Tuesday, May 15, 2018

The "Father Time" Clock at the Jewelers Building, 35 East Wacker Drive, Chicago, Illinois.

The "Father Time" Clock at 35 East Wacker Drive in Chicago is located at the Jeweler's Building which faces the Chicago River.
If you visit the northeast corner of the building, the clock at first glance looks like the Marshall Field's clocks. That is, until you notice the creepy guy who looks like death. He is really supposed to be Father Time.
At night the clock is outlined in dark red lights which makes it look even creepier.

The clock was a gift from the Elgin Watch Company. Father Time was their logo. They had an office in the building.

Aside from the fact that it's a beautiful building with a fancy dome on top of it, it has a very cool history. Construction started in 1925 and was completed in 1927.
Formerly the Pure Oil Building and North American Life Insurance Building, 35 East Wacker was listed in 1978 as a contributing property to the Michigan–Wacker Historic District on the National Register of Historic Places, and was designated a Chicago Landmark on February 9, 1994.
The best part of this 40 story building is the dome at the top. Right now it's a private conference room and showroom for architect Helmut Jahn (he designed that awesome terminal at O'Hare with the moving lights sculpture in the moving sidewalk corridor). It used to be a restaurant (speakeasy) called the Stratosphere Lounge access to the 40th-floor cupola was by an ornate birdcage elevator. Al Capone was a regular and, it was rumored, the owner. 
Since this was originally a jewelers building, it had many different security features. One of them was a really extreme version of a parking garage. Since jewelers would carry their merchandise around with them, they were often in danger of being robbed. So, to make sure no one was attacked on the walk between the car and the office, jeweler's just drove their car straight into the building! For its first 14 years, the building had a car lift that served the first 23 floors and facilitated safe transfers for jewelry merchants. The car elevator would bring you to the floor you worked on and then drop your car off on one of the parking levels. From the security office a lock-down would commence upon any tennant's triger of the alarm system. All outside doors would lock and elevators would stop at the next floor, doors remaining closed, and wou;d not move. 

Movies love this building. It's the Gotham City Courthouse in "Batman Begins," and in one scene Batman sits on one of the turrets. In the movie "Transformers: Dark of the Moon" there's a giant robot battle on top of the building.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

1 comment:

  1. Chicago has so many beautiful, historical buildings. The Jewelers Building is one of them!! Thanks, Neil.


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