The Neo-Gothic Splendor of the Tribune Tower

The Neo-Gothic Splendor of the Tribune Tower

The Tribune Tower, located at 435 N. Michigan Avenue on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, is a stunning example of Neo-Gothic architecture and, in its austerity, a tribute to the individualist spirit of the Windy City. It’s no wonder that this monument, which proudly overlooks one of the most industrious parts of Chicago, was born out of competition.

A One-Of-a-Kind Competition for Unbeatable Style

Tribune Tower

In 1922, newspaper publisher, Col. Robert R. McCormick, held a $100,000 international contest to design “The most beautiful and eye-catching office building in the world.” The $50,000 promised to the winner ensured that competition was fierce with more than 260 entries received, but John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood, New Yorkers, won us over with their stunning, neo-Gothic design.

Though it was widely criticized at the time, going against the ideas of more functional European architecture, the Tribune Tower has stood the test and remains one of the most recognizable buildings in Chicago’s vast skyline. The top of the tower, patterned after the Rouen Cathedral in France, whose crown-like top is characteristic of the late Gothic style, must have seemed defiant in the midst of increasingly modern buildings. When seen illuminated at night, its effect is distinct and sublime.

History in These Walls

Prior to the tower’s construction, correspondents for the Chicago Tribune would bring back rocks and bricks from a variety of historical sources in their travels. These pieces of history have been incorporated into the Chicago Tribune Tower’s walls since the building’s completion in 1925. Currently, there are 149 stone fragments embedded in its exterior. Among these notable, age-spanning relics, are:

  • Stones from Trondheim Cathedral.
  • A relief from the Hagia Sophia.
  • Petrified wood from the Redwood National Park.
  • Stones from the Great Wall of China.
  • A stone from the Berlin wall.
  • A moon rock on loan from NASA displayed in a window at the Tribune gift store.
  • Hunks of steel recovered from the World Trade Center.

In addition to these pieces of history are decorations and sculptures designed by the American artist, René Paul Chambellan, which keep to the structure’s Gothic style.

Shoreline Sightseeing Can Take You There

Visit Shoreline Sightseeing today and join us for one of our architectural tours. View the Tribune Tower among many other breathtaking works of modern architecture located along the Chicago River. There’s no more intimate way to get to know our city. Call us at 312-222-9328 or go online to book your architectural tour and take in the heart of Chicago with one of our knowledgeable tour guides today.