Monday, January 07, 2008

freedom to pillage

Something you probably already know: The Chicago Tribune Tower contains, in its stone facade, some 136 fragments from historical sites around the world. From the Wikipedia entry on the Tower:

Prior to the building of the Tribune Tower, correspondents for the Chicago Tribune brought back rocks and bricks from a variety of historically important sites throughout the world at the request of Colonel McCormick. Many of these reliefs have been incorporated into the lowest levels of the building and are labeled with their location of origin. Stones included in the wall are from such sites as the Trondheim Cathedral, Taj Mahal, the Parthenon, the Great Pyramid, The Alamo, Notre-Dame, Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb, the Great Wall of China, the Berlin Wall among others.

In all, there are 136 fragments in the building. More recently a rock returned from the moon was displayed in a window in the Tribune giftstore (it could not be added to the wall as NASA owns all moon rocks, and it is merely on loan to the Tribune), and a piece of steel recovered from the World Trade Center has been added to the wall.

It's not clear whether the correspondents had permission to lift these artifacts: What is known is that they had mandate from their boss, McCormick, to do so.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A long time ago in architecture school my wife was given an assignment to write a paper on an obscure (and very homely) French cathedral whose name now escapes me. A short time later we were astounded to find a piece of it sticking out of the wall of the Tribune building. Ever since then when I pass by those artifacts I picture a tribune operative with a hammer and a velvet lined bag skulking around whacking at buildings and monuments when no one is looking, stashing their loot and carting it back to Chicago.
I suspect it is only the most recent artifacts that were obtained on the level.

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