A new look at an old building


For the first 18 years of my life, I lived near Springfield, Illinois. And the tallest building in town, then and now, is the one pictured above. Together with the dome of the Illinois capitol building, it makes up the Springfield skyline, such as it is.

There are 15 states that don’t have a building of at least 30 stories, and two more that have 30 story buildings as the tallest one in the state. Of course, it gets lost in the shuffle in the state where the skyscraper was invented, but it’s still nothing to sneeze at.

When I was a kid, it was known as the Forum 30, and today it’s called the Springfield Hilton. I looked at the building hundreds of times as a kid, but over the weekend I saw it from a vantage point inside the Sangamon County courthouse. And I saw it in a way that I never had before.

I was struck by the phallic nature of the building, particularly from where I was standing. I snapped a picture and showed it to my brother. He responded that the building is known informally as “The penis of the prairie” and we both had a good laugh at that moniker.

It turns out that the Nebraska state capitol building is known in a similar way, but I like this one better. Just don’t ask me to explain why that is. Perhaps it’s a hometown pride thing. Yeah, that’s probably it.

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