The Biography of Chicago’s Marina City

151 stories 173,752 words 786 images

SpecialTitle (click to read story)Key DateLast Updated
1963 Popular Science article on Marina City

The April 1963 issue of Popular Science included a cutaway diagram of Marina City by Ray Pioch to illustrate an article by James Liston.

April 1963 19-Jul-16
1963 project would have given Marina City serious competition

A plan for an 80-story cylindrical apartment building at Wolf Point was clearly intended to build on the success of Marina City four blocks east.

April 1963 19-Jul-16
Artifacts of daily life at Marina City

Parcel notices and other everyday items for Marina City residents in the 1960s.

Mid 1960s 9-May-16
Brighton Construction Company

Another Marina City mystery. What exactly was Brighton Construction Company’s role in the construction of Marina City? Was Brighton an equal partner with James McHugh Construction Company? Evidence of its day-to-day involvement remains elusive. Claims to the contrary, by the family of the company’s co-founder, remain passionate.

1960s 1-May-16
Broadcast tower blueprints

Blueprints for the construction of the 426-foot broadcast tower that topped Marina City’s west tower from 1964 to 1978.

1963-64 8-May-16
Dans La Ville

A 1985 book contained more than two dozen early photographs of Marina City. When compared with more recent images, the evolution of Marina City and its neighborhood is dramatic.

Early 1960s 1-May-16
Earl Meech’s medium-format memories of 1960s Marina City

Earl Meech lived at Marina City from 1963 to 1972. His photographs, taken in the mid-1960s, artistically show the living room, dining area, kitchen, and patio of his one-bedroom west tower unit, as well as balcony views looking east, south, and west.

Mid-1960s 21-Jul-16
Famous Marina City residents

Four accomplished musicians. Two network news anchors. Ronald Reagan’s press secretary. The first female disc jockey at WLS. And a Lollapalooza chef. At one time or another, they each called Marina City “home.” Our list, probably incomplete and hopefully growing, of famous Marina City residents.

General 8-Apr-18
Geoffrey Goldberg

In a 2008 interview with Marina City Online, the son of Marina City’s architect, Geoffrey Goldberg talked about history, balance, and working for his dad.

2008 11-Apr-16
Howard Swibel: My mother named ‘Marina City’

His career may have been controversial, but Charles Swibel was undeniably influential in getting Marina City built and steered in the right direction. His son, Howard, spoke in 2008 about what he remembers about Marina City, its close call with being stuck with a different name, and how Chicago should remember his father.

2008 11-Apr-16
Join us at Marina City for true bourbon

In this 1969 ad for Hiram Walker’s “Ten High” straight bourbon whiskey, a man offers a drink over his balcony in what is most likely the west tower.

1969 22-Jul-16
Light reading for prospective tenants

Marina City – A City Within A City was a 12-inch x 12-inch 28-page paperback book with two centerfolds that promoted the complex to prospective residential tenants.

Early 1960s 23-May-16
Marina City entices air travelers and poster collectors

Between 1963 and 1965, Marina City was depicted in two posters – for two airlines – that are collector’s items today.

1963-65 19-Jul-16
Marina City’s ubiquitous eight-sided columns

They are everywhere. In two concentric circles of each tower, in the parking ramps, the marina, in the lobby of Hotel Chicago. You may notice them at first, and then they disappear. The eight-sided columns are still busy bearing loads throughout Marina City.

1960s & 2010s 3-May-15
On the menu in 1978 at Viennese Coffee Shop

The cover of its menu showed what Viennese Coffee Shop, one of the first restaurants at Marina City and arguably its most colorful, aspired to look like. Its specialty was Viennese pastries, which patrons could enjoy while watching skaters at Marina City’s ice rink.

1978 22-Jul-16
Postcards from Marina City

Considered an iconic image of Chicago, Marina City starred in many postcards in the 1960s. Even when it was part of the skyline, Marina City stood out as the tallest structure north of the Loop, in a time when the postcard rate was four cents.

1963-64 21-Jul-16
Rents paid in 1963

How much it cost to rent an apartment at Marina City in 1963, and before you think it was cheap, the amounts adjusted for inflation.

1963 12-May-16
Ten best shots of Marina City in Transformers: Dark of the Moon

It is not until the last 66 minutes of the 2011 film that the action moves to Chicago but once there, most of the story takes place along the main branch of the Chicago River. Marina City shows up numerous times, both real and imagined, from many angles.

2011 8-Apr-18
Who built Marina City?

The investor, the developer, the architect, and the team that built Marina City.

General 20-Apr-16
19 stories