Wednesday, June 20, 2018

June 20, 1926 -- Eucharistic Congress Sees Chicago River Arrival of Cardinal O'Connell

June 20, 1926 – Cardinal William Henry O’Connell arrives on the steamship South America, along with “three monsignori, twenty-five priests, and 450 laymen, on a pilgrimage from Boston,” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 21, 1926], having sailed from Buffalo to attend the twenty-eighth Eucharistic Congress.  Mayor William Dever is the first to greet the cardinal as he steps off the gangplank of the ship, moored in the Chicago River.  The mayor begins, “Your eminence … Unofficially, I welcome you to this city.  Officially I have some little influence about, and you may be assured that we will do what we can to make you comfortable.”  Cardinal O’Connell responds to the mayor, who grew up just outside Boston, “We have deep sentiments of genuine gratitude for your courtesy in coming to greet the people of Boston and me.  We are proud to find in this giant city of the west such an efficient, capable, honest and honorable chief executive … We are proud, for we are happy to know that the beginnings of the formation of this character took place in our own archdiocese.”  The Twenty-Eighth International Eucharistic Congress was the first such congress held in the United States.  Cardinal George Mundelein, the Archbishop of Chicago was the host.  Among other things, the congress drew a half-million people to attend a mass at Soldier Field.  The closing mass at St. Mary of the Lake Seminary drew nearly one million worshippers.  It is shown in the photo above.

June 20, 1979 – Stanton R. Cook, publisher of the Chicago Tribune and president of Tribune Co., announces plans for a $150 million newspaper production plant that will be constructed on a 21-acre site between Chicago and Grand Avenue on the west side of the Chicago River.  Mayor Jane Byrne says of the plans, “This is a very important day for the City of Chicago. I am very pleased that The Chicago Tribune, which certainly sets trends, is setting a new one.”  Designed by Skidmore Owings and Merrill, the new plant will have 697,000 square feet of space with ten Goss Metroliner offset presses, allowing the paper to increase the number of copies that can be printed each hour from 60,000 to 75,000 while expanding the number of pages that can be handled per print run from 112 to 144.  Clayton Kirkpatrick, president and chief executive officer of Chicago Tribune Co., says of the plans, “It is a testimony to our belief in the future of Chicago and our commitment to the city’s continued economic growth.”  The company acquired the site on which the new facility will be built in 1967.  Today that site is poised to take on a whole new future as the company hopes to develop the site, which it calls The River District, potentially making way for commercial buildings that may house 19,000 employees and residential buildings that may hold up to 5,500 units. The top photo shows the site as it exists now, outlined in red.  The large building is the current printing facility.  The photo below that shows the projected development of the site.

June 20, 1947 – Representatives of the city, state, and federal governments participate in ceremonies as silver plated shovels move the first earth on Northerly Island, and “Chicago’s 25 year old dream of a lake front airport attained the beginning of reality.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 21, 1947]  Merrill C. Meigs, the chairman of the Chicago Aero Commission, acts as the master of ceremonies, saying “. . . when it is finished downtown Chicago will be only seven minutes away for the air traveller as compared with 45 minutes in most other large cities.”  Chicago Commissioner of Public Works Oscar Hewitt said, “Chicago can be the magnetic center of the whole of the valley of the Mississippi and the air crossroads of the globe.  I am willing to go on record as saying that travel and transport by air will go further in extending Chicagoland than any element in the growth of the area to date.”

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