Bob Sirott`s One More Thing about the Fine Arts building

Bob Sirott`s One More Thing about the Fine Arts building

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

One more thing, about a landmark Chicago building and a man whose fame is equally historic.

The Fine Arts building at 410 S. Michigan Ave. was built in 1886. A theatre occupied part of the ground floor for many years. Inside, architectural gems abound. Many of the building's original bronze features have been restored. It was designed specifically for working artists and continues to be an artist's haven today, one of the nation's oldest artist colonies.

Frank Lloyd Wright once rented a studio on the 10th floor. But my favorite part of the building was elevator car number one and its gregarious operator, Irish immigrant Tommy Durkin--a fixture for 50 years until his retirement in 2000. Tommy was so popular with tenants that management brought him back part-time for another 10 years, until he retired for good.

Tommy's smiling face is on a bronze plaque in the lobby--now known as Durkin Hall. A fighting Irish fanatic, he used to host an annual corned beef and cabbage St. Patrick's Day luncheon downstairs in his own beloved memorabilia-filled Notre Dame room in the basement. Tommy died last week at the age of 81. You might want to raise a glass -to the heart and soul of the fine arts building on this St. Patrick's Day.

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