Photo: Lindbergh Beacon Shines Bright (JPC-04)


The Palmolive Building in Chicago is capped by the Lindbergh Beacon. While the building is considered one of the finest examples of Art Deco architecture in the world, the beacon sits atop a 97 foot tower on the roof of the building and was originally donated to the city in 1929 to guide airplanes to Chicago–at 2 Billion candlepower, airplanes could see the beacon over 200 miles away. The beacon was turned off when taller buildings were built nearby and in 1990 the original beacon was donated to the Experimental Aircraft Association museum in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. In 2003, as part of the building’s adaptive re-use, the beacon was brought back to life, though only shining out on Lake Michigan.

When I saw this beacon from my friend’s boat on July 4th, I knew I had to include it in the July Photo Challenge of lighting fixtures. Even at half the power of the original beacon, it’s one massive light fixture! I liked the idea of adding a historic feel to the image by making it a noisy black and white; thought most original renderings of the beacon don’t include the John Hancock Tower.

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