11/12/2013 06:29 pm ET | Updated Nov 25, 2013

Why Chicagoans Will Love The Sears Willis Tower No Matter What Its Rank


Chicagoans were none too thrilled with the Tuesday ruling that effectively bumped The Sears Willis Tower out of the top spot for the tallest building in North America.

The Height Committee of the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat ruled the mast on One World Trade Center in New York City counted as a spire and not a broadcast antenna, giving the tower a symbolic height of 1,776 feet -- about 325 feet taller than the Willis.

Nevermind that without the 408-foot spire, One WTC is shorter than Chicago's skyscraper (which still leads North American buildings in having the highest occupied floor), there are reasons beyond rankings that make the Sears/Willis the tallest tower in our hearts.

  • 1 It's A Force Of Nature
    According to a paper published by UIC, the Willis/Sears Tower is struck by lightning "thousands" of times each year. More than a decade ago, WGN's chief meteorologist Tom Skilling estimated the number to be closer to 50 -- but noted in its history, the tower has never been damaged by lightning.
  • 2 It's Batman-Approved
    The Caped Crusader used the Willis Tower as his perch to listen in on crime in 2008's "The Dark Knight."
  • 3 The Views Can't Be Beat
    The views inspired by the upper floors of the tower are so good, they're worth skipping school to check out, a la Ferris and friends in "Ferris Bueller's Day Off."
  • 4 Artists Literally Sing Of Its Greatness
    So majestic is the tower, it even inspired an entire song -- "The Seer's Tower" (a play on the former name, "Sears Tower") from the 2005 album "Illinois" by Sufjan Stevens.
  • 5 You Get High Real Fast
    The zippy Schindler elevators in the Willis/Sears are among the fastest in the world, moving at 1,600 feet per minute when going at top speed.
  • 6 It Can Do Aerial Gymnastics
    A true marvel of skyscraper engineering, the building is designed to sway up to three feet in high winds.
  • 7 It Expands Our Horizons
    According to the Willis Tower's SkyDeck facts, visibility on a clear day is approximately 40-50 miles (65 - 80 kilometers) meaning viewers can see four states from the tower: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan.
  • 8 It Inspires Crazy Stunts
    Climber Dan Goodwin climbed the tower on Memorial Day in 1981 wearing a homemade Spider-Man suit to bring attention to the difficulty (or complete inability) of fighting fires in high-rise buildings.
  • 9 It Leaves Us "Flush" With Pride
  • 10 It'll Forever Be A Chicago Icon
    You can look at a block of black Lego's arranged just so and know instantly you're looking at a Chicago icon.
  • 11 You Can Really Go Out On A Ledge
    Scott Olson/Getty Images
    The Ledge, 1,353 feet above the ground, is one of the newish draws to the Willis Tower and provides some spine-tingling views of the city below.
  • 12 It's Always Here To Welcome Us Home
    There are few sights that lift a Chicagoan's heart more than seeing the tower on the ride home (such as here, along the Eisenhower Expressway) whether by train, plane or automobile.


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