Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hearsing Around on Michigan Avenue -- January 12, 1903

Wild Ride -- Woe . . . Woe . . . Woe (Chicago Daily News Archives)
It’s all glitter and lights on Michigan Avenue these days with the great wall of skyscrapers facing off against the green spaces of Grant Park and Millennium Park and, beyond that, the lake.  It’s hard to imagine a time when the road was filled with horse manure, the sky was clouded with coal smoke, and horses and new-fangled automobiles staged an ongoing game of chicken.

But that’s the way it was back on this date, January 12, in 1903 when Thomas McInerney, who had just driven a hearse with the remains of Mrs. William O’Brien to the old Central Station at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road for transportation to the cemetery, found his team frightened by a steam engine on the nearby elevated track.

The horses took off, headed north on Michigan Avenue at Sixteenth Street, pursued by another carriage, driven by James Murphy, and a mounted park policeman.  The wild chase lasted nearly three-quarters of a mile when McInerney’s horses swerved, crashing against the iron support of an electric light at twenty-Second Street.  Mr. McInerney was “painfully injured” and the hearse, valued at $3,500, was demolished. 

It appears that the wild dash involving Mr. McInerney’s horse-driven hearse, Mr. Murhpy, and the police officer ended in a dead heat.

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