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Friday, January 06, 2006

Springfield's two tallest buildings

Emporis, "the world's biggest provider of information regarding the global building market," has a list of Springfield's 34 tallest buildings. I never realized we had 34 tall buildings, but it looks like we sure do.

Coming in first is the Illinois State Capitol Building at 110 meters, or 361 feet, not including the flagpole. I like what they have to say about this beautiful building:

- Tallest of all domed state capitols in the United States. Nebraska and Louisiana have taller capitols but they are towers, not domes.

I had no idea.

Coming in second is the Springfield Hilton at 107 meters, or 352 feet. It started out as a Ramada. Sometimes I still refer to it by its original name, The Forum 30. This often results in blank stares. From the facts:

- The building is a 10-sided cylinder, and the tallest cylindrical skyscraper in Illinois besides Marina City's two towers in Chicago.
- The perimeter columns of the steel structure are more than twice as thick above the 15th floor (30" compared with 14"). This is because of an unusual bracing system which transfers weight away from the perimeter in the tower's lower half.
- Tallest conventional highrise building in Illinois outside the Chicago area; also the fourth-tallest building in the state outside Chicago (the State Capitol is third).

An interesting comparison between the Capitol and the Hilton, and a topic that is apt to come up in barroom conversation around these parts, is the actual height as opposed to the number of floors of each building. The Hilton is 30 floors (hence, Forum 30). The Capitol is eight floors, I believe.

The Emporis site lists the Capitol as having five "Floors (OG)." I don't know what "OG" means, but, there are at least a couple more floors in the dome. You have to know where you're going to find them. It's been years since I've been in the Capitol, and even more years since I've been in the dome. Perhaps someone who works there will come along and verify the number.

Anyway, the interesting point is the difference in feet (nine) versus the difference in stories (22). Maybe you have to actually be involved in a barroom conversation to appreciate the importance of this.

Okay. This would be a good time to point out a recent entry at Springfield Rewind showing some very cool photos of the Forum 30 in 1972 when it was under construction, including one of a Sikorsky Sky Crane Helicopter, and one from just a few days ago. Be sure to mouse over the top photo to reveal what the building looks like today. As a teenager living in Springfield, I watched in awe as this building was constructed.

Posted by Marie at January 6, 2006 7:54 PM


Wasn't that the big controversy when the Hilton ( or choose your name for it ) was originally being built? That it in fact couldn't be bigger than the capital. I seem to remember hearing or reading this somewhere. According to what you have found. If we put them side by side the capital may win. Then again I may have missed something in the interpretation.

Posted by: Iggy at January 7, 2006 5:45 AM

OG means above ground - I thinks.

Yes the Forum 30.
I had a dream recently where I went into the Forum 30, and went into the elevator. Instead of going up, I went down.

Down, and down I went.

The elevator doors opened, and I looked around.
There was a massive project taking place. I asked a passerby, "What goes on here?"

I was told, "The original plan for Forum 30 was to build upwards thirty stories, and to build another thirty stories below ground."

I said it sounded safer than building above ground now-a-days.

Odd dream.

Posted by: JeromeProphet at January 7, 2006 8:55 PM

I wanted to do this story back in December but procrastinated. In fact I was talking in person to JP about it. But then I saw your story last night. It was better than mine but I went ahead and posted mine anyway because I really liked the controversy of which is taller. Everyone I know, including our friend JP, said Hilton was taller (actually one person did agree with me). Now that the word is out I feel vindicated :). I do like the link to Emporis.

Posted by: randy at January 30, 2006 4:29 PM