March 21, 1894 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports on the remarks of Judge Lorin C. Collins, a respected jurist who served as the Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives and as a Chicago Circuit Court Judge before retiring to private practice in 1893. He speaks of the great opportunity that lies before the city in potential park land along the lake, saying of the land that one day would become Grant Park, “Every one admits that the people have rights there, but so long as we go putting buildings there, which are not ornamental, and filling it up the same as the property west and south, they see no use in maintaining them.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, March 21, 1894] The judge’s proposal, which he says would be trivial in comparison to the building of the World’s Fair of 1893, still is huge in its scope. He says, “I would propose, as a general plan, to remove all the Illinois Central tracks north of the new depot, which are mainly used for freight purposes, and take away all the unsightly structures north nearly or quite to the river. Condemnation proceedings could be instituted, and I do not think a jury would fix the damages at excessive figures. Any legislation necessary could be secured at Springfield for such a purpose with comparative ease, and I think the State would willingly cede what rights it now claims in the land in question. I would pay for this improvement by a general park tax on all the city and the entire cost would not be as great as that of Jackson Park now. Bonds might be issued allowing future generations to help pay for something of which they would get the benefit … One can hardly estimate the great benefit to the city from having a magnificent park on our Lake-Front. Not only would it be of incalculable benefit to the residents of the city, but it would be a park such as no other city in the world has, and render us proportionately famous … I would wipe out everything there except the Art Institute and make one grand park of it.” The above photo, taken in 1893, looks south in the area that would one day become Grant Park.
March 21, 1867 -- Before a packed Coliseum crowd Professor R. D. Hamilton holds forth, providing instruction in the taming of horses. The venue is so crowded that the doors are ordered closed to prevent the place from being overcrowded. At the end of the lecture a grocer, one Mr. Minogue, brings a bay horse "which proved to be a vicious brute" [Chicago Daily Tribune, March 22, 1867], apparently hoping that the good professor could perform his magic on the beast. Before anything could be accomplished, though, the horse "sprang wildly" into the packed crowd. "A scream of terror rose from every part of the house, and this had the effect of still further maddening the infuriated animal, who struggled and pranced form one circle of seats to another among the thickest of the spectators, till he reached nearly to the roof of the circus." At that point the flooring gave way above a series of lion's cages and horse and spectators disappeared.. Predictably, someone cried, "The lions are loose," and terror reigned. "There were a few women among the audience, and, of course, they all fainted . . . what became of the horse no one knew for a while; but it appears he had succeeded in chasing the buffalo loose . . ." Before long the doors were opened, and the members of the audience were free. Soon after that Professor Hamilton sought out the "irrepressible horse" and "in a brief space of time the wild horse was as tame and peaceful as a lamb." All in a day's work in pre-fire Chicago.