Friday, January 19, 2018

January 19, 1970 -- "Chicago 7" Trial Goes to Seven-Day a Week Sessions

January 19, 1970 – Judge Julius J. Hoffman rules in United States District Court that the conspiracy trial of the “Chicago 7” will be conducted seven days a week, beginning at the time of the decree.  William Kuntsler, one of the defense attorneys for the individuals accused of conspiracy and inciting to riot during the 1968 Democratic convention, argues that the defense needs the weekends to continue to prepare its case.  The decision to add Sunday court sessions in a trial that started on September 24 is made when Kuntsler protests Hoffman’s order on the previous day to add Saturdays to the court schedule to move the trial along.  When the judge denies Kuntsler’s motion to end Saturday court sessions, Kuntsler then moves for the court to meet seven days a week, to which Hoffman agrees.  It isn’t until February 18, 1970 that a verdict is returned with each of the seven defendants acquitted of conspiracy although two men were found guilty of crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot.  While the jury is deliberating, Hoffman cites each defendant and the lawyers in the case with a number of contempt charges, carrying sentences from a few months to four years.  On November 21,1972 all convictions are reversed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh District, and the contempt charges are dropped as well.  The United States decides not to retry the case.

January 19, 1872 – A little over a year after Chicago is destroyed by fire, the Chicago Tribune reports on the progress being made at establishing a fire-proof ordinance within the city.  The City Council, according to the article, is leaning toward a strict fire-proof ordinance within the center of the city, but seems inclined to exempt “that part of the South Division west of State and south of Twenty-fifth street, and west of Halsted street; all of the West Division south and west of Halsted, Rebecca, Throop, Twelfth, Reuben and Van Buren streets, and west of Western avenue … all of the West Division beyond Western avenue, north and west of Walnut and Reuben streets and Chicago avenue … in the North Division, all of the territory north and west of Chicago avenue, Wells street, and North avenue.”  [Chicago Tribune, January 19, 1972] This plan, the article indicates, “surrounds the city, north, west, and south, with a cordon, several miles deep of wooden buildings.”  The plan seems to take special care to avoid damaging the lucrative house-moving business, an industry the paper did not look upon with favor.  “No man who erects a permanent building,” the article states, “can tell the day when there may not be backed in on each side of his building some old rotten tenement, to be rented out at extortionate rates for prostitution, gambling, or other equally disreputable business.”  Contained within the ordinance, though, is a stipulation that whenever the owners of a majority of the ground on any block outside of the fire district shall so request, that block shall come under the provisions of the fire ordinance.  The paper urges the legislators to go farther, to make it unlawful “to erect any wooden building, barn, or shed within 150 feet, in any direction, from a brick or stone building already erected.”  The article ends with a plea to pass the legislation, “The passage of an ordinance prohibiting the erection hereafter of any wooden buildings in the city, with proper provision for the enforcement of the law, would be equal, in its financial effects, to the free loan of several millions of dollars.  It would relieve this city of an enormous indirect tax, and would invite hither a large amount of capital for permanent investment, which will avoid us if we continue to be a city of shanties.”

January 19, 2010 -- Researchers report that for the first time DNA of Asian carp has been found in Lake Michigan. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies quickly move to allay fears about the invasive species spawning on the balconies of River North high rises, saying that there was still no evidence that live carp had entered the lake. Army Corps Major General John Peabody says, "The fact is that we don't know where the fish are. DNA tells us there is a presence in those areas and we've got to begin looking at whether we are getting false positives or negatives so we know what we're dealing with." Hours before the announcement the U. S. Supreme Court refuses to address the carp issue, rejecting Michigan's request for an injunction that would force Illinois to stop any sources of water that might flow into Lake Michigan.

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.