Chicago’s Beloved Landmark: The Legacy of the Marshall Field Clock

The Marshall Field Clock, also known as the “Great Clock,” is an iconic landmark located in downtown Chicago, Illinois. It is situated on the corner of State Street and Washington Street, outside what was once the Marshall Field and Company department store building. The clock has become a beloved symbol of the city and a meeting point for generations of Chicagoans and visitors.

The clock was installed in 1897 as part of the construction of the new Marshall Field and Company building, which was designed by architect Daniel Burnham. The clock was crafted by the E. Howard Clock Company and stands 12 feet (3.7 meters) tall. It features four clock faces, each measuring 19 feet (5.8 meters) in diameter, making it one of the largest street clocks in the world.

The Marshall Field Clock’s design is in the Beaux-Arts architectural style, popular during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The clock’s elegant and ornate structure includes neoclassical elements, with its faces adorned with Roman numerals and intricate detailing.

Over the years, the Marshall Field Clock has become more than just a timekeeping device; it has become an essential part of Chicago’s culture and history. It has served as a meeting place for generations of locals, with people arranging to meet “under the clock” before heading out to explore the city or attend events.

In 2006, the Marshall Field and Company department store was rebranded as Macy’s after the acquisition by Macy’s, Inc. Despite the name change, the clock has continued to be referred to as the Marshall Field Clock by many Chicagoans as a nod to its historical significance.

The Marshall Field Clock has become associated with the holiday season in Chicago. Each year during the winter holidays, the clock’s base is adorned with festive decorations, and it serves as the location for the annual “Light Up the Holidays” ceremony, marking the beginning of the holiday season on State Street.

The Marshall Field Clock was designated as a Chicago Landmark in 2005, recognizing its architectural and historical significance to the city. The Marshall Field Clock remains an enduring symbol of Chicago, representing a blend of history, commerce, and community. As an iconic meeting point and a beloved landmark, it continues to hold a special place in the hearts of locals and visitors alike, embodying the spirit of the city’s past and present.

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