After having passed the building many times before, but never stopping by, a good friend of mine sent me a picture from a brick taken from a house near to where I lived, which had been incorporated into the wall of the Tribune Tower. When I was back in Chicago on a cold winter day, I wanted to give it a look myself, and walked to the tower while subtle snow started to come down from the grey sky. The building itself is one of the landmarks of the city. It it a neo-gothic tower constructed between 1923 and 1925, and stands 141 metres above street level, on Michigan Avenue, close to DuSable bridge spanning Chicago River. When I reached it, I saw that the fragments are located at a low level, allowing everyone to see them.
Walking around the tower was like a walk around the world. I spotted a fragment from the Great Pyramid in Egypt, the Great Wall of China, the Holy Door of the Vatican in Rome, among the most famous structures in the world. But also a stone from the cathedral in Trondheim, Norway, the Powder Tower of Riga, and an unspecified house in Leiden, Netherlands which is where the Pilgrims had been using as a church before they crossed the Atlantic to the United States. There were stones of far away temples in Japan, China, Cambodia, the Philippines, from the Winter Palace in Beijing, but also a fragment of the Berlin Wall, and steel shrapnel from the World Trade Center in New York. A piece of the Butter Tower of Rouen, France, is also there; significant, since the Tribune Tower was modeled after the one in Rouen.
Apart from buildings, I also found fragments of a mountain (Alaska), petrified wood (United States), and Antarctica. For a few years, a stone from the moon was on display behind a window, but this had to be given back to NASA as it was on loan only. Seeing the stones not only gives the building an international feel, it also makes one wonder: how did these fragments end up on the walls of a building in Chicago? Chicago Tribune owner Robert McCormick had started picking up pieces of buildings in war-torn Europe during World War I, and urged his foreign correspondents to take home fragments of other famous buildings and places around the world. At this moment, there are just under 150 stones, one of them inside the building, and new ones are now rarely added. They certainly make the Chicago Tribune Tower a special building in the world.
Around the World in 80 Clicks
Personal travel impressions both in words and images from Chicago Tribune stones (United States). Clicking on the pictures enlarges them and enables you to send the picture as a free e-card or download it for personal use, for instance, on your weblog. Or click on the map above to visit more places close to Chicago Tribune stones. Read more about this site.