Monday, August 7, 2017

August 7, 1973 -- Grant Park Sees Third Murder in a Year

Chicago Tribune article, August 7, 1973
August 7, 1973 – Following the third murder of a woman in Grant Park in less than a year, the Chicago Tribune editorializes about “Our Unsafe City.”  [Chicago Tribune, August 7, 1973] “That women should be killed in the front yard of downtown Chicago,” the editorial states, “is shocking and shameful.  That the murders remain unsolved compounds the shame.”  The Tribune offers three areas that should be considered immediately.  “The facts call for more than hand wringing.  They call for more rigorous police work in the future than in the past,” the editorial states.  Along with that, “The facts call also for constant concern on the part of everyone for the safety of both oneself and of others.  Public awareness of risk needs to be heightened, tho of course short of panic or neurosis.” And, finally, “… prudence suggests staying away from wooded areas without sight lines to passers-by, even when those areas are in heavily used public parks … Broad daylight is not sufficient protection.”  The editorial concludes, “It is shameful that, more and more, people have reason to become wary like antelopes among predators.  The harsh fact is that vicious crime in public places is an ever present possibility in cities, including Chicago.  Heightened vigilance by both police and public offers the best—tho an imperfect—defense.”

August 7, 1910:  The Chicago Daily Tribune once again editorializes about the evil of the Illinois Central Railroad, writing, “Yesterday was a perfect day in Chicago.  The sky was cloudless and the lake a blue turquoise, save along the eastern edge of the south side.  There the vile smoke from a hundred coughing locomotives of the Illinois Central railroad made it seem the gateway to the inferno.  All along one-half of what should be the most magnificent city water front of the world went the disfiguring trains drawn by engines, the stacks of which belched forth clouds of smoke and showers of embers.  The public library, the Art institute, the hotels, the business blocks, and miles and miles of private residences are all begrimed and polluted by this nuisance.  Books, pictures, and furniture are discolored by it, health is endangered, and a property loss of millions constantly increased.” The paper presents only one viable alternative:  electrification.  Yet, it is pessimistic about such a remedy ever occurring.  “A corporation like the Illinois Central never improves its service until the balance goes against it,” the editorial ends.  “Or until a municipality takes it by the back of its corporate neck and squeezes it into compliance with a popular and imperative demand.”  At this point the Illinois Central operated over 300 steam trains into and out of Chicago.  It would take 16 more years before the commuter tracks were electrified from downtown to Matteson.

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