Thursday, March 8, 2012

Chicago: A Look Back at March 8

(JWB, 2008)

March 8, 1876
A regular meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Town of Lakeview was held at which a petition for opening Lill Avenue “through Block 16, from Sheffield to Lincoln Avenue” was tabled. (It must still be on the table.  Lill still ends at Sheffield.)  Also at the meeting S. B. Chase was granted permission to lay a two-inch wrought iron pipe at his own expense on Belmont Avenue “for the use of water at his house and other residents on the said street, who cannot procure the same on account of objections being filed against the assessment by Mr. Young, owning property on the south side of said avenue.”  (I’m guessing Mr. Young spent most of his time avoiding the stink eyes that his thirsty neighbors cast toward him.)

Also on this date came the report of a huge fire at 105 and 107 South Water street, midway between LaSalle and Clark streets.  First noticed by two detectives on their way home, a second alarm was sounded as the flames quickly engulfed the four-story building.  Two men had to be rescued from the second floor as 11 streams of water were directed at the inferno.  No. 165 was occupied by E. C. Reichwald & Co., William Little & Sons, and Bartholomew & Fordham.  No. 165 was occupied by Wayne & Low and McClay & Tucker.  Poor Bartholomew & Fordham . . . no insurance and losses close to $4,000.

March 8, 1893
A health inspector was dispatched to the area around Belden and Webster after numerous complaints about the filthy condition of the alleys in that area.  City ordinances stipulated that garbage should be removed at least once a week, but the contractor, according to the area’s residents, “has not removed any for more than two weeks and generally lets intervals of two to three weeks pass between his visits.  In addition it is said that the men who do the work pile their wagons so full that they leave a line of refuse along the streets as they are driven away.”  Ex-Alderman William Eisfeldt was the contractor responsible for removing garbage in the district.

(JWB, 2010)
And not far away . . . T. C. McNary, a student at the McCormick Theological Seminary, had an encounter with a coyote in Lincoln Park and found himself “laid up with three serious wounds in his left ankle as a result of contact with the coyote’s teeth.”  It seems that the theological students drank nothing but water from the Lincoln Park spring and Mr. McNary and a friend were at the spring with their water jugs for a week’s supply.  As they returned they passed the coyote den where one of the critters jumped over the wall and attached itself to Mr. McNary’s ankle.  “The young man belabored the coyote with his water jug . . .” when his friend came to his aid, throwing his coat over the animals head as a crowd “sprang on the enraged animal and after a desperate struggle the coyote was thrown back into the den.” The physician who attended Mr. McNary did not believe that hydrophobia (the word used for rabies at the time) would set in.

And in New York . . . Representatives of the 12 National League baseball teams met at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. James A. Hart represented Chicago.  B-I-G events, afoot!  The Committee on Rules recommended “removal of the pitcher from his present position to the center of the infield, abolishing the pitcher’s box, and substituting therefore a boundary plate covering a twelve-inch space, to which the pitcher will be confined; abolition of the flat bat; a lucid definition of a balk; a rule governing official scorers which provides that a player who makes a sacrifice hit which advances a base runner shall not be charged with a time at bat.”  Six clubs opposed placing the pitcher in the center of the diamond:  Boston, Cleveland, Pittsburg, Chicago, St. Louis and Louisville.  Chicago actually wanted no pitcher at all, but wanted the batter to hit the ball off a tee.  (That’s not true.  I made that up.  Sorry.)

March 8, 1911
“Lambasted with arguments that dated from Moses to McCulloch, petted and palavered by pretty women, plastered with sizzling attire, puffed up with pride, and then pushed into a tank of ice water, the Illinois legislators, at the windup of the Chicago-Springfield suffrage junket today, had the harrowing experience of their lives.”  So began the Tribune article of the push for a woman’s right to vote in Springfield.  No sooner were the legislators seated “then Mrs. Catharine Waugh McCulloch and Miss Jane Addams, with the help of representatives from forty women’s organizations of Chicago and the state, dragged howitzers, mortars, canister, and shrapnel guns into position and for two hours shelled the legislature in a fashion never known before.”

“We are not asking you for suffrage; we demand it,” shouted Mrs. Raymond Robins, pounding the speaker’s desk.

“We are dreadfully tired of the soft twaddle of procrastination,” said Mrs. Grace W. Trout, president of the Chicago Political Equality League.

The “Suffrage Special” traveled to Springfield from Chicago with 300 suffragettes on board.  At Kankakee a crowd of 1,500 people greeted the special.  Miss Kate O’Connor of Rockford addressed the crowd, “We are going down to Springfield to stir up the animals.  It is spring now and there’s going to be the almightiest housecleaning in this state ever you heard of.  They may hand us a bouquet with a string to it, but we’ll get away with it anyway and when we get things as we want them the state will be so clean you won’t have any mud on your streets.”

But . . . some business did get done down there in Springpatch.  Representative Benton F. Kleeman of Chicago introduced a bill in the house providing for the creation of a Chicago harbor in Lake Calumet.  In the bill the Sanitary District of Chicago was given full power and authority to construct the harbor, which was to cover not less than 300 acres with a depth of 21 feet.

March 8, 1934
In a Tribune column,  columnist Antoinette Donnelly replied to “Indignant,” who wrote that “a woman head of her department took her aside the other day and requested that she forget the bright nail polish during her business day.  ‘The old cat,’ the young business woman calls her superior, ‘is jealous.  She said the boss asked her to speak to me.  I don’t believe it because he never said anything himself.’”

Ms. Donnelly’s reply: “In all probability the boss did speak to the woman superior to intercede, in his behalf, against the flashing nail tip.  Some men simply do not like the stuff.  It’s distracting, and when they’re dictating letters they don’t want distraction . . . Better take the hint, Indignant.  Also, get the idea out of your head that some one who takes you aside and tells you something for your own good is an old cat.  It’s not a success-making frame of mind toward a superior, anyway. . . After all, the boss isn’t interested in being vamped.  Not the kind you’re going to get anywhere with in a business way.  There’s a time and place for everything.”

In Washington, D. C., freshman congressman from the 16th District Everett Dirksen demanded legislation “to impose a quota on the importation of foreign blackstrap molasses to prevent its competition with corn and other grains in the manufacture of American alcohol and liquor.”  Prohibition had ended a year earlier and an agreement administered by the federal alcohol control board stipulated that American distillers must use only domestic cereal grain in the production of alcohol.  But the UNBELIEVABLE shortage of alcohol in the country allowed the use of huge quantities of Cuban molasses.  Dirksen pointed out that despite the Depression and Prohibition, imports of blackstrap molasses into the country increased from 31,000,000 gallons in 1909 to 205 million gallons in 1932.  Dirksen believed that a quota on Cuba’s shipments to the United States would regulate the flow of blackstrap so as to protect the American grain producers’ market.  A most propitious beginning to a career that lasted into the 1960’s.

(JWB, 2010)
And in Chicago . . . speaking at a luncheon of the Chicago Association of Commerce at the Palmer House Japanese Prince Iyesato Tokugawa “scoffed at the ‘so-called danger of war’ between his country and the United States.  “We must not forget,” the prince said, “that these close trade relations between us stand on a basis of the most friendly sentiment, which has always characterized the intercourse between the two countries since the opening of Japan in the middle of the last century.  You may take from me an assurance that it is the ardent wish of the majority of the Japanese people that these happy relations should never be disturbed and the Pacific ocean should always be true to its name.”

All articles in this blog were found in the archives of The Chicago Tribune.

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