Friday, July 6, 2018

July 6,1915 -- Liberty Bell Special Stops in Chicago

July 6, 1915 –On its way to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, the Liberty Bell Special makes a stop at the LaSalle Street station on a rainy evening.  Three hundred police officers are stationed around the station as “modern patriots by the thousands – grown patriots and patriots of the public schools, war patriots and peace patriots, Republican, and Democrat, and Socialist patriots – stormed the station.”[Chicago Daily Tribune, July 7, 1915]Some were fortunate to gain entrance to the station, but “tens of thousands” had to remain outside in a downpour. When the train arrives, over an hour behind schedule, three Army buglers, “trim and ramrod straight” signal its entrance. Then the line of people that stretches from Van Buren to Monroe Streets begins an orderly entrance to view the Liberty Bell, which stands on a specially constructed flat car, suspended in a wooden frame. A special guest is 10-year-old Margaret Cummins of 1102 Wellington Avenue, whose great-great-great grandfather, Jacob Mauger, took the bell to his farm and buried it when he learned that British soldiers were coming to seize it.  The bell remains in the city until midnight when it begins the next leg of its coast-to-coast trip to Peoria.  This is the second trip that the Liberty Bell has made to the city ... the first visit was a much longer stay at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition as the above photo shows.

July 6, 1935 – The razing of the old Coast Guard station at the mouth of the Chicago River begins, work that is expected to take three weeks to complete.  Dedicated in 1903, the station’s days became numbered when part of it was destroyed by fire in 1933.  As soon as the demolition is complete, work will begin on a new station with work expected to wind up by late fall.  The old station had responded to 8,454 calls for assistance.   The old station with flag still flying proudly is shown above, along with the photo showing the station today.

July 6, 1964 – The 35-story Equitable building, now 401 North Michigan Avenue, is topped out in a light rain as a 35-foot white beam with the names of 6,000 Chicagoans written on it is hoisted into place at the top of the tower.  Also on the beam is the number 192,113,484, corresponding to the population of the United States at this time.  The building, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in the mid-century modern style, is already 75 percent rented.  At a luncheon for about 200 civic and business leaders at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel, James F. Coates, the chairman of the Equitable Life Assurance Company of the United States, says that the landscaped area to be built south of Tribune Tower and in front of the Equitable building will be “the most beautiful in the world.”  [Chicago Tribune, July 7, 1964]  Today the trees that have stood in that area for 44 years have all been cut down and the area to the southwest of the tower is the site of the Michigan Avenue Apple store, which opened in the Fall of 2017.  In the above photo 401 North Michigan rises to the behind J. Seward Johnson's sculpture, Return Visit.

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