Sunday, July 15, 2018

July 15, 1925 -- Outer Drive and Twenty-Third Street Viaduct Opened

July 15, 1925 –A fireworks display in Grant Park caps a celebration that sees thousands of flower-decked automobiles and trucks pass through Grant Park to the Monroe Street viaduct to Michigan Avenue and then south to the new Twenty-Third Street viaduct, where a ribbon is cut and the new Outer Drive is officially opened. Good feelings run high as officials rhapsodize about the future of the city that night at a banquet at the Congress Hotel attended by more than 1,000 people.  South Park Board President Edward J. Kelly is optimistic that the new link bridge over the Chicago River, connecting the south and north drives, will be started in the coming year.  Illinois Central Railroad President Charles H. Markham predicts that the electrification of the railroad along the lakefront should be finished within the year, six months ahead of schedule. Chicago Mayor William Deever touts a new project to straighten the South Branch of the river so that streets may be extended into the southern portion of the Loop. Illinois Senator Charles S. Deneen continues the optimism, saying, “It is a hopeful sign when we realize that all our problems that we are discussing are problems of construction. We can’t have too many boulevards. They are crowded the moment they are opened. The Lincoln park system, too, is doing a great work in reclaiming land from the lake. Eventually this filling will be carried out to Evanston, perhaps, even to Waukegan.  There must be traffic routes for the travel that will follow.” [Chicago Tribune, July 16, 1925] The above photo shows the Outer Drive looking south from Thirty-Ninth Street in May, 1930.

July 15, 1916 – The $4,000,000 Municipal Pier is dedicated with between 50,000 and 100,000 people in attendance and a thousand automobiles parked between the long freight sheds on the pier.  The Chicago Daily Tribune reports, “In spite of the heat thousands walked to the pier and walked the full length of it, through the freight sheds, to the launch landing.  Launches and steamers took limit loads of passengers on moonlight trips.  The most popular spots with the younger couples proved to be the two towers.  A continual procession climbed up the dozen or more flights of the spiral stairs, as well, to the utmost balcony.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 16, 1916]  There were no formal dedication ceremonies.

July 15, 1934 – On a perfect summer day with an Italian-American program as the day’s highlight, 112,000 paid fair-goers attend the Century of Progress World’s Fair on the lakefront.  The highlight of the day is the unveiling of a marble column from the ancient Italian city of Ostia, a gift of Italian Premier Benito Mussolini to commemorate the visit of General Italo Balbo’s flight to Chicago a year earlier.  Balbo makes a speech via short wave radio to 3,000 persons at the Italian Pavilion, the speech being preceded by a parade of 150 Italian societies dressed in national costumes.

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