Thursday, August 2, 2018

August 2, 1978 -- American Society of Civil Engineers Commemorates Chicago River Reversal

August 2, 1978 –The American Society of Civil Engineers unveils a plaque at the Michigan Avenue bridge that celebrates the reversal of the Chicago River as a national engineering landmark. David Novick, the president of the society, says, “This monumental engineering feat contributed to the health and growth of Chicago, enabling it to develop into the great metropolitan area it is today.” [Chicago Tribune, August 3, 1978]Both Novick and Nicholas J. Melas, the president of the Metropolitan Sanitary District, accept the plaque on behalf of the district and the city. The ceremony takes place on the Ninety-Third anniversary of a rain storm that forced the sewage borne by the river far out into the lake, threatening the city’s fresh water intake cribs. 

August 2, 1891 – The Chicago Daily Tribune provides an update on the improvements that are ongoing at the new United States Army base at Fort Sheridan. The new barracks east of the water tower are being constructed in order to house two companies of the Fifteenth Regiment of infantry along with two companies of cavalry and two of artillery.  The cost of the new quarters will be $200,000, about $5,170,000 in today’s dollars.  Two “magnificent stables” are being built at a cost of $22,000 apiece or $569,000 in 2017 dollars.  Each stable will house 80 horses.  A main dining hall is also being built with room for 1,000 soldiers.  The cost of the building will be $48,000 or $1,242,000 in today’s dollars.  Four captains’ homes will be built near the lake at a cost of $9,000 or $235,000 for each in today’s dollars.  Finally, a 300-yard long Officers’ Club will be erected with separate quarters for a dozen officers.  This will cost $70,000 or $1,812,250 in 2017 dollars.  The land for the new garrison was purchased in 1887, and the Chicago architectural firm of Holabird and Roche selected to design the buildings.  One of the stables at the fort is shown in the above photo, these days a re-purposed residential building.

August 2, 1934:  Led by Chief Investigator John O’Donnell, a police squad raids six villages at the Century of Progress World’s Fair and closes down two performances judged to be risqué.  Gambling wheels are confiscated at the exhibitions of Paris, Tunis, Ireland, Mexico and Spain and in a section called the Bowery.  At the last site an exhibition called “The Red Light Girls” is closed and a fan dancer, Faith Bacon, is forced to put on pants for her final appearance.   The general manager of the fair, Major Lenox R. Lohr, unleashes the police on the concessions after giving them a warning to clean up their act.  After allowing the sale of liquor at lunch counters within the grounds, agreeing to more signage within the grounds promoting attractions, and reducing the charges for electricity and garbage removal at venues, Lohr warns the venders, “We’ll give you all the help within reason and more money will be spent by A Century of Progress during the month of August than has been spent in any month in 1934 or 1933 . . . but the lid is not off.”

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