Chicago vs. Saginaw Architecture

Castle Museum, Saginaw, Jordan Samuels

Saginaw’s architectural history can be seen with a short drive through the heart of downtown Saginaw. The Temple Theater and the historical Castle Museum are two outstanding buildings that showcase our history. The Castle Museum was built in 1897 and was previously the post office for the city of Saginaw. The design was based off of a French Chateau to reflect the history of Saginaw and the French that settled here. The city of Saginaw put up a great fight through a majority 1900’s. There were many attempts by the city to demolish the historical building when the post office had no use for it anymore. It was then turned into a museum in order to preserve the building and to educate the people of Saginaw.

Castle Museum, Saginaw, Towers and Turrets article
Castle Museum, Saginaw, Towers and Turrets article

The building is now home to many exhibits and photographs that display the early settlements in Saginaw. As shown from the photograph, this is a massive building that shows some of the spectacular architecture that is around still today in the city of Saginaw. The castle building has a french castle appearance and is based off of the neo-gothic architecture. The gargoyles also add to the neo-gothic style.  I assume that a neo-gothic architecture was chosen for the Castle Museum because they wanted to give an understanding that the people of Saginaw were a strong and impenetrable force and that to say that we weren’t an old city, but we still held an immense amount of history.

Water Tower, Chicago, Jordan Samuels
Water Tower, Chicago, Jordan Samuels

Chicago is the very opposite of Saginaw, because of the World fair in 1893 there are many buildings with different types of architecture being showcased. I chose one of the few buildings left standing after the Great Chicago Fire, it incorporated itself into the newer built structures around it for the fair. The picture above, shows a building behind one of my lovely professors and it is the old Chicago Water Tower that was one of the only buildings not destroyed during the great Chicago fire. The Water Tower was built in 1869 on 806 N. Michigan Ave. to help with the pressure in the water pipes that went throughout the city. The architect was William W. Boyington.

Water Tower, Chicago, Jordan Samuels
Water Tower, Chicago, Jordan Samuels

The Water Tower seems to also focus on a neo-gothic style. It has a strong structure and it has a reach to the heavens feel because of its grand tower placed in the middle. It is ordained with many small details along the whole outer presence of the building which was common with any neo-gothic style structures. The Water Tower has a over the top decorative facade for such a small basic structure, it makes me believe, that the city placed a huge importance on their water supply during the time of the build.

Both of the Buildings have a lot of history behind them. Both were faced with demolition multiple times throughout their lifetime and the residents protected them until they became symbols of resilience. Both held many different uses. The Castle Museum went from a post office to a museum. The Chicago Water Tower changed from the city’s water supply and is now a gallery for up and coming artists. Of course, the architecture styles are similar as well. Both were of neo-gothic design and seem to show a great resilience of both cities.


Craven, Jackie. “Neo-Gothic Architecture – The Neo-Gothic Tribune Tower in Chicago.” Web. 15 June 2015. <—Gothic-Revival.htm&gt;.

“Old Water Tower.” , Chicago. Web. 15 June 2015. <;.

Stein, Janis. “Towers and Turrets – Great Lakes Bay Magazine.” Great Lakes Bay Magazine. 2 July 2013. Web. 15 June 2015. <;.

“View Museum Info.” View Museum Info. Web. 15 June 2015. <;.

9 thoughts on “Chicago vs. Saginaw Architecture

  1. It’s interesting to hear that Saginaw wanted to tear down the castle museum. When I think about Saginaw versus Chicago and how many grandeur plans they both had but only one followed through, I greatly wish that Saginaw had made the same investment in its future.

  2. This was a neat comparison. It was also a nice that you included different historical buildings from the city of Saginaw because I think people forget that the city has actual history.

  3. It’s nice to see such an academic and polished post. The background your included on both Saginaw and Chicago incorporated so well with the buildings you chose. Not much complaint here. You clearly put some work into this.

  4. This is interesting to read now and will be interesting to read maybe 100 years from now to see if both of these buildings still stand. It makes me wonder if they will continue to be protected because it’s heartbreaking buildings like these with so much history and beauty are threatened so some other monstrosity can go up. Very interesting piece of information and a very well done comparison. Intricate with out being overly informative or sounding like it came from a history novel. Well done!

  5. I liked a lot! Everything is there, the history, the architectural details and the comparison of the two buildings. Good Job! I liked the history of the Castle museum and how its purpose evolved.

  6. This is a great comparison. The fact that both of the buildings are still here with us today is impeccable. Also the fact that both of the buildings are vey strong, and were Cleary built to last a long time. They both seem strong in both aspects.

  7. Your blog was very interesting because as I read, I continued to learn new and captivating facts about the history of Saginaw and Chicago buildings. The comparisons were very well done, and overall a great read!

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