Exclusive Entrance to the Union League Club on March 18

Last June, I presented at the Union League Club about the architectural history of the building, including its cultural context in downtown Chicago business and life and the relevance of historic architecture over time. We had a great time, and they’ve invited me back, and you are invited as well! In addition to experiencing the discussion in their beautiful library, you’ll get a peak at the architecture of this impressive 1920’s building. It’s not a tour of the private club, but you certainly can use the stairs and very slowly make your way down!

Speaking Event at the Union League Club

The talk is titled, “The Cultural Relevance of Private Club Architecture” and is happening Monday, March 18th, 6pm-7pm. Guest list is limited and you cannot wear jeans! If you would like to join us, please RSVP the names and email addresses of you and your guests and one contact phone number to info@chicagodetours.com to get access to this private club. (Don’t worry I won’t do anything with your info–we just need it all in case anything comes up. You know, blizzards happen around here.)

archival blueprint from union league club chicago
Credit: Union League Club of Chicago

Some of the historical and architectural information I’ll present comes from my academic research. I took a class on Skyscrapers for my Masters program at the University of Chicago. During it, I went sleuthing around the Union League Club’s archives and had a lot of geeky historic fun. They have an incredible collection of materials relevant to both the club’s history and Chicago as a whole (p.s. if you want to visit the Archives, contact the very helpful Anita at amechler@ulcc.org). And of all things, the archivist and I explored the club basement and discovered some completely forgotten historic blueprints of the architecture, pictured above.

Architecture of the Union League Club

This skyscraper was built by the Union League Club in 1926 with Chicago architecture firm Jenney, Mundie & Jensen. You may be familiar with their iddy-biddy three-window-wide Lakeview Building on Michigan Avenue, across from the north end of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Architectural Layout Map of Union League Club Architecture
Map from 1939 Newsletter. Credit: Union League Club Archives

The map of the Union League Club from 1939 pictured here shows it’s architectural layout as a cross-section. Yes, those are my fingers. Here you can see that this was a mixed-use building. People think that mixed-use approaches to architecture are something new. But in cities, especially in the early 1900s, multiple services and varied spatial divisions were requirements. After all, how would you fill up all the space in a skyscraper. And by the way, do you see there’s even an ice cream room in this picture? It’s long gone. Why would anyone in their right mind have gotten rid of the ice cream room? I’ll have answers on some fun questions, as well as the nitty gritty of architectural history, at the discussion.

We’ll dig in to the background of this 22-story building. I’ll also cover how the architecture of the private club building differs from other examples of downtown architecture. The talk will be about 40 minutes long, and we’ll have time for Q & A. We’re sharing this with our Chicago Detours community because I say the more the merrier–just remember to RSVP if you’d like to join us for this Architectural Presentation, “The Cultural Relevance of Private Club Architecture.”

— Amanda Scotese, Chicago Detours Executive Director


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin

be a



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

Book a chicago event

Let’s Connect!