BRIDGEPORT — Tour a massive, all-encompassing prop warehouse, see up close a green produce plant and visit a 123-year-old Buddhist temple as part of Open House Chicago's Bridgeport and Back of the Yards offerings.
The annual citywide event, which will be held Saturday and Sunday, allows residents to gain access to rarely viewed or usually not-open-to-the-public buildings in the city. This year has 12 neighborhood buildings that will be open as part of the event, including:
Zap Props: Think of any item that could possibly be used in a movie or theater production and Bill Rawski's props business almost certainly has it. The 36,000 square-foot warehouse is a true novelty in the city: With a special focus on items from the 1920s through the 1970s, the building is jam-packed with rare items and oddities throughout the decades.
The Open House event is a rare chance to see items used in movies like "A League of Their Own," "The Dark Knight," "Home Alone" and many others. Aisles are loosely arranged by type and age, according to Open House. 3611 S. Loomis Place.
Ling Shen Ching Tze Buddhist Temple: It may be prominently located on 31st Street, but the Ling Shen Ching Tze Buddhist temple is a hidden gem of the neighborhood. Built in 1894 by Daniel Burnham and John Wellborn Root, the triangular chuch was the longtime home of the Emmanuel Presbyterian Church. It has been a temple since 1992, specializing in Taoism, Sutrayana and Tantric philosophies. Tour guides will teach the groups about this particular set of Buddhism. 1035 W. 31st St.
Testa Produce: The produce distributor might be 105-years-old, but it's facility is cutting edge. The energy efficient foodservice facility was the first warehouse of its kind, using solar panels and even a 750-kilowatt wind turbine to generate power for the plant. Tours will show the production floor and will allow guests to step onto the green roof, weather permitting. 4555 S. Racine. RSVPs required
Decorators Supply Corp.: The "artistic decorative accessories" business began in 1883, and the company even created the moulding for buildings in the "White City" of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition. Still a family-owned business, the facility will show guests its production floor and a vault that houses wooden moulds dating back to the 1880s. 3610 S. Morgan St.
The Plant [Facebook/The Plant]
The Plant/Whiner Beer Co: A former meatpacking facility, this Back of the Yards building now houses a number of tenants that seek to use resources and methods that produce no waste. Check out the innovative production methods of a bakery, coffee roaster and brewer. 1400 W. 46th St.
The Chicago Maritime Museum: Housed in the Bridgeport Arts Center, the museum celebrates Chicago's history of busy ports and bustling docks. 1200 W. 35th St.
ComEd Training Center: Visit the training center's Smart Energy Hub, where workers learn to climb poles and perform repairs. 3536 S. Iron St.
St. Mary of Perpetual Help: This church, built in 1882, features a 113-foot-high central dome, as well as half domes and arches. Its organ was installed in 1928.
Stockyards Brick: Get a glimpse of the old Union Stockyards at this brickmaker, one of the country's largest providers of reclaimed brick. 4150 S. Packers Ave.