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Panorama Chicago: Sweeping Views Of Cityscapes

Daley Plaza

Editor’s Note: This is an occasional feature exploring Chicago through panoramic photographs. These pictures were taken with an iPhone 5s “pano” feature. If you would like to contribute to the series, please tweet @cbschicago, using the hashtag #panochicago

By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — The Daley Center, originally the Chicago Civic Center, was the first major public building in the city designed in a modern style, based on the revolutionary skyscrapers designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe.

Architect Jacques Brownson designed the steel and glass 31-floor, 648-foot building. Typically a building of that height would have 50 or 60 floors, but the building was designed with fewer floors to accommodate high ceilings for courtrooms. The building was actually designed to rust over time, giving it a natural reddish-brown color.

The building, housing courtrooms, hearing rooms and other government offices, and plaza were renamed for Mayor Richard J. Daley on Dec. 27, 1976, seven days after his death.

The centerpiece of the plaza, which is designed as a public gathering place for festivals and protests, is a sculpture by Pablo Picasso.

What is it? A bird, a dog, a woman? Picasso never told us.

When it was unveiled in August of 1967, many people were puzzled and critical of the modern artwork.

Since then, it has become one of the most popular features in Chicago. Nearly every day, children gleefully slide down the base of the 50-foot, 160 ton sculpture.

The Picasso is built of the same steel material as the exterior of the Daley Center. It was assembled at the U.S. Steel Company in Gary.

To the left of Daley Plaza is Chicago’s City Hall and County Building. The city uses the west side, while Cook County operates on the east side.

The mayor’s office is on the fifth floor, overlooking Clark Street. The City Council and the County Board both hold their meetings here.

The 11-story, classical building was completed in 1911. It has a rooftop “green roof” garden that is designed to reduce heat. The city actually produces honey from beehives.

On the far right of the picture below, is Block 37. After years of standing as a vacant lot, the building includes a shopping center, the CBS 2 Broadcast Center and Morningstar’s headquarters. (Click on the image to enlarge)

A panoramic view of Daley Plaza. (Credit: John Dodge)

State Street

By the early 1970s, State Street had lost its luster.

The corner of State and Congress Parkway was no exception.

However, a revival on that corner was sparked by university expansion and the Harold Washington Library.

The crown jewel of the Chicago Public Library system, which was recently cited as one of the best in the world, sits on the corner where a seedy old theatre stood.

Sears once operated its flagship store on the northeast corner. It moved up the street to open a new store, which just recently closed.

Robert Morris University took over the building.

The John Marshall Law School is visible in the distance to the left.

On the far right is DePaul’s University Center (Click on the image to enlarge).

A panoramic view of State Street at Congress Parkway. (Credit: John Dodge)

Millennium Park

To commemorate the Millennium, Mayor Richard M. Daley had a vision to build a landmark city park over a series of commuter rail tracks just east of Michigan Avenue between Randolph Street and the Art Institute.

The construction took much longer than planned and went way over budget, but was finally finished in July, 2004. It was built with public and private money, and taxpayers reportedly covered $270 million of the $475 million cost–three times the original budget.

It is now the second-most visited attraction in Chicago–with the playful Crown Fountain and Cloudgate sculptures among its most popular features. Navy Pier ranks No. 1.

The Pritzker Pavilion is the central point for concerts and other performances, along with summer movies.

The image below, which includes the author of this piece at the far right, was taken by his son. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Also visible: The old Chicago Library (far left), now the Cultural Center, the diamond-shaped Stone Container building; Trump Hotel (city’s second-tallest building) Prudential Plaza and Aon Center (the city’s third-tallest building).

A panoramic view of State Street at Congress Parkway. (Credit: Benjamin Dodge)

John Dodge is the Executive Producer of cbschicago.com. If you would like to help with this project, please tweet photos to @dodgerman or @cbschicago, using the hashtag #panochicago