435 North Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60611
In Devil in the White City:
“On the afternoon of Monday, February 24, 1890, two thousand people gathered on the sidewalk and street outside the offices of the Chicago Tribune, as similar crowds collected at each of the city’s twenty eight other daily newspapers and in hotel lobbies in bars and at the offices of the Western Union and Postal Telegraph History Company.” Page i45
In Real Life:
I just love that scene in The Devil in the White City. It’s 1890 and a mob is gathered outside of the Chicago Tribune building to await word about whether the World’s Columbian Exposition would be coming to Chicago. I wanted to check out the spot where all that happened. I looked it all up. I learned the building on the spot today was built thirty two years after the fair came to town. It’s famously beautiful – the result of an architectural design competition – the winner, obviously – designed the building. I went to the location, walked around and had a moment thinking of all those people packed in that spot all those years ago. Then, I tripped out on something a little more this century. It’s a collection of fragments from other famous buildings – carefully embedded in the walls outside. It started when Robert McCormick – who worked as a war correspondent for the paper during World War I. He brought fragments of buildings back from his travels. He went on to become publisher and owner and a tradition blossomed – so today there is quite a collection. It’s all there around the base of the tower – the Taj Mahal, the Great Pyramid and even a piece of the Notre Dame from Paris.