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