Have you ever been to the Taj Mahal? Parthenon? Great Pyramid? Notre Dame? Great Wall of China? What about all at once? Ok, so maybe you can’t visit them all at once, but you can see pieces of each of them (and 145 other famous world landmarks) at 435 N. Michigan Ave. There stands Tribune Tower, home of the Chicago Tribune and WGN Radio.
To give you a background, in 1922 the Chicago Tribune hosted an international architecture competition looking for the design for their new headquarters. The ad posted offered $100,000 in prize money and requested “the most beautiful and distinctive office building in the world”.
Once the design was chosen, the Chicago Tribune staff collected fragments of historically important sites to use in the facade of the building. Along side pieces of the Berlin Wall, Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb, and Angkor Wat are more recent editions, such as a piece of steel from the World Trade Center and tiles from the Sydney Opera House. This coming week, two more pieces will be added: bricks from Wrigley Field and old Comiskey Park.
Next time you’re strolling down Michigan, make sure to stop and take a look at the Tribune Tower. Each piece is clearly labeled, all along the outside of the building. And don’t forget to peek inside too – in the lobby wall are fragments of stone from the cave of the nativity where Christ was born in Bethlehem. It is sort of an odd, but wonderful tribute to the history of the world – and a gem that I feel makes the city just that much better.