The Biography of Chicago’s Marina City

October 8, 1871 – The Great Chicago Fire
September 14, 1959 – William McFetridge announces plans to build Marina City
November 3, 1959 – Bertrand Goldberg signs agreement to design Marina City
December 17, 1959 – William McFetridge pays $250,000 down payment on land where Marina City will be built
February 29, 1960 – Cost to build Marina City is now $36 million
April 15, 1960 – Bertrand Goldberg Associates produces a two-page typed manuscript, Marina City – The Central City Plan, that dares people to invest in Chicago’s center.
June 22, 1960 – George Dovenmuehle expresses interest in financing $17.8 million residential phase of Marina City
November 22, 1960 – Groundbreaking
September 15, 1961 – Homer Fields, Wallace Kumpula, and James Toner are killed in 43-story fall from scaffold
October 3, 1961 – Bertrand Goldberg Associates files a request for a permit to construct the 16-story office building
November 22, 1961 – Topping out ceremony
December 1, 1961 – 12-foot-high illuminated red sign promoting Christmas Seals is hoisted to 53rd floor of east tower
January 9, 1962 – Two model apartments open to the public at 316 West Randolph Street
February 20, 1962 – Dearborn Street Bridge sinks eight inches due to construction at Marina City
February 23, 1962 – Life magazine features a pictorial on nine new skyscrapers in Chicago, including Marina City
June 19, 1962 – Seven workers are injured when a material hoist falls ten stories
August 3, 1962 – Plans announced to start Marina City Bank with $2 million in capital
September 24, 1962 – William Jones slips on sand and falls 40 stories off the east tower
September 27, 1962 – National Design Center signs ten-year lease
October 14, 1962 – The first tenants move in to Marina City
November 22, 1962 – Dignitaries gather again at Marina City to bury into the foundation a celestial map
February 20, 1963 – Doorknobs and door controls worth $8,000 are stolen from a 56th floor storeroom
May 8, 1963 – Hilton Hotels signs $2 million lease to operate restaurant and catering facilities at Marina City
November 6, 1963 – Phillips Petroleum Company signs 20-year multi-million dollar lease to operate the marina
February 25, 1964 – Marina City Bank opens on main floor of the office building with $372,575 in deposits
May 5, 1964 – Building Service Employees International Union meets as a battle looms for control of Marina City
July 10, 1964 – Charles Swibel purchases from BSEIU full control of Marina City for $2,625,000
September 25, 1964 – A benefit is held during which the public may tour Marina City from marina to observation decks
December 18, 1964 – A 20-year lease worth more than $1 million is signed with Spencer’s Marina City Bowl
May 7, 1965 – Goldstein, a film that includes scenes shot at Marina City, is released
September 27, 1965 – Mickey One, the second film shot at Marina City, is released
January 4, 1966 – WFLD goes on the air from Marina City
October 9, 1965 – A 35-foot cabin cruiser at the Marina City marina explodes
November 1, 1965 – The 12-foot-tall sculpture Polyphony II is dedicated on the Marina City plaza
November 15, 1965 – FBI agents arrest Richard Hauff, a Marina City resident with mob connections
November 23, 1965 – Murray “The Camel” Humphreys is indicted and dies at Marina City on the same day
December 1, 1965 – Ten-year-old William Blasio steals a boat from the marina and tries to sail it to Ohio
October 12, 1966 – The first skating season at Marina City begins
September 21, 1968 – Marina City rental office robbed by well-dressed men carrying a shotgun in a flowered shopping bag.
January 13, 1969 – Vernon Meyer, despondent over health issues, shoots his mother and then himself.
August 14, 1969 – Folk singer Bob Gibson arrested at Marina City and charged with drug possession.
September 5, 1969 – 1,500 men gather at Marina City to watch 14 women drop their bras into a basket for Braless Friday.
September 25, 1970 – Marina Cinemas opens.
April 28, 1972 – Marina City Bank is robbed of $33,000.
May 5, 1972 – Gloria Kirkpatrick, manager of the movie theaters at Marina City, is stabbed to death.
September 15, 1977 – Marina City apartments go on sale as condo units
September 21, 1979 – A car drives off the west tower parking ramp in a stunt for The Hunter
June 6, 1981 – CPD Deputy Superintendent James Riordan is shot and killed by a drunk bar patron at Marina City
July 30, 1986 – Nothing In Common, with scenes filmed at Marina City, is released.
May 27, 1987 – William Goodstein, first condo association president, resigns after indictment
November 18, 1988 – Marina City Associates, owner of commercial property at Marina City, files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
November 22, 1988 – Marina City’s bankrupt commercial property is sold at auction to Matas Corporation
November 21, 1990 – Circuit Court Judge Richard Curry orders foreclosure on mortgage of Marina City’s commercial property
May 3, 1991 – Police raid a Marina City apartment and seize 285 guns, all of which are returned
September 27, 1992 – Writing in the Chicago Tribune, J. Linn Allen describes Marina City as “a seedy, crumbling wreck.”
October 8, 1992 – Parties meet in Cook County Circuit Court to discuss Marina City’s future
November 11, 1994 – The commercial property is sold for $3.35 million to developer John L. Marks, who announces plans for a $70 million facelift
September 14, 1995 – John Marks and Isaac Tigrett announce plans for a House of Blues concert hall, hotel, nightclub, and restaurant
November 12, 1996 – Nancy Goldberg dies at age 74
October 8, 1997 – Bertrand Goldberg dies at age 84
April 15, 1998 – Smith & Wollensky opens
February 26, 1998 – Loews Hotels selected to operate House of Blues hote
May 18, 2003 – A reception honors 19 original residents, people who were the first tenants of their respective apartments
January 18, 2006 – Dr. Gary Kimmel, Marina City resident and member of the condo board, is indicted on charges he laundered money for a nationwide prostitution ring.
February 22, 2006 – LaSalle Hotel Properties of Bethesda, Maryland, announces it has purchased House of Blues Hotel for $114.5 million.
October 15, 2006 – For a television spot for Allstate, a car once again is shot off the west tower parking ramp.
April 21, 2006 – Fire started by a candle damages a unit on the 21st floor of the west tower.
September 7, 2007 – Condo association at Marina City claims it “holds a common law copyright on the use of the association name and building image.”
October 30, 2008 – Dick’s Last Resort opens at Marina City.
June 10, 2008 – Marina City is one of 20 structures depicted using cans of food in the lobby of 350 West Mart Center.
August 12, 2008 – Alderman Brendan Reilly officially initiates the formal city landmark designation process “in order to protect Marina City’s architectural integrity for the future and to secure its well-deserved status as an official Chicago Landmark.”
November 14, 2008 – Vincent: A Life In Color, a documentary about Marina City resident Vincent Falk, premiers at the Cucalorus Film Festival in Wilmington, North Carolina.
November 19, 2009 – Marina Towers Condominium Association’s board of directors votes to terminate former Illinois legislator Ellis Levin as the association’s legal counsel.
May 24, 2010 – A Subway fast-food restaurant opens in space at the base of Marina City’s west tower that had not been used since 1988, when it was a Dollar Rent-A-Car location.
May 29, 2011 – The GEICO PBA Team Shootout brings some of the best bowlers in the world to Marina City for the first Professional Bowlers Association tour event held in Chicago since 1963.
April 18, 2012 – Guests at a “launch party” at Marina City’s marina are treated to rides on the Chicago River aboard two electric-powered boats owned by Chicago Electric Boat Company, a new venture by two Jefferson Beach Yacht Sales executives.
November 19, 2012 – Tortoise Club officially opens on the east side of Hotel Sax.
March 15, 2013 – Following a ten-week restoration project, the freshly-renovated west tower residential lobby is re-opened. The east tower lobby would open on May 1, 2013, after a six-week restoration.
March 24, 2014 – Last day of Marina Food & Liquor, a convenience store that served Marina City for 12 years.

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