Want to explore the Alamo and Taj Mahal right here in the city? Historic stones and artifacts are embedded in the Tribune Tower; spend a few minutes walking around and you'll discover you're just a stone’s throw away from history.
If you spend any time downtown, you've probably walked right by them, a ton of times. Embedded in the beautiful gothic architecture of the landmark Tribune Tower are stones that can take you on a tour of world history.
Next time you're walking down Michigan Avenue, take a couple seconds to take in the history. There are artifacts from all over the world, like a piece from the Great Pyramid dating back to the year 2600 B.C.
From the Parthenon, to ancient Aztec ruins, to the Arc de Triomphe, House of Parliament and Pearl Harbor, there are stones from every state in the U.S. and every continent on the planet.
To answer a common question, they are all real.
Michael McMains is a docent with the Chicago Architecture Foundation. He studies the city's beautiful buildings and helps guide visitors and natives alike about what makes them special.
He showed us one stone on loan, a moon rock that is 3.2 billion years old.
The newest acquisition is a piece from one of the World Trade Center's melted beams, donated to the Tribune in 2002.
It was the vision of Tribune founder, Colonel Robert McCormick, who wanted to show the global reach of his paper's correspondents and show off the Chicago headquarters as a world-class city.
“Once he collected the pieces, he'd give it to the public so that being connected to the Tribune is being connected to all these famous places from all over the world," McMains said.
You might understand how you'd acquire a piece like this, but questions have arisen over the years of how you obtain so many stones from all over the world. Colonel McCormick insisted all of the historical artifacts be obtained through "honorable means."
Maybe you won't make it to the Forbidden City in Peking or an Old Dublin General Post Office, but you can get close, right along Michigan Avenue.