Sunday, July 1, 2018

July 1, 1910 -- Comiskey Park Opens as Sox Lose

July 1, 1910 –Comiskey Park opens for its first game as 24,900 fans watch the Chicago White Sox lose to the St. Louis Browns, 2-0.  Despite the loss, the opening of the new park is a success that “crowned the tremendous efforts which have been put forth in the last few weeks to get the mammoth plant ready for its christening and it passed through its baptism as if to the manor born, while tens of thousands of the Old Roman’s friends cheered at every possible opportunity to show their appreciation of the gift he had prepared for them.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 2, 1910]A thousand people wait in line to purchase tickets when the gates at the new park open at 1:00.  A brass band greets entering fans, who cheer the Chicago team when it “emerged from its dressing rooms, clad in new coming out gowns of dazzling white, nattily trimmed with blue and designed by G. Harris White, dentist, pitcher, and outfielder as well.”  Cheers rise again as Charles Comiskey is presented a big banner at home plate as a band on the field plays “Hail to the Chief.” In January of 1909 Charles Comiskey, who had owned the club for ten years, bought a plot of land used by the city as landfill and commissions Zachary Taylor Davis, a graduate of the Armour Institute, to design a new ballpark for the White Sox.  On March 17,1910 the cornerstone for the new park is laid.  Less than four months later the park opens. The same architect designed Weeghman Field, today’s Wrigley Field, on the north side which opened four years later.

July 1, 1933 – The Museum of Science and Industry opens its doors for the first time at 10:00 a.m.  No formal ceremony is held.  Only the great Central Hall will open as many of the exhibits that will eventually be displayed are being shown at the Century of Progress World’s Fair on the lakefront a few miles to the north.  All of the exhibits at the museum will be free with the exception of the Coal Mine, for which there will be a twenty-five cent charge.  A feature of the museum will be its interactive displays, exhibits “capable of being operated by switches or levers, to demonstrate scores of processes or inventions.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 2, 1933]  The museum, originally the Palace of Fine Arts at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 housed the Field Museum of Natural History for a time, but then fell into decay.  In fact, the South Park Board voted to raze it in 1921.  Fortunately, that didn't happen.  The photo above shows the condition of the building before the effort to restore it began.

July 1, 1940 – The 440-foot nautical-themed beach house at North Avenue Beach opens.  The facility has 14 showers and 1,440 baskets that allow men and women to check personal effects while heading for the beach.  In order to give the “ship” a credible lake-worthy appearance the art deco structure is equipped with a crow’s nest, booms, yard arms, lanterns, portholes and flags.  The North Avenue Beach was completed as part of a $1,250,000 Works Progress Administration project, that wound up in 1939, an undertaking that added 875,000 square feet of new parkland extending north to Fullerton Avenue with a new overpass at that juncture.  The beach house is a design by architect Emanuel V. Buchsbaum.  It was replaced in 2000 by a new facility with 22,000 square feet of space. The above photo shows the beach house as it appears today.

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