First Resident

James White

Whether or not he was the first to purchase a unit in Harbor Point, he doesn’t know. However, Mr. James White, is certain that he was the first resident. In 1974, he was 48 years old.

As the building was under construction, he saw a mock up of a unit in the sales office at the corner of Michigan Ave. and Randolph St.[1] In order to see the actual unit he eventually selected, his agent took him up to the 30th floor in a cage-like external construction elevator attached to the outside of the building on the north side. The cab was completely open and Jim found it a rather frightening experience. He walked the stark cement corridor to 3001, and entered a completely empty, concrete space.

In July 1974, Jim had been scheduled to move in, but because there had been so many delays, the developer finally had to put him up in a nearby hotel. When he did move in that fall, he learned that they put down the hall carpeting and turned on the water just for him. The first time he turned on the water, debris sailed out of the faucet.

At first, there was only a night watchman and a lone janitor on duty. One day Jim decided to explore the building. The garage wasn’t completed, and the other amenities were in place although not functional. After looking around the South Function Room, he entered the passage leading to the North Function Room, and when the door closed behind him, he found himself locked in the corridor between the two rooms. He couldn’t exit! He yelled and banged on doors. After a while, he lowered himself on his hands and knees and yelled through the space under the doors hoping to be heard. He can clearly remember hearing music coming from somewhere: Nat King Cole singing Mona Lisa. After about eight hours, the janitor discovered Jim, but he couldn’t enter the space, had to resort to use an object to jimmy the door open. Finally, they walked together into the North Function Room and out into the lobby.

Eventually others moved in, but there was a recession and sales were very slow. To encourage potential buyers, lights were turned on in empty units to create the illusion that they were occupied.

Jim was one of the first active unit owners and participated on several ad hoc committees before the building was turned over to a fifteen member Board of Directors (Board).[2] He was on the original Board for 9 years, vice-president for 4 of those years. Jim remembers that in the middle of the space in front of the building was a very tall flag pole with a very large flag. During times of high winds, the flag flapped so loudly that the residents on the lower floors complained about the noise, and that became one of the first issues that the newly formed Board had to grapple with.

Jim also remembers when Dolly Parton was at Harbor Point in the early 1980’s filming “Straight Talk”.

Though for a while Jim moved to a one-bedroom apartment and rented out the studio he originally purchased, Jim is now back living in the unit he first purchased in 1974.

February 12, 2013

1. When the sales office at Randolph and Michigan Ave. was closed , the models were moved to the 13th Floor of Harbor Point.
2. The first Board included: Helen Beaumon-Warner, Robert Boharic, John Dugan, Jane Hughes, J. Alec McLaren, Milton Meyers (president), Richard Michaels, Jean Mortimer, James Moyland, Robert Mumbower, Chdarles Satinover, Eugene Stunard, Walter Valle, James White, and Mitchell Zadrozny.