Wrigley Building

The Wrigley Building rises above a bend in the Chicago river like a beacon. Its cladding of terra cotta, with its subtle gradient from gray to cream to gleaming white, draws the eyes up, up, up to the soaring clock tower. In 1921, newspapers called the building the “Jewel of Chicago” and said it looked “like a snow palace, a tower of frost.” Its beauty was a reminder of the shining White City of 1893, and while the visual effect was stunning, especially in a city plagued with pollution, perhaps the most surprising aspect was the lack of advertising. From a man who put an ad on every single streetcar in the USA and paid $104,000 a year for a sign in Times Square, this seemed distinctly uncharacteristic.

“The strangest feature of this great cloud tickling monument to spearmint is that, although it will be the most commanding site in the middle west for a wonderful electric display of the virtues of William Wrigley Jr.’s chicle sticks, there won’t be any advertising on the building.” Chicago Tribune, April 4, 1920

Strange, maybe. Clever? Definitely. When it came to getting tongues wagging, William Wrigley Jr. knew what he was doing—and not simply because he sold chewing gum. “It was better advertising not to plaster my name on the building,” he said. “People talk more about it. It is the unusual thing—the thing they didn’t expect me to do.”

Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.

Wrigley Building - photo by Theresa L. Goodrich

Completed: 1921; 1924
Architect: Graham, Anderson, Probst and White
Address: 400 – 410 N. Michigan Ave.

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Sources for Wrigley Building

This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.

  • “A $10 a Week Salesman Who Founded a $30,000,000 a Year Industry.” Fort Dearborn Magazine Vol. III No. 7, Sep 1922.Crowell, Merle. “The Wonder Story of Wrigley.” American Magazine. Mar 1920.
  • Chase, Al. “Monument to Spearmint to Top Chicago.” The Chicago Tribune. 04 Apr 1920.
  • Hotchkiss, George Burton, 1884-1953, and Richard Benjamin Franken. The Leadership of Advertised Brands: a Study of 100 Representative Commodities Showing the Names And Brands That Are Most Familiar to the Public. [1st ed.] [Garden City, N.Y.]: Pub. by Doubleday, Page & Company for the Associated Advertising Clubs of the World, 1923.
  • White, James Terry, 1845-1920, and George Derby. The National Cyclopædia of American Biography: Being the History of the United States As Illustrated In the Lives of the Founders, Builders, And Defenders of the Republic, And of the Men And Women Who Are Doing the Work And Moulding the Thought of the Present Time. New York: J. T. White & company, 1933.
  • Wildman, Edwin, 1867-1932. Famous Leaders of Industry: With an Index. Illustrated. Boston: Page Company, 1934.
  • “William Wrigley Dies at Age 70.” The New York Times, 27 Jan 1932.
  • Windle, Ernest. Windle’s History of Santa Catalina Island (and Guide). Avalon, Calif.: The Catalina Islander, 1931.