July 21, 2009

Renaming a Chicago Landmark

Willis Tower

As a native of Chicago, I was astounded to hear rumors about the potential renaming of The Sears Tower. The famous Illinois skyscraper reigned as the tallest building in the world for quite some time, and still remains among the top ten loftiest structures. Appropriately named, The Sears Tower was designed as the headquarters for Sears, Roebuck & Company (the largest retailer in the world in the late 60’s) whose employees were previously scattered throughout Chicagoland.

If you’ve shopped at Sears lately, or heard of Wal-mart, you probably know that Sears, Roebuck & Company no longer stakes claim to the ‘largest retailer in the world’ title. Sears sold the tower in the early 90’s and eventually gave up the naming rights.

The Sears Tower will now be known as The Willis Tower, a tribute to the building’s current largest tenant. Willis Group Holdings is an insurance brokerage based out of England.

We often hear of stadiums changing names, but this is a national landmark. How long will it be before people start to use the new name in place of the old? Probably a long time.

The Willis Tower website website includes future plans for several on-site green initiatives like wind turbines, solar energy and conservation. Funny, it doesn’t mention all the trees that will be eradicated to reprint all those history books and encyclopedias.

Contributed by Laine Beyerl

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