Willis Tower, One World Trade Center compete for bragging rights as America's tallest skyscaper

(CBS News) Two of America's biggest cities are waiting to learn which one towers above all. It's a battle of the high-rises.

Chicago's Sears Tower, which is actually called the Willis Tower now, has been generally considered the country's tallest for the last 39 years. The building stands at 1,451 feet tall, but its reign may be coming to an end on a technicality.

New York's new One World Trade Center measures 1,368 feet, but the building's architects say a decorative spire atop the building should be counted, and if it is it would be a birth-of-the-nation symbol standing 1,776 feet, or 325 feet taller than Chicago's skyscraper.

The relatively obscure Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat, headquartered in Chicago, will make the call.

Antony Wood is executive director of the council, which will vote Friday and announce its decision next week.

"We don't expect pickets, but what I do expect is a very, very lively debate," he said.

From 1908 until 1974, New Yorkers had the tallest buildings in the country, but then Chicago overtook them in the race to the sky.

CBS News' Dean Reynolds asked Jen Masengarb of the Chicago Architecture Foundation to find out if New York City would reclaim bragging rights.

"Willis Tower still is tallest in terms of how high you can stand above the earth, but when you look at sort of what's totally built from the ground up, then One World Trade Center wins," she said.

One World Trade Center architect David Childs says winning is not the point. He wants his building recognized as standing 1,776 feet tall because of what that number represents.

"The height is important in that it symbolizes that moment our democracy - 1776 - can't be much more important than that," he said. "The thing about race for the height, that will always change. This one will always be 1,776. The governor, the Port Authority and America all felt strongly about that, and that's why we've achieved that, and it's important for it to be recognized as the height."

For Dean Reynolds' full report, watch the video in the player above.