January 1, 1954 – Today’s headline in the Chicago Daily Tribune reads, “Girls Take ‘Em Off for Last Time at Rialto” as Minsky’s Rialto Theater at 336 South State Street, a “strip tease center in Chicago for 35 years” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 1, 1954] closes its doors after the last show ends at 1;30 a.m. The building will be demolished and a group of one-story “taxpayers” will be erected in its place. The theater opened in 1917 and was designed by Marshall and Fox, the same architects that designed the Blackstone Hotel and the Drake on North Michigan Avenue. It could seat 1,500 when it opened for vaudeville shows, but it turned to burlesque shows in the 1930’s. Today it is long gone, along with the one-story shops that took its place. The site is now the home of Pritzker Park on the northwest corner of State Street and Van Buren, a bit of green space facing the elevated tracks and the Harold Washington Library just to the south.
January 1, 1913 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune begins 1913 with this headline, “Murders Spread as Police Fail.” The city coroner reports that through December 1, 1912 there were 287 homicides in Cook County for the year, all but 14 of them inside the city. London, according to the paper, “with a population three times that of Chicago, reported only thirty-three in 1910.” There were more murders in November than in any November in the preceding eight years. The coroner’s jury determined that 168 of the 297 homicides could be classified as murder. Of that number only 32 people had been convicted. The article states, “For years the public and the police have been talking about curbing the use of revolvers and the carrying of concealed weapons.” In fact, an ordinance was passed several years earlier that required dealers to report the sale of firearms and owners to register weapons that they purchased, but the ordinance was never seriously enforced and was repealed during 1912. Pessimistically, the paper observes, “If history repeats itself, it is a safe guess that the police will have the murderer and the evidence to convict him in about 20 per cent of the cases.”