Saturday, May 6, 2017

May 6, 1883 -- Pullman Headquarters Begins

May 6, 1883 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that the excavation for the nine-story headquarters of the Pullman Palace-Car Company on the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue and Adams Street has begun.  As the Home Insurance Building on La Salle Street is nearing completion – arguably the first metal-framed commercial skyscraper in history – the Pullman building will be “perfectly fireproof from cellar to garret – fireproof tile and iron beams being used throughout.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 6, 1883] The structure will have a dual purpose.  The Pullman headquarters will have an entrance on Adams Street while a number of apartments in the building will be entered through the Michigan Avenue entrance.  Company offices will occupy the first four floors of the building, and speculation is that the fifth floor will be given to the offices of General Phillip Sheridan.  The five upper floors will be devoted to apartments of from seven to ten rooms and a number of bachelors’ suites from two to four rooms.  The ninth floor will have a restaurant overlooking the lake with “a large covered promenade … making it a delightful resort in warm weather.”  The half-million-dollar building will have its boilers located in a separate structure, given “the prejudice against living in a building with large steam boilers in the basement.”  The Tribune assessment of the building concludes, “One of the objects sought by Mr. Pullman … was the furnishing to those employés of the company who desired them living apartments of superior character more convenient to their business than those in which many of them now abide … Mr. Pullman has expressed a wish that such a structure might be erected for their benefit.”

May 6,1942 – Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Chick Evans, and Tommy Armour tee it up at the Edgewater Golf Club with the admission fees from the 3,500 spectators going to benefit the Fort Sheridan Athletic and Recreation Fund.  The team of Crosby and Evans win the match, 2 up, both men shooting 36, one over par. Armour cards a 37 and Hope a 38. The round ends after nine holes as overzealous fans “crowded [the players] at every step, seeking autographs or at least a walking proximity to the two stars. Small boys scale the Edgewater fences by the hundreds to follow Bing and Bob.” [Chicago Tribune, May 7, 1942] As a side note the 94-acre Edgewater Golf Club is now a part of the city’s Warren Park at 6601 N. Western Avenue. When the old golf course was re-zoned in 1968 to allow real estate development on the property, a grassroots effort to save the land as open space ensued. A third of the property became the first urban state park when Illinois purchased it for $8 million in 1969. The Chicago Park District condemned another 32 acres in 1972 and a new park, complete with a nine-hole golf course was opened in 1980. The golf course is dedicated to Robert A. Black, Chief Engineer to the Chicago Park District for more than 30 years. The layout of the old golf course is pictured above.  An awesome history of the course and the politics involved in its transformation can be found here.

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