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The Continued Adventures of Sean and Karmen in Chicago

· United States,Illinois,Architecture,City Walks

After our jam-packed Friday in Chicago, it was time to keep going with it Saturday morning. We headed down to the Wrigley building area to catch a river cruise. Note to the wise, don't do a river cruise at 10 am (it was lovely, but everyone and their mother was there.)

We went with the Wendella cruise company which took us up and down the river, and out to the lake. Our guide discussed the buildings and architects that have added to the city's skyline over the years, as well as historical moments through time.

The building pictured above is Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower). Sean here and I have come to tell you a little about Chicago's tallest building, Willis Tower. In 1969 Sears, Roebuck & Company decided to consolidate their multiple office locations in the Chicago area into one building with over 3 million square feet of space. The 108 story building opened in 1973, however, the building was only half full for nearly a decade due to a surplus of office space in Chicago. Sears sold the building in 1994, at that time the building was only 2/3 full. After the sale Sears retained naming rights on the building that expired in 2003, however, the building retained its Sears Tower name for several years after this. In March of 2009 Willis Group Holdings, an insurance brokerage agreed to lease a portion of the building and obtained naming rights. The building was officially renamed Willis Tower on July 16, 2009.

After the river cruise, we were in the architecture mood, so we went to visit the Chicago Architecture Foundation. Here there are exhibits in-house, as well as tours you can take. We checked out the various models of current and future buildings, as well as their lovely bookstore. It's always fun feeling giant next to a miniature city.

Afterward, it was time to wrap up our trip and head back to Wisconsin. It was a whirlwind but fun adventure down to the neighbor state.

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