Wednesday, February 28, 2018

February 28, 1970 -- Pompidou Jeered Before Palmer House Address

February 28, 1970 – Ten thousand demonstrators line both sides of State Street opposite the Palmer House, jeering French President Georges Pompidou, as he arrives to address a group at a dinner sponsored by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and the Alliance Francaise. The protestors voice loud objections to France’s recent announcement that it will sell 100 Mirage jets to Libya.  Among the protestors is U. S. Representative Roman Pucinski who says he considers the sale of the jets “a unilateral escalation of the Mideast conflict.” [Chicago Tribune, March 1, 1970] Chants of  “Poo, Poo, Pompidou,” “France Oui, Pompidou No” reverberate over bullhorns as protest marshals work hard to keep crowds from spilling into the street.  Mayor Daley’s special events director, Colonel Jack Reilly, praises the orderly protest, saying, “If the city had it this easy in all demonstrations it would be easy.”  As the French delegation leaves from O’Hare on the following day, an official says that the Chicago police “’either thru incompetence or design,’ relaxed security to the point where it was impossible for Pompidou to avoid embarrassment.”  [Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1970] At the airport Pompidou himself, speaking in French, says that the protestors “placed a stain on the face of America” and that “the immense majority of the Chicago population … is ashamed of it all.” The French President is especially upset about an incident that occurred inside the lobby of the Palmer House in which six individuals jumped in front of him and his wife and shouted, “Shame, shame on you!”  An official says, “The police assured us this would not happen. They said the lobby would be clear.  Yet there were these people, accosting the president of France on an official visit.  The French delegation cannot understand how this was permitted to happen.  Tempers are running very high.”

February 28, 1955 – The Chicago Housing Authority awards a $7,998,700 contract to Corbeita Construction Company for the first stage of an addition to the Frances Cabrini public housing project just north of Chicago Avenue and east of Larabee.  The contract calls for eight high-rise buildings with 859 apartments along with a heating and service building.  The chairman of the C.H.A., John R. Fugard, states that a contract will be let later in the year for seven more buildings with 1,066 apartments.   The work at Cabrini will be just one part of the biggest program of public housing construction in the city’s history.  It is anticipated in 1955 the C.H.A. will break ground at six different sites for 4,500 apartments.  All of the projects, which were approved in 1949, will be subsidized by the federal government and will be rented to low income families.

February 28, 1939 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that owner P. K. Wrigley has taken matters into his own hands "in moving the spring flair of Diz (Dizzy Dean) as problem child." When Wrigley's personal representative comes upon the Cub pitcher "pitching full blast at the full pitching distance [he] broke up the display in the name of the Cub owner, following full instructions from the Chicago throne room." [Chicago Daily Tribune, March 1, 1939] Dean, a pitching phenom for the St. Louis Cardinals between 1933 and 1937, was injured by a line drive in the 1937 All-Star game. In 1938 Wrigley paid $185,000 to put the compromised pitcher on the Cubs roster. In September of that year, in what he called the greatest game of his career, Dean pitched the second game of a series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning 2-1, pulling the Cubs within a half-game of the league leading Pirates, a team from which the Cubs would wrest the National League championship the next day. Dean pitched Game Two of the World Series, pitching admirably until he gave up a two-run homer to Joe DiMaggio in the top of the ninth, ultimately losing 6-3. He struggled along with the Cubs until 1941 when he retired. Wrigley's interest in protecting his investment was certainly understandable, but ultimately it would not matter.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

February 27, 1925 -- Corset Glut in Chicago

February 27, 1925 – Item in the Chicago Daily Tribune on this date … “Because ‘they aren’t wearing ‘em any more,’ more than 1,000 corsets, the stays sterilized and refurbished by down and outers, lie moldering in the Monroe street warehouse of the Christian Industrial league.  They are gifts of friends of the institution.  ‘Placed end on end, says George A. Kilbey, manager of the league, ‘there are enough corsets in that one spot to carpet Michigan avenue from the link bridge to the Illinois Central building [about two miles].  They could wrap up the city hall.  In fact, there is enough steel in those stays to armor a light battle cruiser.”

February 27, 1933 – The new home of the Chicago Federation of Musicians is opened for business at 175 West Washington Street as several hundred invited guests look over the new digs.  During the ceremonies James C. Petrillo, the president of the federation, is presented with a diamond studded commissioner’s star.  During the evening the guests dance to the music of Wayne King, Ben Bernie, Charles Agnew and Fritz Miller and their orchestras.  Architect Max Dunning designed the building in a modest Art Deco design, notable for the panels above the second story windows that reference the building’s purposes.  The panels have representations of a flute player and harp player and a figure in the middle panel surrounded by musical instruments. 

February 27, 1919 -- The final three pieces of real estate necessary for the construction of the Michigan Avenue bridge are secured. The city pays $719,532 to the estate of W. F. McLaughlin for a piece of property on the east side of Michigan Avenue fronting the south side of the river. $62,500 goes to John S. Miller for a triangular piece of land across Michigan Avenue from the McLaughlin property. Levy Mayer nets $91,760 for a small piece of property directly south of the McLaughlin holding. With these three transactions the city is ready to build the bridge that will change the north side of the city forever. The photo above shows the three pieces of property on each side of Michigan Avenue south of the river.

Monday, February 26, 2018

February 26, 1954 -- Historic Loop Buildings Prepare for Wrecking Ball

February 26, 1954 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that two of the city’s oldest buildings will soon fall to the wrecking ball.  Plans are to replace the first, the 62-year-old Wilkinson Building at the southeast corner of Washington and Wells Streets, with a three-story parking facility for 500 cars.  Known at the Teutonic Building when it was constructed, it was renamed for Theodore Roosevelt before the new owner, John C. Wilkinson, gave the family name to the structure after purchasing it for $175,000 in 1946.  The second building, a five-story structure at the northwest corner of Washington and Dearborn Streets, will have its three top floors demolished and the remaining two floors rebuilt into a “modern two-story shop and office building.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 27, 1954] The building was purchased in October of 1953 for $400,000 with the rebuilding of the structure estimated to cost $135,000. You won’t find anything left of the building there today … the location is approximately where the flagpoles stand on Daley Plaza.  Pretty good job of peeking into the future for the 100 North Dearborn Corporation, the owners of the property – it picks up a corner lot a block away from the seat of city and county government for a half million bucks that ten years later the city would have to acquire in order to build its slick mid-century modern civic center.  The original Teutonic Building is shown in the Rand McNally drawing in the top photo.  The second photo shows that the parking facility that took its place in the mid-1950's is still parking cars just east of the Wells Street elevated tracks.

February 26, 1912 -- Ebenezer Buckingham dies at his residence, 2036 Prairie Avenue.  A graduate of Yale University, Buckingham came to Chicago in 1850, and in 1865 took over management of the grain elevators located at the Illinois Central depot at the mouth of the Chicago River.  By 1873 he and his brother, John, had increased the capacity of the elevators from 700,000 bushels to 2.9 million bushels.  Investing wisely as the city exploded both in population and in industry, Buckingham became the president of the Northwestern National Bank in 1890.  In 1853 Buckingham married Lucy Sturges, and a son, Clarence, and two daughters, Kate and Lucy, were born to the couple.  It was the death of Clarence Buckingham that led Kate Buckingham to provide the generous gift of the fountain dedicated to the memory of her brother that sits today at the head of Congress Avenue. 

February 26, 1903 -- With the payment of $100,000 the Studebaker brothers become absolute owners of the Fine Arts Building and the ground beneath it. The ground on which the building stood had been held in a 99-year lease that began in May of 1885 with an annual ground rent of $2,000. The building, designed by Solon Spencer Beman, opened in 1886 with a four-story annex added for use by the Art Institute in 1898. On July 7, 1978 the building was declared a Chicago City Landmark. The photo below shows the building as it looked in 1900.