growth of the city, and they spread quickly, not only across the city, but also the world. Today, three-quarters of the homes built in the United States are made of balloon frame construction, and the method is one of Chicago’s greatest contributions to modern life, though few realize it. – Neil Steinberg



6 comments:

  1. "I am going to Jewel, do you want to come with?" ....I can literally hear my mother saying this. Hilarious.

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  2. Get it right Donna, "I'm going to THE Jewel"

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  3. I'm going to the jewels or the dominicks, are you coming with?

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  4. Neil,

    I hope that you plan to publish someday your favorite EGD columns in a volume named "The Essential Neil Steinberg" so that others can enjoy them as well. I'd also recommend that you effusively thank in the book's foreword that lady who slammed you in the NYT. Spend a paragraph or two thanking her for her inspiration. If that doesn't tweak her off, nothing will! You could instead dedicate the book in her memory and drive her batty by in effect declaring her dead. :-)

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    1. That isn't really in my hands, though if there was a book, of course it would be called "Every goddamn day" and there would be no mention of the NYT excrement. Why would I try to outhiss that snake? A surprisingly bad idea on your part, David. But thanks for the recommendation.

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    ReplyDelete