Wednesday, March 1, 2017

March 1, 1971 -- Fire in Piper's Alley



March 1, 1971 – Piper’s Alley, the big tourist draw in Old Town, is evacuated as fire is discovered in the loft of the Playwright’s Center, a four-story building that forms the west end of the U-shaped commercial center.  Two thousand spectators watch from the streets, and a hundred diners are evacuated from That Steak Joynt at 1610 Wells Street as a precaution.  Fire fighters say that every one of the 15 shops that make up the alley will suffer some smoke or water damage.  Fortunately the glass blower at the entrance to the alley remains unscathed.


March 1, 1872 -- The stockholders of the former Chicago White Stockings Baseball Club meet at Brewster's Hat Store on State Street near Twentieth Street to hear a report on how the earnings from the previous year will be divided among the players. The books for the club were lost in the Great Fire of 1871, which also brought about the demise of the club as the city struggled to rebuild. The White Stockings played their first professional game on April 29, 1870, beating the Louisville Unions, 47-1. Their name played off the popularity of the first successful professional baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. The White Stockings were in contention throughout that 1871 season, and in September were tied for first with the Philadelphia Athletics. Then in October the fire destroyed the team's ballpark, clubhouse and uniforms. In borrowed uniforms the team finished the season just two games out of first place. A new White Stockings team with no connection to the first one was formed in 1874, and that team was the progenitor of today's Chicago Cubs.

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