Happy National Skyscraper Day

Once rare wonders of the world targeted by giant apes, skyscrapers have become an indelible aspect of the urban experience. Their majesty inspires local pride, their beauty elicits amazement, and their daring/obnoxious designs spark debate. No city is more identified with its skyline than Chicago. From the years following the Great Fire, the City That Works built towers meant to cast shadows on the gates of Valhalla itself.

Featuring over 100 photos and illustrations, Chicago Skyscrapers, 1871-1934 reveals how burned out ruins on a drained swamp became a glittering monument to human vision, human labor, and better building materials. The Wrigley Building. Tribune Tower. The Stock Exchange. Could Chicago be Chicago without them? Thomas Leslie reveals the daily struggles, technical breakthroughs, and negotiations that produced these magnificent buildings. He also considers how the city’s infamous political climate contributed to its architecture.