The Tribune Tower
This is one of my favorite buildings in Chicago: The Tribune Tower. It is the home to the Chicago Tribune newspaper, one of the most largely circulated papers in the United States, the Tribune Company, WGN Radio (WGN=World’s Greatest Newspaper), and me. I am now working in this iconic Gothic treasure a few days a week as a freelance television producer for WGN-TV’s new show, Chicago’s Best.
In 1922, the Chicago Tribune organized an international design competition for its new headquarters, and offered a $50,000 prize for the ‘most beautiful and eye-catching building in the world’. Raymond Hood – who would later build the Rockefeller Center in New York – and John Howell won the first place due to their familiar gothic design and because the building fulfilled the needs of the newspaper best.
The base of the Tribune Tower is embedded with approximately 120 stones from important locations all around the world, including the Parthenon, in Greece; the pyramids, in Egypt; the Taj Mahal, in India; the Alamo, in San Antonio; the Great Wall of China; and the Roman Colosseum. A steel fragment from the World Trade Center in New York has also been added. One of the most famous ‘stones’ is a moon rock which is not incorporated into the building, but on display behind a glass window.
The 24th floor, renowned for its dark wood paneling, limestone fireplace and vaulted ceiling, used to be the office of legendary Tribune publisher Colonel Robert R. McCormick. He had a hidden staircase installed that would allow him to escape to a secret hideaway in the event the building was stormed. And, supposedly, offices up there are linked by secret passageways. Today it is a conference room used by Tribune. I just have to get up there. But how…