Wednesday, January 17, 2018

January 17, 1920 -- Prohibition Begins



January 17, 1920 – Chicago wakes up to the realization that the day of the hangover is gone as Prohibition begins at midnight.  On the previous day “auto trucks were at a premium during the late afternoon and early evening” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 17, 1920] as individuals pursued the last chance to buy liquor for home consumption and transport it to their homes.  Major A. V. Dalrymple, the “head of the prohibition enforcers” promises that no effort will begin at enforcing the new law for ten days. “Of course I don’t mean that you can sell the stuff tomorrow,” he says. “Far from it. But we will not start any search of seizure until this ten day period has passed.”


January 17, 1915 – South Halsted Street between Polk and Madison Streets becomes a battle ground as 1,500 unemployed men, women, boys and girls battle the police.  According to the Chicago Daily Tribune, “Shots were fired, clothes were torn, eyes blackened, and heads cracked while clubs, blackjacks, and revolver butts were used with bruising effect on heads, arms and knuckles” as the “hunger procession” proceeded up Halsted Street.  [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 18, 1915] The battle occurs after a meeting of the unemployed at Bowen Hall at the Hull House settlement.  Two detectives inside the hall, dressed as unemployed workmen, listen as Lucy Parsons, the widow of Albert Parsons, who was hanged for alleged complicity in the Haymarket Riot of 1886, speaks.  The detectives, Sergeants Fred Krueger and Herman Eastman, report that trouble is brewing.  Frist Deputy Superintendent of Police Herman Schuettler, who himself was at his post during the Haymarket riot, orders, “Demand a permit from them, and if they haven’t got one order them to disperse. The reserves will be on the way to help you.” A procession forms on Polk Street, just west of Halsted and begins to march, six people abreast, up Halsted, carrying a large black banner with one word, “Hunger,” displayed in white letters.  The police order the marchers to disperse, but the marchers continue onward, a voice crying out, “To h___ with the orders.  We’re hungry!”  The policemen, small in number and waiting for reinforcements, are surrounded.  According the paper’s reporter, “In a minute the cluster under the swaying ‘hunger’ banner was a maelstrom of fists and clubs.  Girls and women shrieked and fell to the ground in the fray.  A small, dark haired girl, climbing on to the shoulders of a man, dove head foremost into the center of the fight, her fingers reaching out for the eyes and hair of the policemen … The detectives drew their revolvers and began to lay to right and left, felling all within reach … Women threw their arms around the necks of the plain clothes men, biting them and tearing their faces with finger nails.”  On the marchers move, coming up to a phalanx of policemen at Harrison Street; the procession breaches the line and continues north to Adams Street where they encounter mounted officers.  On they continue to Monroe Street.  Battered at each new block “the ranks of the marchers were becoming noticeably thinned.  Those remaining appeared to be the more vindictive who had succeeded in fighting their way through.”  Finally, at Madison Street the marchers find themselves surrounded, and many of those who are left “made for doorways, alleys, saloons, lunch rooms, and basements, where they mingled with the surprised patrons and escaped.”  At each intersection along the route of the march arrests are made, and those taken prisoner charged with rioting, unlawful assemblage and parading without a license.  At the conclusion of the festivities the Tribune reports, “Halsted street looked like an armed camp with squads of police stationed at the corners and mounted men patrolling the middle of the street.”  Mrs. Lucy Parsons is shown above, missing a glove, after her arrest.


January 17, 1903 -- Judge Arthur Chetlain sentences George Wellington "Cap" Streeter to an indeterminate term in the penitentiary at Joliet for manslaughter for the killing of John S. Kirk on February 11, 1902 in the "District of Lake Michigan." The dead man had been a watchman for Henry W. Cooper, a man lakefront property owners had engaged to protect their interests on the north side of the river near Oak Street. "Cap" Streeter was not personally connected to the scene where the killing occurred; he was held responsible because testimony indicated that he had told the occupants of the district that if anyone "came fooling' around" to shoot him. After being found guilty in December 3, 1892, Streeter said, ""They found us guilty but it only goes to show that when a lot of millionaires get together and get the help of the state the liberty of a man ain't safe. This whole thing is a scheme." The captain and his missus are pictured above.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

January 16, 1892 -- Interstate Exposition Building Sold



January 16, 1892 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that the Executive Committee of the Interstate Exposition Board of Directors has agreed to sell its massive buidling on Michigan Avenue to the Art Institute for $2,100.  This guarantees, the paper reports, “ … the doom of the old structure.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 16, 1892] Representatives of the Art Institute say that a check will be issued immediately and within ten days demolition of the Interstate Exposition Building will begin.  The huge building east of Michigan Avenue occupied the site of the present Art Institute of Chicago for 20 years and was designed by Chicago architect W. W. Boyington and provided a place for exhibitors to display their products. It also served as an Illinois National Guard Armory, as well as the site of political conventions in 1880 and 1884.  It was also the first home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.


January 16, 1925 – At the closing session of a two-day conference of the Great Lakes Harbor Association 300 delegates from 80 cities located on the Great Lakes pass a resolution that requests the United States Secretary of War "to require of the sanitary district of Chicago the installation, within a reasonable length of time, of a modern system of sewage disposal and protested against any legislation that may sanction diversions affecting the water levels of the great lakes.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 17, 1925] The resolution reads, “With an astounding disregard for the rights of her neighbors and in defiance of all precepts of law and justice, under the pretext that the sanitary welfare of that city made the dilution system of sewage disposal necessary, Chicago has for twenty years been abstracting the waters of the great lakes in great quantities.  This abstraction of water has on the one hand caused the lowering of the levels of the lakes to the injury of commerce thereon, and on the other the raising of the levels of the Illinois river to the injury of the land owners of that region.  The sewage which Chicago by virtue of its sanitation system is thus carrying into the Illinois river is polluting the waters of that stream to an alarming degree.”  Officials of the sanitary district plan to leave for Washington within two days “to face the interests which would prevent the city from diverting 10,000 cubic feet of water per second from the lake for sanitary purposes.”


January 16, 1945 -- In one of the worst fires to hit Chicago in a quarter-century 14 people are killed and 8 injured in a fire at the General Clark Hotel at 217 North Clark Street. The night manager of the hotel states that 76 people were registered when the fire started just after midnight. It was brought under control three hours later, after three people had jumped into firemen's nets and a dozen others had been rescued by ladders.

Monday, January 15, 2018

January 15, 1882 - Potter Palmer Buys Additional Lake Shore Drive Property




January 15, 1882 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that the Archbishop of Chicago has sold the entire lot on Lake Shore Drive between Burton Place and Schiller Street to Potter Palmer for $90,695.  The paper reports, “A concerted effort will now be made by Mr. Palmer and the other property owners to fill up all the depressions between State street and the Lake-Shore drive and lift this property into its rightful place as the choicest kind of residence property, not surpassed by any in the city.”  Palmer’s faith in the area which “is almost virgin ground, and is almost entirely free from objectionable buildings and improvements” is ample evidence that the part of the north side “which lies between the Water-Works and Lincoln Park, and is east of Dearborn street, is rapidly rising in public favor.”  The mansion of Potter and Bertha Palmer, which has been gone now for 68 years, would be built on the corner of Banks Street and Lake Shore Drive.  Designed by Henry Ives Cobb and Charles Frost, it would be the largest private residence in the city when finished in 1885.  Today 1350 and 1360 Lake Shore Drive stand on the lot.  The mansion and the residential buildings are shown above.


January 15, 1916 – The “Foolkiller,” a submarine that has been embedded in the mud at the bottom of the Chicago River at Wells Street yields a grisly find upon its being raised – the skull of a dog and the bones of a man.  The small submersible was originally built in the early 1870’s but had not been seen in a quarter-century. A diver for the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, William Deneau, discovers the craft somewhat earlier while working in the effort to locate bodies from the ill-fated Eastland, the steamer that had capsized six months earlier.  The identity of the victim found aboard the submarine was never discovered, and there is even some conjecture that the bones might have been planted aboard as part of a scheme to place the whole tableau on public exhibition.  That happened shortly thereafter as customers could pay a dime to see the exhibit at 208 South State Street, a display that was moved at least twice – to Oelwein, Iowa where it was  billed “The Submarine or Fool Killer, the first submarine ever built,” It shared the exhibit space among other top draws, including “The Electric Girl, The Vegetable King, [and] Snooks, the smallest monkey in the world” [mysteriouschicago.com]  The Fool Killer was last heard of when it appeared at Chicago’s Riverview Park where it sat forlornly while the “Last Days of Pompeii,” a “gorgeous fireworks spectacle” with 600 performers was staged alongside the river at Western and Belmont.


January 15, 1954 -- The Chicago city council authorizes the purchase of the Reid-Murdoch building at 325 N. State Street in order to consolidate traffic courts and the police traffic division. The matter had been pending since November 3 when voters authorized a 4 million dollar bond issue for acquiring the building and remodeling it. More on the history of the Reid-Murdoch building can be found here: http://www.connectingthewindycity.com/…/reid-murdoch-buildi… and here: http://www.connectingthewindycity.com/…/reid-murdoch-buildi…