"The Tribune Tower and Wrigley Building" Top 5 Page for this destination Illinois Things to Do Tip by traveldave

Illinois Things to Do: 139 reviews and 248 photos

 
 

This tip features two attractions. Both are historic and iconic buildings located in downtown Chicago, and although there is nothing inside either building that would be considered a tourist attraction, they should be seen by those interested in architecture and architectural history.

The 36-story, 462-foot (141-meter) Tribune Tower (right) was constructed between 1923 and 1925 in the neo-Gothic style, complete with flying buttresses surrounding its peak. It was designed by architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood whose design was the winning entry in a 1922 contest to design "the most beautiful and distinctive office building in the world." The building's sculptures and ornamentations were carved by Rene Paul Chambellan. They include gargoyles and images of a howling dog (which represents John Mead Howells) and Robin Hood (which represents Raymond Hood).

Perhaps the most interesting feature of the Tribune Tower is the stones and bricks from historically important sites from around the world that are incorporated into the lower levels, each labeled with its location of origin. They include stones and bricks from the Palace of Westminster, Clementine Hall, Notre-Dame Cathedral, the Berlin Wall, Trondheim Cathedral, the Parthenon, Hagia Sophia, the Great Pyramid, the Taj Mahal, Angkor Wat, Fort Santiago, Fort Mills on Corregidor Island, the Great Wall of China, Independence Hall, Abraham Lincoln's Tomb, the Alamo, and petrified wood from the Redwood national and state parks.

The Tribune Tower houses the headquarters of the Tribune Company and the Chicago Tribune, Chicago's leading newspaper, although the printing plant is located in another part of the city. WGN Radio, Chicago's leading radio station, also broadcasts from the tower.

To the left of the Tribune Tower is the historic Wrigley Building. It was designed by the architectural firm of Graham, Anderson, Probst & White. The design was modeled after the Giralda in Seville, Spain, but has elements of the French Renaissance style of architecture as well. The building has two sections connected by three walkways at ground level, on the third floor, and on the fourteenth floor. The taller south section is 30 stories high and was completed in 1921, and the lower north section is 21 stories high and was completed in 1924. Wrigley Plaza is situated between the two sections. It was part of the building's original design, but was not constructed until 1957. The architectural highlight of the building is its 425-foot (130-meter) clock tower that has four faces that are about 20 feet (six meters) in diameter.

The Wrigley Building was built to house the headquarters of the Wrigley Company, which is known worldwide for its chewing gum. It was the first skyscraper built north of the Main Stem of the Chicago River. The site was chosen by William Wrigley, Jr. who saw the potential for development in the area.

The glazed white terra-cotta cladding of the Wrigley Building gleams in the sunlight, making it stand out from the surrounding buildings. And at night, it is magnificently floodlit and seems to glow in the darkness. (The Wrigley Building was the first landmark in Chicago to be floodlit).

Directions: The Tribune Tower is located at 435 North Michigan Avenue, and the Wrigley Building is located at 400 North Michigan Avenue, both in downtown Chicago.

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  • Updated Sep 30, 2012
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