Engineer

Philip Felber

During the time Harbor Point was under constructed, Philip Felber was employed as an engineer for Standard Oil of Indiana (presently BP), working in what is now the nearby AON building. Thus it was convenient for him to walk over to the construction site of Harbor Point almost daily and act as, in his words, a self-proclaimed “sidewalk superintendent,” in other words, a busybody. He came with the interest of a new owner looking through the eyes of an engineer.

When Philip visited the building, though doors had locks, the units were open and he was able to freely roam around observing what was happening in each apartment, commenting as he went. Sometimes his comments were not received well. One time he watched as the concrete[1] was being poured during the construction of the pool, noting that the first end was cemented and then the second section was poured, creating a seam between the two sections and, in Philip’s opinion, leaving the pool vulnerable to possible leaks.

Philip remembers that there was a large space on Concourse Level that was to have been a restaurant. Outside the South Function Room and south of the pool dome, there are three ventilation cylindrical towers with holes in them. They are directly above the space that was to have been the kitchen for the restaurant. A restaurant was never developed, but the area was used for parties by the earliest developer.

When the building opened in 1974, Harbor Point’s television signal was transmitted by a then “state of the art” master antenna system. In the early 1980’s there was no cable service anywhere in the center of Chicago. As part of his work, Philip had traveled to San Francisco, and while there, learned about new technology using microwaves that had the capacity of sending signals to buildings. Once home, he investigated the possibilities for using that technology for Harbor Point. As a result, a microwave dish was built on our roof to receive the city’s signal from 57th and Western Ave. From the tower on our building the signal was then sent on to other buildings in our neighborhood. Thus thanks to Philip, Harbor Point was the first building to have cable service. Later coaxial cable was used, and now, optical fibers.

The “trouble shooter” employed by the construction company, Charlie, was eventually hired as Harbor Point’s first engineer.

Philip moved in sometime in the spring of 1975 and still resides in the same unit he purchased in 1974.

February 10, 2013

1. The Harbor Point pool, “like most of our concrete is ‘steel reinforced concrete.’”