Chicago's tallest building celebrates 50 years dominating city skyline

For longtime Chicagoans, it will forever be known as the "Sears Tower."

On Wednesday, the iconic high-rise celebrated 50 years dominating the city skyline.

With its official name these days of "Willis Tower," we're told the building is seeing activity at pre-COVID levels and at times exceeding it. The 110-story skyscraper ended the Empire State Building's four-decade reign as the world's tallest building on May 3rd, 1973.


While looking back on the past 50 years and exciting new developments inside the tower, things are looking up.

"I really think it's a lot what we did with Catalog. Catalog is what we tip the hat to Sears, Roebuck and Company for what use to be the way people shopped. It's our three-hundred-thousand square foot retail emporium," said Randy Stancik, General Manager of Skydeck Chicago.

Building officials say "Catalog" merges office space with leisure travel to become a destination for people who live in Chicago and out-of-towners alike.

Some towering stats about the building: it has 16,000 windows, around 990 toilets, and enough wiring to go around the planet 25 times.

And of course, The Ledge – which hangs off the skydeck – has thrilled and terrified tens of thousands of guests.