Even though, Chicago has over 258 skyscrapers illuminating the skyline, it easy to determine what’s the most popular building in the city.  Nine times out of 10, the John Hancock Center is listed as visitors and locals’ favorite building.  The John Hancock Center is the fourth-tallest building in Chicago and the seventh tallest in the United States.  On a clear day, visitors can see four states – Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin from John Hancock Observatory or the restaurant, the Signature Room on the 95th Floor.

The 100-story, 1,127-foot building was the first modern skyscraper in Chicago. It was completed in 1968 by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill with chief designer Bruce Graham. The architectural style is structural expressionist and the unique X-bracing exterior design serves as a structural and a visual function.401px-Hancock_tower_2006

The breathtaking building has had structural anomalies in the past, which have resulted in loss of lives.  In 2002, three people were killed when the building’s scaffold fell 43 stories during inclement weather. Urban legend has it that squatter Captain George Streeter cursed the site of building.  George Streeter was a steamboat operator and excursion guide who created what is known today as Streeterville by dumping sand and debris on the coast.   He was able to develop 100 acres of land; however, in 1918 the courts seized Streeter’s land after 30 years.  Moreover, the Hancock Center was built on what was Streeter’s shantytown.

George Streeter with Wife


The Hancock building is also known as the ‘Big John’ by Chicagoans.  The building truly defines the essence of the city and has been featured in numerous TV shows and movies.  It was the main location set for horror movie, Poltergeist III.   Chris Farley and Jerry Springer are some of the celebrities who have lived in the building.

Poltergeist iii Movie Poster