Few cities in the world have been transformed as much as Chicago. First a small trading post, the city rapidly expanded to the nation’s second largest by 1890 (only forty years prior it was not even in the top 10 largest cities). The Great Chicago Fire, industrialization and post-industrialization have all changed the face of the Second City over the decades. Here is a look at the city’s skyline over the past roughly 100 years:
The first image was taken in 1926 from the top of the Tribune Tower near the Chicago River. It’s facing north along Michigan Avenue with the only noticeable building remaining being the Water Tower (which itself was one of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire). Image two was taken in 1970 slightly further south of the Tribune Building, which can be seen just beyond the brown office building. In the background is the John Hancock Center, which was the tallest building in the world outside of New York City when it was built in 1965. Today, it is the fourth tallest building in Chicago at a height of 1,127 feet. The third image was taken in 2012 from the top of the Sears Tower, the tallest building in the world until 1998, which is several blocks southwest of where the other images were taken. It includes most of downtown Chicago, including the Trump Tower (2nd tallest in Chicago), Aon Center (3rd) and John Hancock (4th).