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90- Strowger and Purple Reign Redux

2013-10-02 | 🔗

If you are an undertaker in 1878 Kansas City, and you learn that your competitor’s wife works as a telephone switchboard operator and has been diverting business calls meant for you to her husband, you have a few potential courses … Continue reading →

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
This is ninety nine percent, invisible, I'm roman Mars, We were a little different episode view today. We have two stories. The first is an update to the Purple hotel story. That was up so number. Fifty eight reported back one man, There have been some significant changes since we reported that story. So I want to update you on that. But first I was Story than I performed live on. The radio on Kay the EU in San Francisco very very early in the morning, but never released it ass upon gas or that show that one with you today area Omen brown structure. As an undertaker of all things, Kinsey Missouri at its first telephone exchange in eighteen. Seventy eight telephone, sir is good for local business and the funeral This is no exception, but at some point, Omen brown stuff
of Kansas City noted that he wasn't getting as many calls from potential customers yet really suspicious A friend of the family died any wasn't even called about reforming the funeral services. The story goes in the story. Really hard to verify, but I'm gonna go with it. Could I really like it? story goes that after some, poking around strode. You discover at the wife of a rival. Undertaker in the area was an operator for the local telephone company I'm telephones were connected manually by female operators. Patching lines together on a gigantic punch board. Someone would pick up the receiver asking for the local undertaker in general or even structure in particular, and in this case the unscrupulous operator would only connect the call to her husband's undertaking business not destroyed and stronger.
Figured it out if you were omen, brown, stranger, Kansas, city, undertaker. There are a few ways you can go when you discover something like this number, one number one for reason, because it makes the most sense you can contact. Uncle telephone company and alert them about the dishonest operator in their employ. Maybe get her fire number two, you can take her and her husband. A civil court trend is too for damages or something or there's always option number three. You can invent an automatic telephone switching system that allows people to dilute other directly, eliminating any need for a telephone, switchboard operator and thereby completely revolutionizing the entire telephone system. For ever omen, Brown Stroger, the undertaker went with option number three. The first to come up with the idea, but his concept was the first automatics which are that worked for more than a handful of funds within a system. He was a
did a patent in t ninety one. You don't know how to make the thing he was take her. If I am instructions, I've already strode. Your conscripted isn't, few and some business partners to help develop a working prototype? It cost more and took them. Than anyone anticipated, but they finally got it working and they finally got a chance to try. Out in the real world or Indiana became the first place to have automatic operator free telephone dialing in his speech it's the unveiling Laporte Telephone Exchange. The cantankerous Roger addressed the issue of the hello girlish, the operators who would lose their jobs because of his automated switch I am often told the telephone girls will be angry with me for Robin their occupation. In reply, I say that things will adjust themselves to a new order in Water We'll find its level telephone networks
the messenger boy, as this machine now displaces the telephone girl improvements. Will continue to the end of time strike where they may the bell. Telephone company eventually acquired the technology in nineteen. Sixteen and the stranger switch as it was called became. Standard equipment throughout the twentieth century So I met someone play episode number fifty eight again, it's purple rain about the purple reporting back by and then we can have a really really significant. You know it for five minutes update about what happened to the Purple Hotel, since this was first reported, so stay tuned. For that
Mrs ninety, nine percent- invisible, I'm roman Mars. The hotel on the very prominent corner of Turkey and Kilburn Avenue in Lincoln would Illinois used to be the tones most famous building the first high it out in all of Chicago Premier Accommodation top notch restful. It was wake rubber. Black stayed there very Manilow stayed there. Perry Como, Michael Jordan, stay there on his first night in Chicago and every thirteen year old boy in the area at his permits. For there. The hotel was built in nineteen sixty and it looks it
so, if you're wondering how much potentially anachronistic lounge music and went to cram into this episode. Oh it's going to be a lot then, slowly over time it became Lincoln words, most infamous building it changed, hands got city and run down. It was the hum of the MID West fetish, fair and marketplace convention. There were drug field, sex parties attended by shady, have politicians later convicted of things like extortion and First, there was the convicted mobster AL endorsement, who was gunned down in the parking lot. That's not why everyone in the area knows the building. If you know nothing of its history, its still pretty hard to miss because its purple really really purple
growing up nearby? I always thought it was really really ugly. Lots of people did to be fair lots of people didn't but everyone had an opinion about it. We're going I'm talking to you now. By the way. No TSA is public, radio, hosting and Steven to the sitcom. She has a secret about the purple hotel. My father, designed it My name is John MAX, I I'm retired architect and former professor at you. I say. Ah, I designed the love just not interrupt, time for the long by Odette. Okay, I designed a lot of apartment buildings in Chicago we're here to talk about the Purple Hotel say I design main instruments, I'm an architect. I designed the proposal
It was John MAX I'm an architect, and I was the design of the purport of them finally, now have to understand that when I say the building is purple, I don't mean the kind of purple of an irish or of plum its purple as in lavender lavender, Purple glazed, brick, all over pretty much the end. Your thing which needless to say, makes it stand out depending on how you look at it like a prize jewel or a sore thumb at one of the few buildings. If you see once you know it's, you ve seen it forever. You can't get the image. It is oh purple, that after it changed hands the new owners renamed it the Purple Hotel, W B, easy architecture critic we bay. I think that its worth looking at, since the break the brick alike, but I wish you could you know, said upon glass. Second filtered out, so you don't see the break, at least in ones.
And really see how the building holds us together, structurally thematic. It's the way the job able to put us towards the outside the hotel to give larger floor plates. But what is what you want? What you want big functional spaces instead of and then again, the loom looks of green space on the waiver of the buildings can fit together. The complex fits together may really theirs because we want a good things going on there. It ass become for the purple, but stay for the architecture. The thing that everybody notices first, including architects, would be the color. I mean. I think that if anybody saying that it's not the color that their line, because you can't really look at the building without noticing that its proper, so as the only purpose built around, but then you now after that initial wave of color had soon you notice really what a great modernist structure it has and how the structures expressed on the outside, which is also not something you see every day anymore, and I think it's a wonderful building that was
be cool founding principle of the architectural firm coup and associates will get back to her in a minute, but first the story of why and how the building got to be so purple. My dad John MAX, I it was commissioned by the pretty good. The very rich family in Chicago, and it was the first Hyatt Hotel in the midwest if it was called higher, does nothing to do with the purple by the way the purple came because one of the prisoners and the big man among them schools in the family, ass, we what color play style. I want to use- and I wanted to use gray- and he says that stop I like something brighter. So I made the mistake of showing came the samples of books shop, having got it some thirty five, forty colored samples and shooting
You pick the purple and you don't argue with me and for its good My father tells me the story, but I suspect differently. He's always gravitated toward bold color choices are current. Are you and is over bright orange balconies on a building that we always passed. He loves them and I hate them. When I was growing up, his favorite color was blue, a color that, to me is suspiciously close to purple. In fact, every house we ever lived in brick, Bungalow summerhouse in the woods, suburban barn, shaped House, with mustard colored, citing all had bright blue front doors that my father painted my elementary school bus driver used to call me blue door upon tee geishas. My father coughed up his strange hungarian logic in the
EAST that, ultimately I come from the blue collar on the doors, blue and green is to keep the evil spirit away. So that's the reason I always hated the entrance thought of her houses blue to keep the evil spirit away, and they did you think it worked for now was- You don't think the purple kept away the evil eye from the hotel. Much really because there was a murder in the hotel. Actually, there were two, but I digress.
The beauty of this building is the exposed concrete frame how the columns pulled out of the structure showing this. It's like a human being was scattered. Them will be on the exterior partially. That would be weird right. Well, that's that's the way the building is the common set out. The slave said slightly pulled out, it's a building which reveals its structure, and that is a good picture early. The interesting thing about it.
Purple is totally irrelevant? It could be green, ok it it will be the same good or bad building. So as an architect, I have to ask you. This is a perfect example of what the but the difference between what the public Seas and what the Ark Texas, absolutely, because the public sees purple break. The architect is sitting here saying the purpose so unimportant in the scheme of the building the bit. It means nothing it's just such a tiny thing, but to the public. That's all! It is that's right, because the public is ignorant that truly ignorant Well, you can't really argue with him there, but in our defence- and I count myself as one of the public in the city, It's really really bird ball and, despite how far the
the hotel fell from its original boy, the dilapidation, the murder, that drug fuelled sex parties and demolition order. It was not down. Time passed, the economy fell to pieces. Midcentury architecture slowly came back into vote, Mad men was on tv. The purple brick was kind of retro cool alight. However,. Turning to shine on the building its future, then the purple hook. Was nominated for landmark status, a place on the historic registry there was talk of. A buyer talk of renovation, and then, while I was searching an interview for this very story. The purple hotel went up for option. There is a lot of pomp and circumstance in the beginning, now the auctioneer yelling and saying: are you ready and you know it
booming voice and then and then, and then really there was only one bitter so and that bitter was Jake wise of wise properties in Skokie, which happens to be right next to link would. He bought the Purple hotel and while wise as a shrewd business man with a keen eye good instincts, this particular purchase was also a labour of when you have something that really does not realising its value in its potential. That has such a prime peace a proper It bothers you. You know it's party of as part of community and its You really want to see be an asset to the community instead of a blight here comes the love part session from that, when my thumb and more importantly, I think we almost lived at the Purple Hotel for pay. Of time. My when my grandfather, passed away in my father was saying the traditional Kadesh, that's the jewish prayer for the dead. There was no
synagogue anywhere in close proximity to where he lived at the time and because WAR Orthodox drive on the Sabbath. There was a little bit prohibitive to say the cottage There is a very convene shall write down the block, also known as a synagogue, congregation who emotion. So on every single Chavez for a year. We would move into the. The hotel to accommodate my father's responsibility to say the cottage for his father We lived there for about a year every single weekend, my sister. The hotel was our playground and the architect wisest to redesign the Purple hotel and bring it back to its original lustre is Jackie coup of Jackie Coup and associates. Also, a former student of my father, the original architect, John Maxine one of the things that we're looking into is more of a historic restoration of the building.
The wonderful, especially since we have some of the old drawings the arrears, drawings from the sixties, and there are a lot of pieces that are still left in the building such as this wonderful monument, Teresa stare with this, would all behind it. I mean you can really see it. As this kind of you know, late fifties, early sixties kind of mad men era, pan sort of hotel at really could be very current in today's hospitality environment culture today, but especially in the hospital. The market for some reason propose a predominant, color now certainly the color of the break, but in all their marketing I mean you, look at the I'm lights and the color of the sheep Bob Kurds. Envy brochures
Have any of your buildings had this kind of history, this kind of life cycle that you know not none of them the same way that a person may go through life and do my go through different cycles. Yours that you know. None of them the same way that a person may go through life and do my go through different cycles. Yourself and everybody goes through different rebellious times. Ups and downs. I think the same holds true for a profit like this That really was a character of itself. The building was really a product of the. Very much around that at any given time and, to a certain extent, the fact that the building did change with the gains in the environment around it it is in the buildings character and not true that this character, this building
the structure of nine lives, sits empty at the moment, surrounded by border traffic and an income parking lot. It may just be crouching gathering it monster, ready to bring back to life, arresting that traffic feeling that parking lot in spreading like a proud, peacock purple. One I'd like a bank read me: I fell for national record company for doing all that at his company could do to make this day a reality. So it turns out that. After all, the gargantuan efforts to save the simpler tell it would classed forty, some million dollars- that's a million with it actually is over forty. It was just cause prohibitive.
Despite so much good will on the part of so many people who wanted to see it survive, the Purple Hotel was too or I should say, is in the process of being torn down These the process of turning the purple hotel down began with some ceremony driving us we're gonna get started, On August, twenty seven twenty thirteen, the parking lot of the Purple hotel, was filled with local dignitaries from Hangin would Illinois even the mare. Was there so much so on the day of the demolition, it was really really beautiful. They had a huge white tat. They had purple flowers, they had purple napkins. They gave my daddy purple brick with a black on it. I mean that it was just really really beautifully done and it was a loving trip.
To the building. At the same time, it was a little bit like going to synagogue, become, has Lincoln. Wood is a predominantly jewish suburb, or at least it was and saw the people We had such strong feelings about the building will largely were. Jewish ok good morning and mourning everyone thank you for coming to my permits, votes today. But this wasn't exactly a bar mitzvah when John They took the stage he said it was a little more like another right, a passage its fellow like being invited for Europe. A wrong by living cannot be avoided, curious thing, then Agnes Environment down of his building the typical moment. A piece of architecture and a piece of journalism coincide is when the building is worse constructed. This is like writing the biography of a person, the moon. Here she is born the real
the story. Is how the structure influences the environment, how it grows up, how it sports and changes, and even how dies, though this wasn't really the end of the purple hotel. Anyway, the wrecking ball took a couple of weeks, said the building, and then they start, it's gonna take five months to tear down because seventy five percent of it needs to be recycled as a matter of law, brick by Purple Brad. They're, taking it down, so the bricks would just get thrown into a big pile and shipped after wherever they get recycled. Is there wasn't such a high demand for them. It turns out that every but in their brother, wants a purple break was married at that hotel. I lost my Virginia that hotel I used to go to that hotel every weekend with my parents I played in the pool at that hotel. I heard report lack a that tell everyone, He has a memory associated with it into everybody wants a brick, and I can
tell you how many people have asked me for a not the least of which, I might add, was yeah. Oh, I want to permit brig so badly. I'm gonna get you at least, if not a break. As long as it has in purple on it, it will have the iconic purple glaze on it. Ninety nine percent invisible was produced this week by Gwen MAX I same Greenspan and me roman Mars. We are directive. Ninety one point: seven, local public radio, K, L W in San Francisco in the Eric an Institute of Architects in San Francisco. We often don't think of winter is attainable growth or creation, but if you think about it, it's the perfect time to greet your own website. Does your cooped up you thinkin about being productive and now square space can help you do it with squares? Based can take your cool ideas, you ve creative content, your services, goods, and you can turn them into a beautiful website in just a few clicks. Does it because there is to use templates, are created by world.
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Transcript generated on 2020-02-15.