The Wrigley Building

Chicago architecture wrigley building

Chicagoans owe a lot to the Wrigleys. In addition to deciding to headquarter their wildly successful company here in the Windy City, anyone that has a go at owning the Chicago Cubs is well admired in my book. And while we’re at it, Wrigley Field really has a better ring to it than Weeghman Park (the former name of the Cubs’ North Side home).

William Wrigley Jr. founded his company in 1891 selling soap and hoping to make it in the world. He quickly progressed to owning a very successful chewing gum company through hard work and realizing that gum was probably more lucrative than soap and baking soda. As his company grew, he ordered construction of what is now called the “Jewel of the Mile.” Since its construction, the Wrigley Building on Michigan Avenue has been a Chicago architectural icon, adorned by two towers and large clock with faces pointing all directions.

Located on the southernmost part of the Magnificent Mile, the land off the North bank of the Chicago River was ideal for Wrigley to headquarter his rapidly expanding chewing gum company. It is said he strove to create an impressive and unique building for the international headquarters on his company. Designed by Chicago architectural firm Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, the building broke ground in 1920 as the first major office building built North of the Chicago River. Chief designer Charles Beersman used the shape of the Giralda tower of Seville’s Cathedral as inspiration, combining his vision with details from the French Renaissance. The building’s white facade and bright appearance come from glazed terracotta. The 30-story south tower was completed first in April 1921 and the 21-story north tower was completed in May 1924. The 14th-floor walkway connecting the buildings was added in 1931. The building totals 453,433 square feet.

Fun Fact! The Wrigley Building was Chicago’s first air-conditioned office building.

Today, over 1,000 people go to work each day in the Jewel of the Mile. Tenants include newspaper and magazine publishers, marketing firms, advertising agencies, investment management companies, and foreign consulates. The building is brightly lit with flood lights nightly and provides an aesthetically pleasing effect against the Chicago River. It’s undoubtedly a must-see for city visitors.

Tessa McLean

About Tessa McLean

There is just something about that feeling when you have been away — maybe for a weekend, a month, 6 months — and you’re driving into Chicago and that first glimpse of the city skyline appears. It just always makes me smile.

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