Friday, September 7, 2018

September 7, 1939 -- Stickney Water Reclamation Plant Opens

September 7, 1939 –In the space of a day 75 million gallons of raw sewage are diverted from the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal to a new southwest side treatment plant in Stickney.  The transition occurs through the removal of a wooden bulkhead at the Western Avenue sewer at Thirty-Eighth Street, an action that diverts the sewage into the southwest side intercepting sewer leading to the new plant.  This sewer drains 12.5 miles of the city, including half of the waste from the stockyards.  Prior to the transition to the Stickney plant, the sewer had dumped 40 tons of solid waste into the canal each day.  Within a few weeks all of the sewage from the area between the canal and Eighty-Seventh street will be diverted to the plant.  The Stickney plant is just one part of a $162,000,000 sewage disposal program begun after the U. S. Supreme Court ordered a reduction in the diversion of water from Lake Michigan earlier in the decade. Today the Stickney Water Reclamation Plant is the largest wastewater treatment facility in the world, serving 260 square miles, including the central part of Chicago and 46 suburban communities.  It covers 413 acres with nearly 400 employees managing the treatment of up to one million gallons of water every minute.

September 7, 1968 – Mayor Richard J. Daley releases “The Strategy of Confrontation,” a 77-page report that chronicles the disturbances that took place in the city during the Democratic convention two weeks earlier.  The report claims “to point out the nature and strategy of confrontation as it was employed in Chicago,” [Chicago Tribune, September 8, 1968] It pinpoints the origin of the disturbances as November 16, 1967 when Jerry Rubin, the leader of the Youth International Party, issued a call to demonstrators to come to Chicago and “Bring pot, fake delegates’ cards, smoke bombs, costumes, blood to throw and all kinds of interesting props.  Also football helmets.”  Others blamed for the violence were Rennie Davis, Chicago coordinator for the National Mobilization Committee to end the War in Vietnam; David Dellinger, national chairman for that committee; Tom Hayden, one of the founders of the Students for a Democratic Society; and Abbie Hoffman, an associate of Rubin’s.  The report also indicts the news media for aiming “malice to the authorities while presuming good will and sincerity on the part of the protestors,” leading to “ugly and distasteful scenes … reported all over the nation and the world without sufficient explanation to allow the reports to be placed in perspective.”  The city’s Corporation Counsel, Raymond F. Simon, with the help of the police, the United States attorney’s office, and the city law department, is responsible for the report that concludes that the ultimate goal of the protestors “was to topple what they consider to be the corrupt institutions of our society, education, governmental, etc., by impeding and if possible halting their normal functions while exposing the authorities to ridicule and embarrassment."

September 7, 1934 – At a time when the city and its occupants swelter in the summer heat with little they can do about it, the Chicago Daily Tribune prints a glowing article that touts its super-swell air conditioning system, installed during the cold weather months, a system that has already provided 1,358 “air cooled hours” for employees and tenants of Tribune Tower.  Holmes Onderdonk, the manager of the building, says, “The whole idea was to make working conditions better for employees and tenants . . . When the air cooling system was first contemplated there was an opinion that a building already erected couldn’t be air conditioned.  The working of this system shows it can be done.  The refrigeration machinery will be built into new buildings in the future, but it was an accomplishment to install the system here.” 

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