Monday, January 10, 2011

A trio from the twenties

Each of these three Chicago landmark buildings was completed in the 1920s. That's right, the 1920s, the era of Chicago's infamous gangs and Al Capone. It won't be long before all that is "a hundred years ago." Time flies.

Early skyscrapers were quite ornate with amazing pinnacles in the sky.

From left to right are the InterContinental Hotel with its interesting onion dome, completed in 1929, the Wrigley Building of chewing gum fame, built in 1924, and the gothic-style Tribune Tower which dates from 1925. Those were the days of glamorous skyscrapers that dared to approach the lofty height of forty floors (in fact, the InterContinental Hotel has forty-two). Yes, there were taller buildings (like the Woolworth in NYC), but they were few.

Can you tell that I was an architecture student? Always looking up at buildings. I'll try to mix it up a bit in the coming days.

This is the third in a brief series of photos that I took while visiting Chicago in June 1996. They're 35mm color slides that I've scanned and digitized.


  1. Walt, did you ever do a tour through the Intercontinetal in Chicago? It was originally built in 1929 as the Medinah Athletic Club, a luxury men's club for members of the Shrine organization.
    On floor 12.5 you'll find the [Johnny Weismuller] pool.

  2. I long for the days when we constructed ornate buildings. Nowadays everything is so plain.

  3. I grew up in a very small one red-light town(Highspire). Every now and then, we would have to travel to "The City", Harrisburg to buy something. Seeing a four story building amazed me. I think I would have had a heart attack seeing 42 floors at eight years old.
    Beautiful photo.
    Your Friend, m.

  4. A lot of my family lived in Chicago then! Thanks for the pictures.

  5. LOVE this! Just beautiful. Thanks.

  6. It's too bad there won't be any more of these beautiful buildings built in the US.

  7. Thank you, Walt!


  8. We were just in Chicago again visiting family for Christmas. We decided to take a 3 mile trek down Michigan Avenue at midnight during a heavy, swirling snowstorm. The Magnificent Mile was deserted at that hour and foot deep in fresh, untracked snow. By the time we reached the South bank of the Chicago River, our outerwear had proven to be inadequate against the fierce Chicago winds, our feet were cold and wet, but looking up at the spires of the illuminated Wrigley and Tribune towers as the snow fell was a truly magical experience.
    Thanks for the photos.

  9. jean, hehe.

    peter, no, I've never been inside. Sounds very interesting.

    rick, there's some interesting stuff out there, but the old sculpted stone facades are really nice.

    mark, I always enjoyed going into the "city" when I was a kid, too. Mine was Albany, NY. You can imagine my amazement when I got the real "CITY" NYC. That was amazing!

    kristi, :)

    suzanne, thanks!

    starman, you never know!

    bettyann, :)

    dean, sounds beautiful.


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