Piece of Alaska granite imbedded in Chicago's Tribune Tower

Posted: Friday, September 07, 2001

JUNEAU (AP) -- A piece of Alaska granite is now embedded in Chicago's Tribune Tower, thanks to the efforts of Michael Orelove of Juneau.

During a visit to the Windy City in 1999, Orelove noticed in a brochure that the tower contained geologic or historic specimens from around the world and all 50 states except Alaska.

Orelove, a retired state worker, took that as a challenge, launching a campaign of insistent correspondence.

''We got a stone from the top of Mount McKinley to downtown Chicago,'' Orelove told the Juneau Empire.

The chunk of granite originally was collected by an expedition in the 1950s as a research specimen. After considerable negotiation, it was turned over to Orelove by Denali National Park and Preserve.

The rock is about the length of a dollar bill and the height of a hot dog bun, and has been mounted vertically in a spot where an original building block of the tower had disintegrated.

On Aug. 18, the granite was embedded about 12 feet from the ground.

Michael Orelove is relishing the fact that the Tribune Tower now must reprint the brochure that guides people to its more than 120 famous stones. He said he's pleased he pulled off in the same summer both the Alaska rock project and a Juneau dockside community sundial, painted on concrete near the lower Mount Roberts Tramway terminal.

''I am going to start a few (more projects),'' he said. ''I have a couple in the wings but I don't want to say what they are. Let people wonder.''

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