Thursday, January 25, 2018

January 25, 1961 -- State Street Council Hears "Sweeping Downtown Building Plan"

William E. Hartmann
January 25, 1961 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that architect William E. Hartmann, a managing partner of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, has delivered an address at the annual meeting of the State Street council in which he urges a “sweeping downtown building plan.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 25, 1961] Hartmann says, “I suggest a ‘City of Water.’ The idea of Lake Michigan, the Chicago river, and Buckingham fountain should be extended into further water exhibitions in the center area.  The federal and civic center might enlarge on this theme.” He goes farther, asserting that 30 percent of the downtown area should be given over to housing.  An all-weather sport stadium for 60,000 people should be located close to downtown and children should have “a Tivoli, sort of Disneyland or Freedomland, perhaps on an island in the lake.”  Hartman proposes a center for the performing arts as well with a symphony hall, opera house, and theaters.  The focus on art should continue with “public art as focal points – public sculpture, plazas and fountains.”  Finally, the architect suggests that “the iron girdle of the Loop” be replaced with an improved transit system.  With the exception of the performing arts center and the massive sports complex, it is amazing today to see how many of Hartmann’s ideas are on display in today’s Chicago – fountains, public art and sculpture, Maggie Daley and Millennium Parks, and on and on.

January 25, 1955 – The Chicago Daily Tribune goes to press with the following headline on Page One:  Halas to Quit as Bears Coach After ’55.  George H. Halas, the coach of the Bears for three decades, will continue as president of the club that he organized in Decatur, Illinois in 1920 and brought to Chicago the following year.  Says Halas, “I decided to step down two years ago.  When we began rebuilding, I made up my mind that as soon as were a strong contender again, so I could turn the club over under the most favorable circumstances, I’d move out.  I figured it would be about 1956.  Fortunately, everything went according to schedule.  We’re contenders now, we’ll be better next fall and by 1956 I won’t have to ask anybody to take over a loser.”  Halas kept his word, leaving the team in the 1956 and 1957 campaigns, but he was back again in 1958 and coached the team for another decade, winning his last championship with the club in 1963.

January 25, 1925 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that because the roads through Lincoln Park are the only practical way of getting from the Loop to the residential sections of the city north of North Avenue, the park, originally designed for leisurely carriage rides, is dealing with 5,000 cars per hour passing through it. That volume comes at a cost. In 1924 there are 1,420 cars damaged in accidents with 499 people injured. The photo above shows Lake Shore Drive in the 1920's, looking north from Oak Street. At the end of the road is Lincoln Park, where things got really congested at North Avenue.

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