DOWNTOWN — This home movie of a 1956 Downtown river cruise shows Chicago’s skyline in its midcentury infancy.
The silent video, which was originally shot on 16-millimeter Kodachrome and restored by River Forest native John Meyer, documents a sunny, lazy day along the Chicago River back when the 41-story Prudential Building, 130 E. Randolph St., was the tallest tower in the city.
“It’s just amazing to see all that open space between the lake and all the high-rises,” said Meyer, 63, who now lives in California.
The footage also shows vintage cars cruising Lake Shore Drive, Navy Pier back when it hosted college classes instead of chain restaurants, and construction of the former Chicago Sun-Times building, which has since been torn down to make way for the Trump International Hotel & Tower. A ride on the Mercury Scenicruiser cost $1.25 an hour, or $1.75 for two, back then.
This story first ran on DNAinfo in 2017.