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Upcoming Moments in Chicago History: Marina City Breaks Ground

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 18, 2010 8:20PM


Fifty years ago next Monday ground was broken on a three acre parcel of land overlooking the Chicago River downtown. The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by construction workers, GE employees, local politicians and President-elect John F. Kennedy (via telephone).

By the time construction was completed for Marina City four years later at a cost of $36 million, the two identical towers were the tallest concrete reinforced structures in America at that time. Architect Bertrand Goldberg's design intended Marina City to be a "city within a city." Marina City was intended to combat the "white flight" of people to the suburbs. Today the twin "corn cobs" are one of the most widely recognized visual landmarks downtown.

Marina City Online has probably the most comprehensive history of Marina City online. Goldberg's original blueprints for the project and lecture notes are also available for reading online. For those who have ever been curious about what it's like to live in one of Marina City's apartments, Mike Doyle's Chicago Carless provided entertaining reads from that perspective.