The doors to Chicago’s finest places and spaces don’t unlock themselves. This year, we’re introducing you to the passionate, enthusiastic people helping us put Open House Chicago 2017 together.
Jim Rotche is the general manager/publisher of the Chicago Tribune’s suburban publications, including the Naperville Sun, Daily Southtown and Lake County News-Sun. Jim and his team welcomed thousands of visitors to Tribune Tower during Open House Chicago from 2011 to 2015. Last year, they also opened the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center printing plant to Open House Chicago guests. The Chicago Tribune prints the Open House Chicago event guide at the Freedom Center—so without this building the entire weekend would not be possible!
What is your favorite part about Freedom Center? Why should people see it?
It is the intersection of historical integrity of newspapers with technology and efficiencies that enables the ten presses to get newspapers to millions in the Chicago (metropolitan area). My favorite part is the massive crane that moves the 1-ton rolls of paper.
What do you love about Open House Chicago?
Chicago Tribune has been partnering with Open House Chicago since 2011. I have been the #1 fan from the very beginning. My favorite part is meeting the people from all over the world that attend this event. When visitors of all ages gaze out at the Freedom Center presses they all have that look of wonderment that you see in a small child.
What is the most unusual or most common question you get asked by visitors?
Interesting questions always surround the story of when the first barge of newsprint came down the Chicago River and got stuck, causing us to abandon the outside newsprint cranes and convert to a rail model instead.
What is your favorite Open House Chicago site other than your own?
While I really enjoyed The Rookery, what I like best is how my experience changes each year as I take a different path.