May 20, 1914 – The board of the South Park Commissioners authorizes its superintendent, J. F. Foster, to begin “at once” the first phase of Grant Park beautification by beautifying a strip of land west of the Illinois Central tracks between Jackson Boulevard and Randolph Street. Foster says, “These plans will be worked out by our landscape architects and gardeners from the original complete Grant park plan submitted by Olmstead brothers of Boston. The park will be beautified in units. The second portion to be improved will be that west of the Illinois Central tracks and running south from Jackson boulevard to the proposed new Illinois Central terminal to be built south of Twelfth Street extended.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 21, 1914] The above photo, taken in July of 1914, shows Monroe Street as it crosses the Illinois Central tracks. The Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago sits on the right side of the street today on the lake side of the railroad tracks.
May 20, 1965 – The Plaza of the Americas on the north side of the Wrigley building is opened, extending from the lot line on Michigan Avenue almost to Rush Street. This is the first of two great public spaces on Michigan avenue to be developed by private interests. Pioneer Court, jointly developed by the Tribune Company and the Equitable Life Assurance Society of the United States, will open on the east side of the avenue in the upcoming month. Pioneer Court is a joint undertaking of the Wrigley company and Apollo Savings and Loan Association of Chicago, which occupies the building just to the north of the Wrigley Building. That building is now the Realtor Building at 430 North Michigan Avenue. On this day in 1965 at 11:45 the flags of Chicago and the United States are raised, followed by the flags representing the nations of the Organization of American States. There is to be a pole set aside for the Cuban flag, but no flag will be raised. “It was decided that until Cuba becomes free, its flag would not be flown,” Edward P. Kelly, the chairman of Apollo Savings, says. [Chicago Tribune, May 16, 1965]