Tuesday, June 13, 2017

June 13, 1922 -- Weissmuller Sets Two World Records


June 13, 1922 – Representing the Illinois Athletic Club, John Weismuller smashes four world’s swimming records at Kahului on the island of Maui.  Weismuller took 14 seconds off the previous record in the 400-yard freestyle, finishing in 4:40.4.  In the 400-meter freestyle he breaks the old world’s record by six seconds.  He also sets a new record in the 500-yard freestyle and the 500-meter freestyle events.  In addition to the records Weismuller also takes gold in the 100- and 50-yard freestyle races. The champion’s family came to the United States from Germany when he was just seven-months-old, eventually settling in Chicago where his father, Peter, worked as a brewer.  When the young man contracted polio as a teenager, a doctor suggested he take up swimming to combat the ravages of the disease.  He dropped out of Lane Technical High School, working as a lifeguard on Chicago beaches, eventually ending up as an elevator operator at the Illinois Athletic Club.  It was there that he was given a chance to show his skill.  A little over two years after his success in the Hawaiian Islands, Weismuller will compete in the 1924 Olympic games in Paris, taking four gold medals.  Four years later in the Amsterdam Olympic games he will won another two gold medals.  In the early 1930’s he will ink a seven-year contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, beginning a career that is notable for the six Tarzan movies in which he starred.



June 13, 1967 – Efforts to correct the sinking north wall of the Monadnock building are finished.  After a real estate investment group headed by Carroll H. Sudler, purchased the building for more than two million dollars, it was discovered that the 1891 structure is sinking.  For the preceding two months, according to the Chicago Tribune, 31 pipes, each of them 14 inches in diameter, have been sunk under four supporting piers of the north wall and then filled with concrete.  On this date the work is completed.  The Monadnock is safe, but Jackson Boulevard on which the narrow north face of the Monadnock sits, is a mess, “slumping badly in sections,” according to the Tribune as a result of excavation work for the new Federal building that is being constructed directly across the street from the Monadnock.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

May 28, 1894 -- American Institute of Architects Honors Hugh M. G. Garden


 

May 28, 1894 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that Hugh M. G. Garden has been awarded the gold medal of the American Institute of Architects for the best architectural design, a plan that the architect worked up for the New York Herald.  The Herald’s plan to replace its offices at Broadway and Ann Street resulted in a competition to which Garden contributed his design, “a nineteen-story office building, the planning of which was rendered extremely difficult on account of the extreme irregularity of the lot.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 28, 1894] The paper continues, “The design is radically different from the office buildings of the day and is remarkable for its picturesque sky line, the top being a delightful grouping of gables, balconies, towers and turrets … If built [it will be] the highest commercial structure in the world.”  Garden, the president of the Chicago Architectural Sketch Club and one of the designers of the Montgomery Ward warehouse building at 600 West Chicago, was an active member of the Prairie Style designers who inhabited Steinway Hall not long after the conclusion of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  His design for the New York Herald did not win the competition.  The winning design by George B. Post is shown above along with the sketch of Garden’s vision. 


May 28, 1926 – It is announced that the Builder’s Mart, with a design by Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, will be erected at the southwest corner of Wacker Drive and La Salle Street. This will be the first improvement on the brand new Wacker Drive west of 35 East Wacker, completed in 1926. A. E. Coleman, President of the Building Construction Employers’ Association, says, “[This building] will tend to unite the business interests identified with the building industry. The popularity of such a proposition has been signified by building interest, as more than fifty per cent of the space already has been applied for.” In addition to Coleman’s association, it is anticipated that the structure will also hold the Chicago Master Steamfitters’ association, the Builders’ Association of Chicago, the Iron League of Chicago, the Illinois Highway Contractors’ association, and the Illinois branch of the Associated General Contractors of America. There will also be 10,000 square feet of space set aside for the Builders’ Club. Off the lower level of Wacker Drive will be a garage with space for 150 vehicles. The 1927 building stands on the right side of La Salle Street in the photo above with a glassy addition designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill completed in 1986.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

May 27, 1917 -- Auditorium Anti-War Speeches Bring Violence



May 27, 1917 – Seven weeks after the United States Congress approves a declaration of war on Germany, the Chicago Conference Committee on Terms of Peace” holds a rally at the Auditorium Theater in which protestors rail against the country’s entanglement in the war an ocean away.  There are 2,000 people outside the building for which there is no room, and they instigate what the Chicago Daily Tribune calls the city’s first “war riot.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 28, 1917] The paper reports, “The scene was Grant park, just across from the Auditorium hotel.  Michigan avenue’s thousands of Sunday promenaders came to an amazed halt.  A steady flowing stream of automobiles pulled up short, blockading the boulevard for many blocks in each direction … Then a huge, bearded and mop headed Russian thrust himself above the heads of the others … ‘Why should American workmen fight the workmen of Germany for any _______   _________ in the White House?’ he bawled.”  It took an hour to put down the riot as “The air was filled with clubs, that cracked down upon the heads of the rioters.  The members of the meeting shrieked imprecations, women bit and scratched the police, bull throated malcontents bawled threats and ‘Down with the government!’ “Free speech!’ and “No war.’”  At first 40 officers show up, followed by 35 detectives.  In ten minutes there are another 400 policemen trying to maintain order.  The Tribune reports, “’Free speech!’ screamed the women. ‘We want free speech!’ ‘You’ll get it,’ bellowed back a square shouldered policeman as he whacked another disturber over the head.”  The Reverend Irwin St. John Tucker, chairman of the peace terms conference, issues a statement in which he separates the meeting in the Auditorium from the disturbances across Michigan Avenue.  It reads, “The Chicago permanent conference on terms of peace is responsible only for the mass meeting held in the Auditorium and for the resolutions officially presented therein … The conference is determined, while exercising all our rights under the law, strictly to observe all our obligations under the same.”


May 27, 1975 – After a City Council subcommittee approves $7.2 million for the rehabilitation of Navy Pier, a project that the Department of Public Works estimates may take closer to $34 million, the Chicago Tribune weighs in with its opinion. “Either it will be revived somehow,” the editorial states, “or it will be a big black eye on Chicago’s face as long as it remains. We hope a practical way can and will be found to make Navy Pier once again used, attractive, well served by public transportation from end to end as well as to it. The site is one of the most scenic and interesting urban sites in the country. Surely some time Chicago will find a means of turning Navy Pier’s unused potential into reality.”