Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 31, 1960 -- Federal Center Plans Announced

May 31, 1960 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that four Chicago architecture firms are joining together to plan “a glass and steels structure” [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 31, 1960] that will replace the federal courthouse.  It will sit on the east side of Dearborn Street between Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard, providing more than 1.3 million square feet of space for somewhere around 5,500 employees of the United States courts and 19 federal agencies.  The paper reports that “The surrounding walks and plaza, as well as the lobby floors, will feature granite paving.  The lofty first floor of the 30 story building will be devoted primarily to the lobby, stairways, and 24 elevators.”  Plans include air conditioning and “if conditions warrant, atomic bomb shelters.”  Completion date for the building is slated for late 1963 with final drawings due by the end of 1960.  This will be the first of two tall government buildings that will replace the old courthouse across Dearborn Street, a building that will be razed as the courthouse is being constructed so that a new federal building can be constructed in its place.  The architectural firms involved in the project were: the office of Mies van der Rohe; Schmidt, Garden, and Erikson; C. F. Murphy; and A. Epstein and Sons.

May 31, 1952 – Major Lenox R. Lohr, president of the Science Museum, today’s Museum of Science and Industry, announces that visitors will soon be able to walk through an 18-foot heart, part of a 3,000 square foot exhibit sponsored by the Chicago Heart Association. As part of the experience a human pulse will be audible. In another part of the exhibit the circulation of blood will be illustrated. The heart would fit into the chest of a 28-story human, which will make the museum an educational facility with a very big heart, indeed.

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