Tuesday, June 19, 2018

June 19, 1921 -- Michigan Avenue Bridge Opens 3,377 Time in First Year

June 19, 1921 – After the first year of operation for the Michigan Avenue bridge, Chicago Harbor Master James J. McComb reveals some facts about its operation.  He reports, “During the first year of the bridge’s operation traffic has been dammed up by the span’s Herculean jaws 3,377 times, which involved the lapse of 13,606 minutes or 220.1 hours, an average of 4.028 minutes to each opening of the huge maw.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 20, 1921] During the summer the bridge swung open an average of a dozen times a day with the big day coming on July 24, 1920 when it opened 24 times.  These are impressive figures when you consider the fact that the bridge remains closed during rush hours – from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. As the figures are disclosed, workmen are at work, demolishing “the Rush Street bridge, the worn out old span to the west,” a span that will be cut into pieces and floated away on barges.  The Rush Street bridge, the fourth at this location, handled the bulk of traffic across the river from 1884 to 1920.  It is shown in the photo above, next to the Michigan Avenue bridge, today’s DuSable bridge, during its construction.

June 19, 1920 – Miss Violette Neatley Anderson of 3347 Calumet Avenue becomes the first African American woman to be admitted to the bar in the state of Illinois when she graduates form the Chicago Law School in exercises held in the Oriental Consistory Auditorium at Dearborn Street and Walton Place.  Anderson was born in London, England and came to Chicago with her family at an early age.  She graduated from North Division High School in the city in 1899, advancing to a degree program at the Chicago Athenaeum.  She worked as a court reporter from 1905 to 1920, steadily working toward a law degree which she atained in 1920. In 1922 she will become the first woman prosecutor in Chicago.  She will go on to become a force in shaping the Bankhead-Jones Act, passed by Congress in 1936, a bill that provided sharecroppers and tenant farmers with low-interest loans to buy small farms.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the act into law in 1937.  [BlackPast.org]

June 19, 1950 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that a large addition is being constructed and will expand the Berghoff Restaurant at 17 West Adams Street to double its present size.  The restaurant will expand westward to provide additional space for kitchens and cold storage lockers.  New dining rooms on the first floor and basement will be “in the traditional German style characteristic of the 52 year old restaurant . . . Large murals by Peter Diem and Jean Nordinger will portray scenes of the ‘90s at the World’s Columbian exposition and at the corner of State and Adams sts. where the late Herman Berghoff founded the restaurant in 1898.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 19, 1950] Berghoff came to Chicago from Fort Wayne, Indiana to run a restaurant at the 1893 fair.  He saw the future of Chicago as providing a huge business opportunity and established a restaurant with a capacity of 100 diners at the corner of Adams and State Streets.  In 1913, when that building was torn down, he moved a half-block west to the present location on Adams.

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