"Chicago is a city of skyscrapers. New York is not. New York is a city that's a huge rock that has been carved out to make streets. [Gordon] Bunshaft was always jealous when he came to Chicago because he could stand and see the buildings. In New York, you can't do that. You have to be miles away to see the buildings." - Bruce Graham, architect
Walking around Chicago today, it's easy to forget about its past as a rural frontier, and that's due in no small part to the way Chicago responded to the Great Fire of 1871. Immediately after the fire, Chicago encouraged inhabitants and architects to build over the ruins, spurring creative architecture with elaborate designs, and architects descended upon the city for the opportunity to rebuild the area. Over the next few decades, Chicago had been rebuilt with the country's most modern architecture and monuments, and the Windy City's skyscrapers reached over 20 stories by the early 20th century, but it wouldn't take long for the city to turn its early skyscrapers into things of the past. Burnham's 22 story high Masonic Temple Building, once the tallest building in the world, was demolished in favor of buildings that were twice as tall.
The early skyscrapers that still stand look like antiques compared to Chicago's current skyline, because during the mid-20th century, architects built dozens of much taller buildings throughout Chicago, often constructing these enormous structures in less than a decade.
Where does The Sears Tower rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
Filled with snippets of newsworthy note.
What did you like best about this story?
I especially liked the stories behind the scenes of how decisions were made and what was happening during the build and after.