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ethereal_reality Jun 6, 2008 11:30 PM

CHICAGO l Beacon of Progress l 1,500 FT / 457 M l circa 1900 | NEVER BUILT
A 1,500 foot stone tower, proposed for Jackson Park
on the site of the 1893 World's Fair.

The architect was MIT professor Desire Despradelle.

A 12' by 16' foot version of Despradelle's drawing hung
for several years in the atrium of the old Roger's Building
on Boylston Street in Boston.

WHERE IS IT NOW? Let's try to find it.

If anyone has more information on this 1900 proposal please post.

The above illustrations are courtesy of MIT Library.

M II A II R II K Jun 6, 2008 11:44 PM

That looks like it would have been a very dominating building.

BVictor1 Jun 7, 2008 2:05 AM

Looks like something out of the Michael Keaton Batman films

ethereal_reality Jun 7, 2008 12:11 PM

It reminds me a bit of this Tribune Tower proposal.

Of course this proposal is miniscule compared with the Beacon of Progress.

Biff Jun 9, 2008 7:18 PM

Looks really heavy!

aaron38 Jun 9, 2008 7:45 PM

A 1500' tall Egyptian monolith in Chicago? That would've been weird. It looks so dark and forbidding. It doesn't look like a beacon but a sacrificial temple.
I'm glad it never got built.

Biff Jun 9, 2008 8:37 PM

It would have been weird to have a 1,500 ft stone monolith towering above all of the modern glass and steel towers that make up modern day Chicago's famous skyline....only now to be surpassed by the Spire in 2010.

ethereal_reality Jun 9, 2008 9:21 PM

The proposed site for the Beacon of Progress was 4 miles south of downtown.
Many people don't realize the 1893 World's Fair was that far from the center
of Chicago. :)

The 1933 World's Fair was downtown.

Nowhereman1280 Jun 9, 2008 11:39 PM

^^^ Exactly why it should have been built, the views from that height and location would be absolutely SICK. Plus we would have had the WTB for like 100+ years and the Sears probably would have been made taller to unseat this beast.

However, unless he had a really clever foundation engineered, there is no way this could have been built, would have sunk 120' into the muck in a matter of months if it didn't fall over first...

ethereal_reality Jun 10, 2008 8:18 PM

I especially like this aerial view.

I believe that's the Museum of Science and Industry on the right hand side
(next to the lagoon)

ethereal_reality Jul 10, 2008 1:12 AM

I found a larger scan.

I believe the dots at the bottom are people. :)

dunbrine47 Sep 21, 2008 12:41 AM

Lol Looks like something out of an epsoide of Stargate.

erbsenzaehler Sep 28, 2008 11:21 PM

Now this... kicks ass!

Any chance somebody finally wants to realize this proposal? ;)

JDRCRASH Sep 29, 2008 4:07 PM

I'm sure the Dark Lord Sauron would have loved this building.:rolleyes:

Alliance Sep 30, 2008 3:14 PM

This was such a cool proposal. I did a drawing/gel transfer of the original Despradelle drawing for a class last semester. It was sweet.

What bugs me about why this was scrapped in 1983 is the legacy. I don't think it outdid Eiffel in anyway (which is what American engineers were trying to do) but Ferris' wheel didn't have any permenant structural legacy, something the Beacon would have had.

Nowhereman1280 Sep 30, 2008 10:47 PM

They should have built it with the ferris wheel on top, that would surely have left a lasting legacy and engineering marvel!

ethereal_reality Oct 1, 2008 12:31 AM

Several issues of a Fair Corporation subscription magazine (from 1891)
presented several 'centerpiece' ideas for the fair.

One a blatant ripoff of the Eiffel Tower.

Another one had a crystal palace-like base with a tower.

There was this behemoth.

Also, an idea to go in the opposite direction (as in...underground)

I wish I had more information and better scans.
I imagine the Ryerson Library has issues of these magazines.

ardecila Oct 4, 2008 6:48 AM

Architects have been imagining monolithic stuff like this for centuries...

For certain people the idea of a pure monolithic form, totally abstracted from function, use, structure, or financing holds a lot of appeal.

erbsenzaehler Oct 11, 2008 1:04 PM

^ And it still does..

Build this! Just for the sake of it! :dancing:

CGII Oct 11, 2008 1:22 PM

It's so bloody terrifying, like a temple to industrialism.

I'm not sure what to make of it. It's just so fucking hardcore imposing (a Chicago trademark) but I feel like it is so intense and huge that it is almost a caricature of the capitalism it is trying to memorialize.

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