Posted on November 16, 2013
Posted by John Scalzi
The Willis (nee Sears) Tower, Chicago, November 2013.
*Willis* Tower? Well yippeekayay motherfucker!
Also, what I always refer to as “the last surviving Bennigan’s” when I pass it at the corner of Adams and Michigan. After which my children always ask, “What’s a Bennigan’s?”
Even if it’s old junk,
Still the Sears Tower to me…
(Apologies to Billy Joel)
They changed the name of the Sears tower?
Is nothing sacred?
I went up to the viewing area of the Tower on my (so far) only trip to Chicago (actually a layover en route from Atlanta to Minneapolis by bus). It was an interesting experience, standing in that little plexiglass box and looking straight down. It was so high I had no sensation of height–like being in an airplane.
Now if the city had lived up to its sobriquiet, and if it had been windy enough to make the tower sway, I’m sure it would have been different.
Also, that building has the smoothest (and probably the fastest) elevator I’ve ever ridden.
I had also just started reading the Dredsen Files at the time (I think I finished books 2 and 3 on the bus). This has probably warped the hell out of my image of the city. (See also Boston and Spenser, L.A. and Angel….)
For me and Chicago, the touchstones are Kolchak and Due South.
As I like to call it, the Sears “What you talkin’ ’bout” Willis Tower.
My grandfather helped build that tower. He worked for the American Bridge Company (which was at some point a part of US Steel, I think) as a template maker. He was very proud of that tower, and my brother still has the scale model he built as part of the pitch for the tower. They can call it what they like…it will always be the Sears Tower to me. Or Papa’s Tower.
He was also involved with the Picasso sculpture downtown, so we cheer for him every time we watch The Blues Brothers. (A movie he would not have appreciated, oddly enough.)
I never heard of this “Willis” Tower. If you are referring to that famous tower, it’s the Sears Tower. It has no other name.
Named after Wesley Willis.
Rock over London, Rock on, Chicago.
I like to think the name of a place is whatever people want to call it by. So for old fuddy-duddies like me, it’ll always be the Sears Tower. For the annoying kids on my lawn…it’s the Sears Tower too dang-nam-it. Gerontocracy FTW!
It was gusting the first of the two occasions I went up. The building swayed. It was way cool, especially for a teenager who loved architectural engineering and heights and had recently learned about deliberate frame flexibility in tall buildings. I remember assuring my girlfriend at the time that it was a good thing, and that the time to worry was if it was really windy and the building didn’t bend.
@Scott (one of many)
If my estimations are correct, we should be very close to the Honorable Richard J. Daley Plaza.
@Jack Ling: Actually, that’s kind of cool that they re-named it after an artist. I’d just assumed it was some bland corporation marking its territory.
“When deep space exploration ramps up, it’ll be the corporations that name everything, the IBM Stellar Sphere, the Microsoft Galaxy, Planet Starbucks.” ~ Chuck Palahniuk
Did you guys make it to Berghoff’s? I haven’t been there for ages (I’ve only been back to the city at all once in the last 15 – 20 years…). One of my favorite landmarks. BTW, I’m still feeling guilty about not mentioning my brother-in-law’s used bookstore when you said you were going to be there – didn’t think of it until it was too late. So I’ll do it now for your next trip: It’s called Selected Works, and it’s in the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Avenue, just a block or so south of the Art Institute. Check it out next time and say Phil sent you.
“I’d just assumed it was some bland corporation marking its territory.”
Officially it was. The Willis Group, a financial firm, got to rename the building when they became a major occupant of it a few years back. But the names of things are ultimately what people use, so if there enough fans of the late Chicago musician Wesley Willis calling it the “Wesley Willis Tower”, it might well stick.
Though as folks note above, there are still lots of people calling it the Sears Tower, even though Sears had sold it and completely moved out well before the latest turn of the century.
Nice filter on the image. v. 1970’s
I took the name change very personally.
Any thoughts on the Sears tower no longer being the tallest building in the US?
Here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we’ve gone from having Candlestick Park to 3Com Park (an early manifestation of corporate-sponsorship name licensing), to Monster Park to “Sorry, we scammed another city into building us a shiny billion-dollar stadium” to calling it The Stick again. (A friend of mine referred to 3Com as “Candlestick Routers” for a while; I think Huawei bought the leftovers of 3Com. And “Monster Park” was named after a job-finding website, not the overpriced cable or overcaffeinated drink Monsters.)
The Oakland Coliseum has some silly name like “O.co”, after being the “Network Associates” stadium (aka “Netass”) for a while.
It is the Sears Tower. Period.
Also: Marshall Fields, or just Fields.
The grocery chain is called “The Jewels” (of “Da Jewels” on the Sou-Side).
– a lifelong Chicagoan.
Taunting the tauntable since 1998
John Scalzi, proprietor – JS
Athena Scalzi, contributor – AMS
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