Thursday, March 16, 2017

March 16, 1966 -- Chicago Greets Its Royal Guest

March 16, 1966 – Prince Philip races through a packed 14-hour schedule in Chicago, ending with a $100-a-plate fundraising dinner in the Grand ballroom of the Conrad Hilton Hotel attended by 1,000 guests, with most of the proceeds from the event going to La Rabida sanitarium in Jackson Park.  The prince flies into O’Hare on the preceding evening and is taken to the Drake Hotel where he stays the night.  The next day begins with an entourage leaving the Drake, headed for City Hall on La Salle Street, where the Chicago fire department band and Omar, its Saint Bernard mascot, greet the prince.  Mayor Daley meets his royal guest in front of the building, and the Chicago Highlanders kilty band leads them into the City Council chambers, where the prince is made an honorary citizen of Chicago.  The Mayor says, “The city remembers July 1959, when the sky smiled down and Chicago opened its arms for the queen and you; it was an unforgettable occasion.  No individual so genuinely reflects the most admirable qualities of modern England in trade, in science, in sports, and culture as you do.” [Chicago Tribune, March 17, 1966] The prince then meets with executives at Marshall Field and Company and Sears, Roebuck and Company and delivers a speech at a business men’s luncheon at the Ambassador West.  From there he is taken to La Rabida where he “chatted casually with the youngsters, all dressed in their best finery.”  A stop is also made at the University of Chicago campus where Prince Philip is greeted by the university’s president, George Beadle, and his wife and Mrs. Laura Fermi.  The above photo shows the prince talking to Robert Sorenson, a C.T.A. motorman during his short stay in Chicago.

March 16, 1937 -- Workmen begin driving 1,600 piles that will form a coffer dam a third of a mile east of the outer drive bridge. Ultimately 32,000 tons of concrete will rest on the piles, serving as support for the steel gates that will lie at one end of the lock intended to control the flow of water from Lake Michigan into the Chicago River. The work comes as a result of a 1930 U. S. Supreme Court decision that ordered installation of such a lock with a deadline of December 31, 1938. Today an estimated 50,000 vessels and 900,000 passengers go through the lock each year. It is one of two entrances to the Illinois Waterway system from the Great Lakes. The other is the Thomas J. O'Brien lock on the Calumet River.

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