Tuesday, April 30, 2019

April 30, 1950 -- Loop Alleys, Names and Places

Marble Place
Calhoun Place
Couch Place
Benton Place
Holden Court
Garland Court
Haddock Place
Arcade Place
Court Place

April 30, 1950 – The Chicago Daily Tribune runs a feature on the nine alleys that run through the Loop, providing an explanation of the significance of their names.  The feature is the result of the discovery of a street sign on “the hitherto nameless alley which runs from Wells st. to state st. between Monroe and Adams st.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 30, 1950]  That alley still is Marble Place.  The alley got its name as a result of the marble buildings that were constructed in the early days, the first use of a material other than wood in the center of the city.  Garland Court, which runs from South Water Street to Washington Street, between Wabash and Michigan Avenues, got its name from its sponsor, the Garland Stove Company.  Arcade Place, running from Franklin to State Street between Madison and Monroe Streets, began its life with an arcade over its eastern end.  An alley that led to the old courthouse, Court Place, runs from Franklin to State Street between Randolph and Washington Streets.  Calhoun Place, running from Franklin to State Streets, between Washington and Madison Streets, takes its name from John Calhoun, the editor of the first newspaper in the city.  An alley that runs between Lake Street and Randolph Streets from the river on the west to Michigan Avenue is named for, Ira Couch, the owner of the Tremont House, one of the city’s first hotels.  The Couch family mausoleum, by the way, can still be seen alongside La Salle Street near the Lincoln monument on the north side.  Couch Place becomes Benton Place east of State Street, a tip of the hat to Thomas Hart Benton, a United States senator from Missouri. Today Benton Place is a considerable distance east of State Street, running along a park in the middle of the Lake Shore East development.  Holden Court, which lies between State Street and Wabash avenue and extends in bits and pieces from Adams to near Roosevelt Road and over which elevated tracks run south of Harrison Street is named after C. P. Holden, a city councilman who lobbied for the construction of lake tunnels and water intake cribs to provide clean water to Chicagoans.  Finally, an alley running from Franklin Street to Michigan Avenue between Wacker Drive and Lake Street is named for Edward H. Haddock, a prosperous owner of Loop property during the time of William B. Ogden, the city’s first mayor.

April 30, 1886 – At the annual reception of the First Infantry, held a day earlier, word gets around that a fine gift for the organization would be a brand-new Gatling gun.  Members of the Commercial Club who are present get up a subscription list, and by the morning of April 30, $2,000 has been collected, and the gun is ordered by telegraph with the hope that it will reach the city by the evening so that it can be turned over to the regiment.  Representatives of the Commercial Club also assure officers of the First Infantry that when the lease on their present armory expires, “the regiment will find a new and permanent one ready for them.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, May, 1886] Five days earlier 25,000 workers had walked in a procession from the west side, near where the Haymarket riot would occur a month later, to a rally on the lakefront near where many of the city’s elite families made their homes.  Their cry was for an eight-hour work day, and anger was in the air.  Following the events of May, the Commercial Club did far more than purchase a Gatling gun … the members made it possible for the United States government to secure land north of the city, next to the Chicago and North Western Railroad tracks, so that infantry and cavalry units could be easily moved into the city in case of trouble. That was the origin of Fort Sheridan.  The First Regiment Armory would be finished by 1890, standing on South Michigan Avenue not far from where those 25,000 workers rallied in 1886.  It is pictured above.

April 30, 1959 – At 10:30 a.m. the Dutch freighter Prins Johan Willem Friso, slides into a berth at Navy Pier and becomes the first ship to travel through the new St. Lawrence Seaway to Chicago.  Forty American Indians ride a tugboat out to the ship and accompany it back to the dock where Mayor Richard J. Daley and the Fifth Army band greet the ship and its captain, Sander Klein.  From the dock the mayor escorts Klein to Michigan and Ohio Streets where a parade kicks off, heading down Michigan to the Blackstone Hotel for a reception at which the captain is made an honorary citizen of Chicago.  A small amount of the ship’s cargo is offloaded from at the pier, but the bulk of the freight will be taken off in Calumet Harbor where the ship will receive a cargo of industrial and agricultural products bound for European ports.

April 30, 1903 -- A new tactic is used in an effort to appropriate land in Grant Park and use it for the construction of public buildings. The Illinois House of Representatives votes on a Senate bill to provide a site for the privately-funded Crerar Library, a legacy of Chicago businessman John Chippewa Crerar who left $2.6 million as an endowment for a free public library. The bill will empower park commissioners to authorize the construction of a free public library building on a site of their choosing, provided district tax payers approve the plan in a municipal election. The Chicago Daily Tribune editorializes, "There is land east of Michigan avenue where a site is available on which the trustees of the Crerar library will erect a handsome building if given an opportunity to do so. The land cannot be put to a better use. The house should give them an opportunity by concurring in the senate bill it is to vote on today." Although the legislation passed, the referendum never made it to the voters. The battle over the library, led by merchant A. Montgomery Ward for much of the rest of the decade, continued all the way to May of 1912 when the library trustees admitted defeat and announced their intention to purchase the land at Randolph and Michigan for the building. That building, designed by Holabird and Roche was delayed by the outbreak of World War I and finally finished in 1919. By the 1950's the building could no longer support all of the library's holdings, and the institution affiliated itself first with the Illinois Institute of Technology and then with the University of Chicago, where the current library, designed by Stubbins Associates, was completed in 1984. The late 1950's photo above shows the 1919 library across Randolph Street from what is now the Chicago Cultural Center and across Michigan Avenue from the Coca Cola sign. 150 North Michigan Avenue occupies this location today.  That is the A. Epstein & Son's design with the diamond top, pictured below the first photo.

Monday, April 29, 2019

April 29, 1982 -- Lake Point Tower Looks Toward Land Swap

April 29, 1982 – An announcement is made that the Chicago Dock and Canal Trust has signed a contract to exchange the land under Lake Point Tower at 505 North Lake Shore Drive for a property to be named later in the year.  American Ivsco Corp. retains ownership of the residential tower with a ground lease that will continue until about 2045.  The president of Chicago Dock, Charles Gardner, does not disclose the future owner of the land.  It is believed that the transaction is the result of the conversion of the building from rental apartments to condominiums.  Such a conversion could not legally take place unless the building and the land are held in common ownership.  Chicago Dock had owned the 3-acre parcel of land since the 1850’s and leased it to the developers of Lake Point Tower in 1965.  On June 1, 1983 Chicago Dock announced the property that it had acquired in the swap with Lake Point Tower.  Gardner disclosed that the company had acquired a 60 percent interest in the Playboy Building at 919 North Michigan Avenue, plus an undisclosed amount of cash.  It is speculated that Continental National Bank and Trust Company will be the majority owner of Lake Point Tower and the land beneath it.  

April 29, 1963 – Mayor Richard J. Daley announces plans to build an 80-story apartment building west of the Merchandise Mart on Wolf Point.  The building will be the tallest building in the Midwest and the fourth tallest in the world, rising 782 feet with a 571-foot antenna at its top.  It is projected to hold 1,300 apartments and a 320-room hotel with a plaza that rises two floors above the bridge at Orleans Street.  The cost of the project, which will occupy 5.76 acres of land, is $45 million.  Studio apartments will rent from $120 to $200 a month; the 512 one-bedroom units will go for between $180 and $280 a month; 256 two-bedroom units will rent for between $270 and $370; and 128 three-bedroom units will top out at $420.  Each apartment will have glass from floor to ceiling with seven-foot balconies extending the width of the unit.  The first tier of apartments will not begin until the building reaches the 120-foot mark with four restaurants and a theater, along with shops making up the first floors of the building.  There will be two levels of parking below ground that will hold 800 cars.  The architect for the project is Chalres Booher Gunther, who founded PACE Associates, an engineering firm that worked on early drawings of Marina City.  One can see the similarities to the two Marina City towers on the river six blocks to the east.  The project actually got a permit from the Federal Aeronautics Administration for the antenna, but that is as far as it ever went. The top photo gives some idea of the look of the colossus.  Below that is a Chicago Tribune rendering of the space that it was projected to fill at Wolf Point.  The bottom photo shows what Wolf Point will look like when the last of the three towers is topped out in the next four years or so.  Probably a good thing the original plan got shelved, right?

April 29, 1928 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that the Gage Structural Steel Company, with offices at 3123-41 South Hoyne Avenue, has set a record for placement of steel in a tall building.  According to R. H. Gage, vice-president and engineer of the company, a record of 36 working days was established in the steelwork of the 100 North La Salle building. Gage says, “The first delivery of structural steel was made on Feb. 24, 1928, and the final delivery on April 13, 1928, and the erection of same was completed shortly thereafter in the record time of seven weeks, or thirty-six working days.  Three days were deducted for inclement weather, when the steel erectors could not work, and Saturdays were figured as half days, owing to the fact that the steel erectors quit at noon.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 29, 1928] The 25-story building at the corner of La Salle Street and Washington required 1,958 tons of structural steel.

April 29, 1862 -- Report in the Chicago DailyTribune for this date: "A drunken man named Gates, who resides on Wells street, became suddenly sobered Saturday night, as follows: He was walking along the river dock between Randolph and Lake streets, when, by some means unexplained, he got into deep water. He howled lustily for help, and was rescued by two men, just as he was sinking for the last time. Never was a pickled article more suddenly or completely freshened than was Gates. He was taken in charge by the police and furnished with lodgings in the Hotel de Turtle, West Market station." Poor pickled Gates nearly met his doom just beyond the nearest bridge at Randolph Street, pictured above.

Sunday, April 28, 2019

April 28, 1969 -- Grand Central Station To Be Demolished

April 28, 1969 – Mayor Richard J. Daley announces that the Grand Central railway station at 303 West Harrison Street will be abandoned and that the two railroads using the station will move to the North Western railway station. Although the move must be approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission, the mayor is optimistic that everything will be worked out by the end of summer.  Taking down Grand Central, which was designed by Solon S. Beman and completed in 1890, will free up 45 acres for development.  It took quite a while for that development to begin … 50 years, more or less.  Things are happening in a big way on the site today, though, as the Riverline development is under construction, a project that will eventually bring 3,600 residences on a site that will include a half-mile boardwalk along the river and close to four acres of open green space.  A rendering of the completed project is shown above.

April 28, 1952 – Acquisition of land for the Congress Street expressway comes to an end as the Chicago City Council approves purchase of three downtown properties, the last of 1,860 parcels that have been acquired since 1942. The final three properties, purchased for $540,212, are for the widening of the expressway as it reaches Michigan Avenue by means of creating sidewalk arcades at Roosevelt College, the Congress Hotel, and Annes Restaurant at 51-59 East Congress Street.  The Commissioner of Subways and Super Highways, Virgil E. Gunlock, says that about 96 percent of the Congress corridor’s right of way has been cleared of buildings and that the super highway is expected to be completed by 1955.  He didn’t miss by much. The completed expressway opened April 10, 1956.  The above photo gives some idea of how those 1,860 parcels of land came into play as the swath carved out for the new expressway brings it closer to the Loop.   

April 28, 1893 – The Chicago Club moves into “new and commodious quarters” [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 29, 1893] in the structure that formerly held the Art Institute of Chicago before the museum’s move to its new building on the lakefront.  Designed by John Root, the headquarters for the Chicago Club, at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street, “meets the taste of the critic in its plain yet rich proportions.”  Francis M. Whitehouse is the architect charged with renovating the building to make it suitable for the wealthiest private club in the city.  The first story wall will be lowered to make the ceilings of the entry level appropriate for the use of club members and “By this arrangement an extensive and finely proportioned hall was secured two and one-half feet below the level of the reading room.  A flight of marble steps leads up to the latter room.”  Servants’ rooms and a laundry are contained in an addition that has been built over the former courtyard of the Art Institute.  The club’s new headquarters will also have its own ice plant and electricity generating plant.  The elegant building would remain the Chicago Club’s headquarters until 1929 when it collapsed while being remodeled.  The top photo shows the building that the Chicago Club moved into in 1893.  The photo below that shows the same corner today.

April 28, 1909 -- The Cubs come back in the ninth inning to beat Cincinnati in a squeaker, 6-5. Another sports reporting gem, this one by I. E. Sunburn in the Chicago Daily Tribune. "Meek as so many cosset lambs during the early innings of today's game," he writes, "Chance's [player-manager Frank Chance] men suddenly tore off their disguises, converted themselves into ravenous wolves, snatched away from the Reds the victory which was apparently clinched, and plunged a stiletto deep into the vitals of Clark Griffith [Cincinnati's manager]." Reds pitcher Bob Ewing is in command until the seventh inning when he allows two runs, but the Wrigley nine is still down by three going into the top of the ninth. Chance leads off the final frame with a single to right. Third baseman Harry Steinfeldt "poled a long fly" to left, but shortstop Joe Tinker "smashed one so hot that [Red shortstop Mike] Mowrey had no chance of stopping it. Outfielder "Circus Solly" Hofman laces a line drive into center. Chance scores, and "only two runs were needed to tie her up." Cubs second baseman Heinie Zimmerman pulls a line drive between short and second and Reds left fielder Dode Paskert, hustling to cut down a run at the plate "fumbled the ball in his eagerness and it bounded gleefully back toward the fence." Tinker and Hofman score and Zimmerman "sneaked around to third a toenail ahead of Paskert's throw in." Cubs catcher Pat Moran hits a bounder to Reds second baseman Miller Huggins, who makes "a fine shot to the plate to nil Zim's run," but Cincinnati catcher Frank Roth drops the ball. That is all that is needed to seal "the grandest rally that has been pulled off this season in any section of the map." The game is played at Cincinnati's Palace of the Fans, pictured above.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

April 27, 1980 -- Fisher Building Finds New Owner

April 27, 1980 – The Chicago Tribune reports that an investment group headed by Murdoch and Coll, Inc. has purchased the Fisher building at 343 South Dearborn Street for an undisclosed amount.  The new owners pledge to bring $100,000 of repairs to the 24-story building while adding capital improvements of a million dollars.  Murdoch and Coll’s vice-president, Gary Nelson, says, “Plans call for restoration of such old-world features as marble wainscoting, mahogany molding, brass hardware, and original lighting fixtures.”  [Chicago Tribune, April 27, 1980]  The Fisher building, designed by architect Charles B. Atwood, working for Daniel Burnham’s firm, is a Chicago Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The 1896 building, home of the City Club Apartments, began a new period in tall building construction.  Its metal-framed construction made it possible to place more window glass in its face than had ever been attempted in a building of its height.  Running up and down the vertical elements between the windows are a variety of terra cotta pieces that play on the name of the building’s developer, paper magnate Lucius Fisher.

April 27, 1968 – Approximately 5,000 people gather in Grant Park for a rally against the war in Vietnam, and before the day is over 50 protestors are under arrest and 15 people are injured.  The day begins with no sign of trouble as “demonstrators gathered in the park, laughing and joking as they picked dandelions to make necklaces … [they] also snipped lilacs and placed them in their hair.” [Chicago Tribune, April 28, 1968] The march to the Civic Center, today’s Richard J. Daley Center, is peaceful as protestors keep to the sidewalk and obey traffic signals.  While some marchers circle the Civic Center, others cut ropes that barricade the plaza on the Washington Street side of the building.  The police, under the personal direction of Superintendent James B. Conlisk, Jr., begin moving the marchers out of the plaza and onto Washington and Clark Streets, prompting about 250 people to stage a sit-down protest on the plaza.  It is here that the first set of mass arrests takes place.  Some officers deploy MACE, and protestors begin to throw picket signs at the officers.  The commander of the First Police District, Captain James J. Riordan, is hit by a sign and treated for head wounds at Henrotin Hospital.  At the protest’s height a thousand police battle the marchers while 50 counter-protestors shout curses at the anti-war group.  Later, at the central district lockup army intelligence officers, F.B.I. agents and members of the police subversive unit, “seeking soldiers absent without leave and known Communists and Communist sympathizers” work their way through the jailed protestors.  This is just the beginning as protests escalate until they reach a fever pitch in late August of the year as the Democratic convention rolls into town, and scenes like the one above give way to mayhem.

April 27, 1991 – Opening ceremonies are held for the Shedd Aquarium’s Oceanarium, the new home to two beluga whales, four Pacific white-sided dolphins, five Alaskan sea otters, three harbor seals, and a colony of penguins.  According to the web site of the aquarium “the modernistic Abbott Oceanarium … was linked physically and philosophically to the original structure by using the same white Georgia marble on its exterior.”  Architect Dirk Lohan says of his design, “If you have imagination, you can imagine that you’re on the edge of the ocean, looking out over the coastline, and these mammals are swimming and showing their abilities.  I kept all this below the roofline and dome of the old building, so the silhouette of the aquarium and city wasn’t destroyed in any way … I’ve seen aquariums where people sit surrounding the pool – like a circle in a circus tent, where the animals perform for you.  That was not something I liked.  I came up with the idea that, since we’re on Lake Michigan, why don’t we create the water surface of the pool in such a way that it visually links with Lake Michigan?”  [http://americanbuildersquarterly.com]

April 27, 1914 -- Whatever goes up must come down. Usually. That proves true enough in the Fine Arts building on this date as elevator operator Louis Rosenfeld lets in a few more people than wisdom would dictate -- 16 to be exact in a car rated for a dozen. Two women and two men squeeze into the elevator, already crowded with students and teachers from the upper floors. As it begins to descend a cable snaps and roars down the shaft, slamming into the roof of the car. From there it snakes through the front of the car, striking several passengers. No one can move since the elevator is so crowded. Two women faint and the car stops a few feet from the bottom of the shaft as the emergency brakes take hold. The roar of the calamity can be heard on Michigan Avenue, and the entire building shakes.  The top of the car stops a few feet above the level of the first floor, and those rushing to help, including the manager of the Studebaker Theater, are able to pry the doors open and lift the passengers to safety. Fortunately, no one is seriously injured, but if I had been in the car, I might have given a considerable amount of thought to taking the stairs from then on.

Friday, April 26, 2019

April 26, 2003 -- Casey Jones Engine 201 Comes to Illinois Railway Museum

April 26, 2003 – Illinois Central steam engine No. 201 goes on display at the Illinois Railway Museum.  The Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works of Peterson, New Jersey built the 107,600-pound engine with its coal bunker and water tank attached to the frame of the locomotive and positioned over the trailing truck, placing No. 201 in a category known as "tank engines."  The configuration meant that the relatively modest engine could operate easily in either direction and negotiate tight curves, factors that made it a good choice for commuter service in large cities.  [www.railarchive.net]  There is some historical information that would indicate that Illinois Central Railroad engineer Luther “Casey” Jones was temporarily transferred to Chicago for I. C. commuter service during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and it is a fairly good guess that he would have sat at the controls of No. 201.  It was because of this that the I. C. sold the locomotive in 1928 to the Rosenwald Industrial Museum, the predecessor of today’s Museum of Science and Industry.  No. 201 rolled on and in 1932 was displayed as part of the festivities associated with the I. C.’s electrification of its suburban commuter service.  It took part in the Chicago Railroad Fair of 1948 and 1949 before being displayed at the Junction City Shopping Center in Peoria. It kept going – to Owatonna, Minnesota and, finally, on this date as an exhibit at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.

April 26, 1954 – As the plan moves forward to extend Wacker Drive south in order to join with the new Congress Street expressway, The Chicago Transit Authority board on this date agrees to remove and relocate the elevated structure in Van Buren Street between Wells Street and the river.  The decision awaits approval by the city which must compensate the C.T.A. for the $387,000 it will cost to complete the project.  This junction, known as “Tower 8,” was placed in service on October 3, 1897 to connect the Metropolitan West Side Elevated to the Loop Elevated.  It consisted of a T-shaped junction with a short three-block connector along Van Buren and Market Street, which is now Wacker Drive.  The top photo shows Tower 8 as it appeared before its removal.  The contemporary picture below it shows Van Buren Street at ground level, looking in the same direction, with the elevated removed.  The angled support at the top of the picture is the only evidence of the fact that the elevated ever ran west on Van Buren.

April 26, 1951 – General Douglas MacArthur lays a wreath at the memorial tablet of the Bataan-Corregidor Bridge at State Street, “speaking to weeping mothers concerning their sons who perished in the death march on Bataan”.  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 27, 1951] MacArthur says, “These men were mine … I shall always hold them inviolate in my heart.  Since they fell, I have shared with their mothers and families the sorrow of their passing.”  An estimated 25,000 people watch the ceremonies as 30 men “who had been liberated by the general’s return to the Philippine islands stood at salute as he passed.”  MacArthur’s visit comes as part of a nationwide tour that follows President Truman’s relieving him of his command of United States forces in Korea on April 11.  Police officer John Kliss, serving out of the Marquette station, a former marine sergeant captured in the Philippines, says, “Mac was one of the swellest officers I ever had.”  Mrs. Frances Lovering, the mother of Corporal Fred Lovering, who died in a Manila prison camp says “with jaw firm … ‘It’s not a good thing to have politics mixed up with military affairs, and I’m behind the general.’”

April 26, 1925 -- The biggest crowd ever to see a baseball game in the city goes home disappointed as 44,000 fans watch the White Sox lose by forfeit, 9-0, to Cleveland. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Sox down, 7-2, third baseman Willie Kamm comes to bat and grounds into a routine shortstop-to-first play to end the game. At least that is what 8,000 fans think who rush onto the field. Except . . . the Cleveland first basemen, a recent University of Michigan graduate named Ray Knode, can't find first base to complete the play. As the Chicago Daily Tribune writer James Crusinberry describes the play, ". . . evidently Mr. Knode failed to learn while at Michigan just exactly where the bag is located at the first corner. After catching the ball, and with thousands of fans rushing upon the field, he began hunting the bag. He stabbed with one foot here and with another foot there and then rolled in the earth and frantically searched for the bag. He couldn't find it and by that time Willie Kamm had crossed it and there was nothing left for Umpire Billy Evans, stationed at that corner, to do but pronounce Mr. Kamm safe." Despite the fact that there are 135 policeman on the field, order can not be restored. In the throng the umpires can't even locate one another. Finally, the head umpire, Clarence Rowland, declares the game, which the Sox undoubtedly would have lost anyway, a forfeit. A significant number of fans leaving the ballpark that afternoon probably never even knew that was the final result.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

April 25, 1946 -- Naperville Train Wreck Kills 47

April 25, 1946 – In the early afternoon tragedy comes to Naperville, at the time a town of about 5,000 residents, as two Burlington passenger trains come together at Loomis Street,  The first train of nine cars, carrying about 150 people, leaves Chicago and heads for Omaha and Lincoln, Nebraska about two minutes before the second Oakland-bound train which carries 175 passengers in 11 assorted coach and sleeping cars.  Somewhere near Naperville a crew member of the first train observes something shooting out from the train’s undercarriage, and the engineer stops his train so that it can be inspected for damage.  The unexpected stop triggers signals behind the train that should have warned the second passenger train’s engineer of the blocked track ahead.  A flagman from the first train also is dispatched up the line as an additional means of warning the approaching train.  The engineer of that second train, 68-year-old W. W. Blaine, brings his train through a yellow caution signal and a red stop signal and past the flagman and just 90 seconds after the first train had rolled to a stop, Blaine’s train rips into the stopped train at a speed estimated to be about 45 miles-per-hour. Blaine later says that he put his train into emergency braking as it was travelling at 80 miles-per-hour, but there was not enough time to bring the speeding train to a stop.  The front truck of Blaine’s EMD ES-A locomotive is sheared off on impact, and the engine travels through three-quarters of the rear car of the stopped train, killing most of its passengers.  The locomotive continues forward for 205 feet, bending a light-weight dining car like a crushed aluminum can, causing more deaths.  The fireman on the second train dies instantly as he jumps from the cab a split second before the impact.  Immediately adjacent to the tracks is the Kroehler Furniture Factory and within minutes 800 employees respond to the disaster, along with 60 students from Naperville’s North Central College.  There is no hospital in rural Naperville at the time, and rescuers work throughout the day to free the injured and the dead from the mangled wreckage of the two trains.  The railroad dispatches a special train to the scene with doctors and nurses, but it is more than eight hours before the last car is opened with acetylene torches.  It would be 27 hours before trains began to roll through Naperville once again. Altogether, 47 people die in the wreck and another 125 are injured.  Subsequent investigation by the Interstate Commerce Commission and a DuPage County grand jury culminate in no action being taken against the crews of either train or the Burlington Railroad.  In April, 2014 a sculpture, “Tragedy to Triumph,” was dedicated as a memorial to those who died on that spring day in 1946.  

April 25, 1972 – More than a hundred businessmen and city officials gather to celebrate the ground-breaking for the new 1,000 room convention hotel developed by Hyatt Corporation, the Prudential Insurance Company of America, Metropolitan Structures, and Illinois Center Corporation, a subsidiary of Illinois Central Industries, Inc.  Mayor Richard J. Daley lauds the project as “a great asset for Chicagoans who want to work, live and play in the city.” [Chicago Tribune, April 26, 1972] Sited on Wacker Drive just to the east of Michigan Avenue on the south side of the Chicago River, the 36-story hotel is one of the first buildings in a massive project to develop the 82-acre site of Illinois Center, formerly a railroad yard.  The Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of I. C. Industries, William B. Johnson, says the Illinois Center project “will be a blend of buildings, of river, and of lake with open, green space, creating an altogether new and highly livable environment.”  The hotel is shown under construction in the photo above.  The photo below that shows approximately the same view today.  The Hyatt Regency Chicago is the reddish-brown tower to the left just beyond the Columbus Drive bridge.

April 25, 1875 – With memories of the city’s destruction four years earlier, Chicagoans understandably loved their beer, especially with a large share of the milk watered down and the drinking water suspect.  On this date the Chicago Daily Tribune ran a feature on the principal beer manufacturers in the city.  They included:

Conrad Seipp – located east of Cottage Grove Avenue at the foot of Twenty-Sixth Street with a main plant “probably the largest used for the manufacture of lager beer in the United States.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 25, 1872] Seipp founded the brewery in 1856 and admitted a partner, Fred Lehman, in 1858.  Lehman died in 1872 after being thrown from a buggy.  The firm employs 100 men with 60 horses “constantly in use and 16 teams delivering beer in the city and suburbs.  The establishment consumes 300,000 bushels of malt and 300,000 bush
els of hops each year, producing “the enormous amount of 100,000 barrels of beer.”  The above photo shows the scale of the concern.

Downer and Bemis Brewing Company – located on South Park Avenue, overlooking the lake between Twenty-Third and Twenty-Fourth Streets and founded in 1861.  The brewery makes only lager beer and in 1871 sold 65,000 barrels.

Busch and Brand Brewery Company – located on Cedar Street near the lake and founded in 1851, “one of the first firms to make lager-beer in this city.”  Although it was destroyed in the fire of 1871 it was rebuilt within three months and produces 40,000 barrels annually with room in storehouses and ice houses for another 20,000 barrels.  

Chicago Union Brewing Company – located on Twenty-Seventh Street and Johnson Avenues, just east of Cottage Grove Avenue, the brewery was founded in 1869 for the manufacture of ale “since which time their products have achieved a reputation that places them first in the estimation of all.”  The company supplies “almost exclusively … all first-class saloons in the city” as well as the Palmer House and the Grand Pacific Hotel “and in fact every first-class hotel in the city.”

Doyle and Co., Brewers -- located at 423 North State Street (1243 North State today), producing only ales and porter.  The firm produces 24,000 barrels of ale and porter annually and “keeps four teams delivering and several others hauling.”

Fortune Brothers – located on West Van Buren Street near Halsted, founded in 1866, and producing ale and porter.  The brewery produces 80 barrels of ale a day with “a large corps of skilled workmen and keeps four delivery teams constantly going”.  

T. D. Stuver – the agent for Porter’s Joliet Ales and Porter, located on Randolph Street, an agent for “the celebrated Joliet malt liquors … begun at Joliet by Mr. Ed. Porter some twenty years ago, and, though first-class at first, have improved in excellence as in quantity these many years, until now they fairly rival the more costly English stocks of Bass and Burton and are acknowledged to be ahead of any other body ales in the United States.”  Four wagons deliver pale stock ale, “one of the healthiest and most palatable beverages, ever used or invented to refresh thirsty humanity.”

April 25, 1914 -- In a conflict that began with a relatively minor incident in which neither Mexican authorities or United States sailors could speak one another's language, hostilities loomed between the two countries, and young men began heading for the nearest recruiting posts, volunteering for the military. On this date the Chicago Daily Tribune reports that 1,000 applicants have made their way to the city, including Harold Witherspoon from Whiting, Indiana. The 17-year-old walked all the way from his home to enlist -- a distance of 23 miles. Within a block of the naval recruiting station at 205 Fifth Avenue (today's Wells Street) a packing case falls off the back of a truck and crushes his foot. He is accepted conditionally and sent to Lake Bluff to recover. If he fails to regain full health, he will go back to Whiting . . . but not on foot. Of the thousand men who show up less than a hundred are accepted.