Sunday, October 28, 2018

October 28, 1917 -- City Beautiful Movement Takes Hold

October 28, 1917 –The Chicago Daily Tribunetakes prints a pictorial essay that demonstrates how Commonwealth Edison, with more than fifty substations scattered throughout the city, is showing a “growing recognition of the value of dignity and appropriate adornment, as shown by the ‘Chicago plan’ movement”. [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 28, 1917] One station in particular shows this recognition, a new substation at the north end of Graceland Cemetery, facing Montrose Avenue on the south and Clifton Avenue on the west.  It is designed to supply 600-volt direct-current to the Chicago Surface Lines and the Northwestern Elevated Railroad and 4000 volts of power to lighting and power customers in the area.  According to a trade periodical at the time, “The location of the substation in the midst of a fairly high-grade residence section made it necessary to erect the building with special care to muffle the noise of the converters in order that the station might not be disturbing to the near-by residents.”  [Electric Railway Journal, Vol. 50, No. 21, November 24, 1917]  With special attention to its residential setting, the company also chose a design “embodying a simple, dignified beauty in its endeavor to make the building an attractive addition to the neighborhood, and one which would not detract from the value of the surrounding property.” We would call the style, with its red ornamental brick and tile insert frieze, the Prairie Style today.  The substation is still there although a new substation was built just to the north in the 1970’s.  

October 28, 1975 – In his Chicago Tribune column Jack Mabley awards the Mary Tyler Moore Show his “Bad Taste” award for the episode run on Saturday night three days earlier.  He says the show was “in incredibly bad taste.  Unless you think death and funerals can be hilarious.” [Chicago Tribune, October 28, 1975] The plot of the show had Chuckles the Clown, who had been a running gag in the series, talked about but never seen, dying in an accident.  Mary’s co-workers make jokes about the circumstances, and at the office she scolds her co-workers for their behavior.  During the funeral, though, it was she who could not control herself, as she breaks into prolonged and uncontrollable laughter.  Mabley wrote, “It’s not surprising that some boobnik could write a script like this, but that it would be accepted by the producers, and the actors, and the network, with no one questioning its offensiveness is a commentary on the depths to which televised mass entertainment has sunk.”  If you missed the original episode 42 years ago (WHA …), here it is. 

October 28, 1928 -- With the 1927 winner of the Nobel Prize, Professor Arthur Holly Compton, in the lead, a procession of 300 University of Chicago faculty members in their academic robes lead a procession into the university’s new Rockefeller Chapel for its dedication service.  Last in the procession is the Acting President of the university, Frederic Woodward and John D. Rockefeller, Jr., son of the benefactor who made the construction of the chapel possible.  As the procession enters the church a 150-voice choir sings O God Our Help in Ages Past.  During the service of dedication the Reverend Charles W. Gilkey is installed as Dean of the Chapel.  Gilkey concludes his short address by saying of the chapel, “It must not be a stone rolled from the ancient hillside, while the stream of life of this university goes around it.  It must be a channel through which that stream may flow, giving it new life and force.”   Rockefeller, Jr., on behalf of his father, addresses the assemblage, saying, “True religion means an abiding faith in God and our fellow man.  May this chapel help all who cross its threshold to lay hold upon so priceless a possession.  And may there be centered here a religion of activity and service as well as a religion of contemplation and faith.”   For an in-depth look at this special day and the generosity that made it possible, please head here.

No comments: