THE BIOGRAPHY OF CHICAGO’S MARINA CITY
By Steven Dahlman

Postcards from Marina City

Aero Distributing Co., Inc.

Considered an iconic image of Chicago, Marina City starred in many postcards in the 1960s. Even when it was part of the skyline, Marina City stood out in these images as the tallest structure north of the Loop. The postage rate for postcards was four cents in 1963, increasing to five cents in 1968.

(Left) Marina City – Chicago at night. “FANTASTIC MARINA CITY OF CHICAGO,” reads the back of this postcard from the 1960s. “Twin Towers rising majestically 60 stories on the North Bank of the Chicago River over-shadowing the Loop – boasts 896 outside balcony apartments – 20 floors auto parking – 600 boat parking area – a 10-story office building – 1,500 seat theatre – shops – restaurants – swimming pool – skating rink and a three acre park. Total cost $36,000,000.”

Published by Aero Distributing Co., Inc., the front of this card features a color illustration of Marina City.

(Below) Two other Marina City postcards published by Aero in the early 1960s. At left, a view from above the intersection of Wacker Drive and Michigan Avenue. The commercial platform, marina, office building, and theater building are still under construction in the image at right, and the seawall is still in place. With the help of dynamite, it was removed in November 1963.

Aero Distributing Co., Inc. Aero Distributing Co., Inc.

Cameo Greeting Cards

In 1964 and 1965, Cameo Greeting Cards produced several postcards featuring Marina City. These are just a few. Credited on the back of each card are Dexter Press Inc. and Penrod Studio.

Cameo Greeting Cards

(Above) “Aerial view of State Street and Chicago Skyline. Looking north on State Street, showing New Marina City’s Twin Towers, The United of America Building [One East Wacker Drive], and other Chicago skyscrapers with Lake Michigan in the background.”

Cameo Greeting Cards

(Above) “The Chicago Canal. Bordered by some of Chicago’s finest architecture, the Chicago Canal is a contributing factor to Chicago’s commerce, industry and serves as a means of seeing Chicago’s famous and beautiful scenery via the water route.”

Items to note: The building at 320 North Dearborn, across from the west tower of Marina City, was replaced in 1987 by the 20-story Hotel Nikko Chicago. Since 1997, it has been The Westin Chicago River North. On the roof of the west tower is the broadcast tower with the “Circle 7” logo of WBKB (now WLS-TV). The large island in the middle of Wacker Drive (in lower right corner) shows the original location of the statue of Robert Morris, George Washington, and Haym Solomon. (Click on image to view larger version.)

Cameo Greeting Cards

(Above) “Looking West – From every vantage point Chicago’s skyscrapers offer a new vista. The Chicago River may be seen here. The river affords the city commercial waterway advantages as well as personal pleasure. It is completely navigable for all size vessels.”

(Below) “State Street at Randolph. Looking north on State Street at Randolph with the New Marina City’s Twin Towers in the background.”

Cameo Greeting Cards

Cameo Greeting Cards

(Left) This view from the west shows the seawall in front of the marina still intact.

“Marina City. Looking along the Chicago River with Lake Michigan in background. At the left Chicago’s newest apartment house is Bertrand Goldberg’s Marina City, 60-story cylinders scalloped ’round with balconies. Lower floors serve as ramp garage. Structure has been called Chicago’s most amazing since the 1893 Ferris Wheel.”

(Below left) Marina City from Wacker Drive east of State Street.

(Below right) View from Wabash Avenue and Wacker Drive. 35 East Wacker Drive (also known as Jewelers’ Building) at left.

(Above) EASY LIVING ON THE CHICAGO RIVER. “Using the famous Marina City slips and restaurant as a background setting, tourists enjoy the many sights offered by excursion boats plying between Lake Michigan and the western end of Chicago’s fabulous downtown.”

Jaboul Publishing Co.

More postcards

(Left) CHICAGO RIVER AND MARINA CITY. “This scene shows the Chicago River winding eastward towards Lake Michigan. In the foreground is the famous Marina City, 60-story, twin, circular apartment towers.” (Jaboul Publishing Co.)

(Below) MARINA CITY TOWERS. CHICAGO, ILLINOIS. “The 60-story Twin, circular apartments located on the Chicago River is one of Chicago’s famous sights.” L. R. Pollizzie, Cee-R-View Cards. Note IBM Center at 330 North Wabash Avenue under construction in lower right frame.

The office building is still under construction in the image above.

“Here you see, overlooking the Chicago canal, the beautiful Marina City in the foreground and behind it the Wrigley Building. On the right of the canal are the Executive House Motel, the Chicago Motor Club, and many other beautiful and interesting buildings. Many such sights as this can be seen throughout the downtown Chicago area.”

(Left) “Newest addition to the Chicago skyline is this 60-story apartment house with lower floors serving as ramp garage. Along with housing, a wide range of commercial and recreational facilities are provided, including a marina with slips to accommodate 700 boats. The new Marina City’s Twin Towers have been called Chicago’s most amazing structure since the 1893 Ferris Wheel.”

(Below) View from southwest.

(Above) River North neighborhood viewed from southeast. (Below) 39-cent decal with illustrations of the Picasso sculpture at Daley Plaza, Marina City, and Grant Park’s Buckingham Fountain.

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