May 18, 1878 – The cornerstone is placed for the First Regiment’s armory on Jackson Street between Wabash and Michigan Avenues, celebrated in “one of the finest military parades and reviews that has taken place in this city for years.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 15, 1878] The first meeting to organize a National Guard regiment in Chicago took place on August 28, 1874 with the militia funded through private donations. George M. Pullman contributed the first $500 with 22 of the city’s leading citizens contributing $100 apiece. The first drill hall was established at 112 Lake Street. In February of 1875 the First Regiment assembled as demonstrations swept the downtown area. The six companies of the regiment were credited with saving the city from almost certain rioting as the men encamped in the armory. The members of the regiment, still without a suitable place to call home, played an instrumental role in putting down the disturbances that came in July of 1877 during the rioting that occurred during the railroad strike, stationing cannons on the Twelfth and Sixteenth bridges. Finally, the First Regiment dedicated its new armory on the site of the old Trinity Church on October 29, 1878. The armory remained open until 1900 when a new armory was begun farther south on Michigan Avenue. The above photo shows the armory as it stood on Jackson next to the Leiland Hotel.
May 18, 1967 – Officials of Chicago Helicopter Airways, Inc. predict that the helicopter line may be hauling a million passengers annually within a few years. The chairman of the company, John S. Gleason, Jr., says that preliminary plans have begun for developing a downtown heliport in Grant Park or on adjacent Illinois Central air rights. Gleason is encouraged by reports that a projection of 300 flights a day operating out of a revamped Midway Airport could result in the shuttling of a million passengers a year between Midway, O’Hare and the Loop. He is also optimistic about a third major airport being built in the lake. Optimism is the engine that turns the rotors, right? Even if the craft never gets off the ground, the noise sure gets your attention.