Chicago Architecture Info

The Palmolive Building

Formerly known as 919 North Michigan Avenue
The Playboy Building
Palmolive Building
919 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Basic Information
Designed by Holabird & Root
Type Skyscraper
Floors: 37
Maximum height 565 feet/170 meters
Neighborhood: Gold Coast
More Information
  • Business address: 919 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611
  • Residential address: 159 East Walton Street, Chicago, Illinois 60611
  • Residential conversion developer: Draper & Kramer
  • The original beacons atop this building were said to be the brightest in the world at 2,000,000,000 candlepower. The current beacon is 18,000 watts.
  • This was the location of the first Playboy Club.
  • This building is sometimes referred to as "919 North Michigan". The entire building is correctly named The Palmolive Building. 919 is the retail and office portion of the building.
  • The Lindbergh Beacon was donated to the City of Chicago for use on this building by Elmer Sperry, the inventor of the gyroscope.
  • August, 1930: The Lindbergh Beacon was installed at the top of this building.
  • 1942: The beacon was turned off for fear that it might be used for navigation by invading forces during the Second World War.
  • 1944: The beacon was turned on again.
  • 1966: Playboy Enterprises moved into this building, changing the building's name to The Playboy Building.
  • 1968: Metal shields were erected to keep the beacon from lighting up apartments in the neighboring John Hancock Center at night.
  • 1981: The Lindbergh Beacon was turned off.
  • 1988: The Lindbergh Beacon was donated to the Experimental Aircraft Association museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
  • 1989: Playboy Enterprises moved out of this building, and the building's name changed to 919 North Michigan Avenue.
  • 1989: The building was renamed 919 North Michigan Avenue.
  • 1990: The beacon was replaced by a globe with a soft glow.
  • 1999: This building was named a City of Chicago landmark.
  • 2001: This building was sold to Draper & Kramer which restored the building's name to The Palmolive Building.
  • 2001: The Lindbergh Beacon was briefly illuminated, but further testing was canceled due to the complaints of neighbors.
  • 2002: The Lindbergh Beacon was briefly illuminated, but further testing was canceled due to the complaints of neighbors.
  • 2005: The retail space in this building was sold for $57,000,000.
  • 2006: Actor Vince Vaughn bought a 7,880 square foot penthouse encompassing the 36th and 37th floors for $12,000,000.
  • July 4, 2007: The Lindbergh Beacon on top of this building was illuminated from 8pm until midnight. Instead of rotating fully, its beam was directed in an arc over Lake Michigan to keep from annoying the neighbors.