Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 23, 1914 -- Masonic Temple Jumper



August 23, 1914 – Henry Korthagen, an unemployed painter, pays the 25-cent admission to the observatory of the Masonic Temple Building on State Street, crawls through a window to the northwest corner of the building and then jumps.  His body strikes the crowded sidewalk on State Street at noon on a Saturday.  A dentist on the twelfth floor of the building, Dr. A. Jay Blakie, sees the body fly past his window, with a black derby hat following 20 feet behind.  “From my position above,” Blakie says, “the sidewalk looked like the surface of water after a stone has been thrown in.  A circle of humanity just eddied back from the crumpled object in the middle of it.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, August 24, 1914]  Korthagen had visited the Painters and Decorators District Council at 300 West Madison Street earlier, seeking to pay back dues and gain reinstatement to the union.  Those at the union headquarters describe him as cheerful at the time.  The observatory at the Masonic Temple is pictured above, all the way up there at the top of the building.

Monday, August 22, 2016

August 22, 1969 -- Council Committee Approves Illinois Center Plan




August 22, 1969 – The City Council Buildings and Zoning Committee unanimously approves the guidelines for the development of the Illinois Central land and air rights south of the Chicago River and east of Michigan Avenue, asking for a change so that advertising signs will be banned in the area.  Louis, Hill, the Commissioner of Development and Planning, says that developers will provide streets, utilities, a fire station, a dock wall along the river, a six-acre park, a school, and a subway and station to serve the area.  The approval follows four days after the Chicago Plan Commission approves the same plan.   The area approved for the new development is shown in the photo above.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

August 21, 1976 -- Cabbies Byrned over Uniforms



August 21, 1976 – The Chicago Tribune reports that nearly 100 cab drivers demonstrate at the Civic Center, protesting a ruling by the city commissioner of consumer affairs, Jane Byrne, that they must wear uniforms.  The ruling, due to take effect on September 7, causes anger among the cabbies who say that over the preceding year three drivers have been killed, seven shot, one has his throat cut, and another suffers amputation of a leg as a result of a robbery.  Uniforms will just make them a more recognizable target when they are away from their cabs, they say.  One driver says that he has to drive 16 to 18 hours a day to make a living, and that there is not enough money to buy and maintain a uniform.  Jane Guthrie, a driver for three years, says, “How can the city tell self-employed persons to wear uniforms . . . If your cab breaks down in a bad neighborhood it’s bad enough getting out without having to wear a uniform which advertises that you’re stranded and have money on you from driving.”  [Chicago Tribune, August 21, 1976]

Saturday, August 20, 2016

August 20, 1980 -- Federal Courthouse Heats Up



August 20, 1980 – Things become heated at the Dirksen Federal Courthouse on Dearborn Street as Judge Marvin Aspen sends 14 sweaty jurors downstairs to the offices of the General Services Administration to complain about conditions in the “sweltering courtroom.”  “Maybe they’ll listen to you,” the judge says.  “They certainly ought to, because you’re paying their salary.”  The Chicago Tribune reports that the assistant building engineer, Michael O’Connell, tells the jurors, “Don’t expect it any lower than 80,” as he explains President Carter’s energy guidelines, which call for the cooling of public buildings to no less than 80 degrees.  The real problem, though, seems to be with the engineering of the building.  According to the Tribune, “In recent years, some Dirksen Building courtrooms have been so hot or so cold that a number of judges have said they cannot conduct business and have threatened to cite the GSA for contempt of court for obstruction of justice.”  [Chicago Tribune, August 20, 1980]

Friday, August 19, 2016

August 19, 1963 -- Coast Guard Stops Boat with 500 Pounds of Dynamite Aboard




August 19, 1963 – Imagine this one happening today!  Coast Guard officials detain five men and a woman aboard a 75-foot boat after the leaking boat is stopped at the Chicago lock because it has no safety equipment and is judged to be unseaworthy.  After removing the crew from the boat, officials discover 500 pounds of dynamite on the top deck and remove the leaking vessel to a point 1,000 feet offshore.  Miss Kiiri Tamm, 21, one of the crew members tells officials that the group planned to use the dynamite to blow up a sunken barge off Eighty-Third Street in an effort to salvage the metal, which they hoped to sell in order to start a salvage firm of their own.  The bomb squad removes the explosives and the boat is returned to its berth at Goose Island.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

August 18, 1969 -- Plan Commission Okays Illinois Center Plans



August 18, 1969 – The Chicago Plan Commission approves a zoning ordinance for the 80-acre air rights site of the Illinois Central Railroad south of the river and east of Randolph Street.  Lewis Hill, the Commissioner of Development and Planning, says, “Successful planned development here will greatly affect the future of the whole central area and much of the city and metropolitan area.  It is in both the public and private interest that this development proceed beyond a mere meeting of minimal standards to the achievement of an environment of high quality.”  [Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1969]   Illinois Center today occupies the upper left section of the railroad yard below the river in the above photo.