Tribune Tower

tribune tower chicago architecture

In just one day I saw the Giza pyramids of Egypt, the Berlin Wall, and the Taj Mahal. Well, all right, parts of these famous relics, but I can still claim I’ve seen them, and all with the convenience of standing on Michigan Ave. You can claim these bragging rights, too, if you visit the Tribune Tower.

Aside from housing the Chicago Tribune and radio station WGN 720, the Tribune Tower is an easily distinguishable Chicago landmark. The tower was built between 1922 and 1925, and designed by Raymond Hood and John Howells. They won a competition held by Colonel Robert R. McCormick and the Chicago Tribune to build “the most beautiful office building in the world.”

The Tribune Tower retains its unique because of 150 pieces of famed sites from all 50 states and many foreign nations embedded in the building. These artifacts are all visible from the sidewalk, and include pieces of the White House, the Colosseum in Rome, and Pearl Harbor, to name a few. My favorite fragment, however, is a moon rock on loan from NASA. You can find it in a special window display.

Also on display are the broadcasters of WGN radio. Literally, passersby can watch the on-air programs in action right there behind the glass. Speakers setup outside let you listen in as well. One of the broadcasters of 9am-noon fame, John Williams, lends his voice for the audio tour. You can call (312) 222-TOUR from any phone to hear him explain an assortment of interesting facts about the Tribune Tower toll-free.

Walking inside the lobby I especially like the gigantic relief map of the United States that was crafted out of shredded US currency. There are also many famous inspirational quotations about free press, which as a media fanatic, I enjoyed thoroughly.

The Tribune Tower was designed exquisitely, and is worth a look if you have never wandered past to see the famous relics or hear the live WGN broadcasting. Also, try to spot two interesting carved images in the façade of the building: Robin Hood and a howling dog. They are said to represent the two architects Hood and Howells.

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Jamie Hansen

About Jamie Hansen

I like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain. And I still love reading newspapers. After growing up in the suburbs I took a four-year Chicago hiatus to the University of Iowa where I majored in journalism and English. Now I’m back and ready to help you make the most of the Windy City. As Kanye says, I’m a Chicagoan until Chicago ends… but I wouldn’t mind a vacation home in Florida.

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