Saturday, September 24, 2016

September 24, 1954 -- Butler Brothers Heads for the Suburbs



September 24, 1954 – With the decision to move to the suburbs, the Butler Brothers Catalog Company announces the appointment of Hogan & Farwell, Inc., a Chicago realty firm, as the leasing agent to develop the Butler building on the northeast corner of Canal and Randolph Streets.  The building has close to one million square feet of floor space with the Prudential Insurance Company of Americn leasing the tenth and eleventh floors and the United States government holding short-term leases for the Social Security board and the Air Force.   George and Edward Butler founded their mail-order company in Boston in 1877, opening a Chicago warehouse two years later.  By 1910 over a thousand people worked in its Chicago operation.  The 1922 warehouse, originally designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, is today Randolph Place Condos with 340 loft apartments.  The photo above shows the complex in 1950.

Friday, September 23, 2016

September 23, 1933 -- Field Building Tower Begins to Rise



September 23, 1933 – Work begins on the final section of the Field building being erected between Clark and La Salle Streets on the east and west and Adams and Monroe Streets on the south and north.  Steel workers begin erecting the first beams for the tower, which it is estimated will contain 4,000 tons of steel.  Three of the four corner units of the Art Deco tower, designed by Graham, Anderson, Probst & White, are complete with placement of steel for each section taking between 35 and 57 days. 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

September 22, 1935 -- W-G-N Radio Opens New Headquarters



September 22, 1935 – In the six hours that the Chicago Tribune opened the doors of the new home of its radio station, 4,368 people tour the facilities.  Over 500 visitors fill out forms for a chance to gain admission to the auditorium when future performances begin.  The paper described the new digs in this way, “The lighting effects, the sharp slant of the auditorium for purposes of better vision, the richly covered, deep cushioned seats and the sound proofed walls attracted appreciative comments.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, September 23, 1935]  The building just to the north of Tribune Tower was laid out or “squared off” with Polaris, the north star, as a sighting point, an innovative approach that allowed a variance of about an eighth-inch along the building’s frontage on Michigan Avenue.  On October 5 the auditorium opened with two orchestras entertaining all of the workers who had labored on the building, along with their families.  Colonel Robert R. McCormick, editor and publisher of the paper, told them, “This victory of peace has a sadness for me, for it means I must part from the men I have watched at this building for the last year and a half . . . You have piled stone on stone, color on color, and joined wire to wire.  You have built here, forever, something that your children will thank you for.  You leave me with emotion.  God bless you and be with you always.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 2, 1935]

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

September 21, 1941 -- Tragedy Averted on the Midnight Special



September 21, 1941 – A near tragedy is averted as the Midnight Special on its way out of Chicago and bound for St. Louis is halted just in time to avoid falling into the Chicago River when the railroad bridge at Twenty-First Street is opened to permit a lake freighter to pass.  The engineer brings the train to a halt with “its small front wheels and first large drive wheels already over the water and beyond the rail ends.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, September 22, 1941]  No one is hurt in the mishap, the passenger cars are pulled back to Union Station, and the passengers continue the trip after the fouled tracks are cleared.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

September 20, 1915 -- Landis Sets Date for Eastland Hulk's Sale



September 20, 1915 – Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis orders the steamer Eastland sold with bids to be opened and the sale to take place on December 20, 1915 in the United States marshal’s office in the Federal Building.  The order is issued in order to cover the costs of the Great Lakes Towing Company, the firm that raised the hulk from the river bottom after the ship capsized on July 24 with a loss of life approaching one thousand souls.  According to Jay R. Bonansinga’s The Sinking of the Titanic:  America’s Forgotten Tragedy, “. . . only two bidders showed up at the macabre auction held on a cold December morning.  One of them was an attorney from Boston, who represented an East Coast steamship company.  The other was Captain Edward A. Evers of the Illinois Naval Reserve.  Evers won the auction with a bid of 46,000 dollars, taking possession of the hulk on December 28.

Monday, September 19, 2016

September 19, 1911 -- Wild Night on the River



September 19, 1911 – A wild night on the river as a newly-hired wheelman on the Manistee locks himself in the pilot house and “with whistles tooting and engine bell chiming . . . steamed his Dreadnought up and down the river, charging every craft in sight.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, September 20, 1911]  The seaman, Martin Daley, is hired that day and almost immediately “took on a cargo of rum.”  He locks himself in the pilot house, signals the engine room for “full speed ahead,” and gets someone to cast off from the wharf at Michigan Avenue.  He brings the Manistee so close to the Rush Street Bridge that “most of the fresh coat of paint on her side adhered to the bridge.”  Steaming back toward the lake, Daley then “directed his energies toward running down smaller craft – launches, ‘party boats,’ and dingies [sic]”  as members of the crew break the windows of the pilot house in order to stop the rampage.  Finally, a Chicago policeman manages to clamber aboard at the life saving station at the river’s mouth and arrests the drunken sailor.  Daley tells the officer that he is going back to the Atlantic Ocean “because they can’t take a joke on the lakes.”  The above photo, taken in 1905, looks east from the Rush Street Bridge to just about the location where the Manistee was berthed.  The Kirk Soap Works stands where 401 North Michigan and the new Apple Store, currently under construction, can be found today.