Monday, July 24, 2017

July 24, 1992 -- Ft. Sheridan Has the Last Birthday Party


July 24, 1992 – More than a thousand people celebrate the final birthday party for the military garrison at Fort Sheridan.   The Chicago Tribune reports, “For Ft. Sheridan, Friday’s Organization Day was another in a series of lasts.  May saw the closing of the Ft. Sheridan Museum.  June saw the last Flag Day.  July was, of course, the last 4th of July celebration … sadness seemed to be the feeling of the day, even though some were playing softball, volleyball and golf, and kids competed in games and races.” [Chicago Tribune, July 25, 1992] The Post Commander, Colonel Robert Frizzo, says, “It’s depressing to most people knowing there’s not going to be anybody here next year.”  One attendee, John Lawler, who was born at the fort and “sneaked out for rides on officers’ horses,” said, “I’ve been here all my life.  I don’t want to see it close up.”  His wife, Millie, who worked at the base for 19 years, agreed with her husband, saying, “It’s beautiful grounds.  It’s a gorgeous coast.  And what are they going to do with it?  Nobody knows.” 



July 24, 1918 – La Verne W. Noyes, President and founder of the Aermotor Company, announces the gift of $2,500,000 to the University of Chicago “to express his gratitude to those who ventured the supreme sacrifice.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 25, 1918]  The gift will be used for the education of veterans of World War I and their children with 20 percent of the sum going toward the salaries of university staff teaching history.  The scholarships are still in effect today.  Noyes started out as a manufacturer of dictionary stands, but things changed in 1883 when he hired Thomas O. Perry, who had conducted over 5,000 experimental tests, searching through for a modern and efficient windmill.  By 1892 the Aermotor Windmill Corporation was selling over 20,000 of the new windmills, and within ten years the company was selling the devices at one-sixth the price of previous competitive prices. [www.gasenginemagazine.com] Ida Noyes Hall at the University of Chicago, designed by Shepley, Routan, and Coolidge as a women's dining hall and natatorium, was another gift of Noyes three years earlier in 1915.  History is interesting.  Exactly one year after he announces the scholarship in 1918, La Verne Noyes dies at the Presbyterian Hospital.  With no immediate family the fortune of Noyes is distributed to 48 different colleges and universities as beneficiaries.  

Sunday, July 23, 2017

July 23, 1897 -- St. Gaudens Honored at Art Institute Reception



July 23, 1897 – Five thousand invitees come to the Art Institute of Chicago to honor the sculptor August St. Gaudens and the widow of General John A. Logan.  “For nearly two hours,” the Chicago Daily Tribune reports, “the throng filed in and out of the room known as the Henry Field gallery, where they were greeted by Mrs. Logan, Mr. St. Gaudens, and the members of the receiving party.  Charles H. Hutchinson, President of the Art Institute, stood at the head of the line, introducing the guests to Mrs. Logan, who offered her hand to each in a hearty grasp.  Scores of times during the evening did Mrs. Logan demonstrate her rare faculty for remembering the names and faces of those whom she had met only casually before.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 24, 1897]  The event is held just two days after the widow of the great Civil War general arrives in the city from New York for the dedication of her husband’s statue in Grant Park.  The sculptor, August St. Gaudens, spends the evening of the Art Institute reception in humility.  The Tribune reports that he “stood almost at the end of the line of those receiving the guests.  He who was most talked of among the thousands who thronged the galleries and promenaded the corridors, who was the cynosure of all eyes, was in mien and bearing the most unassuming man in the entire assemblage.  With quiet dignity he received the congratulations that were showered upon him, his clear, keen eyes lighting up now and again as some artist friend added a word of appreciative criticism to his friendly greeting and congratulation.”  For more information on the Logan statue you can turn to this link in Connecting the Windy City.


July 23, 1925 – Chicago’s new Union Station is formally opened at 11:30 a. m.  The ceremonies begin with Mayor William Dever and other officials touring the structure that covers 35 acres just west of the river between Adams Street and Jackson Boulevard.  After the tour is completed the guests are entertained at a luncheon served in the terminal's Fred Harvey restaurant.  The waiting rooms are finished in marble and cover an expanse as large as three baseball diamonds.   The terminal includes a jail for prisoners in transit, a hospital and a chapel.  Graham, Anderson, Probst and White are the architects of the complex.  The photo above shows the massive terminal as it appeared when it opened in 1925.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

July 22, 1985 -- Hotel Niko Plans Announced



July 22, 1985 -- TIshman Realty and Construction Company, Incorporated and Japan Air Lines Development announce plans to build a 450-room luxury hotel on the north side of the Chicago River.  Scheduled to open in June of 1987 on the northwest corner of Dearborn Street and the river, the hotel is expected to cost $70 million.  The firms of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, Inc. and Takyama and Associates, Inc. project a 350,000 square foot hotel with a 100-seat gourmet French restaurant, a 150-seat Japanese restaurant, and two lounges totaling 160 seats.  The hotel will also feature a 9,000 square-foot ballroom and a smaller 4,000 square-foot gathering hall.  The announcement of the new hotel follows the start of the 35-story Quaker Tower in the same area, a tower that will house the new headquarters for Quaker Oats Company, scheduled to move from the Merchandise Mart in early 1987.  In January of 1997 the Hotel Nikko became the Westin River North Chicago and away went Benkay, the Hotel Nikko's Japanese-style restaurant.


July 22, 1897:  The formal ceremonies dedicating the Logan Monument in Grant Park are held, beginning a 1 p.m.  After the two-hour dedication ceremony, guns sound on the shore and from ships on the lake, and a parade of 10,000 marchers begins at Twelfth Street and Michigan Avenue and moves north on Randolph, west to State, south to Adams, west to Dearborn, north to Washington, west to La Salle, south to Jackson, finally ending at Michigan Avenue.  Mrs. Logan, the general’s widow, is received that evening at the Coliseum with a fireworks display and band concert preceding that event.  Of Augustus St. Gaudens’ equestrian statue of General Logan, the Chicago Daily Tribune writes, “In the statue of General Logan St. Gaudens has chosen as the dominant idea the expression of courage, the martial courage, which is born of patriotism and indomitable will.”  The above photo shows the dedication ceremony on that July day in 1897.

Friday, July 21, 2017

July 21, 1919 -- City Beautiful Movement Sprints Forward



July 21, 1919 – The lead in today’s Chicago Daily Tribune packs a powerful punch, “Not since the disastrous fire of ’71 has the city council at any one meeting considered improvement ordinances of such far reaching effect.”  This is the day that the city council votes on a budget package that will potentially lead to more than $195,000,000 in city improvements, including the completion of a bridge across the river at Michigan Avenue.  There is apparently no opposition to the plans.  “So anxious are the large majority of the aldermen to make Chicago go ahead that it is proposed now that plans be considered at once for initiation of improvements next year,” the Tribune reports.  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 21, 1919]  Bond issues will lead to the widening of Ogden, Ashland, Western, Robey (now Damen), and South Water Streets.  Two million dollars will cover the cost of finishing Michigan Avenue.  Up to $30,000,000 will cover “reclaiming and improving submerged lands between Grant and Jackson parks.”  Aside from the money involved, the council will ask for an investigation of civic improvements in Detroit, Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, Kansas City, Omaha, Minneapolis and St. Paul because “Charles H. Wacker of the Chicago plan commission has repeatedly stated that these cities are attempting to become real rivals to Chicago in trade, commerce, manufacturing and municipal improvements.”  The above photo shows the proposal of the Chicago Plan Commission for eliminating the South Water Street markets and improving the area just south of the river.


July 21, 1919 – The Chicago City Council passes two huge ordinances that will, together, have an immense impact on the future of the city.  One is the lake front development ordinance, adopted by a vote of 66 to 2.  This decision ratifies an agreement between the city, the South Park Commission, and the Illinois Central Railroad, restricting development on the lakefront from the Chicago River all the way to Forty-Seventh Street.  The other act submits bond issues for street improvements totaling $28,600,000 that will be on the ballot for approval in November.  Charles H. Wacker, head of the Chicago Plan Commission, says, “This is the greatest day, barring none, in Chicago’s history. It means more to the growth, development, and greatness of the city than anything which has heretofore happened . . . When these improvements are completed this city will have passed from the provincial town class to a real metropolitan city.”  The photo above shows the lake front five years later in 1924.