Trib Tower Rock Tally Down to 149, As One Piece Moves to the Suburbs

Eight years ago, we received an e-mail from a teacher asking for a list of all of the stones embedded in the facade of the Tribune Tower.  Neither she, nor we, were able to find a full list on the internet, so we spent half a day wandering around what was then the home of the Chicago Tribune, jotting down the rocks. The resulting article, listing all 149 rocks, is now our fifth-most-read article, with over 13 million views.

Tribune Tower
Tribune Tower (file)

A few months later, someone pointed out that there was actually 150 rocks in the Tribune Tower.  Number 150 was in the lobby: a rock from the grotto beneath the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.  We didn’t count that one because it was embedded in the north wall of the lobby, and not specifically in the building’s facade.  But we updated the article to 150 for completeness.

Tribune Tower Rock – Cave of the Nativity – Bethlehem

Today, that 149 count is once again correct, as the sample from Jesus’ grotto is no longer in the Streeterville skyscraper.

According to the January 10th issue of Catholic Chicago (Yeah, we’re a little behind on our newspaper reading), the rock, its star-shaped container, and the accompanying marble panel from the wall of Trib Tower’s lobby are now in Morton Grove.

The fragment is currently on display in The Shine of All Saints at Saint Martha of Bethany Church, a short walk from the Morton Grove Metra station.

In 1949, the rock fragments were donated to legendary Chicagoan Colonel Robert McCormick by the archbishop of Bethlehem.   According to the newspaper article, they were recently donated to the suburban shrine by Dan Walsh and his Walsh Group, which is busy transforming the skyscraper from newspaper offices into 162 luxury condominiums for CIM Group.

Catholic Chicago reports that the Morton Grove shrine has relics from more than 3,000 saints and holy people.  So if you make the trip, be sure to pack a lunch.  

Fragments of Stone From The Cave of the Nativity in the Tribune Tower lobby.

Location: 8523 Georgiana Avenue, Morton Grove

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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