March 5, 1901 – In 1889 John Chippewa Crerar, a wealthy Chicago industrialist died and left approximately 2.6 million dollars to fund a library in the city. In 1894 that library was legally incorporated and by 1901 the board of directors had hatched a plan to erect a building for the library in Grant Park at the foot of Washington Street. On this date in 1901 the Chicago Daily Tribune endorsed the plan in an editorial, stating, “If built as planned the structure will be one of which the city will be proud. It will be an ornament to the lake front, against which the property-owners cannot make a reasonable objection.” The only possible drawback to the plan, according to the paper, was “the smoke nuisance form the adjacent railroad tracks.” The editorial concluded, though, that “if the smoke nuisance were always to be considered there would be no building at all in Chicago.” There followed a long dispute over erecting the building in Grant Park, followed by a lengthy delay caused by the first world war. Groundbreaking did not take place for the Holabird and Roche desgined building until 1919 when it was begun on the northwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Randolph Street. It was torn down in the early 1980’s and the collection moved to the University of Chicago.
March 5, 1862 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune editorializes about the nearly intolerable condition of the Chicago River, observing that "A walk across Rush street, Madison street or Polk street bridges will work conviction of the trouble upon the happy possessor of the obtusest of noses." The paper finds that between Fullerton and Chicago Avenues over 4,000 head of cattle are being "stall-fattened," and that "The entire drainage of these sheds . . . pours directly into the river." In the three miles from Bridgeport to Madison Street the paper found "no less than seventeen packing houses . . . the aggregate number of animals slaughtered on or near the river's banks whose blood swells the crimson tide, is not less than five thousand per day." In conclusion, the editorial states, "There have been, since October last, poured into the river the blood and entrails of more than eighty thousand head of fat cattle and of four hundred thousand hogs, besides the sewage and the winter's refuse of a hundred and twenty thousand well fed people. Let us not wonder, when this conduit of corruption is leaking out its contents into the lake, that when the wind is right, the water is abominable. Rather let us account it a mercy that it is no worse."