Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fourth of July, 1912

I hope that everyone who reads this had a better Independence Day than this guy did on July Fourth of 1912.

According to The Chicago Tribune, It was an especially eventful holiday for an out-of-town guest, Mr. C. W. Stansell, staying at the Congress Hotel.  Mr. Stansell, a promoter from Kansas City, Missouri, had checked into the hotel on June 24 “in an intoxicated condition.”  The hotel clerk, Frank Florentine, said that the only reason Mr. Stansell was given a room was because he had been a guest at the hotel before and was known to be a relative of a Highland Park lawyer, a Mr. Isaac Jordan, an 1895 graduate of Yale whose father had been a member of Congress.

So Mr. Stansell got in – although one of the hotel managers, Mr. Paul Gores, “advised him to sober up.”

Congress Plaza Hotel Room, including plumped pillows, with Audtorium Hotel
(through the window) across Congress Street
Apparently, things hadn’t changed appreciably by the time July 4 rolled around.  The day began with Mr. Stansell “sitting in a chair in his room, partly dressed, while Nellie O’Malley,a maid, was making up his bed.”  As the maid plumped up the pillows, Mr. Stansell “jumped to his feet, shouting, ‘Don’t let ‘em catch me. Get away!’”

At that the man “jumped to the open window, burst through the screen, and climbed out, catching hold of the heavy chain that holds the electric sign.”  The maid tried to grab him by the trouser legs, but gave up when the pants started to come off.

Who could blame her?

Mr. Stansell then swung out, let go of the chain, and fell three floors to Congress Street.  In the fall he struck the hotel’s street sign, “breaking off a score of incandescent bulbs, and crashed through the glass covered porte cochere over the Congress Street entrance.”

Congress Hotel (Note marquee on extreme right at Congress Street)
As guests from the Congress and Auditorium Hotels rushed to their windows to see what all of the ruckus was about and a half-dozen individuals rushed to his aid on the Congress Street sidewalk, Mr. Stansell roused himself and shouted to the hotel doorman, “Give me a drink.”

There is no record in the article of the doorman providing the requested service.

The damages?  Apparently, just a fractured left arm.  Mr. Stansell was taken to the Presbyterian Hospital where “he was in a restless condition.”

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