Chicago Sun-Times Building in Chicago

Photo of Chicago Sun-Times Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Chicago Sun-Times Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
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Photo of Chicago Sun-Times Building in Chicago, Illinois
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Chicago Sun-Times Building in Chicago, Illinois
Demolition of the Chicago Sun-Times Building.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation
Photo of Chicago Sun-Times Building in Chicago, Illinois
Demolition of the Chicago Sun-Times Building.
Photograph © Wayne Lorentz/Artefaqs Corporation

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Chicago Sun-Times Building

401 North Wabash, Chicago, Illinois, Near North Side 60601
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When this building was erected in the mid-1950's, it was the height of modern architectural sensibility. Its form fit well with the international style of many progressive buildings of the day -- a style pioneered in Chicago. It was the antithesis of its rivals across Michigan Avenue in the Tribune Tower. Where the Trib was soaring and ornate, the Times was wide and smooth. The Tribune Tower featured intricate details with nooks and crannies filled with visual gems. The Sun-Times building was all about featureless glass and stone panels.

But while the Tribune Tower has managed to remain majestic, within a few decades the Sun-Times building started to look dated and ugly -- a place where information is warehoused, not where ideas are born.

The city of Chicago was to be relieved of its eyesore in the early 21st century. Real Estate mogul Donald Trump purchased the property, and when the Sun-Times lease ran out, everyone moved down the river to the Apparel Center. The building will soon be demolished and a 90-story mixed-use skyscraper will take its place.

The transformation is only fitting for one of the city's most visual areas. Michigan Avenue crossing the Chicago River is the place where each day there is a massive confluence of businessmen, tourists, conventioneers, and locals. It is the hub around which the wheel of Chicago turns, and the home of some of its greatest architecture. Amid the soaring neo-Gothic towers, the squat Sun-Times building just didn't fit in. The tower that is supposed to replace it is promised to have highly reflective glass to show off the area's historic architecture, and not draw attention to itself. But that may be a pipe dream, considering the publicity surrounding the new building. It is the Trump International Hotel and Tower. Donald Trump has been making a big deal of it in the press, and even on a reality television show. The prize for winning the first season of "The Apprentice" was to be in charge of the construction of this new tower.

Quick Facts
Notes
    Before the newspaper moved to this location in October 1957, it was at 211 West Wacker.
    The building was designed to hold the world's most efficient newspaper presses.
    7 October, 2004 - A time capsule from the building's erection in 1958 is opened. There were no records kept on its location, so building engineers had to rely on the memory of a long-time employee to find it. The box was designed to last 18,000 years so it had to be drilled open. Inside was a first edition of the Chicago Sun, a 1958 special edition of the newspaper all about the then-new building, an autographed copy of Freedom is More Then a Word by former publisher Marshall Field III, audio tapes of speeches made at the building's groundbreaking, and microfilm copies of the first Chicago Sun, Chicago Times, and Chicago Sun-Times.
    8 October, 2004 - The employees finally move out of the Sun-Times building, and into the Apparel Center down the river.
    28 October, 2004 - Demolition begins on the Sun-Times building in a ceremony attended by Donald Trump and "The Apprentice" reality TV show winner Bill Rancic.
    29 December, 2004 - The building catches fire during demolition. WGN Television reports three firefighters are hurt putting out the blaze.
Did You Know?
    > This building was one of the filming locations for the 1999 film Never Been Kissed.
    > The 1996-2000 CBS television series Early Edition centered around this building.
    > This used to be a red light district known as the Sands.
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Your Thoughts

There are three comments.

  I worked in The Sun-Times building for 30 years. The first few years the Sun-Times shared the building and presses with The Daily News.The building was built over railroad tracks to bring the large heavy rolls of paper into the building. It was no gem, certainly not worthy of saving. The first floor was off of Wabash and was used for Newspaper trucks picking up the Sun-Times. It was dark and dirty by the time it was torn down!Trump got this building dirt cheap! The new Trump tower is nice but expensive!

Frank J. Kirkaldy - Thursday, July 31st, 2014 @ 6:10pm  

  Sandwiched between the sleek IBM Tower to the west and the white frill of the Wrigley Building to the east, I always found this squat barge-like building to be little more than an eyesore. It remains to be seen if the Trump Tower being built on this site will overpower the IBM Tower and the Wrigley Building - but the curved steel and mirror glass will be a welcome change from the troll of the Sun Times Building!

richbh - Thursday, August 9th, 2007 @ 1:37am  

  This was a beautiful old building, one of Chicago's best modern metal buildings. Obviously I don't agree that it was "dated and ungly" or "an eyesore". If it was still there I'd suggest you have a closer look!

Michan Walker - Wednesday, July 11th, 2007 @ 12:12pm  

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