Today we are On the Road to Willis Tower, Chicago, Illinois.
We are going UP!
I am up on the top looking down at the Windy City.
Welcome to Willis Tower, where there is more than meets the skyline.
A bustling community of business, tourism and culture, Willis Tower is so much more than North America's tallest building. It’s home to large well-known companies as well as hundreds of thriving businesses run by smart, passionate people. More than an office building, it’s a cultural landmark and iconic Chicago tourist attraction. Willis Tower is a pivotal point of reference – from across town, from financial centers on both coasts, and from Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It’s a building with retail and commercial office space at heart, but also inspires tens of thousands of visitors to take in the amazing views of the city and experience the breathtaking Ledge.
My sister treated me to a trip to Chicago for my birthday in December.
The top of the Willis Tower or, as many of you may know it as the Sears Tower, was on our list of things to do. The day started out clear, but by the time we headed up to the top, it was cloudy.
Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) is a 110 story building in the heart of Chicago’s downtown. Willis Tower is not only one of the tallest buildings in the world, it is also a magnificent icon, impossible to miss within Chicago’s skyline.
In 1969, Sears Roebuck and Company was the largest retailer in the world, with about 350,000 employees. They decided they needed one large office space for their many employees. Architects Skidmore, Owings and Merrill were commissioned to design what would become one of the largest office buildings in the world. Fazlur Khan, the structural engineer, designed the “bundled tube” design that handled both wind and gravity.
In August, 1970 ground was broken for the beginning of construction. Taking three years to complete, Sears Tower was finished in May 1973. The builders used enough concrete to make an eight- lane highway five miles long. Within the building, there are 25 miles of plumbing, 1500 miles of electric wiring , 80 miles of elevator cable, 796 restroom faucets, and more than 145,000 light fixtures. The last beam put in place was signed by 12,000 construction workers, Sears employees and Chicagoans.
In 1988, Sears Roebuck and Company sold and moved out of the building, but the Sears Tower name remained until 2009 when the building was renamed after the Willis Group, a London- based global insurance broker.
Skydeck Chicago is the observation deck on the 103rd floor of the building. Approximately 1.5 million tourists visit Skydeck Chicago every year. On a clear day, you can see over 50 miles in each direction and see four states. The elevators within the building are among some of the fastest in the world, operating as fast as 1,600 feet per minute. In 2009, Skydeck Chicago opened its newest attraction, The Ledge, 4 glass boxes that extend 4.3 feet outside the Tower and stand 1,353 feet above Wacker Drive. With glass on the ceiling, floor, and all sides, it is truly, an unforgettable experience.
The elevators are amazing in the Willis Tower. They are so fast!
The elevators within the building are among some of the fastest in the world, operating as fast as 1,600 feet per minute.
I am standing out on a Ledge, looking across at other folks standing out on a Ledge.
Get out on the ledge
if you dare!
Step outside the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. At 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck.
Fun Facts about the Ledge
- The Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the skyscraper’s Skydeck on the 103rd floor. Each box weights 7,500 lbs.
- The Ledge’s glass boxes are comprised of three layers of half-inch thick glass laminated into one seamless unit.
- The Ledge’s boxes have a thin film over the top layer of glass that assures a clear view 1,353 feet straight down!
- The Ledge’s glass boxes are designed to retract into the building, allowing easy access for cleaning and maintenance.
- The Ledge is built to withstand four tons of pressure and can hold 10,000 lbs!
- The Ledge has what is called “heat tracing” to melt snow off the glass
My sister, Clover and me, up in the clouds.
While we were up on TOP OF THE WORLD, we witnessed a marriage proposal.
It was a great adventure for the both of us.
Thank you for coming along today.
If you would like more information regarding the Willis Tower Click Here
Have a great weekend.