Two Chicago Icons Threatened by Recent Rain

Two Chicago Icons Threatened by  Recent Rain
Farnsworth House--image Chicago Tribune

What do Star Trek and Mies Van der Rohe have in common?  Record rain and flooding.

Heavy rains and flooding over the weekend threatened two iconic buildings in the Chicago area –the Farnsworth House along the Fox River in Plano Illinois, and the Sears/Willis  Tower  in downtown Chicago.

The Farnsworth House is a masterpiece of modernist architecture designed by Mies van der Rohe between 1945 and 1951. At the time, the site along the Fox River was a rural area, and the elevated design  could accommodate the spring rains and rising Fox River.

Since then, the area has become much more built up, and the flooding is more severe. Here is an article about the recent flooding at the Farnsworth House, as well as a striking image of the dark Sears/Willis Tower and the Chicago skyline.

The Sears/Willis Tower was also affected by the recent rains. Flooding along Lower Wacker Drive also flooded  the basement of Sears/Willis Tower, causing  a power outage to the entire building, which  houses the transmitters of many TV stations, including WCIU, Channel 26.

Its sub-channel–Channel 26.4 is the home of the Heroes & Icons Channel, which features re-runs of all the Star Trek shows 6 nights a week.  There was NO SIGNAL on Monday night, after the rain and flooding on Sunday.

Today, Wednesday,  Com Ed crews are working to restore power to  Sears/Willis tower, and the TV signals are coming back. The flood waters are receding by the Farnsworth House.

And there is more rain in the forecast for the Chicago area. This may turn out to be the rainiest May on record!


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  • Thanks for the report. It looks like we've got the "rainiest May" title -- on the 21st! What a mess. I'm trying to cheer up by imagining the call someone must have had to come and clean up the tower flood -- "What you talkin' about, Willis?"

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    That's pretty funny! Of course, not like the torrential rain.

  • In reply to Margaret H. Laing:

    Thanks so much for reading! After cleaning up the mess and rain water in my basement, all I wanted to do was watch my space shows on Monday night. Imagine my surprise to turn on the TV and see NO SIGNAl! Yes, I didn't make the connection that it was caused by the power outages at Willis Tower. The dark tower against the bright Chicago buildings looks like a dystopian science fiction movie. Thanks for the light!

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    It took me about 20 minutes to figure that out. Curiously, whoever runs the website for cbschicago hasn't been informed that Channel 2 is on channel 32.4.Channel 26 has come back, but having Judge Jerry at the moment doesn't seem an improvement.

    On a related point, our retention pond was merely damp instead of overflowing, so work done by the village must have worked. On the other hand, there didn't seem to be any way to go northbound out of Des Plaines.

  • In reply to jack:

    Thanks for reading, Jack. Yes, there are still stations affected, and power is not fully restored to Sears/Willis Tower.

    There was flooding all over the area! Water in basements where I live in south Oak Park, and ponds in back yards. But fortunately, it was groundwater---not sewer back-up.

    Were you driving? Remember, please don't drive in flood waters!

  • In reply to Weather Girl:

    I was driving, and went past a couple of plastic barrels, but when I saw standing water, turned around, and finally found a way out to the west. I should have remembered that the triangle by Rand Rd. and Lee St. is usually a hopeless situation.

  • Rohe, Rohe, Rohe, your boat...

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Thanks for reading, AW! The Farnsworth House does look like it could float away, doesn't it? Thanks for the light!

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Quit Miesing around. ;-)

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