LINCOLN SQUARE — Pickletown doesn't have quite the same ring as Lincoln Square, but the neighborhood's pickle production past was just one of the fun facts shared Nov. 18 by Lee Diamond, guide of a Chicago Neighborhood Bike Tour that rolled through the Square.
The River Park fieldhouse was the start and end point for the group of about 20 cyclists who took part in a ride that wound its way through Bowmanville, Budlong Woods, Greater Rockwell, Ravenswood and Lincoln Square.
Stops along the route included historical and architectural points of interest, such as the former Krause Music Store (now owned by Studio V Design), notable as Louis Sullivan's last commission, and Rosehill Cemetery's entrance gate, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was designed by the same architect as the Chicago Water Tower.
Diamond, a real estate broker by trade, began the tours six years ago as a way to acquaint people with Chicago's diverse neighborhoods.
The 41-year-old lives in Evanston with his wife and children and works out of an office in Jefferson Park. He schedules two tours a month and unveils a new neighborhood each quarter, estimating that he puts in 100 hours riding, photographing and researching each route. Newcomers in 2012 included Rogers Park and Oak Park, his first foray into the suburbs. Though most tours average 25-40 riders, tours of Hyde Park and Logan Square topped 150, he said.
A former cabinet maker and furniture builder, Diamond developed an interest in buildings and preservation while growing up in Cleveland, where his dad was involved in local restoration efforts.
"My goal is to show what a great built environment we have," he said, which is a product of "not knocking everything down."