Monday, September 10, 2018

September. 10, 1924 -- Soldier Field Opens with a Pageant of Festival and Light

September 10, 1924 –A magic evening takes place on the lakefront as 3,000 children carrying lanterns march into the Grant Park stadium, today’s Soldier Field, in a “preliminary dedication”. [Chicago Daily Tribune, September 11, 1924] Despite a light rain the Pageant of Music and Light has spectators cheering “as the army of girls and boys marched into the arena and scattered about to form [a] sparkling wheel.”  A mixed mass chorus under the direction of William Boeppler rolls thorugh “The Heavens Declare,” following the song with a rendition of “Beautiful Savior” and the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s Messiah. A children’s choir of a thousand voices than takes over, led by Hans Biedermann.  The program concludes with the Civic Band of Chicago leading the crowd in “America.”  The official opening day for the massive stadium would occur a month later, on October 9, the Fifty-Third anniversary of the Chicago Fire. The first event held in the new sports arena was a police track meet that featured a thousand athletes from the police department, drawing 90,000 spectators.  At the urging of the city’s Gold Star Mothers the Municipal Grant Park Stadium was officially renamed Soldier Field on November 11, 1925.

September 10, 1948 – Mayor Martin H. Kennelly gives approval to a proposal submitted to the city council, requiring that city officials and employees be required to sign non-Communist affidavits or face dismissal.  The proposal, sponsored by Forty-Fourth Ward alderman John C. Burmeister, also mandates a “loyalty committee” of three to five aldermen appointed by the mayor.  The mayor says, “I think it’s all right. We don’t know who we have working for us.”  The mayor is pictured in the above photo.

September 10, 1954 – The state civil defense director, Robert M. Woodward, graces Chicago with some upbeat news when he announces that a hydrogen bomb dropped at Madison Street and Kedzie Avenues between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. would cause 3,030,096 deaths and 1,382,421 injuries.  With an evacuation window of 15 minutes there would still be 1,876,227 deaths and 844,013 injuries.  For those wondering why we folks in our sixties and seventies sometimes act so strangely, it might be good to remember that we grew up with regular updates like this instead of the latest updates on Pok√©mon Go.

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