Tuesday, September 26, 2017

September 26, 1925 -- Metropolitan Building Tragedy

September 26, 1925 – Three construction workers die and two others are seriously injured as a steel concrete scoop breaks away from the fourteenth floor of the Metropolitan Building at Randolph and LaSalle Streets.  The three men who die are all working on scaffolds below the scoop.  Two of three workers on the highest of the two scaffolds manage to hang on and survive as the scoop kills the third man on the platform, suspended 25 feet below it.  The crash occurs when hundreds of workers are flooding the Loop on their way to work. The intersections are jammed with people, and police reserves are summoned to clear enough room to permit the dead and the injured to be removed from the area.  The Metropolitan Building as it appears today is shown above.

September 26, 1949 – Chicago learns that the architectural firm of Vitzhum and Burns has won a competition for the design of a church and Franciscan friary to be located at 108-116 West Madison Avenue, the site of the La Salle Theater.  The church, St. Peter’s, will replace one that was built at 816 South Clark Street just four years after the Great Fire in 1871.  The Franciscan Fathers made some darned good deals in the process of arranging for their new place of worship.  In 1942 the order bought the ten-story Woods Theater building from the Marshall Field estate for $600,000, property that it sold in June of 1949 for $1,200,000.  At the same time the order bought the site for the new church from the Marshall Field estate for $515,000.  The plans for the new building include a 1,600-seat auditorium, a chapel above the main auditorium that will seat 300, with the two upper floors serving as the friary.  Some heavy hitters participated in the competition, including Edo J. Belli, Nairne W. Fischer, Hermann J. Gaul, Graham, Anderson, Probst and White, Rapp and Rapp, and Shaw, Metz and Dolio.  Due to the scarcity of building materials in the post-war years it took awhile to finish the new St. Peter’s, but the church finally opened in 1955.

No comments: