Monday, June 14, 2010

Photo of the Week: Hawks Win!

Bartholomew Photo

On the night before the Chicago Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup with an unbelievable overtime goal by Patrick Kane, the Unitrin Building at 1 East Wacker Drive sends out its message of support.

According to the Chicago Architecture Foundation this building was once the tallest marble-clad building in the world at 522 feet.  Only Water Tower Place outshines Unitrin in this category today.  At one time the Aon Cener on Randolph Street held the prize, but it lost its marbles in the early 1990's in a fa├žade replacement of historic proportions.  

Alfred P. Shaw was the principal designer of Unitrin.  Shaw also was responsible for the design of the Civic Opera Building, the Merchandise Mart, and 135 South LaSalle, originally the Field Building, while working for Graham, Anderson, Probst and White.

Of course, everyone knows that 1961 was the year that the Blackhawks last won the Stanley Cup.  Unitrin had not been built . . . it was completed in 1962.  Even more amazing is that virtually every building on the south side of the Chicago River from the lake to Wolf Point, where the Main Stem meets the North and South branches, has been built since 1961.

The only buildings that predate that championship season are (1) 333 North Michigan; (2) 360 North Michigan; (3) Mather Tower at 75 East Wacker; (4) Hotel 71 at 71 East Wacker; (5) 35 East Wacker, originally the Jewelers' Building; (6) the LaSalle-Wacker Building at 221 North LaSalle; and (7) the Builders' Building at 222 North LaSalle.

It's an amazing tribute to the developers and designers who, over the past half-century, have transformed this magnificent city into the tree-lined showplace that it is today.

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