Historic View

I love history.  It runs in my family.  My mom and dad took us to more historic type places than I can count as a kid.  My sister is a historian by trade. I minored in history in college.  As much as I look at things from a political framework, that framework is also usually grounded in history.  It's fun, what can I say?

So, knowing that the Catholic Theological Union resident building used to be the Hotel Aragon before it became the home of CTU, I did a little bit of internet sleuthing.  Indeed, the Hotel Aragon was built in 1924. Here is a postcard from the 1950s advertising this apartment hotel.  "Hotel Aragon, Cornell Avenue at 54th Street, Chicago, IL - Located in the beautiful Jackson Park residential section overlooking Lake Michigan, 200 rooms, each with private bath.  Moderately priced coffee shop, dining room. Ten minute service ..."

In 1968, the three founding religious communities of CTU-Franciscans, Passionists and Servites, bought the Hotel Aragon to house their new theological experiment. The building housed it all--rooms for students and offices, lounges turned into classrooms, and the "moderately priced coffee shop" became a cafeteria.  I gather that eventually, the Hotel Aragon-turned-CTU was bursting at the seams and the campus spread out to rent and buy other neighboring buildings for student residences and office space.

New CTU academic building ... you can
see the reflection of the
residence building in the glass
Then, in 2006 classrooms, the library and the majority of the offices moved across the street to a new building which is the center of the school. The old hotel building now has students living on the top three floors, rooms for participants in special programs and guests, as well as a number of Catholic organizations that rent office space.  The cafeteria is still here as well, although I've chosen to cook my own food in the kitchen on the floor rather than be on the meal plan.

CTU is now sponsored by 24 men's religious communities.  There are lay students, women religious, and students from all over the world that are part of the CTU community.  As of this semester, that includes me.  It's good to have a little grounding in the history.

For a little more contemporary history, President Obama and his family own a house not too far away from here, but they used to live in the immediate neighborhood.  CTU was apparently his polling place when he voted in 2004 as documented by this last picture.  Since the photo was taken in 2004 and CTU didn't move across the street until 2006, that means I'm living in the building where he voted.  Just saying.

[Photo Caption: In this Nov. 2, 2004 file photo, then Illinois Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama leaves with his wife Michelle, daughters Sasha, front left and Malia, after voting at Catholic Theological Union polling place in Chicago.  Nam Y Huh File: Associated Press]

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