The statue of Nathan Hale, a replica of Bela Lyon Pratt's 1912 statue on the campus of Yale University, was erected by the Chicago Tribune in the small courtyard in front of the 1935 low-rise addition to north of the Tribune Tower, and dedicated on June 4, 1940. The 6-foot tall bronze sculpture depicts Hale, hands tied behind his back, the moment before his execution atop Leo Weissenborn’s 42-inch-high granite base.
Nathan Hale (1755-1776) was a soldier for the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War. Widely considered America's first spy, he volunteered for an intelligence-gathering mission, but was captured by the British. He is best remembered for his speech before being hanged following the Battle of Long Island, in which he reportedly said, "I only regret that I have but one life to give my country."
The Tribune Tower, at 435 North Michigan Avenue, was built between 1923-1925 as the headquarters for the Chicago Tribune. Today, it is the home of the Tribune Company, WGN Radio, and CNN's Chicago Bureau. The neo-Gothic design, the last important example of American Perpendicular style, by John Mead Howells and Raymond Hood was selected out of 263 entrants in a much publicized international design competition. The 34-floor, 463-foot skyscraper's upper tower, encircled by 8 flying buttresses adorned with sculptures of bats, was modeled after the Butter Tower at Cathédrale Notre-Dame de Rouen.
The Tribune Tower features sculptural ornamentation executed by Rene Paul Chambellan. The building's ornate three story arched entrance is carved with figures from Aesop's fables. Gargoyles, such as the monkey symbolizing human folly, embellish the facade. Over the main entrance are images of Robin Hood (Hood) and a howling dog (Howells). Rocks and bricks brought back by Tribune correspondents from important sites throughout the world are incorporated into the lowest levels of the building, and labeled with their location of origin. In all, there are 136 fragments in the building.
The Michigan-Wacker Historic District, crossing the Michigan Avenue Bridge and the Wabash Bridge over the Chicago River, covering parts of the Chicago Loop and Near North Side neighborhoods. The district's contributing properties include eleven high rise and skyscraper buildings erected in the 1920s with addresses on North Michigan Avenue, East Wacker Drive, North Wabash Avenue and East South Water Street, including 333 North Michigan, London Guarantee Building, Carbide & Carbon Building, 35 East Wacker, Mather Tower, the Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable Homesite, and the Wrigley Building.
The Tribune Tower was designated a landmark by the Chicago Department of Planning and Development on February 1, 1989.
In 2007, the Tribune Tower was ranked #38 on the AIA 150 America's Favorite Architecture list.
Michigan-Wacker Historic District National Register #78001124 (1978)