Everyone who works at a newspaper should begin the day by walking into a building like the Chicago Tribune's. Perhaps it would remind them of the potential nobility of their profession and how journalism can be, and should be, a pillar of Democracy.
The Tribune Tower was erected in 1925. It is the work of New York architects John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood (who went on to build the McGraw-Hill Building), who beat out famed Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen a famous 1922 contest to win the assignment. (Many at the time thought the modernist Saarinen should have prevailed over the more old-fashioned Hood-Howells conception.)
The building's charms go beyond the impressive, neo-Gothic facade and vaulted entrance. The wood-framed, bas relief map of North America over the reception desk reminds us how seriously (or self-importantly, depending on your point of view) newspapers once took their perceived mission of bringing the world to their readers. The map was made out of shredding money. Read into that what you will.
The lobby is known as the "Hall of Inscriptions." Written on the floor and carved into the lobby walls are quotes by John Ruskin, Joseph Medill, Patrick Henry, Daniel Webster and many others on the matter of a free press and its important role in public life. If you're a Tribune reporter and have forgotten what your purpose is, it's not for lack of reminders.
Inspiration lies outside as well. The base of the Tribune Tower is covered with 120 stones taken from historical locations all around the world, including the Parthenon, the pyramids, the Taj Mahal, the Alamo, the Great Wall of China and Edinburgh Castle. How the Trib nabbed a piece of all these famous structures, I have no idea. Seems impossible. Perhaps it was accomplished at a time when stealing antiquities wasn't as ticklish a political prospect as it is today.
According to some information, Tribune owner, the conservative Colonel McCormick, instructed his foreign correspondents to bring back rocks and bricks from their various posts. Kinda shady. But McCormick usually got what he wanted.