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Mc Cormick Place Essay

2446 words - 10 pages

The McCormick Place Story The history of McCormick Place is quite remarkable for a building that is only thirty-nine years old. It was built in 1960, burned down in 1967, and was rebuilt and reopened by 1971. When we think of McCormick Place today, we think of the North, South, and East buildings together. But the North building wasn't built until 1986, and the South building was completed just last year; both well after the Richard J. Daley administration. The East Building, (Also known as Lakeside Center) built from 1967-1971, and the original McCormick Place, completed in 1960, are the main foci of this paper because Richard J. Daley was directly involved with their planning. Because the ...view middle of the document...

Then in 1951, a one-percent tax was added on running racetrack parimutuels. The tax was designed to pay for industrial, cultural and educational fairs in Illinois. Most of the money would be staying in Cook County, because downstate county agricultural fairs were getting comparable benefits for several decades (Tagge).By 1953, it became apparent that the convention buildings in Burnham Park were no longer big enough to host the size of events that Chicago wanted to host. The owners of the Burnham Park buildings knew their buildings were inadequate, but they didn't want a new building to be built because they would lose money. At first, the state general assembly sided with the Burnham owners and defeated legislation in 1953. But when Richard Daley became mayor in 1955, things began to change (Tagge).Daley enacted a series of bills to permit use of the Cook county cut of the racetrack one-percent to build and equip an exposition building. In the 1955 general assembly, because it had been learned that earlier cost estimates were to low, a revenue bond was created to finance the project. The state of Illinois created the Metropolitan Fair and Exposition Authority to over see McCormick Place's construction and operation later that year. Colonel Henry Crown, industrialist, also donated money for a section of that hall that would later be known as the Arie Crown Theater.The final step before construction was when the Chicago Park District granted a lease of forty-two acres of land for forty years at 23rd and the lake (Tagge). This was very controversial because by law, the Chicago lakefront is supposed to be for public facilities only (Jaskot: McCormick). Of course this building was for the public, but private capital was needed to fund the building as well. Henry Crown, Lennox Lohr and Marshall Field IV all made contributions for the building (Tagge). But what Mayor Daley wanted, Mayor Daley got. He quashed all opposition, and legislation in favor of the building was passed unopposed (Jaskot: McCormick). Shaw, Metz and Associates began construction in 1958, and the building opened ahead of schedule on November 19, 1960.McCormick Place's early opening seemed like a positive at the time, but it provoked disastrous long-term effects; not only for McCormick Place, but for Shaw, Metz and associates next project the Robert Taylor Homes. The contractors didn't use all of the materials they should have. They did this in order to cut costs and to make a larger profit (Jaskot: McCormick). The roof was not well supported, and a quarter of it collapsed in the 1967 fire ("Blaze Fans Thru Hall…").In its first seven years, the 35 million dollar McCormick Place was a tremendous success. The exhibition hall produced one third of the city's 300 million dollar annual profit during the early sixties ("…Tragic Loss to City"). In December of 1966, plans were in the works for a 204,000 square foot addition to the building. An investment brokerage Blythe and...

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