Wednesday, February 22, 2017

February 22, 1922 -- First Step Taken in Rescuing the Palace of Fine Arts

February 22, 1922 – The Chicago Daily Tribune prints an editorial in praise of the 6,000 Chicago club women who have successfully petitioned the South Park Commissioners for the Illinois chapter of the American Society of Architects to restore one wing of the old Fine Arts building, a building that would eventually restored and see new life as today’s Museum of Science and Industry.  The editorial states, “Unquestionably the building is one of the most beautiful architecturally in the world.  It is a credit to Chicago, an inspiration to modern builders, and a monument to the World’s Fair which marks an epoch in the city’s history.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 22, 1922] At this point, no one knows what will become of one of the only survivors of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.  The paper proposes some possibilities:  a branch of the Art Institute; a space for loan exhibits of Chicago artists; a school of industrial art; a park field house with gymnasiums, swimming pools, and assembly halls; even a public library branch.  The investment of just $7,000, the editorial observes, is a good one and will “furnish a striking contrast with the remainder of the building and reveal most effectively the real and potential beauties of the structure.”  The above photo shows the condition of the building that would become oday's Museum of Science and Industry in 1925.

Also on this date from an earlier blog entry . . .

February 22, 1914 -- Chicago comes by its role of Sanctuary City honestly as can be seen by an event that took place over a century ago.  Despite a blinding snowstorm, 2,200 out of the 4,700 citizens who have been naturalized since July 1, 1913 gather together at the Auditorium Building at the New Citizens' Allegiance Celebration. Dr. Emil G. Hirsch, who was born in Luxembourg, the rabbi of the Chicago Sinai Congregation gave the address. He tells the audience, "Let us be on our guard against tampering with our Americanism by hitching it to a hyphen . . . Let us see to it that our conduct disarms this anti-alien prejudice and show that American civilization has been enriched by reason of our being here." Mrs. Mary McDowell, head of the University of Chicago settlement, the "Angel of the Stockyards," spoke especially to the women of the audience, saying, "We must learn things from you. You must give us your sentiment and ideals, for they belong to us now, and we need them. If you like this city, you can help us make it fit to live in." Dr. Hirsch and Mrs. McDowell are pictured above.

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