April 9, 1975 – O’Neil Ford, a Texas architect working on plans for a transformation of the river that flows through San Antonio into a natural people-friendly attraction, speaks at the second of the Bright New City lecture series in the First Chicago auditorium. Ford outlines the project from its slow beginnings when “a few people started doing good things to the river banks,” [Chicago Tribune, April 9, 1975] to a place where “walks, terraces, and plantings line the banks, where 60,000 people show up on a weekend for an art show with really terrible paintings and where barges and paddle boats ply the waters.” The architect concludes his lecture by saying, “If people can make the San Antonio River that way, they can make the Chicago River work, too … If something like that isn’t done within 10 years, it will be a disgrace.” Well, it took a little longer than ten years, but the Chicago River is looking pretty good these days and is getting better with each passing year.
April 9, 1903 -- 800 members of the newly formed janitresses union celebrate a victory in arbitration "waving gingham aprons and mop rags, and beating a tattoo on scrub pails." [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 10, 1903] The women had previously worked for 11 cents an hour until Mrs. Susan Horton, a worker in the Ashland Block at Clark and Randolph (where the Chicago Title and Trust building stands today) organizes the union, leads a process that formalizes demands, and presents them to building managers. After two weeks spent in arbitration, the women are granted an increase of seven cents to 18 cents an hour with straight time for overtime. They are to work for eight hours in the day and six hours if work is done at night. Work on Sundays and holidays will count as double overtime. The photo below shows Burnham & Root's Ashland Block, where the whole thing started.