MNN Galleries

15 historic American skyscrapers that aren't the Empire State Building

By: Matt Hickman on March 4, 2016, 12:53 p.m.
Wrigley Building in Chicago

Photo: Tinnaporn Sathapornnanont/Shutterstock

16 of 17

Wrigley Building, Chicago

It’s only fitting for a roundup of historic American high-rises to include a couple of examples from Chicago, birthplace of the skyscraper (and the Ferris Wheel, the zipper, the dishwasher and the vacuum cleaner).

While chewing gum wasn't invented in Chicago, one of the Windy City's most illustrious early 20th century high-rises stands as a testament to the enduring popularity of Big Red, Juicy Fruit, Doublemint and the gang. Completed in two stages – 1921 for the 30-story, clock-sporting south tower and 1924 for the larger 21-story north tower – along Chicago's Magnificent Mile, the Wrigley Building hasn't been home to the Wrigley Company for over a decade. Regardless, this glazed terra cotta-clad stunner still shines and sparkles like a set of Extra-chomping pearly whites. The Wrigley Building was never Chicago's tallest building, but it has been the site of several firsts: it was the city's first air-conditioned office building as well as the first landmark building in town to be lit up at night by floodlights. Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, the powerhouse firm behind numerous other Chicago landmarks including the Field Museum and Merchandise Mart, conceived the design, which was influenced by the Cathedral of Seville's famed bell tower. And while you can't get much more iconic than the Wrigley Building, it's worth noting its also-prominent neighbors along Michigan Avenue: the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower (1925), the soaring Art Deco beauty at 333 North Michigan (1928) and the London Guarantee Building (1923), which early 1990s sitcom junkies will recognize from "Perfect Strangers" as the workplace of Cousin Larry.