Willis (Sears) Tower, Illinois

For our final stop in this bustling city, we headed on to one of the city’s famous attractions the Willis (Sears) Tower. It wasn’t hard to find the location because the iconic black tower was so high you could see it from the distance. Upon arriving I took a picture of my parents by signage of “Willis Tower,” and then we enter. Just like any other attractions involving a tower, there was the ticket line. The line wasn’t that long and we got each ticket for $23 for the Chicago Skydeck. Along the walls were old pictures of the building and its history. Here it is:

In 1969, Sears Roebuck and Company was the largest retailer in the world, with about 350,000 employees. Deciding it needed a central office space for its many employees, the company hired architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill to design what would become one of the largest office buildings in the world. After breaking ground in 1970, it took three years to complete and used enough concrete to make an eight-lane, five-mile-long highway. The last beam put in place was commemorated by the signatures of 12,000 construction workers, Sears employees, and Chicagoans.

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Sears Tower

In 1988, Sears Roebuck and Company sold and moved out of the building, but the Sears Tower name remained the same. It was renamed Willis Tower in 2009 after the Willis Group Holdings, the global insurance broker who calls the Tower its Midwest home.

We followed the signs leading to the elevator and the other families or tourists, and we were jammed inside. It had a tv screen which explained us some trivia about the tower.

“In July 2009, U.S. Equities Realty led the design and construction of a multi-million dollar renovation of Skydeck Chicago, including the development of The Ledge, a series of glass bays on the 103rd floor that extend from the building providing visitors with unobstructed views of Chicago through the windows and glass floors – 1,353 feet straight down. In addition to The Ledge, the new Skydeck visitor center features museum-quality interactive exhibits. The opening of The Ledge has provided the Skydeck with record-breaking visitor counts consistently since its debut.

In May 2011, Skydeck Chicago opened Skydeck Marketplace, a brand new, 7,500 square foot retail and express cafe experience.  Visitors can purchase their choice of over 300 unique Chicago, Ledge and Willis Tower items and are treated to authentic Chicago food and beverages including Connie’s Pizza and Vienna Hot Dogs.

That was the brief history of the Willis/Sears Tower according to their website. If you tried googling and looking at Britannica or Wikipedia there were a lot more information about the building itself.

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Parents in the tower

So once we got out of the elevator we walked around and took pictures of the Chicago skyline, and looked into their telescopes.  Also, we went in line to have a picture in “The Ledge.” You have to pay for the picture or use your camera but we decided to do the former because of the angle of the picture. If you are scared of heights I advice you not to try the ledge because when you looked down and passed the clear glass you may have a case of vertigo because of the extreme height. After that we walked some more and Mom looked at the souvenir shop. As we looked here are some interesting facts about the tower.

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Willis Tower

Willis Tower has been part of the Chicago skyline for decades so it’s easy to overlook the true magnitude of this magnificent steel frame skyscraper. Take a look at these facts and figures and we guarantee you won’t look at America’s tallest building the same way again.

  • Completed construction in 1973
  • 110 stories
  • Designed by architectural firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
  • 1,450 feet high (443 meters); 1,730 feet high (520 meters) including twin antennae
  • Eighth-tallest building in the world; tallest in Western Hemisphere
  • World’s tallest building until 1998
  • 1,354 feet to the Skydeck
  • You can see four states: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan
  • 4.5 million gross square feet (418,064 gross square meters) of floor space, roughly 101 football fields
  • 3.8 million rentable square feet
  • Weighs 222,500 tons

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    Under construction
  • 76,000 tons of steel
  • Steel-framed bundled-tube construction method
  • Average six inch (152 millimeter) building sway from true center; designed to withstand up of to three feet
  • Approximately 25,000 daily visitors
  • Accommodates more than 12,000 occupants
  • Took 2,000 workers three years to build
  • Approximately 16,100 windows
  • 25,000 miles of electrical cable
  • 43,000 miles of telephone cable
  • Cost more than $175 million to build
  • 104 elevators moving 1,200 feet per minute
  • More than 16,000 square feet of conference rooms
  • 99th floor event space
  • Two entrances
  • Broadcasting radio and television stations from the rooftop

Mom bought some souvenirs as usual, and then the three of us looked at the other side of Chicago.

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Skydeck

Like most towers this one was 360 and we ended up where we started at the end. After taking some more pictures we had enough and took the elevator down. Once we got to the first floor, My Dad and I picked up our picture from the entrance and the ledge. Then we all went out to explore more of the city.

Here is the link for more information:

https://www.willistower.com/history-and-facts

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Say Cheez!

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