Wednesday, May 3, 2017

May 3, 1894 -- Chicago Post Office Plans Revealed

May 3, 1894 – Under the “Things Could Have Been a Lot Different” category … on this date the Chicago Daily Tribune carries news that the Chicago architectural firm of Hill and Woltersdorf have completed designs for a three-story post office building that will rise between Randolph and Madison Streets with a 700-foot frontage on Michigan Avenue.  Complementing the new home of the Art Institute a block to the south, the building’s first story will be six feet above street level with terraced steps leading to the entrance in the center of the building, which will face Washington Street.  That main entrance will be “flanked with abutments crowned with sculptured groups emblematic of the postal service.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 3, 1894] The entire building will have a steel frame, be fire-proof and cost somewhere between $2,000,000 and $2,500,000.  As pictured above, there apparently was a post office building that stood at this location from 1896 to 1905, but when contrasted with the original two million dollars plan depicted in the sketch, the actual building seems to have been far more modest and far more utilitarian with virtually all of the classical touches eliminated.

May 3, 1966 – Comedian Dick Gregory is fined $1,500 and sentenced to five months in the Cook County jail on charges related to a march through Grant Park a year earlier. Five police officers testify during the trial that Gregory “kicked and hit arresting officers and had to be carried to a squadrol.”[Chicago Tribune, May 4, 1966] No witnesses are called to rebut the testimony. Gregory’s lawyer, Mrs. Jean Williams, says that the length of the jail sentence stems from the fact that “it would be expedient to have him [Gregory] out of circulation in the forthcoming election.” In addition to his civil rights activism Gregory was also running for mayor of Chicago. Four years later, on March 10, 1970, the United States Supreme Court struck down disorderly conduct sentences against Gregory and others who were involved in peaceful demonstrations in the city.

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