Montgomery Ward Tower Not Gone, Just Hidden

Thanks to Chicago Architecture Blog reader and Chicago Architecture Info Facebook fan Jim Mitch for letting us know about a glaring error in one of our earlier posts, and more importantly — about a hidden piece of Chicago architectural history.

In February we posted a note talking about the completion of the renovation of 6 North Michigan Avenue . This was one of the old Montgomery Ward buildings and used to have a 10-story tower on top of it capped by a huge pyramid.

In our post, we stated that the tower was taken down and that in the most recent renovation it was not restored.  That’s not correct.

Jim points out that the tower IS still there.  It’s just hidden.

What happened is that when Montgomery Ward added four floors to the top of the building in the 1940’s they partially swallowed up the tower.  Check out the sequence of images posted on Jim’s blog, Design Slinger :
Even though there isn’t a magnificent tower like before, at least the building’s not all that much shorter than before, as we’d originally assumed.

Sadly, the great pyramid cap is still missing from the current building, but what’s there is nice and certainly better than lopping off the remaining few stories to even the building out.

Again, thanks Jim!

(Moreover, this is a lesson to all you internet surfers out there — blogging is not journalism.)


Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at

Share This Post On


  1. If you are considering living here, I hope you can exist without air conditioning. When I moved in I was promised that the building was a 4-pipe system. Why this should mean and what I was promised is year round cold air. Well, today it is 80 degrees in my condo and zero cold air coming out of the vent. Do yourself a favor and run from this place. The developer and the management group do not care about making things right. Feel free to call me at 312,622.1742 and I will gladly relay all the other cost cutting, penny pinching things that I have discovered. And the condo rules are not enforced, making life very dorm-like; noisy.

    Post a Reply
    • Editor

      Anger is one thing, but hyperbole isn’t useful.

      You state that today it’s 80 degrees. It’s not. At the time you wrote that message, it was 51 in Chicago. And it should be noted that it’s the middle of February.

      Large buildings in Chicago, and any northern city have to be switched over from heating to cooling seasonally. Even brand new ones (for example, The Shoreham which was completed in 2003) take two to four days to switch from heating to cooling. This is not the building management’s fault. It’s simple mechanics.

      Since the forecast is for ice and snow in Chicago in just a couple of days, it wouldn’t make sense for your building to switch from heating to cooling just because of a one day abberation. By the time the air conditioning system was brought online, you’d be complaining about having AC when it’s only 30 degrees out.

      Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Human Verification: In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.