Sunday, April 23, 2017

April 23, 1970 -- Alta Vista Terrace and Hull House Receive Landmark Status



April 23, 1970 – The Chicago Tribune reports that the Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks has voted unanimously to give landmark status to two Chicago historical sites – the Hull House mansion at 750 South Halsted Street and a block of 40 row houses on Alta Vista Terrace, not far from Wrigley Field.  The Hull House mansion was built in 1856 for Charles J. Hull, a Chicago real estate broker but by 1910 had become the center for a 13-building complex that was home to the social settlement community of Jane Addams.  The mansion and one other building are the only two structures that remained after the University of Illinois began levelling the area for the building of its Chicago campus.  The Alta Vista terrace area is only the second such district to be designated as a landmark, the first being the area surrounding the Chicago water tower on Michigan Avenue.  Hearings within the month will determine the status of the Leiter I building at 208 West Monroe Street and the Monadnock Building at 55 West Jackson Boulevard.  Leiter I will not make the cut and will be demolished in 1972.  The Monadnock, fortunately, will receive landmark status and will be meticulously restored.


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.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

April 22, 1971 -- Dearborn Station Heads into the Sunset



April 22, 1971 – The Chicago Tribune learns that the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad’s passenger trains will be moved to Union Station, making it certain that the Dearborn Street station will be closed.  Signs are already posted at Dearborn station, notifying passengers that service will be discontinued on April 30.  The passenger operations of the the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe have been taken over by Amtrak and one of the government agency’s principal goals is to consolidate terminals in Chicago since they eat so much of the operating costs of passenger trains.  Chicago’s commuter trains will maintain their present distribution across several stations on the periphery of downtown.  Consolidation of these trains would add as much as 30 minutes to some routes, defeating the purpose of paying for a 30-minute train ride from the suburbs to the city.  The photo above shows the 1976 demolition of the train sheds that lay south of the station.


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.

Friday, April 21, 2017

April 21, 1901 -- Madison Street Near Tragedy



April 21, 1901 – A huge iron tank breaks from its supports on the roof of the Galbraith Building on Madison Street and smashes through six floors to the basement.  Seven people are injured, none of them seriously, and all the glass on the Madison Street side of the building is broken.  Two crows are killed in the Slotkin Pet Store on the ground floor.  Fortunately, the accident occurs on a Sunday.  There was no warning, and if the tank had fallen on any other day of the week, casualties would have undoubtedly been far greater.  The tank had been installed a month earlier to supply water to the fire suppression system, and the water in the tank alone weighed almost six tons.  Harry Solomon, one of the fortunate souls who escaped the tank’s fall, said, “The thing was over before we could realize our peril.  A deluge of water and wreckage poured on us as we stood gazing into the great gap that had been cut through the floor not three feet from where I had stood.  I knew in an instant that it was the tank, as we had spoken of the danger of installing the great weight in the old building.  The whole building shook, and I thought there was no hope for us, but we rushed to the fire-escape to avoid going down with the floors.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 22, 1901] In the above plate from Rand McNally's 1893 View of Chicago the Galbraith Building is #10 at the very top of the rendering toward the right corner.


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 stop. 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."