As Mayor Richard M. Daley surpasses his father to become the longest-serving mayor in Chicago history, he finishes his final term knowing he will forever be enshrined in Chicago real estate.
On December 26, Daley will have served 7,917 days as Chicago mayor, one more than his dad and counting.
Last week, Daley’s alma mater, DePaul University, named a building after him.
DePaul renamed the 97-year-old Lytton Building the Richard M. and Maggie C. Daley Building.
“This is going to be the mayor that made Chicago a world city,” said DePaul’s president Rev. Dennis Holtschneider. “Before that, it had always been one of the great American cities. But he’s the mayor in the history of the city that put it on the world stage.”
Daley got his undergraduate and law degrees at DePaul. His brother and his daughter attended the school, as did his father.
But there are already buildings named after Mayor Richard J. Daley, including the Richard J. Daley Center and Plaza and the Richard J. Daley College.
Richard J. Daley could be considered the most powerful big-city mayor ever. He was responsible for O’Hare Airport, McCormick Place, Chicago expressways and public housing high-rises. He also demolished 8,000 Chicago homes to make room for the University of Illinois at Chicago.
But his son, Mayor Richard M. Daley, was powerful in his own right.
He took Chicago and turned it into a green city by creating parks, beautifying the downtown area and adding environmentally friendly roofs.
Daley diversified a once racially divided city. He promoted tourism, businesses and the arts. And, as he carried on after his father, he expanded O’Hare Airport and took down some failed public housing units.
“The only reason why I passed his longevity is because he died in office. Otherwise, he would be the longest-serving mayor,” said Mayor Richard M. Daley.
Richard J. Daley became Mayor of Chicago in 1955, a time when few homes had televisions yet. He died in 1976. Richard M. Daley took over for his father in 1989 and was re-elected in 1991, 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007.
The younger Daley, 68, announced in September that he would not run for a seventh term as Chicago’s mayor.
“Simply put, it’s time,” said Daley. “Time for me, it’s time for Chicago to move on.”
Though he’s had some bumps in the road throughout his reign, Mayor Richard M. Daley has been wonderful for the city of Chicago.
I’ll bet DePaul University will not be the only institution to name real estate after him.