Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Life With Big Willie

Magnet # 141:  Sears Tower

Material: Resin

Purchased By: Danny

Well, I guess this whole magnet blog concept is working. Even though I'd never met Danny before, my friend Lindsay got him reading my posts and, what do you know, he bought me this magnet when he was in Chicago - and we hadn't even met yet - how cool is that! Plus, I think it may have helped me score extra magnets from folks I do know, as it keeps my hobby fresh in their mind. Looks like all of the hard work is paying off.

As most of you probably know by now, there is no longer a Sears Tower in Chicago, Illinois. Yep, it's still standing, but it's been given a new, and downright mundane, moniker - Willis Tower. The name changed last year, on July 16, outraging many Chicagoans and people all across America. It didn't help that Willis Group Holdings, LTD, which brought about the change, is from London, and is only leasing 3 floors of this 108-story giant. Sure, Sears no longer owns it, but Willis doesn't either. And it used taxpayer dollars in its takeover - the City of Chicago subsidized them 3.8 million to fund the deal. I find it pretty offensive that such a business arrangement has been made. Sure, the Sears Tower is a place of business and is owned by individuals, but it is also an important landmark in our relatively young country. It's the tallest building in America and, for over two decades, it was the tallest in the world and we rightfully take a good deal of pride in it. I have to wonder how the callous Brits who made this change would feel if we came over to their country and switched the Tower of London to the Tower of Liberty, Stonehenge to Americahenge, Windsor Palace to Washington Palace and so on. Maybe they're so corrupted by money that they wouldn't care, but if they feel any national pride, they ought to. I know I'm not alone in this thought, as many have expressed their anger and even outrage at websites like http://www.searstower.org/, which began all the way back in 1998, and the more recent http://www.itsthesearstower.com/.  Check them out and voice your opinion if you're so inclined.

Another friend of mine traveled to Chicago after the name change. He said he wasn't even aware it had been made, so he couldn't figure out why he couldn't find a sign for the Sears Tower anywhere downtown. He said that, as of yet, he didn't see any magnets for Willis Tower, and it felt to him as though retailers wanted to get rid of all of the old ones before they bought any more. He also noticed how the locals are irritated with the change and some were now referring to the tower as "Big Willie" to mock the new leasers. I know others have vowed never to stop calling it the Sears Tower, and I doubt I'll ever call it by another name. Some particularly angry Chicagoans have been tearing off parts of letters that form the new sign for the tower, so much so that they've had to put up another sign. Okay, that might be going a little far. And a few may argue that this name change is the right of the owners, but I think it's pretty hypocritical of them to not only profit from the million or so tourists who visit the Skydeck at the tower each year because it is a nationally recognized landmark but also cash in the name of this beloved structure for extra funds. Emotions run deep with many in regards to this name, and I don't think we've seen the end of this drama yet. In any event, the naming rights are only good for 15 years, so we may have a change in 2024. Perhaps then, the tower will have a new name entirely (but I hope not).

Regardless of the name issues, this is a great magnet. I really like the sense of perspective it gives - it's as though you're standing at the foot of the tower, staring up at its highest floors.  Yep, I'm pretty happy that Danny sent it my way.  It reminds me that, yes, there are a few folks tuning into my ramblings on this blog.  Thanks again, Danny!


  1. Glad you like it! I really do enjoy all the entertaining info you dig up about each magnet's topic. Its way better than many fact of the day blogs you can find elsewhere.

    As for this magnet, most of the other magnets up at the top of the tower were just standard pictures mounted on magnet board. This one really stood out and I knew I had to buy it immediately for you.

    Here is a picture I took from the base of the tower (not certain if you can view it or not... we'll try) I think about the same perspective. ;-)


  2. We went to the Sears Tower this summer and happened to be there the day they opened The Ledge. The Ledge is an area with clear flooring that allows you to look straight down. IT WAS AWESOME!

  3. Thank you both! Yes, I try to dig up the best info I can in the time I have - glad it's appreciated.

    Maybe I'll get to see the Ledge myself someday. Just think - you were some of the first to see the Ledge and some of the last to visit the Sears Tower (technically).