Saturday, April 30, 2016

April 30, 1903 -- Another Bid to Build in the Park

April 30, 1903 -- A new tactic is used in an effort to appropriate land in Grant Park and use it for the construction of public buildings. The Illinois House of Representatives votes on a Senate bill to provide a site for the privately-funded Crerar Library, a legacy of Chicago businessman John Chippewa Crerar who left $2.6 million as an endowment for a free public library. The bill will empower park commissioners to authorize the construction of a free public library building on a site of their choosing, provided district tax payers approve the plan in a municipal election. The Chicago Daily Tribune editorializes, "There is land east of Michigan avenue where a site is available on which the trustees of the Crerar library will erect a handsome building if given an opportunity to do so. The land cannot be put to a better use. The house should give them an opportunity by concurring in the senate bill it is to vote on today." Although the legislation passed, the referendum never made it to the voters. The battle over the library, led by merchant A. Montgomery Ward for much of the rest of the decade, continued all the way to May of 1912 when the library trustees admitted defeat and announced their intention to purchase the land at Randolph and Michigan for the building. That building, designed by Holabird and Roche was delayed by the outbreak of World War I and finally finished in 1919. By the 1950's the building could no longer support all of the library's holdings, and the institution affiliated itself first with the Illinois Institute of Technology and then with the University of Chicago, where the current library, designed by Stubbins Associates, was completed in 1984. The late 1950's photo above shows the 1919 library across Randolph Street from what is now the Chicago Cultural Center and across Michigan Avenue from the Coca Cola sign. 150 North Michigan Avenue occupies this location today.  That is the A. Epstein & Son's design with the diamond top, pictured below.

Friday, April 29, 2016

April 29, 1862 -- Pickled on Lake Street

April 29, 1862 -- Report in the Chicago Tribune for this date: "A drunken man named Gates, who resides on Wells street, became suddenly sobered Saturday night, as follows: He was walking along the river dock between Randolph and Lake streets, when, by some means unexplained, he got into deep water. He howled lustily for help, and was rescued by two men, just as he was sinking for the last time. Never was a pickled article more suddenly or completely freshened than was Gates. He was taken in charge by the police and furnished with lodgings in the Hotel de Turtle, West Market station." Poor pickled Gates nearly met his doom just beyond the nearest bridge at Randolph Street, pictured above.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

April 28, 1909 -- Cubs Rally; Beat Reporter Shines

April 28, 1909 -- The Cubs come back in the ninth inning to beat Cincinnati in a squeaker, 6-5. Another sports reporting gem, this one by I. E. Sunburn in the Chicago Daily Tribune. "Meek as so many cosset lambs during the early innings of today's game," he writes, "Chance's [player-manager Frank Chance] men suddenly tore off their disguises, converted themselves into ravenous wolves, snatched away from the Reds the victory which was apparently clinched, and plunged a stiletto deep into the vitals of Clark Griffith [Cincinnati's manager]." Reds pitcher Bob Ewing was in command until the seventh inning when he allowed two runs, but the Wrigley nine was still down by three going into the top of the ninth. Chance led off the final frame with a single to right. Third baseman Harry Steinfeldt "poled a long fly" to left, but shortstop Joe Tinker "smashed one so hot that [Red shortstop Mike] Mowrey had no chance of stopping it. Outfielder "Circus Solly" Hofman laced a line drive into center. Chance scored, and "only two runs were needed to tie her up." Cubs second baseman Heinie Zimmerman pulled a line drive between short and second and Reds left fielder Dode Paskert, hustling to cut down a run at the plate "fumbled the ball in his eagerness and it bounded gleefully back toward the fence." Tinker and Hofman scored and Zimmerman "sneaked around to third a toenail ahead of Paskert's throw in." Cubs catcher Pat Moran hit a bounder to Reds second baseman Miller Huggins, who made "a fine shot to the plate to nil Zim's run," but Cincinnati catcher Frank Roth dropped the ball. That was all that was needed to seal "the grandest rally that has been pulled off this season in any section of the map." The game was played at Cincinnati's Palace of the Fans, pictured above.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

April 27, 1914 -- Fine Arts Free Fall

April 27, 1914 -- Whatever goes up must come down. Usually. That proves true enough in the Fine Arts building on this date as elevator operator Louis Rosenfeld lets in a few more people than wisdom would dictate -- 16 to be exact in a car rated for a dozen. Two women and two men squeeze into the elevator, already crowded with students and teachers from the upper floors. As it begins to descend a cable snaps and roars down the shaft, slamming into the roof of the car. From there it snakes through the front of the car, striking several passengers. No one can move since the elevator is so crowded. Two women faint and the car stops a few feet from the bottom of the shaft as the emergency brakes take hold. The roar of the calamity can be heard on Michigan Avenue, and the entire building shakes.  The top of the car stops a few feet above the level of the first floor, and those rushing to help, including the manager of the Studebaker Theater, are able to pry the doors open and lift the passengers to safety. Fortunately, no one is seriously injured, but if I had been in the car, I might have given a considerable amount of thought totaking the stairs from then on.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

April 26, 1925 -- White Sox Lose by Forfeit

April 26, 1925 -- The biggest crowd ever to see a baseball game in the city up to this time goes home disappointed as 44,000 fans watch the White Sox lose by forfeit, 9-0, to Cleveland. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Sox down, 7-2, third baseman Willie Kamm came to bat and grounded into a routine shortstop-to-first play to end the game. At least that is what 8,000 fans thought who rushed onto the field. Except . . . the Cleveland first basemen, a recent University of Michigan graduate named Ray Knode, couldn't find first base to complete the play. As the Tribune writer James Crusinberry described the play, ". . . evidently Mr. Knode failed to learn while at Michigan just exactly where the bag is located at the first corner. After catching the ball, and with thousands of fans rushing upon the field, he began hunting the bag. He stabbed with one foot here and with another foot there and then rolled in the earth and frantically searched for the bag. He couldn't find it and by that time Willie Kamm had crossed it and there was nothing left for Umpire Billy Evans, stationed at that corner, to do but pronounce Mr. Kamm safe." Despite the fact that there were 135 policeman on the field, order could not be restored. In the throng the umpires couldn't even locate one another. Finally, the head umpire, Clarence Rowland, declared the game, which the Sox undoubtedly would have lost anyway, a forfeit. A significant number of fans leaving the ballpark that afternoon probably never even knew that was the final result.

Monday, April 25, 2016

April 25, 1914 -- Signing Up for the Fight

April 25, 1914 -- In a conflict that began with a relatively minor incident in which neither Mexican authorities or United States sailors could speak one another's language, hostilities loomed between the two countries, and young men began heading for the nearest recruiting posts, volunteering for the military. On this date the Chicago Daily Tribune reports that 1,000 applicants have made their way to the city, including Harold Witherspoon from Whiting, Indiana. The 17-year-old had walked all the way from his home to enlist -- a distance of 23 miles. Within a block of the naval recruiting station at 205 Fifth Avenue (today's Wells Street) a packing case falls off the back of a truck and crushes his foot. He is accepted conditionally and sent to Lake Bluff to recover. If he fails to do so, he will go back to Whiting . . . but not on foot. Of the thousand men who show up less than a hundred are accepted.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

April 24, 1966 -- Fixin' Up the Monadnock

April 24, 1966 -- The Chicago Tribune reports that as the old Federal building, bounded by Dearborn, Clark, Adams and Jackson, is demolished, the building across Jackson Boulevard, the Monadnock, is coming into clearer view. And the Monadnock, constructed between 1891 and 1893, is getting a major interior renovation. Fluorescent lights, carpets, and new office doors are being installed and the interior is being painted with white walls and dark gray ceilings. When it opened the building was the largest office building in the world and its design a pure statement of farewell to one building technique and a welcome to the next. As Professor Thomas Leslie of Iowa State University wrote, "Far from being the world's last and largest 'masonry skyscraper,' the Monadnock was a profoundly transitional structural achievement, making important advances in steel construction while still relying on the well-proven strength and reliability of masonry." However you approach the Monadnock, it is one heck of a building.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

April 23, 1955 -- Salk Vaccine Ready for Kids

April 23, 1955 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that mass injections of the Salk anti-polio vaccine for Chicago first and second graders in 65 parochial schools will begin on April 25. Herman Bundesen, the president of the Board of Health, also announces that the rest of the 16,200 boys and girls in these schools, along with students in 38 private and five Jewish schools will begin receiving vaccinations on April 26. The first shot will be given by Dr. Bundesen at Immaculate Conception School, 1415 N. Park Avenue. Reverend Monsignor Daniel Cunningham, Superintendent of Catholic schools in the city, will be present as well as Mayor Richard J. Daley. Chicago School Superintendent Benjamin C. Willis reports that shots for public school youngsters will begin on May 2 with 89 percent of parental permission slips for first and second graders already returned.

Friday, April 22, 2016

April 22, 1862 -- Your Kingdom for My Horse

April 22, 1862 -- The Chicago Tribune reports that one Frederick Boetiger has filed a grievance with the Chicago Common Council that will be referred to the Finance Committee for a determination of damages. It seems that Boetiger had attempted to make his way into the city by way of Division Street, using "all due care and diligence in traversing the same". However, the street was in such bad condition that his horse became "stalled in the mud of the said street and smothered to death within the city limits." Boetiger sought compensation for his lost animal. The street on the far left of the photo above is the same street poor Mr. Boetiger got stuck on back in 1862.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

April 21, 1967 -- Oak Lawn Tornado Kills 33, Injures 1,000

April 21, 1967 -- The third and final tornado to strike Illinois on this day begins northwest of Joliet at about 4:45 p.m. It moves east-northeast, building power and momentum as it goes. It takes six minutes for the monster funnel to carve a path of damage 16 miles long through the suburbs of Oak Lawn, Hometown, and Evergreen Park. At the intersection of Ninety-Fifth Street and Southwest Highway it throws several dozen cars stopped in traffic off the road, and sixteen people are killed at just this one location. The south end and east wall of Oak Lawn High School are destroyed at 5:26 p.m., when the school clocks stopped. With winds of over 100 m.p.h., the tornado finally blows itself out over the lake off Rainbow Beach. Even though it is no longer on the ground, it still has enough power to pop windshields out of cars parked at the Filtration Plant at Seventy-Eighth Street and the lake. The disaster is immense -- 33 people lose their lives, and over 1,000 suffer injuries. 152 homes are totally demolished, and another 900 or more are damaged. In its analysis of the tornado the National Weather Service concludes, "Most of those killed were people who were not in a position to hear the warning because they were away from home. Actually, the tornado could hardly have come at a worst [sic] time of day or week to catch the greatest number of people out in the open."

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

April 20, 1900 -- A River Runs through It -- But Not Deep Enough

April 20, 1900 -- Just three months after the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal opened, the project that was to end all of Chicago's river troubles . . . BAD NEWS. Marine interests pressure the Chicago Sanitary District to order the controlling works in Lockport to be shut down on this date. The depth of the river had dropped so low that at least 20 big ships were unable to make it over the roof of the Washington Boulevard tunnel, and grain shippers were impatient at the delay in getting cargo in and out of the city. In a neat job of parrying criticism, the head of the drainage board said, "The problem with the lake Captains is that they load their vessels too heavily. They often load down to seventeen and eighteen feet draft when they know there is only seventeen feet of water in the river." On top of everything else the tow line between a tug and the steamer Panther snaps, and the ship slams into the steamer Parnell at the Wells Street dock. The photo above shows the controlling works in Lockport, a city that got its name because of the lock located there on the original 1848 Illinois and Michigan Canal.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

April 19, 1925 -- Paavo Nurmi Wins 3,000 Meter Run

April 19, 1925 --The Flying Finn, Paavo Nurmi, wins the 3,000 meter run at the first annual Loyola Relays at Grant Park stadium, today's Soldier Field. Rain in the morning left the track in poor condition, and the weather was cold and blustery. Still, 5,000 spectators watched as Nurmi covered the distance in 8:49.25, considerably off his world record of 8:32. The sensation from Finland was content to let fellow countryman Willie Ritola lead the pack through the stiff northerly winds until two laps remained. On the last curve he passed Ritola and went on to win by 20 yards. Refusing to pose for pictures, he gathered up his gear and headed into the locker room as the crowd cheered. In difficult conditions he and Ritola were the only two runners to finish the race. The statue of Nurvi, pictured below, stands outside the Helsinki Olympic stadium.

Monday, April 18, 2016

April 18, 1867 -- Street Woes

April 18, 1867 -- Under "City Improvements" the Chicago Daily Tribune makes these observations . . .

"Why Madison Street from the lake to the river -- one of the great thoroughfares of travel -- should be permitted to remain in its present condition another year, cannot be explained by any rational process . . . As it is, the street is a nuisance, unsafe for travel, and offensive to the eye and nostrils of all who have to use it."

"The condition of [La Salle, Franklin, Monroe, Adams, Jackson, Harrison and Polk, from the lake to the river] is of that deplorable state which nothing short of their curbing, grading and paving can remedy. Public health, the general welfare and appearance of the city, as well as the public convenience, demand that these streets be permanently improved, and be no longer abandoned as mud holes and receptacles of filth of all kinds."

"These portions of Canal, Clinton, Jefferson, Union, Deplanes and South Halsted streets, lying between Lake and Madison streets, are almost impassable to vehicles, and are very little more convenient to pedestrians. The mud is so deep that no accident insurance company, managed with ordinary prudence, would take a risk from travellers on either of them. Drovers would attempt to swim their beeves, sheep and hogs across the river than attempt to pass over either of these streets from one of the three thoroughfares to the other with their stock."

"Halsted street, from Randolph to Madison, is a disgrace to the city. We think if the Board of Public Works would make the voyage of that street on horseback or in canoes, they would, while being fished out by the friendly neighbors living on the banks, appreciate the necessity for finishing the work only commenced by the paving of Lake, Randolph and Madison streets."

Somehow, a winter of potholes doesn't seem all that bad. The photo above shows State Street and the bridge across the river on November 2, 1867.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

April 17, 1893 -- Columbian Exposition Congresses Listed

April 17, 1893 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune provides a list of the world's congresses to be held in the brand new Art Institute building as part of the World's Columbian Exposition. According to the article, "The intention of these congresses is . . . to sum up the progress of the world in each department of the civilized life involved; to make a clear statement of the living questions of the day which still demand attention; and to receive from eminent representatives of all interests, classes, and peoples, suggestions of the practical means by which further progress may be made and the prosperity and peace of the world advanced." [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 17, 1893] The World's Fair Congress Auxiliary paid the Art Institute $200,000 for the use of 33 meeting halls and six committee-rooms in the building, plus two large rooms, each capable of seating 3,000 people. It is planned to hold up to 36 large meetings and 300 special meetings or conferences at the site during each week that the fair runs.  The following is a list of events for the fair's congresses:

May 15 -- Education.  Industry.  Literature and Art.  Moral and Social Reform, Philanthropy and Charity.  Civil Law and Government.  Religion.

May 22 -- Public Press.  Religious Press.  Trade Journals.

May 29 -- Homeopathic Medicine and Surgery.  Eclectic Medicine and Surgery.  Medico-Climatology.

June 5 -- Organizations represented by the National Temperance Society of America, Sons of Temperance, Catholic Temperance Societies, Women's Christian Temperance Union, Non-Partisan Women's Christian Temperance Union, Independent Order of Good Templars, American Medical Temperance Association. Vegetarian Societies.  Social Purity Organizations.

June 12 -- The International Conference and National Conferences of Charities, Correction and Philanthropy.  Instructors of the Feeble Minded.  Humane Societies.  The King's Daughters.  Society of St. Vincent de Paul and kindred organizations.  The Salvation Army.  A Conference on Charities, Correction, and Philanthropy will begin in one of the smaller halls of the Art Institute June 8.  This will be preliminary to the General Congress.

June 19 -- Bankers and Financiers.  Boards of Trade, Railway Commerce, Building Associations, Merchants, and Insurance Congresses, including:  Fire, Marine, Life and Accident, Mutual Benefit and Assessment, Fidelity and Casualty, Conference on Insurance Specialties.

July 3 -- Musical Art. Musical Education.

July 10 -- Authors.  Historians and Historical Students.  Librarians.  Philologists and Folk-Lore.

July 17 -- College and University Faculties, including University Extension, College and University Students, College Fraternities, Public School Authorities, Representative Youth of Public Schools, Kindergarten Education, Manual and Art Training, Physical Culture, Business and Commercial Colleges, Stenographers, Educators of the Deaf, Educators of the Blind, Chautauqua Educations, Social Settlements, and a General Educational Congress, in which all branches of education will be represented.

July 31 -- Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Engineering Education, Military Engineering.  Marine Engineering and Naval Architecture.  Aerial Navigation. 

July 31 -- Architecture.  Painting and Sculpture.  Decorative Art.  Photographic Art.  Conference on Art Museums and Schools.

August 7 -- Jurisprudence and Law Reform.  Civil Service Reform.  Suffrage, in Republic, Kingdom and Empire.  Government of Cities.  Patents and Trade Marks, social and Economic.  Science -- Weights, Measures, Coinage and Postage.  Arbitration and Peace.

August 14 -- Dental.  Pharmaceutical.  Medical Jurisprudence.  Horticulture.  Congress on Africa, the Continent, and the People.

August 21 -- Astronomy.  Anthropology.  Chemistry.  Electricity.  Geology.  Indian Ethnology. Meteorology.  Philosophy.  Psychical Research.  Zoology.

August 28 -- The Condition of Labor. Work and Wages of Women and Children.  Statistics of Labor.    Literature and Philosophy of the Labor Movement.  Labor Legislation.  Living Questions and Means of Progress. Arbitration and Other Remedies.

August 28 -- Economic Science.  Science of Statistics.  Taxation and Revenues.  Separate Conference on what is called "The Single Tax."  Profit-Sharing.  Weights, Measures, Coinage, Postage.

September 5 -- A series of union meetings in which representatives of various religious organizations will meet for the consideration of subjects of common interest and sympathy.  Denominational presentations to the religious world as represented in the parliament of religions of the faith and distinguishing characteristics of each denomination, and the special service it has rendered to mankind.  Informal conferences in which the leaders of a particular denomination will be present to answer inquiries for further information.  Denominational Congresses in which the work of the denominations will be more fully set forth and the proper business of the body be transacted.  The Art Building will be so occupied that these Denominational Congresses cannot be held in it.  They will for that reason be held in Chicago churches, which will be placed at the disposal of the denominations for that purpose.  Congresses of Missionary Societies.  Congresses of Religious Societies.

September 28 -- On Physiological Grounds.  On Economical Grounds.  On Governmental Grounds.  On Social and Moral Grounds.  On Religious Grounds.

October 13 -- Sanitary Legislation.  Jurisdiction and Work of Public Health Authorities.  Prevention, Control and Mitigation of Epidemics and Contagious Diseases.  Food Inspection and Other Food Problems.

October 16 -- General Farm Culture.  Animal Industry.  Fisheries.  Forestry.  Veterinary Surgery.  Good Roads.  Household Economics.  Agricultural Organizations and Legislation.  Agricultural Education and Experiment, including Agricultural Chemistry, Practical Geology, Economic Climatology, Economic Entomology and Practical Botany, and other scientific subjects.

Friday, April 15, 2016

April 16, 1925 -- Stevens Hotel Begins

April 16, 1925 -- E. J. Stevens awards the contract for the $30,000,000 Hotel Stevens, today's Chicago Hilton and Towers on Michigan Avenue, to the Fuller Construction Company. The hotel will be the largest hotel in the world, according to Stevens. When it opened in 1927, the Holabird & Roche designed hotel had 3,000 rooms and, among other things, could produce 120 gallons of ice cream every hour. The Fuller Construction Company is an interesting footnote. Between 1900 and 1914 the Chicago firm was responsible for the construction of over 600 buildings. Chicago's beloved Marquette, Rookery, and Monadnock buildings were all built by Fuller. So, too, was the Flatiron building off Madison Square Park in New York City. The company was dissolved in 1970, and its last building was most probably the 150 North Wacker Drive building just south of Lake Street in Chicago.

April 15, 1975 -- White Sox Lose in 13

April 15, 1975 -- The White Sox lose to the Texas Rangers in the Chicago team's home opener, but it takes 13 innings for it to happen. At the end of the long game Sox manager Chuck Tanner was livid, aiming his anger at first base umpire Art Frantz, who gave the home run signal to Ranger hitter Tom Grieve in a play that Tanner felt clearly showed fan interference. He was backed up by Sox left fielder Buddy Bradford, who didn't help his case with Frantz much on the play by reaching down and picking up the ball instead of treating it as if the play were still alive. The two teams were locked in a 5 to 5 tie at the end of the ninth and battled into the top of the thirteenth when Dave Nelson singled for the Rangers. After Jim Sundberg struck out, Joe Levito drove in Nelson with a single for the go-ahead run. The Sox finished the 1975 season second-to-last in the American League West with a record of 75 wins and 86 losses.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

April 14, 1925 -- Grover Cleveland Alexander Wins Opener

April 14, 1925 -- Grover Cleveland Alexander leads the Cubs to an an 8 to 2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates as 40,000 fans watch. Reporter Irving Vaughn shows sports reporting the way it used to be done . . . "[Grover Cleveland Alexander] swung that good right arm and that trusty bat and when the last ball had been lifted into space for the final putout a howling mob of enthusiasts poured out of the north side park to spread the news that Bill Killefer's Cubs had marked their opening battle of the National league's jubilee year with a clean, thrilling triumph over the best the Pittsburgh Pirates could offer." Alexander, a 14-year veteran, went the distance while going 3 for 3 at the plate, hitting a home run in the second, a double in the fourth, and a single in the seventh that drove in a run, the last hit described this way -- "[Alexander] came up again in the seventh. There were three Cubs on the corners and young Mr. Yde was tottering. Alex cracked him for a single that drove in one run and a few minutes later five more Bruins and planted their spikes on the counting station." Well, you know how things go. The Cubs finished the season in the cellar. losing 86 games. The Pirates, vanquished so handily by Grover Cleveland Alexander in the season opener, won the championship with 95 victories.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

April 13, 1948 -- Market Street Stub Comes Down

April 13, 1948 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that Chicago Transit authority workmen have begun salvaging rails and signal equipment form the Market Street elevated stub, which will be torn down during the summer. Once the elevated structure is out of the way, the section of South Wacker Drive on which it is located will become the north approach of the Congress Street expressway, which is in a preliminary phase of construction. The photo above shows the Market Street stub where it ended on the east side of the Civic Opera Building.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

April 12, 1955 -- Exposition Center Proposed

April 12, 1955 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that "the world's greatest exposition center" was proposed at a meeting the previous evening at the first civic meeting that Richard J. Daley attended since his election on April 5. Daley said of the $34 million project, "This is one of those bold, imaginative, and comprehensive projects needed for the continued progress of Chicago." The new exposition center will be located at Twenty-Second Street and the lakefront in approximately the same location that the Century of Progress World's Fair was held in the summers of 1933 and 1934. Ralph H. Burke of Ralph H. Burke, Inc., who worked on the project with the architectural firm of Holabird, Root and Burgee, estimated that the facility would produce an income of $2.6 million the year it opened. "It will not only put Chicago in front, but will pay its way while doing it," Burke said. [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 12, 1955]

Monday, April 11, 2016

April 11, 1945 -- Entire Chicago Fire Department Called Out

April 11, 1945 -- For the first time since the Stockyards fire in May of 1934, every piece of fire equipment in the city moves to battle two lumberyard fires, one at 1800 N. Ashland Avenue and the other on the south side at 2452 Loomis Street. 45 pieces of equipment respond to the 5-11 alarm blaze on Ashland, and while it is still burning, 61 are dispatched to Loomis Street. Eleven firemen are injured in the battle to contain the fires as 54 mile-per-hour winds make the work nearly impossible. 500 fire fighters work to get the fires under control. As the Chicago Daily Tribune photo below shows one would have had a pretty good look at the flames form the north side fire if it occurred today . . . this viaduct is the one that was removed, restored and then transferred from Ashland Avenue to Western Avenue in the building of the Bloomingdale Trail, the "606".

Sunday, April 10, 2016

April 10, 1955 -- U. of I. at Chicago Up the River?

April 10, 1955 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune editorializes about a $5,000,000 appropriation bill sponsored by State Representative William E. Pollack, a Republican from Chicago, to locate a four-year campus for the University of Illinois on the North branch of the Chicago River around California Avenue. "The university's budget requests have been cut drastically." states the editorial. "For the university to expand its operations and expenditures in Chicago when it can't get enough funds for the proper operation of the facilities that it now has would be the height of folly." [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 10, 1955] Ten days later Mayor Richard J. Daley would begin his first term as the Mayor of Chicago, and he would say toward the end of his career that helping to arrange for a branch of the University of Illinois in Chicago was his greatest achievement. The university's library is named for him. The photo below shows His Honor officially opening the new university on February 22, 1965, ten years after and over six miles south of Representative Pollack's proposal.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

April 9, 1903 -- Janitresses Unite

April 9, 1903 -- 800 members of the newly formed janitresses union celebrate a victory in arbitration "waving gingham aprons and mop rags, and beating a tattoo on scrub pails." [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 10, 1903] The women had previously worked for 11 cents an hour until Mrs. Susan Horton, a worker in the Ashland Block at Clark and Randolph (where the Chicago Title and Trust building stands today) organized the union, led a process that formalized demands, and presented them to building managers. After two weeks spent in arbitration, the women were granted an increase of seven cents to 18 cents an hour and straight time for overtime. They would work for eight hours in the day and six hours if work was done at night. Work on Sundays and holidays would count as double overtime. The photo below shows Burnham & Root's Ashland Block, where the whole thing started.

Friday, April 8, 2016

April 8, 1947 -- Saddle and Cycle Club Settles with Park District

April 8, 1947 -- Chicago park district board members approve the revision of a1931 agreement with the Saddle and Cycle Club at Sheridan and Foster, allowing the extension of Lake Shore Drive to the north. In 1931 the club agreed to give up its rights to the Lake Michigan shore. In exchange the park district agreed to build a lagoon for the club. In the 1947 agreement the club gives up the lagoon, which was never constructed. In return, the park district gives the Saddle and Cycle Club 235 feet of land extending toward Foster Avenue and 325 feet on Berwyn Avenue to the north. The club also will be permitted to extend its building liens 185 feet farther east on Foster and 275 feet east on Berwyn. The Saddle and Cycle Club began in 1895 and was literally a "country club". A Jarvis Hunt designed clubhouse was built in 1898, on a five-acre property that sat right on the lake at the southern border of Edgewater. Landfill and the extension of Lake Shore Drive barricaded the club from its lakeshore frontage, but it's still there on Foster Avenue today with about 500 families in its membership. The photo below shows the club in 1915, sitting as pretty as you please right on the edge of the lake.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

April 7, 1955 -- Contract to Arcade the Auditorium

April 7, 1955 -- Walsh Brothers, Inc. is the low bidder at $334,995 on a contract to construct an arcade along the south side of the Auditorium building to clear the way for the Congress Street expressway's route to Michigan Avenue. The 1889 building, designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, is the last of six buildings along East Congress Street to be arcaded. A part of the building that will be lost is a bar on the southeast corner believed to have been designed by Frank Lloyd Wright at the beginning of his career. The photo above shows the Auditorium as it existed in 1900. The close-up shows the arcade created when the sidewalk to the south of the building was gobbled up to make way for the expressway's entrance into downtown.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

April 6, 1878 -- Nothing to Gladden its Wretchedness

April 6, 1878 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune launches yet another editorial about the conditions found on the South Fork of the South branch of the Chicago River, widely known today as "Bubbly Creek." "Throughout the mile or more of its course there is absolutely nothing to gladden its wretchedness or to hide its beggarly rags of muddy bank and oozing filth," the paper moans. "A dirtier, uglier, more wretched-looking body of water it would be hard to find . . . the Fork is worse than ever before, for the reason that its present state is as bad as could possibly be attained." And it got worse . . .

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

April 5, 1969 -- 20,000 March down State Street

April 5, 1969 -- More than 20,000 people march down State Street in opposition to the war in Vietnam. As the march assembles demonstrators are given printed instructions to cooperate with police and ignore counter-protestors. A select group of 800 Chicago police officers are also instructed to show courtesy to the marchers. The only major disruption comes at Fourteenth and State where a protestor and counter-protestor get into it with each other. National Guard troops, already in the city because of incidents stemming from the anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King a year earlier, are not needed.

Monday, April 4, 2016

April 4, 1969 -- National Guard Withdraws Troops

April 4, 1969 -- Although National Guard troops are withdrawn from the streets of Chicago, police patrols are increased in an attempt to prevent more violence after two days of fighting, rock throwing, gunfire, and looting that leave 96 injured and 271 under arrest. A 7 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew is in effect for those under the age of 21 and a ban exists on the sale of gasoline in cans or portable containers, guns and ammunition and liquor in troubled areas throughout the city. The disturbances begin at various schools across the city as ceremonies are held to mark the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, a year after he was felled by an assassin's bullet on April 4, 1968.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

April 3, 1909 -- University Club Opens to 500 Members

April 3, 1909 -- The University Club at Michigan and Monroe is opened as 500 members and 700 guests participate in the ceremonies. Members wear academic garb representing their colleges and march in a procession from the old club headquarters on Dearborn to the banquet hall on the ninth floor of the new quarters. There a 75-person glee club joins a 30-piece orchestra and a pipe organ, and "the big dining hall reverberated with the songs of colleges east and west. Latin hymns, drinking songs, chants and serenades were punctuated with yells and cheers." [Chicago Tribune, April 4, 1909] A banquet is served on the eighth floor. The Holabird and Roche design still occupies its place on Michigan Avenue, and the members of the University Club are still active.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

April 2, 1900 -- Ferris Wheel Sold for Scrap

April 2, 1900 -- Mr. L. V. Rice, the receiver in charge of the Ferris wheel that made its debut at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, asks the Circuit Court for permission to begin taking down the wheel so that its 2,200 tons of iron and steel may be sold for scrap. After the fair concluded in October, 1893, the wheel was moved north to Wrightwood and North Clark. Although 1,750,000 people rode the attraction in the six months of the 1893 fair; fewer than 500,000 climbed aboard in the ensuing five years. The Ferris wheel did, however, have one last life. It was moved to St. Louis as part of the World's Fair in
that city, but only survived two more years before it was blown up in 1896. The photo aboveshows the great wheel somewhere close to where Dunlay's on Clark and Floyd's 99 Barbershop stands today.

Friday, April 1, 2016

April 1, 1955 -- Cornerstone of Loop Synagogue Laid Down

April 1, 1935 -- The cornerstone of the Loop Orthodox Synagogue at 16-18 North Clark Street is laid at noon, the ceremony led by the president of the congregation, Louis A. Wittenberg. The new house of worship will occupy three floors above a restaurant and will hold a two-story auditorium holding 325 worshippers. This will be the second of four homes for the congregation, the first being on the ninth floor of a building at 6 North Clark, the original home of the congregation in 1929.  The 1935 building was gutted on April 10, 1954 when the restaurant on the ground floor went up in flames as 5,000 people watched the 2-11 alarm fire. The congregation purchased that property on Clark Street in July of 1954, and construction began in March, 1955. During the building phase the sacred scrolls were moved up Clark Street in a solemn procession, and worship was held on the 21st floor of the Morrison Hotel, where today the Daley Center stands. The synagogue has undergone a fascinating transformation that mirrors the transformation of Chicago's downtown. Originally a "businessman's synagogue," with 1,000 members, drawing commuters who were already established members of their home synagogues, it today opens its doors to vacationers and out-of-town business people and provides a home congregation for all of the folks who have made downtown Chicago their home.  Its Scholar in Residence program allows Jews of all denominations to join in a weekend of Jewish learning, and there are daily mid-day Bible study classes and Saturday Torah study classes as well.