Saturday, November 24, 2018

November 24, 1883 -- Commercial Club Bids Farewell To General Sheridan
November 24, 1883 –The Commercial Club of Chicago hosts an evening for General Phillip Sheridan as he prepares to leave the city as a consequence of his appointment as General-in-Chief of the United States Army.  The banquet and reception are held at the home of the Commercial Club on the corner of Michigan Avenue and Twentieth Streets.  A sumptuous meal is served beginning with blue point oysters with pompano, prepared “New Orleans style” [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 25, 1883], turkey, spinach, partridge, terrapin, and sweetbreads also on the menu. At 10:20 p.m. the president of the Commercial Club, A. A. Carpenter, begins the business of the evening, thanking Sheridan for what he has done for the city and wishing him well as he departs for the nation's capital. The second toast is offered by J. W. Doane, who says, “Chicago can never forget General Sheridan, when the city was in flames, when men’s hearts failed them and ruin and desolution stared us in the face, all eyes were turned to him whom we honor here this evening.  It was his cool brain, and prompt and ready courage that greatly helped to check the devouring fire.”  Sheridan responds, saying, “I saw the city in its magnificent boyhood, and I saw it burn down, and grow up into manhood, and I have seen the country, West, Northwest, and Southwest, which fifteen years ago, was the home of the buffalo and the Indian, settle up until that wilderness is now covered with cities and towns, and farms and stock ranches and mines and railroads … And I assure you that there is no honor that could be given me – no honor that I appreciate so highly – as being the guest of the people who have been the agents in bringing about this great change, as I see before me in this Commercial Club, the very men who have been instrumental in doing this.”  The General, leaving for Washington, D. C. to live in a residence that wealthy Chicago men have provided for him, ends his remarks with a toast, “The good health and happiness of every gentleman here tonight, member of the Commercial Club or citizen, and prosperity to the City of Chicago, which I think will be the greatest city in the world.  If you will only spend all the money you can in making good streets here (you must not forget that) you won’t have to build so many hospitals; you will improve the sanitary condition, and in the course of time make this the most beautiful city in the world.  The health of all of you, and the prosperity of the City of Chicago.”

November 24, 1951 – Albert Pick, Jr., the president of Pick Hotels Corporation, the owner of the Congress Hotel, announces that 15 feet will be removed from the north end of the hotel so that a sidewalk arcade can be created along the proposed Congress super-highway.  The Glass Hat dining room will be moved to another part of the hotel, and the Pompeiian Room will be enlarged.  According to Pick, new shops will line the arcade with 13 first-floor shops along the Congress Street and Michigan Avenue frontages of the building.  Holabird, Root and Burgee will be in charge of the plans for the buildings re-configuration.  When the arcade is completed, and a similar arcade on the south side of the structure is also finished, Congress Street will have a pavement width of 63 feet.  Similar arcades will be created at the south end of the Sears, Roebuck and Company’s State Street store to allow the widening of Congress between Wabash and State.  The top photo shows the Pompeiian Room as it appeared after the move was completed.  The photo above shows the dining room as it appeared in 1921.

November 24, 1936 – Nine people are killed and 58 others injured as a North Shore Line train crashes into the rear of an Evanston express elevated train.  The Evanston train is standing at a switch 50 feet north of the Granville Avenue station when the first car of the North Shore train slams into the back of it, plowing “all the way through the wooden rear coach of the Evanston train, shearing off its roof and splintering it like a match box.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 25, 1936]  The wreck occurs at about 6:30 in the evening, and the horrors unfold in near total darkness.  The motorman of the North Shore train, Van R. Grooms, says, “I was traveling about 40 miles an hour.  Then I saw the rear of the Evanston train.  The lights were very dim.  I put on my brakes, and that’s the last thing I know.”  Firemen, working with flashlights, raise ladders along the elevated embankment and carry passengers from the wrecked trains.  Eventually, more than 600 police are at the scene, along with two companies of firemen, 20 police ambulances, and three fire department ambulances.  A regular rider on the Evanston train says, “I’ve been taking the train almost regularly for a number of years.  Each evening a few moments after the express switches onto the local track the North Shore roars by on the express track.  I have often thought that the timing of the two trains was too close for safety.”

No comments: