Richard Nickel was famous for his photographs of buildings about to be demolished, and his collection of ornamentation saved and/or salvaged from Chicago buildings. Despite his effort, Richard Nickel was unable to create an impact during his time; it was after his death, though, when we realized that something needed to be done to save the famous and historical buildings that make our city Chicago, because Richard Nickel died in the heap of rubble that was once the Chicago Stock Exchange. He died fighting for what he believed in. Sure there were people (and even a city commission) that were dedicated to the preservation of famous historical and architectural buildings, but they didn’t make or create an impact as big as Richard Nickel did. Richard did this by shinning the spotlight and showing the true beauty of these famous buildings, rather than just standing outside a demolition sight, holding up a picket sign. What he did was create a lasting effect (unlike other preservationists), one that we still remember today, forty years after his famous death.
This is one of Richard Nickel’s photos of The Chicago Stock Exchange. Here it stood still standing just months before his death inside it.
This is one of the last known pictures taken by Richard Nickel, just a few days before he died.
The reason Richard Nickel was able to create an impact, that lasted long after his death, unlike other preservationists, was develop a new method of showing how these buildings that were being torn down must be saved. He would take a picture of the building that made you see it in a way that you never saw or thought of it before. He would collect fabulous ornamentation, which people didn’t even know existed in the building, and show it to the public. The one problem that he encountered was very little publicity, and if he had had the publicity he had today, at the time of his preservation movement, more buildings would have been saved. But the publicity didn’t come...