Thursday, January 11, 2018

January 11, 1910 -- State Street Sidewalk Collapse Kills One, Injures Ten

January 11, 1910 – A laborer is killed and ten other people are injured when a sidewalk fronting the Boston Store on State Street collapses at noon.  The forty square feet section of sidewalk collapses in front of a building being demolished to make room for an addition to the Boston store.  James Da Costa, a laborer working in the basement below the sidewalk, is killed when the flagstone sidewalk collapses.  Individuals on the sidewalk at the time drop ten feet into that basement. 

January 11, 1901 -- Colonel Mott Hooten (you HAVE to love the name), the commanding officer at Fort Sheridan, speaking of recent congressional action ordering all canteens on military bases closed, says: "The abolishment of the canteen will . . . open the way for the post trader again, I fear, and the repetition of an experience of the most unsatisfactory character." The profits of the post canteen, which served beer, had equipped a gymnasium, furnished a library, and provided billiard tables and athletic equipment for soldiers at the fort with the added benefit of keeping everyone using the canteen under the watchful eyes of military authorities. In the adjoining town of Highwood, eight saloonkeepers rejoiced at the news while the town's citizens waited nervously for what was to come. One resident, the wife of a retired officer, said, "Soldiers will drink, whether there is liquor sold at a garrison or not. If they can't get beer at the post they will walk miles to buy whisky if necessary."

January 11, 1891 – With the prospect for the great world’s fair just two years away, the Chicago Daily Tribune editorializes once again about the Illinois Central railroad tracks along the lakefront, stating,  “The proposition that the Illinois Central tracks between Twenty-Second and Adams streets be depressed, so that the lake view may be unobstructed and that there may be free and safe access to the water’s edge all along the Lake-Front Park, is an admirable one, and should be carried out irrespective of whatever bearing it may have on the World’s Fair.”   [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 11, 1891]   The editorial board proposes a tunnel east of the present railroad right-of-way, the top of which would be level with the grade of Michigan Avenue so that “if deemed desirable a broad park boulevard may be laid out immediately above the tunnel.”  The editorial admits that such an engineering project could not be finished in time for the fair, and that buildings for the exposition could therefore not be built in this section of the lakefront.  However, the editorial states, “. . . during all except the first month or two of the Exposition the Lake-Front would be freed from every visible sign of railroad occupancy and the Art Building would be as accessible from the east as from the west.”  The 1894 photo above pretty clearly shows that the editorial didn't make much of an impression.

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