Friday, April 14, 2017

April 14, 1905 -- Ferguson Fund Announced

April 14, 1905 – The will of Benjamin Franklin Ferguson is filed in Probate Court, revealing that the lumber merchant has provided a trust fund that the trustees of the Art Institute will manage in the amount of $1,000,000.  The fund will be known as the B. F. Ferguson Monument Fund and it is to be “entirely and exclusively under the direction of the board of trustees of the Art Institute of Chicago in the erection and maintenance of enduring statuary and monuments, of stone, granite, or bronze, in the parks, along the boulevards, and in other public places commemorating worthy men and women of America or important events of American history.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 15, 1905]  The director of the Art Institute, William M. R. French, says of the bequest, “Chicago already is fortunate in possession of a number of notable pieces of art, work of a character that is not surpassed in any city.  The city’s future in art is now assured, and it is great.  I do not remember of ever having heard of such a fund being established before.  It is a splendid thing.  It will give encouragement to our local sculptors, and not only will keep them here but will attract the best talent from elsewhere.  It is a long step toward making Chicago the ‘city beautiful.’”  Sculptor Lorado Taft says, “For eighteen years we have hoped that some incentive would be furnished for the establishment of a school of sculpture in Chicago, and now it seems too good to be true that the incentive has come.”  The photo above shows the Lorado Taft's "Fountain of the Great Lakes," the first sculpture to be commissioned by the Ferguson Fund.

April 14, 1925 -- Grover Cleveland Alexander leads the Cubs to an an 8 to 2 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates as 40,000 fans watch. Reporter Irving Vaughn shows sports reporting the way it used to be done . . . " [Grover Cleveland Alexander] swung that good right arm and that trusty bat and when the last ball had been lifted into space for the final putout a howling mob of enthusiasts poured out of the north side park to spread the news that Bill Killefer's Cubs had marked their opening battle of the National league's jubilee year with a clean, thrilling triumph over the best the Pittsburgh Pirates could offer."  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 15, 1925] Alexander, a 14-year veteran, went the distance while going 3 for 3 at the plate, hitting a home run in the second, a double in the fourth, and a single in the seventh that drove in a run, the last hit described this way -- "[Alexander] came up again in the seventh. There were three Cubs on the corners and young Mr. Yde was tottering. Alex cracked him for a single that drove in one run and a few minutes later five more Bruins and planted their spikes on the counting station." The Cubs finished the season in the cellar. losing 86 games. The Pirates, vanquished so handily by Grover Cleveland Alexander in the season opener, won the championship with 95 victories.

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