Monday, April 24, 2017

April 24, 1880 -- Pullman Begins

April 24, 1880 – Surveyors begin staking out the site that the Pullman Palace-Car Works and the Allen Paper Car-Wheel Works will occupy and preparations are finalized for opening ceremonies on April 25.  Pullman will be quite a venture as the Chicago Daily Tribune reports, “Before winter comes a new town will be planted between One Hundred and Third and One Hundred and Fifteenth streets.  A population of thousands will be growing where not a young blade grew before.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 25, 1880] The erecting shops will have stalls for fifty passenger cars and 100 freight cars at one time.  All the buildings will have electric lights and will be heated with steam.  There will be 7,827,026 cubic feet to be warmed, requiring 230,536 feet of steam pipe.  The Tribune describes the expected grounds to be impressive as well, reporting that “The entire area, half a mile deep by a mile long, will be treated with shrubbery, lawns, serpentine walks, and drives in the best style of landscape art.  A drive two miles long will encircle the shops.  A boulevard 150 feet wide, with a lawn in the centre, will be made of One Hundred and Eleventh street.”  Before cold weather comes this year, close to 2,000 mechanics and laborers would be at work in the new community that would become, almost overnight, the largest suburb of the city.

April 24, 1966 -- The Chicago Tribune reports that as the old Federal building, bounded by Dearborn, Clark, Adams and Jackson, is demolished, the building across Jackson Boulevard, the Monadnock, is coming into clearer view. And the Monadnock, constructed between 1891 and 1893, is getting a major interior renovation. Fluorescent lights, carpets, and new office doors are being installed and the interior is being painted with white walls and dark gray ceilings. When it opened the building was the largest office building in the world and its design a pure statement of farewell to one building technique and a welcome to the next. As Professor Thomas Leslie of Iowa State University wrote, "Far from being the world's last and largest 'masonry skyscraper,' the Monadnock was a profoundly transitional structural achievement, making important advances in steel construction while still relying on the well-proven strength and reliability of masonry." However you approach the Monadnock, it is one heck of a building.

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