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The History of the Chicago Tribune Newspaper and the Tribune Tower

During our tour to Chicago, we will visit the Tribune Tower that is a neo-Gothic building located at 435 North Michigan Avenue in Chicago, Illinois, USA. It is the home of the Chicago Tribune and Tribune Company (second-largest newspaper publisher). The Tribune Tower is listed as a Chicago landmark and is a contributing property to the Michigan –Wacker Historic District.

Here are some interesting facts about The Chicago Tribune Newspaper:
Joseph Forrest, John Wheeler and James Kelly founded the Tribune in 1847 and quickly adopted nativist and temperance positions that forecast its editorial policies for more than a century. The newspaper went through a series of owners and editors and eventually became a strong supporter of the Republican Party with an abolitionist stance and unwavering support of Abraham Lincoln.

Between the 1910s and the 1950s, the Tribune prospered under the leadership of Medill’s grandson Robert R. McCormick. Calling his operation the “World’s Greatest Newspaper,” McCormick succeeded in raising daily circulation from 230.000 in 1912 to 650.000 by 1925, when the Tribune stood as the city’s most widely read paper. In 1925, when it moved into the Tribune Tower, the paper employed about two thousand men and women. During the 1930s and 1940s, McCormick used the Tribune’s editorial pages to attack the New Deal (series of economic programs) and promote isolationism and anti-Communism.

McCormick died in 1955 but the Tribune continued its conservative policies, supporting Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s efforts to investigate Communism in the U.S. By the late 1960s the paper softened its editorial policies to better reflect Chicago’s widely diverse ethnic population. It scooped its competitors in 1974 by publishing the full text of the Watergate tapes in 1974 and called for Richard Nixon’s resignation.

The Chicago Tribune after 2000 suffered significant circulation declines, losing 5.8 percent of its weekday readership in 2008 and exceeding the national average 4.7 percent among the nation’s 507 newspapers. The Tribune Company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on December 8, 2008. Today this one of the largest and most respected U.S. newspapers, Chicago Tribune is under threat of extinction.

How was the Tribune Tower built?
In 1922, the Chicago Daily Tribune organized a competition for the most beautiful and eye-catching building in the world. Raymond Hood – who later built the Rockefeller Center in New York – and John Howell won the first place due to their familiar Gothic design and because the building fulfilled the needs of the newspaper best.


An interesting fact is that the Tribune Tower contains many famous stones incorporated in the wall, including rock fragments from the Alamo, the Colosseum and the Chinese Wall. A steel fragment from the World Trade Center in New York is also added to the wall. All these objects are labeled and visible from the street level. The most famous part of the collection is a moon rock which is not incorporated in the building but on display behind a glass window.

With its decorative buttresses at the top, the Chicago Tribune Tower remains a remarkable architectural monument.

Categories: Articles, Chicago

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