Smoking Hot Model: Chase Tower


Chase Tower model

Chase Tower model

JPMorganChase is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the founding of the bank it ate to become one of the biggest players in Chicago’s financial sector.  And it’s doing so by celebrating not only the late First National Bank of Chicago, but also the former First National Bank buildings.

An exhibit is on display in the lobby of Chase Tower (10 South Dearborn Street) which chronicles, among other things, the three different buildings that First National occupied, and the construction of C.F. Murphy Associates’ First National Plaza (Now Chase Tower, 20 South Clark, and Three First National Plaza).  The artifacts include an apparently bronze model of the sloping Chase Tower (formerly One First National Plaza) inside a glass display case.

Exelon Plaza and First National Bank of Chicago clocktower

Exelon Plaza and First National Bank of Chicago clocktower

The exhibit also makes prominent note of the old First National clocktower, which is located on the other side of Exelon Plaza but plainly visible from the exhibit space, and now adorned with a giant “150” banner.  It turns out the 1979 clock tower was actually built from the two clock faces that used to hang off the corner of the First National Bank building that was built in 1906 and designed by Daniel Burnham.

Chase Tower today

Today’s Chase Tower was announced in 1964 and opened in 1969.  44 years later, it is still among the ten tallest buildings in Chicago.  The plaza in front was where Burnham’s building stood.  It remained standing through the construction of the skyscraper and wasn’t torn down until plaza construction began in 1970.  The plaza opened to the public in 1973.

If you’re looking for a little architectural trivia, the building is 95 feet wide at the top, 200 feet wide at the bottom, and 300 feet long.

And if you’re into presidential trivia, this is where Barack Obama met the future Michelle Obama when they worked at the same law firm in 1989.

First National Bank of Chicago Exhibit

First National Bank of Chicago Exhibit


Author: Editor

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

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1 Comment

  1. Is it just me, or does the building look 10 times better in bronze?

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