Thursday, February 28, 2019

February 28, 1903 -- State Street Bridge is Dedicated
February 28, 1903 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that a new bridge across the river at State street has been opened to decidedly negative reviews.  H. D. Dean, a construction engineer from Benton Harbor, Michigan, in town to provide his expertise to a subway subcommittee, says that the new bridge “is not wide enough by fifty feet.  It was a mistake to build so narrow a bridge there on account of the awkward bend in the river at that point.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, March 1, 1903] Present at the dedication of the new bridge a day earlier are members of the South Water and State Street Business Men’s association “who have seen their business dwindle much more rapidly that the bridge grew during the last year.” Mrs. Adelaide Smedberg of 184 North State Street breaks a bottle of wine on the bridge. The Tribune explains how Smedberg ended up with the bottle in her hand, noting that association president J. T. Keane “corked his eloquence, chased the woman, explained to her that she was the first to cross the river, and took her back to break the bottle of wine. “I christen thee State street,’ said Mrs. Smedberg, and the dedicators hurried away to a banquet at which there was more oratory and spilling of wine."  On May 29, 1949 a new bridge was dedicated at State Street in a far more dignified ceremony, one that honored the men from the Chicago area who fought and died in the battle of Bataan and Corregidor and who suffered through the “death march” that followed that battle.  The bridge closest to the bottom of the photo is the 1903 bridge.  

February 28, 1970 – Ten thousand demonstrators line both sides of State Street opposite the Palmer House, jeering French President Georges Pompidou, as he arrives to address a group at a dinner sponsored by the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations and the Alliance Francaise. The protestors voice loud objections to France’s recent announcement that it will sell 100 Mirage jets to Libya.  Among the protestors is U. S. Representative Roman Pucinski who says he considers the sale of the jets “a unilateral escalation of the Mideast conflict.” [Chicago Tribune, March 1, 1970] Chants of  “Poo, Poo, Pompidou,” “France Oui, Pompidou No” reverberate over bullhorns as protest marshals work hard to keep crowds from spilling into the street.  Mayor Daley’s special events director, Colonel Jack Reilly, praises the orderly protest, saying, “If the city had it this easy in all demonstrations it would be easy.”  As the French delegation leaves from O’Hare on the following day, an official says that the Chicago police “’either thru incompetence or design,’ relaxed security to the point where it was impossible for Pompidou to avoid embarrassment.”  [Chicago Tribune, March 2, 1970] At the airport Pompidou himself, speaking in French, says that the protestors “placed a stain on the face of America” and that “the immense majority of the Chicago population … is ashamed of it all.” The French President is especially upset about an incident that occurred inside the lobby of the Palmer House in which six individuals jumped in front of him and his wife and shouted, “Shame, shame on you!”  An official says, “The police assured us this would not happen. They said the lobby would be clear.  Yet there were these people, accosting the president of France on an official visit.  The French delegation cannot understand how this was permitted to happen.  Tempers are running very high.”

February 28, 1955 – The Chicago Housing Authority awards a $7,998,700 contract to Corbeita Construction Company for the first stage of an addition to the Frances Cabrini public housing project just north of Chicago Avenue and east of Larabee.  The contract calls for eight high-rise buildings with 859 apartments along with a heating and service building.  The chairman of the C.H.A., John R. Fugard, states that a contract will be let later in the year for seven more buildings with 1,066 apartments.   The work at Cabrini will be just one part of the biggest program of public housing construction in the city’s history.  It is anticipated in 1955 the C.H.A. will break ground at six different sites for 4,500 apartments.  All of the projects, which were approved in 1949, will be subsidized by the federal government and will be rented to low income families.

February 28, 1939 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that owner P. K. Wrigley has taken matters into his own hands "in moving the spring flair of Diz (Dizzy Dean) as problem child." When Wrigley's personal representative comes upon the Cub pitcher "pitching full blast at the full pitching distance [he] broke up the display in the name of the Cub owner, following full instructions from the Chicago throne room." [Chicago Daily Tribune, March 1, 1939] Dean, a pitching phenom for the St. Louis Cardinals between 1933 and 1937, was injured by a line drive in the 1937 All-Star game. In 1938 Wrigley paid $185,000 to put the compromised pitcher on the Cubs roster. In September of that year, in what he called the greatest game of his career, Dean pitched the second game of a series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, winning 2-1, pulling the Cubs within a half-game of the league leading Pirates, a team from which the Cubs would wrest the National League championship the next day. Dean pitched Game Two of the World Series, pitching admirably until he gave up a two-run homer to Joe DiMaggio in the top of the ninth, ultimately losing 6-3. He struggled along with the Cubs until 1941 when he retired. Wrigley's interest in protecting his investment was certainly understandable, but ultimately it would not matter.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

February 27, 1933 -- Chicago Tribune Boat Traverses Illinois Waterway
February 27, 1933 – The Sea King, a small boat owned by the Chicago Daily Tribune, takes the first passengers and cargo over the newly opened Illinois waterway, completing the first continuous passage of the 60-mile channel between Utica and Joliet “on the lakes to gulf route, a dream of generations which now is actually realized.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 27, 1933]  The Sea King ties up at Ottawa for the night, and a large crowd gathers at an athletic field on the river front as “Salutes were fired from the high school lawn, and a band furnished music.”  The lakes-to-gulf route will formally be opened on June 15 and will extend “3,300 miles by water from the Gulf of Mexico to the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  The Sea King takes on its cargo at the Michigan Avenue bridge near Tribune tower and begins its trip at 3:00 p.m. on February 26.  The ship sails six miles through the Chicago River system, entering the Sanitary and Ship Canal and steaming 28 miles to the lock at Lockport where there is a 41-foot fall into the Des Plaines River., the beginning of the new Illinois waterway, through which the ship sails in three-and-a-half hours.  In order to make navigation possible through Joliet, five new bascule bridges were needed, three of which have already been completed.  Two miles to the west of Joliet the Brandon Road lock and dam is one of the most impressive projects on the waterway.  The dam, which cost $3.5 million, is 1,350 feet long and during periods of heavy rains or snow melt it can allow a maximum of 35,000 cubic feet of water per second to pass over it.  Lake Joliet, which extends close to four miles below the Brandon Road lock, narrows from there to Dresden Heights where there is another lock and dam, about 56 miles from Tribune Tower where the Sea King began its trip.  The lock at Dresden, which extends 642 feet across the river, was the last project on the waterway to be completed, costing $2,365,000. At Morris the first merchandise from Chicago is delivered to C. H. Hinds, the freight consisting of “packages of hosiery and dry goods from Marshall Field and Co. and Carson Pirie Scott and Co.”  At Morris the Sea King ties up to the Colonel Sultan, a ship that will sail in March into the Chicago River, becoming the first boat to make a continuous upward passage of the waterway.  The photos above show the Brandon Road lock under construction as well as what it looked like when it was brand new.

February 27, 1925 – Item in the Chicago Daily Tribune on this date … “Because ‘they aren’t wearing ‘em any more,’ more than 1,000 corsets, the stays sterilized and refurbished by down and outers, lie moldering in the Monroe street warehouse of the Christian Industrial league.  They are gifts of friends of the institution.  ‘Placed end on end, says George A. Kilbey, manager of the league, ‘there are enough corsets in that one spot to carpet Michigan avenue from the link bridge to the Illinois Central building [about two miles].  They could wrap up the city hall.  In fact, there is enough steel in those stays to armor a light battle cruiser.”

February 27, 1933 – The new home of the Chicago Federation of Musicians is opened for business at 175 West Washington Street as several hundred invited guests look over the new digs.  During the ceremonies James C. Petrillo, the president of the federation, is presented with a diamond studded commissioner’s star.  During the evening the guests dance to the music of Wayne King, Ben Bernie, Charles Agnew and Fritz Miller and their orchestras.  Architect Max Dunning designed the building in a modest Art Deco design, notable for the panels above the second story windows that reference the building’s purposes.  The panels have representations of a flute player and harp player and a figure in the middle panel surrounded by musical instruments. 

February 27, 1919 -- The final three pieces of real estate necessary for the construction of the Michigan Avenue bridge are secured. The city pays $719,532 to the estate of W. F. McLaughlin for a piece of property on the east side of Michigan Avenue fronting the south side of the river. $62,500 goes to John S. Miller for a triangular piece of land across Michigan Avenue from the McLaughlin property. Levy Mayer nets $91,760 for a small piece of property directly south of the McLaughlin holding. With these three transactions the city is ready to build the bridge that will change the north side of the city forever. The photo above shows the three pieces of property on each side of Michigan Avenue south of the river.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

February 26, 1880 -- The Chicago Lakefront: A History
February 26, 1880 – The Chicago Daily Tribune offers a lengthy dissertation on “the legislation affecting and defining the rights of the Illinois Central Railroad to a location on the Lake-Front …” [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 26, 1880]  In the winter of 1851 the Illinois legislature granted the Illinois Central Railway Company a charter to build a railroad from the terminus of the Illinois and Michigan canal to Cairo with a branch line extending to Chicago and another to Galena.  A section of the charter stated, “The said corporation shall have the right of way upon, and may appropriate to its sole use and control for the purposes contemplated herein, land not exceeding 200 feet in width through its entire length … All such lands, waters, materials, and privileges belonging to the State are hereby granted to said corporation for said purposes.” There was a limitation contained in the charter, though, an important one for Chicago – “Nothing in the act contained shall authorize said corporation to make a location of their track within any city without the consent of the Common Council of said city.”  An amendment to the charter gave Chicago the “power of exercising a police supervision over the harbor for the distance of one mile from the shore line.”  In 1852 the Illinois Central asked for a right-of-way into Chicago and the Common Council passed an ordinance granting it on June 14. The ordinance granted the railroad the right to enter the city at a point that would eventually become Thirty-First Street and, following the boundary of Lake Michigan, north “to such grounds as the said Company may acquire between the north line of Randolph street and the Chicago River … upon which grounds shall be located the depot of said railroad within the city, and such other buildings, slips, or apparatus as may be necessary and convenient for the business of the company.”  The charter also granted the railroad the right to “use in perpetuity” a width of 300 feet from Twelfth Street to the northern line of Randolph Street, ground that had to be not less than 400 feet west of Michigan Avenue and parallel to it.  By 1856 the company had created land from the lake according to the distance specified in the charter.  On September 15, 1856 the Common Council gave the company permission to create additional land east of its right-of-way.  Thirteen years later the Illinois legislature, in what came to be known as the “Lake-Front Bill,” gave the city control, formerly exercised by the state, of the lakefront between Monroe Street and Park Row, today’s Twelfth Street. The bill also gave “all the right and title of the State of Illinois in and to the submerged lands constituting the bed of Lake Michigan and lying east of the tracks and breakwater of the Illinois Central Railroad Company for the distance of one mile” to the Illinois Central from today’s Roosevelt Road to the river, provided the railroad continue to pay to the state seven percent of its gross earnings, an amount specified in the railroad’s original charter.  Under this law the three railroads running along the lakefront – the Illinois Central, the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy, and the Michigan Central – were directed to pay the city $800,000 at intervals within a year of the passage of the act. On April 15, 1873 the legislature repealed this act.  Despite the repeal, however, in 1880, the year this article appeared in the Tribune, the company maintains that its riparian rights are still intact, holding that “it is a well-established principle in law that the land under navigable waters, to which no private owner has any claim by virtue of his land abutting the water’s edge, belongs to the State, and not to the Federal Government, with the limitation, however, that nothing shall be done to it to interfere with navigation.” The Illinois Central asserts that it has followed all of the stipulations of the 1869 act “and no subsequent action of the Legislature of a repealing character can be of any avail.” The city maintains, though, that a quid pro quo was established at the time of the 1856 agreement in which the city ceded an extra 100-foot strip of land from Randolph Street to what is now Roosevelt Road and, in return, the railroad agreed to erect a breakwater along that stretch of shoreline to prevent erosion that was threatening to wash Michigan Avenue into the lake.  City lawyers also state that the city never accepted the $800,000 specified in the 1869 law, further noting that when the 1869 law was passed, there were “Several property-owners on Michigan avenue, in the immediate vicinity, who had an easement in that portion of the property north of Madison street, and believed that the erection of a depot thereon would seriously damage their lands fronting Michigan avenue”.  A judge granted them an injunction, writing that “in view of the original dedication of the property in question as public ground to be forever free from buildings, it was not in the power of the State or the city to alienate it for another purpose.” Therein lies the issue in 1880 – the railroad was forbidden to put up any buildings between Randolph and Monroe “but there was no prohibition … against filling in or laying tracks.”  The issue of riparian rights and the struggle between the city and the railroads over the lakefront would not stop here.  It would continue for another century.  The photo shows the lakefront sometime around the time of the Tribune article.

February 26, 1954 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that two of the city’s oldest buildings will soon fall to the wrecking ball.  Plans are to replace the first, the 62-year-old Wilkinson Building at the southeast corner of Washington and Wells Streets, with a three-story parking facility for 500 cars.  Known as the Teutonic Building when it was constructed, it was renamed for Theodore Roosevelt before the new owner, John C. Wilkinson, gave the family name to the structure after purchasing it for $175,000 in 1946.  The second building, a five-story structure at the northwest corner of Washington and Dearborn Streets, will have its three top floors demolished and the remaining two floors rebuilt into a “modern two-story shop and office building.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 27, 1954] The building was purchased in October of 1953 for $400,000 with the rebuilding of the structure estimated to cost $135,000. You won’t find anything left of the building there today … the location is approximately where the flagpoles stand on Daley Plaza.  Pretty good job of peeking into the future for the 100 North Dearborn Corporation, the owners of the property – it picks up a corner lot a block away from the seat of city and county government for a half million bucks that ten years later the city would have to acquire in order to build its slick mid-century modern civic center.  The original Teutonic Building is shown in the Rand McNally drawing in the top photo.  The second photo shows that the parking facility that took its place in the mid-1950's is still parking cars just east of the Wells Street elevated tracks.

February 26, 1912 -- Ebenezer Buckingham dies at his residence, 2036 Prairie Avenue.  A graduate of Yale University, Buckingham came to Chicago in 1850, and in 1865 took over management of the grain elevators located at the Illinois Central depot at the mouth of the Chicago River.  By 1873 he and his brother, John, had increased the capacity of the elevators from 700,000 bushels to 2.9 million bushels.  Investing wisely as the city exploded both in population and in industry, Buckingham became the president of the Northwestern National Bank in 1890.  In 1853 Buckingham married Lucy Sturges, and a son, Clarence, and two daughters, Kate and Lucy, were born to the couple.  It was the death of Clarence Buckingham that led Kate Buckingham to provide the generous gift of the fountain dedicated to the memory of her brother that sits today at the head of Congress Avenue. 

February 26, 1903 -- With the payment of $100,000 the Studebaker brothers become absolute owners of the Fine Arts Building and the ground beneath it. The ground on which the building stood had been held in a 99-year lease that began in May of 1885 with an annual ground rent of $2,000. The building, designed by Solon Spencer Beman, opened in 1886 with a four-story annex added for use by the Art Institute in 1898. On July 7, 1978 the building was declared a Chicago City Landmark. The photo below shows the building as it looked in 1900.

Monday, February 25, 2019

February 25, 1925 -- Standard Club Starts New Headquarters
February 25, 1925 – Work begins on the 13-story Standard Club at 307-35 South Dearborn Street, just to the north of the Fisher building, with expectations that members will be able to use their new club headquarters by March 1, 1926.  The $2,500,000 structure will have a dozen shops on the ground floor, running from Dearborn Street to Plymouth Court to the east.  The club was established in 1864 in a building at Thirteenth Street and Michigan Avenue.  Sometime after that the members re-located to Twenty-Fourth and Michigan Avenue. Today, according to the club’s website, “The Standard Club is a place where distinguished business people, professionals, community leaders and their families gather to experience the best the city has to offer.” [] 

February 25, 1939 – George Leady, the last surviving fireman who helped to fight the Chicago Fire of 1871, dies at his home at the age of 94.  Leady was born in the city at a home at State and Harrison Streets.  At the age of 22, after serving four years as a machinist with the Illinois Central Railroad, he became a hoseman with Engine No. 9, helping to man a steam engine that pumped 500 gallons of water a minute.  The engine was thought too important to waste on another autumn fire when the fire that eventually would consume the city began on October 8, 1871.  After an hour, though, it was pressed into service and moved three separate times before it was overwhelmed.  Leady described himself as “the last man on the docks” [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 26, 1939] on the south side of the river as the fire jumped to the north side where it would burn all the way to Fullerton Avenue.  After the fire Leady was made an engineer with the department and transferred to Engine No. 73, serving West Pullman, Kensington, and Roseland. Upon his retirement in 1907 department records showed that he had never lost a day’s pay.  At the Century of Progress World’s Fair in 1933 he and his wife, Bertha, whom he married a year before the 1871 fire, received a medal honoring them as the oldest married couple in Illinois.  Funeral mass for Leady takes place at St. Basil’s Church at Fifty-Fifth and South Honore Streets.  The church, demolished in the 1990's and shown in the above photo, has been replaced by a small playground and a parking lot.  

February 25, 1905 -- Ground is broken for the new Illinois Athletic Club as Colonel Frank O. Lowden uses a silver-plated pick to hack away at “some decayed oak flooring at the site of the projected building at 147-149 Michigan avenue.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 26, 1905] The president of the organization, William Hale Thompson, introduces Lowden, who says, “It has been only ninety days since the first work toward this new athletic club for Chicago was begun and in that time more than 3,000 members have been secured and more than $250,000 has been raised.  The celerity with which this movement has progressed is wonderful, and it will not be long until the new Illinois Athletic association has a waiting list.”

February 25, 1873 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune reports on the annual report of the City Steam-Boiler Inspector for 1872, and the news is not encouraging. 765 boilers were inspected with nearly a third found defective. The paper reports, "In view of the rapid increase of the manufacturing and commercial interests of the city, requiring the use of steam as a motor in the factories, its use as a heater and ventilation in the schools, churches, hotels, and other public buildings, the consequent increase in the number of steam-boilers -- the majority of them distributed among the most populous districts in the city, beneath pavements, etc., -- he [the inspector] urged the necessity for further legislation to secure the object for which the ordinance was passed, -- the security of lives and property from dangers attendant upon the ignorant or careless management of steam."

Sunday, February 24, 2019

February 24, 1882 -- Loop Cable Car Demonstration Is Successful

February 24, 1882 – Just after midnight the first successful operation of a cable car in the Loop is accomplished as the car is taken from the barn at Twenty-Second Street, proceeds north to Madison Street and from there completes a “loop” that ends at Lake Street.  Adjustments are made to the cable after the first trip with men descending into the tunnel through which the cable runs to adjust the its tension.  After a second trip, the tension again is increased which allows the third trip to end in “a complete success.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 24, 1882]  On the final trip the gripman moves the car along at four miles-per-hour, half the speed that is possible on the main line, and stops three times at the corner of Wabash and Lake Streets “to exhibit the perfect control he had over the machine.” The system is not yet ready for prime time … operators will need another three or four weeks to perfect their ability to make the “jump” between the main cable and the Loop cable at Madison Street.  Until then horses will be used to move the cars from the “loop” to the main line. The Tribune observes that in a month the city will see’ cable-cars running up and down State street in all their glory, without the aid of horse-power to do any switching at Madison street.”  The above photo shows cable cars running on Wabash Avenue just after the Auditorium building was completed in 1889 but before the Loop elevated line was completed in 1897 one block to the north. 

February 24, 1992 – In a guest column in the Chicago Tribune Gerald W. Adelmann, the Executive Director of Openlands Project, a non-profit organization with a mission of protecting open space in northeastern Illinois, writes of the opportunities the city has in such vacant lots as Block 37.  “For the first time since the Great Fire of 1871,” Adelmann writes, “a number of major parcels in downtown Chicago stand vacant.  Three of the lots – Block 37, the old Montgomery Ward’s site and the temporary park by the Washington library – face directly onto State Street … Openlands Project urges the city and civic leaders to transform one or more of the vacant parcels into permanent public space.” [Chicago Tribune, February 24, 1992] Citing an earlier inventory that the city’s Department of Planning published, Adelmann notes that only 3.3 percent of the land area within the Central Area of the city is given over to public space.  “While much attention correctly should be focused on business development,” Adelmann continues, “creating high-quality open space can help make Chicago competitive in attracting businesses and the qualified workers who sustain them.  Open land contributes to an economically healthy urban environment as much as do roads and utilities, and must be planned for similarly.”  Adelmann concludes by saying that the downturn in the economy and the resultant lag in construction of the period provides an opportunity for such planning.  Pritzker Park on the northwest corner of State and Van Buren is shown above.

February 24, 2009 – United States Interior Secretary Ken Salazar initiates the transfer of the Chicago Harbor lighthouse, previously under the control of the U. S. Coast Guard, to Chicago.  The lighthouse, which stands 48 feet above the lake, was built in 1893 and transferred to its current location east of Navy Pier in 1917.

February 24, 1920 -- With three out of every four voters favoring six South Park bond issue propositions on the ballot, Charles H. Wacker, chairman of the city's plan commission, says, "The victory of the South Park Commissions' bond proposals is the biggest, finest, and most far-reaching undertaking for the public good Chicago has launched in its entire history." The financing would allow for grading and completion of Grant Park at a cost of $3,700,000. Also forthcoming would be creation of the two levels of what is now Wacker Drive running east and west along the river, the building of the southern portion of Lake Shore Drive, the widening and improvement of Ashland Avenue, and at least a half-dozen other plans that within the space of a half-dozen years would change the city. The photo above shows the south section of Lake Shore Drive from about Thirty-Ninth Street just after it opened in the spring of 1930.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

February 23, 1978 -- Elm Street Fire Leaves 50 in Need of Rescue
February 23, 1978 – At least 20 fire trucks and 100 firefighters converge on 10 West Elm Street as a late-night fire traps over 50 residents on upper floors, causing injuries to 15 people.  People who evacuated the building stand in 27-degree cold in their night clothes as firefighters rescue people from the 110-unit apartment building.  Firemen use ladders to evacuate people leaning out of windows while others enter the smoke-filled building to bring people down two outside fire escapes. A resident on the sixteenth floor of the building says he was leaning out of his window for air when firefighters appeared and led him down a fire escape.  “Five or ten more minutes and I would be dead,” he says.  It is believed that a man caught running from the building as the building’s lobby burst into flames was the arsonist responsible for the 3-11 alarm fire.

February 23, 1859 – The Chicago Press and Tribune prints an exquisitely detailed broadsheet detailing the extent of the railroad industry that serves Chicago, the largest railroad center in the world.  Despite a rough year in 1858 the article observes, “They have had the worst year they will ever have; for the development of the West, it is believed, will receive no check for many years in the future, and when the next revulsion shall come, our rich prairies will be teeming with an intelligent, energetic people, whose numbers will be told by millions, and their actual necessities will always force a large and lucrative traffic upon the railways of the West.  [Chicago Press and Tribune, February 23, 1859] Following are highlights of the article’s summary of railroads in and around Chicago …

The Chicago and Milwaukee Railroad, an 85-mile railroad connecting Milwaukee and Chicago, moving 154,219 passengers north and south with receipts for passengers and freight of $204,186.15 in 1858.
The Chicago, St. Paul and Fond du Lac Railway, with 90 miles completed from Chicago to Janesville, Wisconsin and 47 miles from La Crosse Junction to Oshkosh and a land grant of close to 2,000,000 acres, allowing a projected run to Marquette on Lake Superior, a total of 393 miles.  Carried 122,252 passengers in 1858 with receipts of $290,818.68 for passengers and freight in 1858.
Galena and Chicago Union Railroad, with 121 miles of track from Chicago to Freeport.  Connecting with the Illinois Central it forms a direct line to the Mississippi River at Dunleith.  Carried 394,733 passengers with receipts of $1,547,361.23 for passengers and freight in 1858.
Galena (Fulton) Air Line and the Chicago, Iowa and Nebraska Railway, the Galena running from Chicago to Fulton on the Mississippi, a total of 136 miles, connecting with the C.I. and N., completed from the Mississippi to Lisbon, Iowa, a total of 64 miles.  The C. I. and N. is projected to run north to St. Paul, Minnesota from Cedar Rapids, a total of 311 miles.  Carried 31,235 passengers with revenue for freight and passengers of $50,851.23 in 1858. 
Chicago, Burlington and Quincy Railroad, connecting Chicago with Burlington, Iowa, a total of 210 miles.  Carrying 319,018 passengers with receipts of $1,500,709.64 for freight, mail and passengers in 1858.
Chicago and Rock Island Railway, connecting Chicago with Rock Island, where the only railway bridge over the Mississippi River connects it with the Mississippi and Missouri Railroad.  Carried 306,920 passengers with revenues of $961,780.00 for passengers and freight in 1858.
Chicago, Alton and St. Louis Railroad, connecting Chicago with Alton and St. Louis, a total of 284 miles, one of the city’s most important railroad lines.  Strictly a freight line, the railroad earned $867,238.53 for freight and mail in 1858.
Illinois Central Railway, extending from Chicago to Cairo, Illinois and from Centralia, 112 miles north of Cairo to Dunleith on the Upper Mississippi, a total of 704 miles.  Carried 468,679 passengers with receipts of $1,976,576.52 for freight, mail and passengers in 1858.
Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne and Chicago Railroad, completed to Chicago on December 25, 1858 and connecting at Pittsburgh with the Pennsylvania Central and other roads on the Atlantic seaboard, a total of 467 miles. Carried 435,946 passengers, east and west with receipts of $1,567,780.18 for freight, passengers and mail in 1858.
Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana Railroad, connecting Chicago by way of Cleveland, Toledo and other eastern roads, with all eastern seaboard cities, a total of 242 miles.  Carried 511,928 passengers with receipts of $3,089,345.97 in 1858.
Michigan Central Railway, connecting Chicago with Detroit, a total of 282 miles, connecting from Detroit by way of the Canada Great Western, the Grand Trunk, the New York Central and a number of other roads with all the Atlantic coast cities.  Carried 367,919 passengers with $2,016,155.83 in revenue from passengers, freight and mail in 1858.

These lines constitute the major railroads, using Chicago as their base of operations.  There were somewhere around 105 trains leaving the city every day of the week in 1858.  There are a dozen or more other railroads that connect with these lines at various points in the Midwest.  The previous year saw a severe downturn in the national economy, but there were still 516 miles of new railroad track added to the roads serving Chicago.  It is estimated that 2,775 miles of railroad track now exist in Illinois.  Eight years earlier there were 95 miles in the entire state.  The estimated revenue for all railroads calling Chicago their home during 1858 was $16,197,153.95.

February 23, 1955 -- A bid that tops Carson Pierie Scott & Co.'s offer for the 12-story building at the corner of State and Madison Streets is submitted in federal district court. The bid tops Carson's offer of $7,250,000 by over $350,000. The courts become involved because the building's owner, the Otto Young estate, had previously specified that the property could not be sold until ten years after the death of the youngest daughter in the family, who, at 77, is still very much alive. However, three weeks earlier a judge ruled that the courts had the right to authorize the sale. The building in question, now a Target store, is perhaps the one building in Chicago that best represents the genius of architect Louis Sullivan.

February 23, 1905 – A. C. Banker, the first chauffeur to be arrested for failure to display a license, is taken from his vehicle in front of the Auditorium Annex.  Soon after detectives F. J. Shields and John Fitzpatrick arrest four more chauffeurs who are “speeding along the streets without numbers.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 24, 1905] All five pay a ten-dollar cash bond and are released.  In the evening the draft of an automobile law is approved at a meeting of the Chicago Automobile Club with a plan to send it to Springfield within the week.  It proposes a maximum of ten miles-per-hour on busy city streets and 14 miles-per-hour in “less settled districts.”  Out in the country motorists may speed along at 20 miles-per-hour.  There is a clause mandating the registration of vehicles with a fine of $50 for a third infraction and revocation of a motorist’s driver’s license for six months.  Farmers “who drive leisurely along the country road and refuse to get out of the way for fast automobiles” will pay a fine of $25.  In a 2013 auction the Chicago license plate shown above sold for $1,100.

Friday, February 22, 2019

February 22, 1919 -- Monroe Street Bridge Dedicated
February 22, 1919 – The new Monroe Street bridge is opened to traffic as ceremonies are held in a heavy snowstorm.  Mayor William Hale Thompson, joins Charles H. Wacker, the chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission, in opening the new span.  The first vehicles to cross the bridge are the streetcars that bring city officials to the site.  The ceremony begins when Thompson is made an honorary member of the Bridge Operators’ Local Union No. 102, after which the mayor turns a lever to place the bridge in operation.  He says, “This shows the Chicago ‘I Will’ spirit.  The completion of this bridge was delayed by court litigation.  But the bridge was needed and now we have it.  It is these things which take Chicago out of the provincial class and place in the great city class.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 23, 1919]  The bridge is an interesting engineering project for a couple of reasons.  It marks a transition between earlier bascule bridges on the river, designs that placed a premium on cost and efficiency of construction and operation, and subsequent bridges – structures that took to heart the “City Beautiful” concept that arose as a result of the Chicago Plan of 1909.  It is clearly a more graceful structure than the bridge at Grand Avenue, for example; yet, it does not match the graceful symmetry of the Franklin Street bridge, finished a year later.  Engineers were challenged in designing the Monroe Street bridge by a set of railroad tracks that ran along the west bank of the river at Monroe Street and took up the space where a counterweight pit would normally be located. [historic] Additionally, allowances had to be made for the construction of tracks and infrastructure for the new Union Station on the west side of the river that was being designed at the same time the bridge was being built.  Engineers came up with a plan that saw two different designs for the east and west sides of the bridge.  The counterweight arm of the west leaf is “unusually short, with a cast iron counterweight instead of the concrete one typically used in counterweight pits of larger dimensions.”  Therefore, there is no counterweight pit on the western bank while the eastern end of the bridge has a conventional pit and concrete counterweight.  [Historic American Engineering Record, National Park Service]

February 22, 1892 – All of the officials of the World’s Columbian Exposition, due to open in a little over a year, meet at the Van Buren Street station for a trip to Jackson Park where they will show off the progress of the grounds for the fair to officials from Washington, D. C.  Those with special passes gather at the Woman’s Building on a damp day, the first stop for the Congressional delegation.  At the east entrance of the building a platform stands with a huge map showing the grounds and the different buildings that will be a part of the fair.  At 10:30 a.m. the train carrying the visitors arrives with at least a thousand persons entering the grounds.  At 10:45 a.m. the President of the World’s Columbian Exposition board, William Taylor Baker, begins to speak, saying, “On behalf of the World’s Fair management I welcome you to this the scene of active operation.  Eight months hence I hope to welcome you again.  Today is but a promise of future things.  What has already been done is a guarantee that the twelfth day of October these buildings will be ready for occupancy … It is hard to derive inspiration from a foggy morning.  But we promise you all better weather when you come again.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 23, 1892] With that the Chief of Construction, Daniel L. Burnham, using the large map mounted on the dais, explains the grounds and the buildings.  He gives “a startling array of facts and figures.  He described the attractive features of the waterways, the different displays, and the buildings in such a way that the dullest imagination could not help framing a picture of wonderful proportions.”  At the conclusion of Burnham’s speech, the delegation heads to the roof of the Woman’s Building.  It was a “picturesque assemblage … tall Western Representatives, dapper New York politicians, Southern belles, and chivalrous Colonels.” The Tribune reports that “A common remark among the Congressmen was: ‘It’s a big thing isn’t it?’”  The above photo shows construction of the great fair, looking east across the Illinois Central Railroad tracks at Sixty-First Street.

February 22, 1922 – The Chicago Daily Tribune prints an editorial in praise of the 6,000 Chicago club women who have successfully petitioned the South Park Commissioners for the Illinois chapter of the American Society of Architects to restore one wing of the old Fine Arts building, a building that would eventually be fully restored and see new life as today’s Museum of Science and Industry.  The editorial states, “Unquestionably the building is one of the most beautiful architecturally in the world.  It is a credit to Chicago, an inspiration to modern builders, and a monument to the World’s Fair which marks an epoch in the city’s history.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, February 22, 1922] At this point, no one knows what will become of one of the only survivors of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893.  The paper proposes some possibilities:  a branch of the Art Institute; a space for loan exhibits of Chicago artists; a school of industrial art; a park field house with gymnasiums, swimming pools, and assembly halls; even a public library branch.  The investment of just $7,000, the editorial observes, is a good one and will “furnish a striking contrast with the remainder of the building and reveal most effectively the real and potential beauties of the structure.”  The above photo shows the condition of the building that would become the city's Science Museum, today's Museum of Science and Industry, in 1925.

Emil G. Hirsch
Mary McDowell
February 22, 1914 -- Chicago comes by its role of Sanctuary City honestly as can be seen by an event that took place over a century ago.  Despite a blinding snowstorm, 2,200 out of the 4,700 citizens who have been naturalized since July 1, 1913 gather together at the Auditorium Building at the New Citizens' Allegiance Celebration. Dr. Emil G. Hirsch, who was born in Luxembourg, and is the rabbi of the Chicago Sinai Congregation, gives the address. He tells the audience, "Let us be on our guard against tampering with our Americanism by hitching it to a hyphen . . . Let us see to it that our conduct disarms this anti-alien prejudice and show that American civilization has been enriched by reason of our being here." Mrs. Mary McDowell, head of the University of Chicago settlement, the "Angel of the Stockyards," speaks especially to the women of the audience, saying, "We must learn things from you. You must give us your sentiment and ideals, for they belong to us now, and we need them. If you like this city, you can help us make it fit to live in." Dr. Hirsch and Mrs. McDowell are pictured above.