Thursday, October 4, 2018

October 4, 1909 -- Railroads Keeping Chicago's Guest Awake

October 4, 1909 –A good night’s sleep is a difficult thing to come by if you’re staying in a hotel along the lakefront, according to a report in the Chicago Daily Tribuneon this date.  An investigation by the paper finds “engines puffing, wheezing, snorting, exhausting, and making every other kind of noise that a locomotive is capable of” just across Michigan Avenue. “Whistles were tooting, bells were ringing, and cars were bumping together with a crash that would awaken the soundest sleeper.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 4, 1909]A reporter, who is keeping an eye on the railroad action along the lakefront from the Art Institute at Monroe Street to a point near where Congress Street runs today, encounters a clerk at one of the Michigan Avenue hotels, who says, “Many a night has some guest of the house who couldn’t sleep come down to the office and kept me company.  Guests who come here for the first time make a loud kick against the engines, and I don’t blame them … It is almost impossible for a nervous person to get any sleep between 2 and 7 o’clock.  Between those hours the engines are constantly pushing back and forth, and there isn’t one person in twenty who can sleep through the noises that come from the yard.”  The above photo shows the railroad tracks east of Michigan Avenue at Monroe Street.  

October 4, 1982 – For the second time in four years, city planners recommend landmark status for the original Sears State Street store, finding that the structure, “adds to the State Street mall’s inviting pedestrian circulation.” [Chicago Tribune, October 5, 1982] The store, originally built for Levi Z. Leiter, an early Chicago merchant, was originally recommended for landmark status in 1979, but attorneys for Sears opposed the landmark designation for the building.  It is unknown how Sears will greet the new recommendation for the 1891 building.  William McClenahan, the director of the city’s Landmarks Commission, says that the building is “an important landmark in the city and an effort to have it so designated is worth another try.”  On January 14,1997 the store finally received landmark status and rightfully so.  As the city’s website on landmarks states, “Renowned as one of the nation’s most important early examples of skeletal-frame commercial architecture, this building is discussed in every major history of American architecture.”

October 4, 1969 – At the conclusion of a march sponsored by the Students for a Democratic Society from Grant Park to the Federal Building and back in which 350 protestors demand the immediate withdrawal of all troops in Vietnam, two protestors, armed with guns, knives, and swords, are arrested in Old Town.  The cache is discovered in a camper from which the two men from California apparently are selling weapons to be used between October 8 and 11 at protests planned by the Weatherman faction of the S.D.S.  The occupants of the truck, Dennis Sleeth and Daniel Brucher, both from California, are arrested after police find a 20-gauge shotgun, 25 rounds of ammunition, a 22-caliber pistol with 58 rounds, five Samurai swords and 13 knives in sheaths.  At the same time the subversive unit of the police department raids the S.D.S. national headquarters at 1608 Madison Street and arrests Caroline Tanner of Pennsylvania for her involvement in the beating of four policemen in front of the Federal Building on September 24.

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