Monday, May 7, 2018

May 7, 1993 -- Chicago River bridges Okayed to Restrict Opening for Pleasure Boaters

May 7, 1993 –The Chicago Tribunereports that the United States Coast Guard has approved a request by the city to restrict the opening of river bridges to recreational boaters.  The trial period will run through May 31, “to see if the city request for the additional restriction on the operations of the bridges would be feasible.” [Chicago Tribune, May 7, 1993]Under the provisions of the plan bridges will be opened for recreational boaters only between 6:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. on Sundays and after 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  There must be at least five boats in a group in order for the bridges to open with 25 boats as the top limit.  Additionally, a request must be made to the city at least 24 hours in advance. For years Mayor Richard J. Daley has groused about opening the river bridges for pleasure boaters, saying at one point, “Did you ever see a sailboat at 12 o’clock, downtown, you see one sailboat going down the Chicago River? You have to raise all these bridges for one sailboat – then you wonder why fire and police can’t get across and you wonder why when [bridges] get stuck.”  Once the test period is over, the city must support its claim of heavy surface traffic over the bridges by supplying the Coast Guard with the number of vehicles passing in 15-minute periods over two weeks, among other forms of documentation. Today the bridges raise for pleasure boaters during the spring and autumn months on Wednesdays and Saturdays.  In the above 1993 photo pleasure boaters sail north past the Civic Opera building, headed for the main stem of the river and Lake Michigan.

May 7, 1902 – Hundreds of people line Lake Shore Drive north of Oak Street to pay a final tribute to Potter Palmer. The Reverend James S. Stone, rector of St. James’ Episcopal Church, leads modest services inside the Palmer mansion. The honorary pallbearers are led by Marshall Field and Robert T. Lincoln. Active pallbearers include: Carter H. Harrison, J. Ogden Armour, Frank O. Lowden, H. G. Selfridge, James H. Eckels, Cyrus H. McCormick, Watson E. Blair, and Otto Gresham. Carriages line up on Schiller, entering the mansion’s yard through the north gate as Mrs. Palmer, accompanied by her sons, Potter Palmer, Jr. and Honoré, enter them for the ride to Graceland Cemetery. Large delegations from the Iroquois Club and the Hotel Men’s Association also are present.

May 7, 1959 – The Chicago Daily Tribune engages in a bit of gloating after a day earlier it had run an editorial calling for the revival of a 1957 proposal for the improvement of the south bank of the Chicago River near the Michigan Avenue bridge.  Voices are heard in City Hall endorsing the long-range plan that includes the extension of Wacker Drive east from Michigan Avenue to meet Lake Shore Drive as well as “a river bank of flowers with outdoor, French type cafes spotted along the banks.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 7, 1959] With the exception of a 190-foot city-owned parcel just east of the bridge, the land on the south bank is owned by the Illinois Central Railroad.  The article includes a rendering, shown above, that gives an idea of what the south bank might look like if the plan is implemented.

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