Before WeWork There was Guild

Chicago Detours has innovated as a business in many ways since 2010, and one forward-thinking project we led was one of the earliest coworking spaces in Chicago. Our coworking space, which we called “Guild,” was geared specifically for creatives,entrepreneurs, and start-ups.

 When we opened this up in 2011, many people didn’t even know what a coworking space was. The trend in coworking grew with more people working freelance and remote. The live/work spaces of the ’90s ended up a bit off-track because working from home isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Having a desk away from home is infinitely more efficient, and many people vibe off the energy of others.

Our coworking office, called Guild Coworking, was right in the Loop, one block from Michigan Ave. It was a block from the Art Institute, and I’ll always regret not taking more breaks to just pop in to see a gallery. The space was located by every elevated line, from the red line to the blue line. The office had great ventilation with high ceilings and amazing sunlight.

We had five desks for rent. Guild strategically brought together top talent to create a coworking community of people from a variety of industries. Our tenants included a small business lawyer, an educational non-profit, a trader, a podcaster, and PR professional.

Our space provided a great alternative to the soulless boxes of other coworking spaces in downtown Chicago. We were motivated by bringing together independent people who are in business because of passion, not for money and fame, and kept the cost for the furnished space at a welcoming rate. $290/month includes everything: internet, utilities, a desk with locking storage, a chair, shared refrigerator,unlimited tea, and use of our conference room.

chicago detours former office workplace experienceThe picture shows that it’s sunny and spacious. I had thought for being on the fourth floor on Wabash that it might be dark, but actually the light bounced around a lot from neighboring buildings.

Guild was located in 30 E. Adams, with excellent amenities nearby: the Art Institute, Kramer’s Health Foods, and the Palmer House Hotel. This building shared a heating system with the Palmer House. I’d go next door sometimes to take a break and admire the cathedral high ceilings with incredible plasterwork.

chicago detours former office workplace experience
The space when we moved out in 2015.

We had to leave the building in 2015 when the family that owned this old highrise sold it to developers. All tenants had to leave, including an architecture firm, an art restoration specialist, and a violin making company. Today what had been known as The Hartman Building is instead The Alfred, which rents all-white, super modern apartments.


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Private Tour Coordinator and Tour Guide

There is no shortage of things to discover in Chicago—I love being an urban explorer and uncovering its hidden places. I have an MA in Public History from Loyola University Chicago, and I have worked as a museum educator and kindergarten teacher. My desire to learn new things fuels my passion for educating others, which I get to experience every day as a Chicago tour guide. I live in the northern neighborhood of Rogers Park.

“Our guide Ellen was exceptional and gifted with a great personal touch.”


Tour Guide

Whether you are a first-time visitor or a lifelong resident, the vibrant history and modern majesty of Chicago never ceases to amaze. I’m a graduate of Columbia College with an M.A. in Interdisciplinary Art. I’ve worked for many years as an educator at City Colleges of Chicago. As tour guide at Chicago Detours, I integrate my enthusiasm for culture and architecture with my passion as an educator. West Town/Noble Square area is home for me.

“Jen was a perfect storyteller and kept us spellbound for hours.”


Tour Guide

With our Chicago neighborhoods, vibrant cultural institutions and nearly two centuries of larger-than-life stories, there’s never a dull moment here! I’m a fifth generation Chicagoan and a graduate of Washington University in St. Louis. In addition to guiding tours, I’m a creative writer and amateur genealogist. I also enjoy the city’s dynamic theater scene. You can also read overlooked stories from 19th-century newspapers on my “Second Glance History” blog. I live in River North.


Tour Guide

Chicago is unique as it always evolves into the future while holding on to the past. I’m fascinated by how people latch on to old architecture but happily pave over others. My background is in theater and performance and I’ve been a tour guide here for more than 10 years. Currently I’m finishing my Master’s in Public History at Loyola University because I love to teach the history of this scrappy city. I’m in the Edgewater neighborhood.


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

Chicago’s history is so fascinating, you could spend a lifetime uncovering its secrets…I’m willing to give it a try! I have an M.A. in US History from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and then pursued doctoral studies in Urban History at the University of Illinois at Chicago. I love to learn new aspects of Chicago’s rich history and then share my knowledge as a tour guide with Chicago Detours. I live in Ravenswood.

“Marie was a bubbling fountain of information and contagious enthusiasm.”


Operations Coordinator and Tour Guide

As a fourth generation Chicagoan, I have been living and loving Chicago by bike, on foot, public transit or automobile. I am a graduate of UIC where through the College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs, began my eagerness to understand the nature, history and impacts of urban planning and development. It is incredibly rewarding to give back to this wonderful city by helping out in the office of Chicago Detours. I live in the incredibly diverse neighborhood of Albany Park.
“Sonny was extremely knowledgeable about all things Chi-town.”
Wade K


Content Manager and Tour Guide

Chicago has so many neighborhoods, buildings, and by-ways that it’s hard to go long without seeing something new, or something familiar from a new angle. I studied Cinema History for my M.A. from the University of Chicago. I’ve worked as a culture writer for various publications and as an educator of the humanities at the City Colleges of Chicago. I’m thrilled to share my love of this city’s busy past and unique architectural spaces with Chicago Detours. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of Lincoln Park.

“Alex was fascinating to listen to. He clearly knows his history and it shows.”
Katie K

Amanda Scotese

Executive Director and Tour Guide

I’m an interpreter of personal stories from the past and the city’s landscape. I love to imagine what originally happened inside old unmarked buildings, and what forces have shaped their design. I studied Chicago history, architectural history, and anything Chicago-related through my M.A. in the Humanities at the University of Chicago. My love for stories was enriched by my B.A. in Literature from the University of Michigan. I’ve written travel articles for publications like Rick Steves’ Italy best-selling travel guides, the San Francisco Bay Guardian, and The Chicago Food Encyclopedia. I live in the Chicago neighborhood of West Avondale.
“You can TELL Amanda is hyper-passionate about doing the research and getting the story that nobody’s heard before.”
Shelby F

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