Monday, January 15, 2018

January 15, 1882 - Potter Palmer Buys Additional Lake Shore Drive Property

January 15, 1882 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that the Archbishop of Chicago has sold the entire lot on Lake Shore Drive between Burton Place and Schiller Street to Potter Palmer for $90,695.  The paper reports, “A concerted effort will now be made by Mr. Palmer and the other property owners to fill up all the depressions between State street and the Lake-Shore drive and lift this property into its rightful place as the choicest kind of residence property, not surpassed by any in the city.”  Palmer’s faith in the area which “is almost virgin ground, and is almost entirely free from objectionable buildings and improvements” is ample evidence that the part of the north side “which lies between the Water-Works and Lincoln Park, and is east of Dearborn street, is rapidly rising in public favor.”  The mansion of Potter and Bertha Palmer, which has been gone now for 68 years, would be built on the corner of Banks Street and Lake Shore Drive.  Designed by Henry Ives Cobb and Charles Frost, it would be the largest private residence in the city when finished in 1885.  Today 1350 and 1360 Lake Shore Drive stand on the lot.  The mansion and the residential buildings are shown above.

January 15, 1916 – The “Foolkiller,” a submarine that has been embedded in the mud at the bottom of the Chicago River at Wells Street yields a grisly find upon its being raised – the skull of a dog and the bones of a man.  The small submersible was originally built in the early 1870’s but had not been seen in a quarter-century. A diver for the Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, William Deneau, discovers the craft somewhat earlier while working in the effort to locate bodies from the ill-fated Eastland, the steamer that had capsized six months earlier.  The identity of the victim found aboard the submarine was never discovered, and there is even some conjecture that the bones might have been planted aboard as part of a scheme to place the whole tableau on public exhibition.  That happened shortly thereafter as customers could pay a dime to see the exhibit at 208 South State Street, a display that was moved at least twice – to Oelwein, Iowa where it was  billed “The Submarine or Fool Killer, the first submarine ever built,” It shared the exhibit space among other top draws, including “The Electric Girl, The Vegetable King, [and] Snooks, the smallest monkey in the world” []  The Fool Killer was last heard of when it appeared at Chicago’s Riverview Park where it sat forlornly while the “Last Days of Pompeii,” a “gorgeous fireworks spectacle” with 600 performers was staged alongside the river at Western and Belmont.

January 15, 1954 -- The Chicago city council authorizes the purchase of the Reid-Murdoch building at 325 N. State Street in order to consolidate traffic courts and the police traffic division. The matter had been pending since November 3 when voters authorized a 4 million dollar bond issue for acquiring the building and remodeling it. More on the history of the Reid-Murdoch building can be found here:…/reid-murdoch-buildi… and here:…/reid-murdoch-buildi…

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