Friday, September 30, 2016

September 30, 1990 -- White Sox Win the Last Game at Comiskey

September 30, 1990 – The Chicago White Sox defeat the Seattle Mariners, 2-1, in the last game the team will play in Comiskey Park, the oldest baseball park in the major leagues.  The last pitch is thrown by Bobby Thigpen who gets Seattle’s Harold Reynolds to hit a grounder to Sox second baseman Scott Fletcher who throws to Steve Lyons at first for the out.  Tickets for the final game sell out in two hours when they go on sale on June 9, and a crowd of 42,849 is on hand to bid farewell to the old ball yard.  These are the last of the 72,801,381 fans who have watched the Sox compile a record of 3,024 wins and 2,926 losses in Comiskey since it opened on July 1, 1910.  Said Sox pitcher Wilbur Wood, “It’s a shame they’re closing it down . . . It’s like with all of the older parks, not for the players but for the fans.  The new parks are so symmetrical that you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all.  And the fans are so far away.  I hope the fans are close at the new park like they were at Comiskey.”  [Chicago Tribune, October 1, 1990]

Thursday, September 29, 2016

September 29, 1906 -- South Shore Country Club Opens . . . with Booze

September 29, 1906 – On a “rainy, chilly, and generally disagreeable” day [Chicago Daily Tribune, September 30, 1906] the South Shore Country Club opens its doors for the first time with 92 cases of champagne on hand to warm the 600 people in attendance.  Everyone is on edge as there are intimations that Arthur Burrage Farwell and the Hyde Park Protective Association might try to storm the festivities in an effort to stop the serving of alcohol, but at 4:30 p.m. the club’s president, William Thorne, the president of Montgomery Ward and Company, opens the first bottle of champagne on the club’s wind-swept veranda and calls one of the 200 waiters on hand to serve his guests.  “Here’s defiance to Farwell,” is the toast that follows.  Mr. Farwell’s organization is dedicated to removing the perils of alcohol from the area.  “Their arguments – the sanctity of the family, the selling of liquor to minors, the perceived threat to land values and suspicions of gambling and prostitution – were used to garner community support for closing of the taverns.”  [Hyde Park Herald, February 20, 2014]  The association didn’t stop the festivities on this evening.  As the Tribune reported, “Outside the angry surf beat against the shore and the wind moaned above the strains of the orchestra, but in the dining room, where 600 were served, in the reception hall, and the spacious parlor, where the dark green furniture appeared in pleasing contrast against the white woodwork, the scene was of good cheer.”

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September 28, 1924 -- Chicago Temple is Dedicated

September 28, 1924 – In a day that was “replete with fervent pulpit oratory, congratulations, stately music and solemn ritual” [Chicago Daily Tribune, September 28, 1924] the Chicago Temple at Clark and Washington Streets is dedicated. Even though there are three services at the new church, throngs outside are still so great that two outdoor services are held in the morning and afternoon.  The president of the Temple’s board of trustees reads a letter from President Calvin Coolidge in which he writes, “I join heartily in the hope which moved its founders, that it may be the means of expanding and increasing the effectiveness of the great spiritual work to which it is devoted.  Unique in many ways as an ecclesiastical type of architecture, it will bring together the spiritual and lay activities of the church, giving from each a helpful inspiration to the other.”  The congregation is one of the oldest in Chicago, beginning in an 1834 building on the north side of the river.  In 1838 that building was floated across the river and rolled on logs to a location on the southeast corner of Washington and Clark, the same plot on which the First United Methodist Church of Chicago stands today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

September 27, 1910 -- 200,000 Watch Twenty Minute Flight

September 27, 1910 – As 200,000 people look on, Walter L. Brookins circles his Wright biplane 2,500 feet above the city for a sustained flight of 20 minutes.  Taking off from Grant Park, which was “black with humanity,” [Chicago Daily Tribune, September 28, 1910] the aviator thrills the crowd as he soars south to Twelfth Street, over the Loop to the Federal Building on Dearborn Street, and back over the lake.  “Chicago looks for all the world like the picture on a postal card when you are 2,000 feet above it,” Brookins says at the end of the flight.  “I could look down between my legs and see everything, but of course could recognize only a few of the buildings.  I knew the federal building as soon as I saw it and I stopped my westward flight as I looked directly beneath me.”  The next day Brookins would attempt a sustained trip from Chicago to Springfield in an attempt to outrun an Illinois Central passenger train starting simultaneously.

Monday, September 26, 2016

September 26, 1949 -- Architect Chosen for the New St. Peter's

September 26, 1949 – Chicago learns that the architectural firm of Vitzhum and Burns has won a competition for the design of a church and Franciscan friary to be located at 108-116 West Madison Avenue, the site of the La Salle Theater.  The church, St. Peter’s, will replace one that was built at 816 South Clark Street just four years after the Great Fire in 1871.  The Franciscan Fathers made some darned good deals in the process of arranging for their new place of worship.  In 1942 the order bought the ten-story Woods Theater building from the Marshall Field estate for $600,000, property that it sold in June of 1949 for $1,200,000.  At the same time the order bought the site for the new church from the Marshall Field estate for $515,000.  The plans for the new building include a 1,600-seat auditorium, a chapel above the main auditorium that will seat 300, with the two upper floors serving as the friary.  Some heavy hitters participated in the competition, including Edo J. Belli, Nairne W. Fischer, Hermann J. Gaul, Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, Rapp and Rapp, and Shaw, Metz and Dolio.  Due to the scarcity of building materials in the post-war years it took awhile to finish the new St. Peter’s, but the church finally opened in 1955.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

September 25,1927 -- Plans for the Powhatan Are Announced

September 25, 1927 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that construction will soon begin on “one of the city’s most notable cooperative apartment buildings . .. . thoroughly American in its exterior design and in its interior treatment.”  The Powhatan, to be located at Fiftieth Street and Chicago Beach Drive, is a design of Robert S. De Golyer and Charles Morgan that combines the modern qualities of Art Deco’s fascination with historical references.  The building will hold 45 apartments, ranging in size form six to ten rooms, that “will be the last word in luxury, with wood burning fireplaces, galleries with plaster beam ceilings, libraries, enough bathrooms to keep an entire family happy and so on.”  The twentieth floor will hold a ballroom, and owners will enjoy a community swimming pool on the first floor.  Today the Powhatan is an Art Deco jewel that has to be seen to be appreciated fully.  According to Emporis it is the most expensive residential high-rise on Chicago’s south side.  For the full story on this amazing building you can turn to this link.