October 9, 2007

The Great Clocks

Chicago's downtown Loop is always bustling as tourists hop from store to store and locals in business attire rush to their meetings and appointments. But whether it's crunch time or the time of their lives, they all look to one of Chicago's historical landmarks to help them keep time.

Marshall Field's Clock

The first Great Clock at Marshall Field's Macy's State Street store was installed on November 26, 1897. At that time, the clock was a symbol of elegance and prosperity. Mr. Field wanted this great clock to serve as a guide for all Chicagoans, attracting them to his store. The flagship store was much more than a department store; it was a place to socialize, dine, and explore. The Great Clock was immortalized by Norman Rockwell in one of his works that was used as a cover for the Saturday Evening Post in 1945.

Macy's It is unfortunate that this building, which was once Chicago's third most popular tourist attraction, is now an eyesore to so many, myself included. In 2005, the department store was acquired by Federated Department Stores (now Macy's, Inc). To many Chicagoans' disappointment, the name of the store was officially changed to 'Macy's on State Street,' the traditional dark green awnings were replaced by Macy's black ones, and the Field's slogan 'As Chicago as it Gets' has been swapped out for Macy's 'Way to Shop.' Hundreds of demonstrators hold protests in front of the store on a regular basis, and in a recent survey, 70% of Chicagoans said they were angry with Macy's for replacing Marshall Field's and refuse to shop at the store now. In fact, at Federated's 2007 annual shareholder's meeting, a Federated executive admitted that, while other former Marshall Field's stores were 'no better or worse' than other converted stores, the flagship State Street store was 'doing badly.'

If protests and sales continue along this route, who knows what's (*ahem*) in store for Macy's?

Only time will tell.

Marshall Field's Great ClockMarshall Field's Great Clock
Marshall Field's Great Clock

Photo credit: (c/o Flickr) Atelier Teee, Springsun, Michael L, David Paul Ohmer, Wikipedia

Marshall Field's Great Clock: 100 N State St
Parking pay lot
Public trans: Bus # 2, 3, 4, X4, 6, 10, 14, 20, X20, 22, 24, 26, 36, 62, 29, 36, 56, 60, 62, 124, 127, 144, 145, 146, 147, 148, 151, 157
Red Line train (Washington) currently under construction
Blue Line train (Washington)
Orange/Purple/Pink/Green/Brown Line train (Randolph/Madison)


7 comments to The Great Clocks

  1. Heather
    October 9th, 2007 at 4:37 pm

    That’s an amazing clock. I had no idea about the history of the building - how sad that Macy’s changed so much of it!

  2. Lynn
    October 10th, 2007 at 1:04 am

    I agree with Heather, it’s a beautiful clock and it’ll be interesting to see what happens to the store in the future!

  3. Jon - The DC Traveler
    October 10th, 2007 at 9:17 pm

    “Macy’s” clock' Just doesn’t sound right!
    Would be as wrong as Tribune Field.

  4. Matt B
    October 11th, 2007 at 2:05 am

    Heh, that’s how I feel when I have to say “U.S. Cellular Field” instead of “Comiskey Park.”

  5. Let’s Spend Time Together
    October 11th, 2007 at 3:25 am

    [...] variety) can be beautiful things. And Matt at The Chicago Traveler would like to tell you about clocks in Chicago. I certainly learned something about American culture from it, but I’m not telling you [...]

  6. The Chicago Theatre
    December 3rd, 2007 at 1:01 am

    [...] The grand lobby, five stories high and surrounded by gallery walkways, is modeled after the Royal Chapel at Versailles. The grand staircase is fashioned after that of the Paris Opera House and ascends to the various levels of the Great Balcony. Interior decorations including drapes and furniture were supplied by the famous Marshall Field and Company. [...]

  7. "Top Chef: Chicago" Bears the Elements
    April 14th, 2008 at 6:11 pm

    [...] In the Elimination Challenge, the chefs were randomly split into four groups of three. Each group was assigned one of the classical elements (Air, Earth, Fire, and Water) and had to create a first-course meal based on that element for 80 people of Chicago's Celebrity Chef Meals on Wheels Fundraiser, held at the old Marshall Field Building. [...]

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