Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chicago: A Look Back at March 1

(JWB, 2010)

120 years ago today . . .
On March 1, 1892 The Chicago Tribune reported that visitors at the World’s Fair in Chicago, a monster undertaking that would be held 14 months later, would have Waukesha water to drink, furnished at one penny a glass.  The President of the Waukesha Hygeia Mineral Spring Company, James E. McElroy, a Chicagoan, outlined the plan.  Two months earlier Chicago had passed an ordinance giving the company the right to lay a pipeline into the city.  Forty miles of eight-inch pipe would connect the company’s supply in Wisconsin to the site of the fair on the south side of Chicago.  McElroy estimated the pipeline would be finished by July and that it would supply 1,000,000 gallons of spring water a day.  The only restriction placed on Hygeia was that the water served at the fair had to be served, bar fashion, at a cent a glass.

112 years ago today . . .
Chicago was slammed with the worst snowstorm in 16 years with 12 inches piling up, accompanied by winds reaching 52-miles-an-hour.  Just one death was reported as a result of the storm.  Poor old Gustav Lundquist, who had been employed for two years by the Union traction Company, had the job of keeping the LaSalle Street tunnel clean and in good repair.  He was given additional help because of the severity of the storm and at 3:30 p.m. was at the north end of the tunnel, supervising his crew while standing on the track used by north-bound trains.  Seeing a train approaching, Mr. Lundquist stepped over to the south-bound track, but a train was approaching on this track, too, and “before his companions could warn him of his danger he was struck and knocked against the tunnel wall.”  He was wedged so tightly that it took a half hour to release his body.  All of the city’s horse teams, along with 300 sewer department workers, were called to the First Ward to clear the snow thrown on the sides of the streets by the streetcar plows and the shovels of the sidewalk cleaners.  The snow was carted off to the foot of Randolph Street and the lake.  State Street merchants estimated the storm had cost them a half-million dollars in sales.

100 years ago today . . .
On March 1, 1912 Chicago took delivery of its first automobile fire engine, the first of three provided for in the city’s annual budget.  The roaring of the new engine “created a sensation on the streets,” according to The Tribune and “attracted a crowd to the north end of the city hall.” The engine weighed in at five tons with rear wheels that stood five feet high with spokes that were three inches thick.  Built by the Nott Fire Engine Company, it had a top speed of 35-miles-an-hour.  It was the first such fire engine to be built complete in the United States, one of only six in the country.

(JWB, 2008)
Also on this date Marshall Field & Co. announced the acquisition of the Trude building property at the corner of Wabash and Randolph, finishing its efforts to control the entire block bounded by State, Randolph, Washington, and Wabash.  The Tribune observed that the move would give to the company “the unique distinction of being the only one to occupy an entire city block, and also the largest area occupied by any strictly retail establishment in the world".  This parcel became the only piece of real estate in that block that was not directly acquired by the founder of the company, Marshall Field I, who had died in 1906.  The plan was to lease the building on that site until all the leases expired in 1915, then tear it down and build a new twelve-story structure at a cost of three-quarters of a million dollars.  Things must have moved along quickly; the Graham, Burnham & Co. addition on the site was completed by 1914.

90 years ago today . . .
To show how far what once was the city’s finest neighborhood had fallen from grace on March 1, 1922 The Tribune reported that an opium party was interrupted the night before at 2437 Prairie Avenue, when four men and three women “were brought back from their poppy dream wanderings” by the “dope squad” of the Cottage Grove station.  Mrs. Margaret Black, the landlady, and six others were arrested. All lived on Prairie and Indiana Avenues.

(JWB, 2007)
Also on this date it was announced that the Cubs had arrived in camp on Mr. Wrigley’s Catalina Island.  The Tribune noted that “Beautiful weather greeted the newcomers and their initial drill of hi-lo and throwing served to eliminate many pounds of the superfluous flesh accumulated during the winter of inactivity.”  Hack Miller, newly acquired from Oakland, “came into camp carrying enough beef to make a couple of ball players.”   Only one player failed to join the club in Los Angeles for the trip to camp.  Carter Elliott, an infielder, never showed.  Perhaps he knew what was coming.  The team finished 13 games behind the New York Giants with Carter Elliott not on the roster.

And from the more things change, the more they stay the same department, The Tribune reported on this date that “Mickey” Norris, a business agent for the Stone, Lime and Cement Teamsters’ Union, “stuck a revolver in his pocker yesterday and started out to ‘kill fourteen men.’”  Norris ended up shooting three men:  Michael Windle, a foreman for the White Paving Company, Joseph Doyle, Vice-President and business agent of the Ice Wagon Drivers’ Union, and John Reddington, a bartender.  All three were shot at a saloon belonging to Edward Healy at 4459 W. Madison Street.  “I was out to kill fourteen men I’ve got marked down,” Norris said.  “I would have got them, too, if the police had let me alone.”

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