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Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge this week on Where’s My Backpack? at http://wheresmybackpack.com/2014/05/02/travel-theme-close-up/ is Close Up.

Have you ever noticed how some of the most detailed work on many of the skyscrapers in Chicago appears at the very top of the building? It’s as if the architects, not content with designing the tallest structures (in their day) in the city, decided to crown their achievements with a special touch. Unfortunately they are sometimes difficult to see from street level.

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High atop the 475ft Metropolitan Tower on Michigan Avenue stands a 20ft blue, glass bee hive which is lit at night with six 1000 watt light bulbs. Just below the bee hive are four carillon bells which were restored in 1979 for Pope John Paul’s visit to Chicago.

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The Crain Communications Building, also known at one time as the Smurfit-Stone Building, on Michigan Avenue, is topped by a very distinctive slanted, diamond-shaped facade.

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One Prudential Plaza and the taller Two Prudential Plaza which was built in 1990 on East Randolph was sold in 2006 for $470 million. Two Prudential Plaza stands 995ft tall and is topped by an 80ft spire.

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Built in 1898 and renovated in 1923, 6 North Michigan Avenue was formerly the Montgomery Ward Headquarters. At the time of its completion it was the tallest building in Chicago and was topped by a ten story tower, a pyramid, a temple and an 18ft tall weather-vane which have since been demolished.

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Completed in 1927, The Pittsfield Building on E. Washington Street was developed by heirs of Marshall Field and is named after Pittsfield, Massachusetts where Marshall Field got his first job.

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Construction of Willoughby Tower at 8 South Michigan Avenue was completed in 1929. The building stands 438ft tall and has a limestone façade. This along with the other buildings shown here are just a few of the many interesting examples of architecture in Chicago and I hope, in the weeks to come, that I will have the opportunity to see and photograph more of them.

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