Friday, April 19, 2019

April 19, 1949 -- Cubs Fall to Pittsburgh, 1-0, in Opener
April 19, 1949 – Pittsburgh Pirate pitcher Rip Sewell continues his dominance over the Cubs as he shuts the home team out, 1-0, in the season opener at Wrigley Field.  In the 1943 home opener Sewell shut the Cubs down, 6-0, and in 1948 he pitched the Pirates team to victory, 4-2, adding a home run in the process.  The opening day win is the thirty-fourth time Sewell has beaten the Cubs; he ended up with seven wins against Chicago in 1948 alone. On a cold day at Wrigley Cubs pitcher Dutch Leonard holds the Pirates to just four singles and walks no one through eight innings.  Shortstop Roy Smalley’s error allows Pirate Dixie Walker to reach first base to start the ninth inning, however, and a single by Ralph Kiner, a sacrifice fly, and an intentional walk, the only walk Leonard gives up in the game, loads the bases. Pinch hitter Les Fleming hits into a force play, scoring the game’s only run, giving the Bucko’s the victory. The Cubs go on to lose 93 games, finishing in last place in the National League, 36 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers.  

April 19, 1991 – One of the great treasures of Chicago is the Chicago Architecture Foundation, an organization of nearly 500 volunteers who lead close to 80 tours and who work diligently to hammer home the point that design really does matter in shaping the spaces in which we live.  It is interesting to look back 27 years ago to a Chicago Tribune article on the foundation written as it celebrated its first twenty-five years with March 9 of that year designated by Richard M. Daley as Chicago Architecture Foundation Day.  It was in 1967 that a group of architects, fearing that gentrification of the near south side would sweep away a particular treasure, the Glessner House, formed the Chicago School of Architecture Foundation with its offices in the Glessner House itself.  Ten years later the “School of” left the name and the focus of the foundation changed from preservation to education with an emphasis on showcasing the unique contributions that Chicago architecture has made to the city, the nation and the world. In the 1991 Tribune article the executive director of the organization, John Engman, says, “People around the world think of Chicago, unfortunately, for its gangsters and fortunately, for its architecture.  But Chicago architecture is what defines this city as a unique world city more so than anything else.  Architects throughout the world make pilgrimages to this town.”  [Chicago Tribune, April 19, 1991] At the time the organization consisted of about 300 docents who started walking tours from the Monadnock building.  Today there are nearly 200 more docents, and the foundation is settling in to new headquarters in the 111 East Wacker Drive building above the docks from which guests depart on the foundation’s signature Chicago Architecture Center River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. John Engman said 27 years ago, “The city is our museum,” and for the dedicated volunteers who stand on tour boats in rain or shine, who lead tours everywhere from Hyde Park to Fort Sheridan, and who spend hour upon hour preparing for their assignments, that is still true.

April 19, 1962 – Mayor Richard J. Daley presents a revised plan for the development of 60 acres of the area east of Michigan Avenue and north of Randolph Street, today’s Illinois Center.  The mayor says, “This proposal has been prepared to assure the orderly development of one of Chicago’s most valuable areas.  It is a vast undertaking that can provide more than 30,000 persons who could enjoy nearby employment, cultural, and recreational facilities.  This development will increase tax revenues and will be a great stimulus to the future growth of Chicago.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 20, 1962]  The city plan commissioner, Ira Bach, indicates that the development of the Illinois Central Railroad’s air rights in this area could provide 12 million dollars in real estate taxes each year.  The area about which the Mayor speaks is the area enclosed in the dotted lines.  Looking at this area as well as the area north of the river today is a visual lesson in the positive and negative aspects of urban planning.

April 19, 1925 --The Flying Finn, Paavo Nurmi, wins the 3,000 meter run at the first annual Loyola Relays at Grant Park stadium, today's Soldier Field. Rain in the morning leaves the track in poor condition, and the weather is cold and blustery. Still, 5,000 spectators watch as Nurmi covers the distance in 8:49.25, considerably off his world record of 8:32. The sensation from Finland is content to let fellow countryman Willie Ritola lead the pack through the stiff northerly winds until two laps remain. On the last curve he passes Ritola and goes on to win by 20 yards. Refusing to pose for pictures, he gathers up his gear and heads into the locker room as the crowd cheers. In difficult conditions he and Ritola are the only two runners to finish the race. The statue of Nurvi, pictured below, stands outside the Helsinki Olympic stadium.

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