Wrigley Building in Chicago

Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Wrigley Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz. Licensed to Artefaqs Corporation

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Wrigley Building

400-410 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, Near North Side 60611
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The biggest, brightest jewel in Chicago's architectural crown belongs not to some glass and steel skyscraper, but to an historic office building with wedding cake flair and a clock tower. The Wrigley Building is actually two buildings joined by a 14th floor skywalk and a street-level arcade. Its gleaming white facade is an icon of the city, even when the quarter million terra cotta tiles are lit in different colors by banks of floodlights.



At the time it was built, the Magnificent Mile wasn't all that magnificent. Michigan Avenue (then called Pine Street) had yet to develop into the shopping and tourist mecca it is today. The area was still very industrial and surrounded by warehouses, rail yards, sugar mills, and factories. Further north on Pine Street, it was residential, but this area adjoining the Chicago River and adjacent to Lake Michigan was the engine of industry that drove Chicago into the modern age. It is fortuitous that this building was erected at the time. It is a symbol of the city's past, constructed at a time when Chicago was evolving into its modern form. Architectural historians credit the construction of the Wrigley Building with spurring new development along Michigan Avenue north of the Chicago River that made the city what it is today.



The shape of the lot the Wrigley building is on is quite an advantage. The space is an obtuse triangle with two sides facing south and southeast. This gives the building maximum exposure to pedestrian, vehicular, and boat traffic. The remaining side faces into the Trump International Hotel and Tower, which was designed to reflect the Wrigley Building's beauty and acknowledge its presence through setbacks that keep Trump from crowding this beloved edifice.

Quick Facts
Timeline
  • January, 1920: Groundbreaking for the Wrigley Building.
  • November 11, 1920: The cornerstone was laid for the main (south) tower.
  • April, 1920: The south tower was completed.
  • May, 1924: The north tower was completed.
  • 1929: Radio station WBBM(AM) moved to the Wrigley Building from the Broadmoor Hotel.
  • 1931: The skywalk was added.
  • 1956: WBBM(AM) and WBBM-TV moved out of the Wrigley Building.
  • June 19, 2005: The Chicago Tribune reported that the Wrigley company considered leaving its signature headquarters for more modern accommodations. The newspaper speculated that the building could be converted into residential condominiums.
  • July, 2005: The Wrigley Building's banks of 1971 floodlights along the Chicago River were replaced with new lights on standards along Michigan Avenue. The new lights have more focused beams to reduce light pollution and make sleeping easier for people in nearby residential buildings. Wrigley agreed to pay the city $15,000 a year to use the sidewalk space.
Notes
  • This building was designed by Charles Beerman.
  • The building is a fusion of French Renaissance and Spanish Revival styles, and was inspired by the Seville Cathedral's Giralda Tower in Spain.
  • According to the Chicago Tribune, the Wrigley Building is home to the world's only chewing gum wrapper museum. It is not open to the public.
  • The terra cotta tiles are custom made in England, and each is tracked by computer to determine when it needs maintenance.
  • The terra cotta tiles are glazed for easy cleaning, which was very important in the early decades of this building, as Chicago was much dirtier then than it is now.
  • The clock faces are 19 feet, seven inches wide.
  • The clock hands are made of redwood and are designed to bend in the wind.
  • The clock's "big" hands are nine feet, two inches long.
  • The clock's "little" hands are six feet, four inches long.
  • This building was 453,000 square feet of rentable space.
  • The Wrigley building has offices in the clock tower, both below and above the clock.
  • The clock occupies the 25th and 25th floors of the building.
  • A 1995 article in the Chicago Tribune reported that the top of the building's cupola is festooned with terra cotta flowers and lion heads. These can only be seen by members of the law firm which rents that space.
Did You Know?
  • The design of the Wrigley Building was inspired by the Giralda Tower in Spain.
Look For
  • A skywalk connecting the two towers.
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Wrigley Building in Chicago.  Photo by john kovacich
Photo by john kovacich
Your Thoughts

There are seven comments.

  Beautiful Building, especially when lit up at night. It is a glorious building, well-constructed.

Parker - Friday, May 8th, 2015 @ 9:39am  

  During the one and only year that I worked at the Chicago Tribune, in the early 1960's, I would arrive at Union Station by commuter train and then walk the short distance to Michigan Avenue. This was before the recent neighboring high-rise buildings were constructed, and the Wrigley Building stood out, virtually alone, in all its "glory" (especially when illuminated in the early morning and late afternoon dusk). Crossing over the Michigan Avenue Bridge and seeing the Wrigley Building was an unforgettable sight, and has left a lasting impression. Even today, after so many years, I re-live those moments whenever the conversation turns to my hometown and Chicago!

Nina Gries - Thursday, August 21st, 2014 @ 5:34am  

  Older Chicagoans may remember that at least into the early 1950's the Wrigley Building had a public observation deck. The view up and down Michigan Avenue would probably still be pretty good from up there.

Alan Follett - Tuesday, September 11th, 2012 @ 6:47pm  

  This proves once again, how your city has much to be proud about in the world of great architecture. What a treat, these articles are.

kent Worley - Saturday, February 13th, 2010 @ 8:54am  

  This is the first building I was cognisant of as a worlk of architecture -- as designed and in its design, most appealing to me. I was between 11 and 14 yrs old, and would visit my fathers company located in the building while waiting for him to finish some work and come along for a city outing. I used to walk every evening home from work up Michigan Ave. going north towards the building, always in total happy admiration for that twelve years. The Wrigley Building even served as a main focus in a dream I once had which was an important dream advising me to quit the job I had, which I did soon after for a better job even closer to the building, down the street and the Cultural Center. I adore this 20s skyscraper, My favorite building anywhere, ever!!! Once in a while, with an out-of-town guest, I'll have breakfast in a little restaurant right in the south side of the building on the first floor. As a kid, though, I remember a large, fairly posh lunchroom on weekdays that was very lively and exciting.

Nell Hunt - Sunday, September 20th, 2009 @ 6:10pm  

  I liked seeing this building last night. The glow on the crown and the clock was amazing, seeing it from Wabash and 330 N. Wabash Plaza. I hope my picture turns out, when I develop the pictures.

Brent Kampert - Monday, December 15th, 2008 @ 7:04pm  

  When you say Chicago this is the sight that comes to mind. At night when lit up if is fantastic

A joy to behold - Monday, November 17th, 2008 @ 12:24pm