Monday, July 9, 2018

July 9, 1880 -- Canal Commissioners and Mayor Spar over Pumping Works

July 9, 1880 –The Chicago Daily Tribune reports on a conference in Lockport between the Canal Commissioners, Mayor Carter Harrison of Chicago, and a delegation of citizens from the city and towns along the Illinois and Michigan Canal. The particular issue is the establishment of the Bridgeport Pumping Works, for which the Chicago City Council has appropriated $100,000. The Mayor maintains that the Canal Commissioners must guarantee that the works will carry off a specific amount of water while the Commissioners are unwilling to make such a guarantee. Mayor Harrison and his delegation make the trip to Lockport “over the not placid bosom of the raging canal.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 9, 1880] The trip begins at the Adams Street bridge and although “in some places the water was black and turbid, in others of a clayey hue,” the delegation from Chicago finds the trip rather pleasant.  It is a different story in Lockport, though, as neither the mayor or the commissioners want to enter into an agreement that will put them in a corner.  Harrison wants the commissioners to say to the city, “From the necessity of the circumstances we are creating a nuisance along the line of the canal.  You are secondarily responsible because you make that water foul. You are the wolf that fouls the water, and these people down here on the canal are the lambs … We haven’t the means to purify it, but we propose that if you do that we will do our share, and say what that share is.”  A member of the Sanitary Commission states its position … that the commission was a creature of the State of Illinois and was charged with overseeing the function of the canal and could not go outside of the powers delegated to it by determining sanitary conditions.  Considerable give-and-take follows with the mayor maintaining that although the city contributes to the offensiveness of the canal, it is the Sanitary Commission’s responsibility to do something about it, the Commission arguing that it had no legal authority to do that.  At one point Mayor Harrison says to a commissioner, “You and I are giving a stench to the people on this river,” to which the commissioner replies, “I deny that. You are.” The meeting breaks up with little headway made.  The participants agree to communicate about the proposed pumping works at Bridgeport with Mayor Harrison saying, “I don’t want to buy a pig in a poke or put Chicago’s neck in a noose.”  The Commissioners agree “to support him in every undertaking to relieve the city where it had the authority of law to do so.” The above photo shows the lock that originally separated the Chicago River from the Illinois and Michigan canal.

July 9, 1974 – For the first time a woman sits behind the wheel of a Chicago Transit Authority bus as Ms. Mary Wallace pilots the State Street bus on the 36A route, starting at the C.T.A. garage at Seventy-Seventh and Vincennes Avenue.  Ms. Wallace says that the training took her 15 days during which time she says “it rained a lot.”  She added further that she applied for the job and was “in it for the money.”  [Chicago Tribune, July 10, 1974] Ms. Wallace is pictured in the photo above with former Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.

July 9, 1934 – Eleanor Roosevelt has a full schedule of events as she visits Chicago for two days. At 9:30 a.m. the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt holds a press conference in the NBC studios at the Merchandise Mart.  At 10:15 a.m. she visits the Simmons exhibit at the Century of Progress and participates in a commercial broadcast for the company, the proceeds of which will be donated to charity.  At noon the First Lady takes lunch with the president of the fair and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. Rufus C. Dawes, after which she requests to see the fair without any escort.  At 5:30 Mrs. Roosevelt is the guest at a reception given by the Women’s Trade Union League at 530 South Ashland Avenue.  Unbelievably, she arrives in Chicago on the night of July 8 from Madison, Indiana with no official escort.  She and two female companions make the 265-mile drive, taking turns at the wheel of a “low slung, sand colored automobile,” their arrival at the Blackstone Hotel “heralded by no fanfare, their path was cleared by no police escort and no committee of notables was waiting to greet them.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 9, 1934]

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