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New Chicago skyscraper rivaling Trump's in height could rise behind a redeveloped Tribune Tower

Bill Ruthhart and Blair Kamin, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Home and Consumer News

Some historic features face uncertain fate

In 1922, to mark the Tribune's 75th anniversary of publishing, its co-editors and co-publishers Col. Robert McCormick and Capt. Joseph Patterson put up $100,000, a grand sum at the time, for an international architectural competition that sought a design for the world's most beautiful and distinctive office building.

The winning entry, by New York architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood, looked for inspiration to French Gothic cathedrals. It has since become synonymous with the Tribune, which remains in the Tower but is due to move to One Prudential Plaza in the first half of this year.

Reilly has said he intends to require the developer to keep the Tribune's historic lobby open to the public for certain hours daily, and indicated the Emanuel administration backs his position on that requirement. The "important public space," he noted, is a frequent stop by tourists and residents touring the city's architectural gems.

The fate of another historic feature of the building -- McCormick's baronial 24th-floor office, with dark pine walls, personalized ceiling decoration and a monumental fireplace inscribed with a quotation from the press lord -- is also uncertain.

Reilly said Golub did not want McCormick's office open for tours to the public, citing security concerns. After touring the historic spaces at the top of the Tower, Reilly said he responded by urging the developer to carefully dismantle McCormick's office and offer to relocate it to the Chicago History Museum or "some institution that expresses a strong interest in accepting it."

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Another possibility: Cantigny, a 500-acre park in west suburban Wheaton, home of McCormick's onetime estate and that of his grandfather, legendary Tribune Publisher Joseph Medill. The park also houses the Robert R. McCormick Museum in the publisher's former mansion, which interprets "the life and legacy of the colonel."

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