Tuesday, April 24, 2018

April 24, 1926 -- Albany Park Gets a New Park

April 24, 1926 – Albany Park district commissioners complete the purchase of a 14-acre parcel of land that straddles the Chicago River, bounded on the east by Lawndale Avenue, on the west by Ayers Avenue, on the North by Foster Avenue, and on the south by Carmen Avenue.  The river will cut diagonally across the space.  The entire site will cost $90,000 with another $150,000 planned for buildings to will include a fieldhouse, tennis courts, a playground, gardens and a wide lawn.  The park today is named Eugene Field Park in honor of the writer and poet Eugene Field who wrote such popular kids’ poems as “Wynken, Blynken and Nod” and “The Gingham Dog and the Calico Cat”. It features a Tudor Revival-style fieldhouse designed by Clarence Hatzfeld. On a main stairway wall inside the clubhouse hangs a W.P.A. mural entitled “Participation of Youth in the Realm of the Arts”. Eugene Field Park is shown in the above photo.

April 24, 1880 – Surveyors begin staking out the site that the Pullman Palace-Car Works and the Allen Paper Car-Wheel Works will occupy and preparations are finalized for opening ceremonies on April 25.  Pullman will be quite a venture as the Chicago Daily Tribune reports, “Before winter comes a new town will be planted between One Hundred and Third and One Hundred and Fifteenth streets.  A population of thousands will be growing where not a young blade grew before.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 25, 1880]The erecting shops will have stalls for fifty passenger cars and 100 freight cars at a time.  All the buildings will have electric lights and will be heated with steam.  There will be 7,827,026 cubic feet to be warmed, requiring 230,536 feet of steam pipe.  The Tribune describes the expected grounds to be impressive as well, reporting that “The entire area, half a mile deep by a mile long, will be treated with shrubbery, lawns, serpentine walks, and drives in the best style of landscape art.  A drive two miles long will encircle the shops.  A boulevard 150 feet wide, with a lawn in the centre, will be made of One Hundred and Eleventh street.”  Before cold weather comes this year, close to 2,000 mechanics and laborers would be at work in the new community that would become, almost overnight, the largest suburb of the city.

April 24, 1966 -- The Chicago Tribune reports that as the old Federal building, bounded by Dearborn, Clark, Adams and Jackson, is demolished, the building across Jackson Boulevard, the Monadnock, is coming into clearer view. And the Monadnock, constructed between 1891 and 1893, is getting a major interior renovation. Fluorescent lights, carpets, and new office doors are being installed and the interior is being painted with white walls and dark gray ceilings. When it opened the building was the largest office building in the world and its design a pure statement of farewell to one building technique and a welcome to the next. As Professor Thomas Leslie of Iowa State University wrote, "Far from being the world's last and largest 'masonry skyscraper,' the Monadnock was a profoundly transitional structural achievement, making important advances in steel construction while still relying on the well-proven strength and reliability of masonry." However you approach the Monadnock, it is one heck of a building.

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