Monday, June 24, 2019

June 24, 1895 -- Lake-Front Park Ordinance Goes Down to Defeat
June 24, 1895 – An ordinance Is proposed at the meeting of the City Council to establish a park, to be known as Lake Park, extending from Randolph Street to Park Row, today’s Roosevelt Road, and east of Michigan Avenue, 1,250 feet into Lake Michigan.  The ordinance proposes the creation of a Lake Park Commission, composed of ten members, that would organize and direct the operation.  Opposition to the ordinance is immediate as many aldermen are leery of creating parkland on property that has a murky title of ownership.  Alderman Mann points out that the Supreme Court has held that the area in question is the property of the state and “Even the rights conveyed there were being attacked by the United States District Attorney, who claimed that the State had no power to give the rights it had attempted to give to the Park Commissioners.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 24, 1895].  Another alderman interrupts, pointing out that an earlier court decision holds that the rights to man-made land are held by the city.  Alderman Judah pontificates, proclaiming, “I was under the impression that out of the 2,000,000 of people living in this city all except 500 were heartily in favor of this undertaking.  I have watched this for twenty-five years, and I have lived to see that nothing in that Lake-Front as it stands now except revenue.  For twenty-five years we have talked about the possibility of shipping and of commerce on the Lake-Front, yet who can truthfully say that they ever expect to see it?  Under present conditions all we have on the Lake-Front is a railroad center, a place for tramps, and a possibility of making this spot a prospective subject for revenue.  I am astonished to hear from gentlemen of the standing and character represented here tonight, who, by their action, show they do not see the privilege and possibility of building a beautiful public park on the Lake-Front, which has a value and which will produce a revenue of its own.”  The motion goes down to defeat, 41 yeas and 26 nays, the vote requiring a two-thirds majority to pass.

June 24, 2004 –A driver of a 25-ton concrete pump truck parks the vehicle on an elevated portion of Monroe Street while he asks for directions to the location in Millennium Park where the truck is required, and the truck begins to roll west down Monroe Street toward Michigan Avenue.  It collides with a passenger van and a taxi before pinning a C.T.A. 151 bus against a traffic light.  “It looked like a scary movie,” a passenger on the bus says.  “It hit us, and people screamed and a couple hit the floor.  The bus was shaking.” [Chicago Tribune, June 25, 2004] More than 50 emergency personnel respond to the accident, and Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford says, “With an accident like this, it’s remarkable there were not more people hurt.” Thirteen people on the bus are injured with three sustaining serious injuries.  The construction of the Lurie Garden, where the truck was headed, is shown in the above photo.

June 24, 1930 – The first scoop of dirt is dug at the southwest corner of Addison Street and Western Avenue, and the construction of the $5,000,000 Lane Technical High School is under way.  Ten thousand people are on hand as Alderman John J. Hoellen of the Forty-Seventh Ward pulls a lever in a steam shovel to get the work started.  High schools represented at the ceremony include Tilden, Crane, Austin, Lake View, Senn and Schurz.  Lane Tech Principal Grant Beebe says, “Lane has taken a place in the educational system that is national and international.  We long ago outgrew our facilities and now our needs have been answered.  The place a technical school fills in American civilization is shown by the records of our graduates.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 25, 1930] The school replaces an earlier school that stood at Division and Sedgwick and is named after Albert Grannis Lane.  Born in Chicago in 1841, Lane became the youngest principal in the history of the Chicago public school system, later serving as Superintendent of Schools in Cook County and as the President of the National Education Association.  The photo above shows the great school under construction as the 1930's begin.

June 24, 1942 – The State’s Attorney files a foreclosure suit against the Auditorium building at 430 South Michigan Avenue as plans move forward to auction the building’s art and furnishings.  The building, with its combined hotel, theater, and offices, owes $1,346,584 in county taxes and penalties.  Plans are for the property to be sold to the highest bidder within 60 days.  If no buyer is willing to buy the building for a significant portion of the amount owed in back taxes, the county controller is authorized to bid on the building for the amount of those taxes.  If that occurs and the owners do not repay that amount within two years, the property can then be sold to the highest bidder who will receive a clear title.  Everything will go – theater scenery, 3,665 seats, glassware from the bar, even the chairs from the boxes where the elite of Chicago society once sat to escape the smoke and the smell of the city.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

June 23, 1885 -- Bubbly Creek Meeting in the Mayor's Office
June 23, 1885 -- Representatives of the packing houses and rendering establishments are summoned to the office of Mayor Carter Harrison for a discussion with city authorities on how to best clean the South Fork of the Chicago River, the stream today known as Bubbly Creek The Mayor opens the meeting by observing that “he understood the South Fork could be cleaned out at present with a pitchfork, and he wanted to hear what those present had to say about it.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 24, 1885].  The president of the Union Stock Yards, John H. Sherman, gets defensive, saying that the stream was dirty before the packers got there and has remained dirty.  Mayor Harrison isn’t about to let that go, responding, “The fork is now intensely dirty.  It is an eternal nasty stink, but I don’t believe it is unhealthy.  If something is not done the result will be a movement hostile to the Stock-Yards.  The people will rise in their might and say ‘Clear out.’  There is not the slightest doubt but the Stock-Yards cause the nasty condition of the fork, and it as a friend of yours that I have asked you here.”  Sherman says that nothing but water is entering the South Fork from the stockyards; rather it is the city’s sewage that is the problem.  The city’s Health Commissioner, Oscar Coleman DeWolf, is adamant in saying that no city sewage enters the South Fork.  After the tussle, plans begin to emerge for improving the situation.  The Consulting Engineer for the Town of Lake, Benezette Williams, presents a proposal to construct “a brick conduit from the west arm of the slip, corner of California and Archer avenues, near Fortieth street, running underneath California avenue, or parallel with it, direct to the Illinois and Michigan Canal.”  Williams estimates that the plan could be executed for about $100,000 with an additional amount needed to construct an intercepting sewer system.  The meeting ends with, of course, the decision to appoint a committee to consult with the city engineer.  

June 23, 1965 –The Midwest headquarters of the Equitable Life Assurance Society at 401 North Michigan Avenue is opened in dedication ceremonies.  Also opening will be Pioneer Court, developed jointly by Equitable and its neighbor to the north, the Chicago Tribune.  An editorial in the paper observes, “By memorializing 25 distinguished Chicagoans, chosen by the Chicago Historical society, and carving their names in the rim of the fountain in Pioneer Court, the Equitable Life Assurance society and The Tribune consciously affirm awareness of their part in the historic succession of which our generation is a part, with the opportunity and obligation to add to our heritage from the pioneers who preceded us … As have all those who went before us, we both are contributing to the future.” [Chicago Tribune, June 23, 1965] As can be seen in the above photo the fountain in Pioneer Court was a popular place to sit in the sun, watch people go by, or eat a summer lunch.  It lasted for 25 years. There still is a small water feature on the north end of the plaza, but planters have largely replaced the 50-foot diameter marble fountain and the water jets that provided an alternative to the roar of the traffic passing by on Michigan Avenue.  With the conversion of Tribune Tower to private residences, who knows what will be left on the south side of the building.

June 23, 1955:  The Chicago City Council, by a vote of 35 to 11, directs John C. Melaniphy, the acting corporation counsel, to intervene in a suit in which the Art Institute of Chicago is proposing to use income from the Ferguson fund to build an addition on the north side of the museum. Established in 1905 by lumber baron Benjamin F. Ferguson, the intent of the fund was to build monuments and statues throughout the city.  Thomas Cullerton, Thirty-Eighth Ward alderman and Thomas Keane, alderman from the Thirty-First Ward, assert that using the fund for a building addition would “concentrate the investment in one place, to the detriment of the rest of the city.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 24, 1955] Alderman Leon Depres of the Fifth Ward disagrees, saying, “A dead hand should not control a trust, particularly one that is in the public interest.”  The B. F. Ferguson wing of the museum opened in 1958.  It is pictured above.

June 23, 1927 – The Material Services Corporation buys two parcels of property along the North Branch of the Chicago River, just north of Chicago Avenue and west of Halsted Street, a deal costing $200,000.  The east property is purchased from the widow of Charles M. Hewitt, who, before he died, was the president of a railroad supply company.  The western section of the property is purchased from the Parker-Washington Company of St. Louis.  Together the two tracts hold 670 feet of frontage on the river and 790 feet along the Chicago and North Western railroad right-of-way.  The property is today the location of Prairie Services Yard #32. Chicagoan Henry Crown began Material Services in 1919 with a borrowed $10,000.  By 1959 the company had a controlling interest in General Dynamics and was worth 100 million dollars.  He was commissioned a Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Corps of Engineers during World War II and was always a well-prepared businessman.  “When the Colonel gets into a deal,” one real estate executive said of him, “he knows the size of your underwear.”  [New York Times, August 16, 1990]

Saturday, June 22, 2019

June 22, 1911 -- Art Institute of Chicago to Launch Ambitious Plan, Using Ferguson Fund

June 22, 1911 – Art Institute of Chicago Director William R. French announces big plans for the museum, stating that two immense fountains will be commissioned with one planned for the north side of the museum with the other to be installed on the south side. Additionally, French says that a 250-foot gallery “in the manner of the Ponte Vecchio” will be constructed as a “magnificent bridge” across the Illinois Central tracks on the east side of the museum.  [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 23, 1911]. All three projects will be funded by the fund endowed by Benjamin Franklin Ferguson.  One of the sculptures will commemorate those who perished in the Cherry mine disaster in which 259 men and boys died in a coal mine fire in Cherry, Illinois. The other fountain, already in progress, will be the “Fountain of the Great Lakes,” which sculptor Lorado Taft is in the process of completing.  French says that construction of the “bridge” on the east side of the 1893 building has been approved by officials of the Illinois Central railroad, and it will serve as additional gallery space.  There is a monument to the men and boys who lost their lives in the 1909 mine fire, but you will find it in Cherry, Illinois … not in Chicago.  The Fountain of the Great Lakes did make the cut and can still be found in the south garden of the Art Institute.  You can find more about it here in Connecting the Windy City.  The two-story bridge across the Illinois Central Railroad tracks, Gunsaulus Hall, was designed by the same Boston firm that designed the original Art Institute building, Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge.  It was completed in 1916.  Lorado Taft's "Fountain of the Great Lakes" is pictured above.

June 22, 1911 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that it is “probable that a 250-foot gallery, “designed in the manner of the Ponte Vecchio and hung with art masterpieces” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 22, 1911] will be built across the Illinois Central railroad tracks on the east side of the Art Institute.  It is expected that the addition, which is to cost about $150,000, will be designed by Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge, the same firm that designed the 1893 Art Institute building.  Art Institute Director William R. French indicates that the construction of the bridge has been approved by the Illinois Central officials.  Plans are to use proceeds from the million-dollar fund left by Benjamin Franklin Ferguson.  The addition is completed in 1916 and named Gunsaulus Hall after noted preacher and lecturer Frank W. Gunsaulus, who was a trustee of the Art Institute for 13 years, made valuable donations to the museum’s collection, and encouraged wealthy Chicagoans to donate their money and their collections to the Art Institute.  The addition is shown above, still spanning the railroad tracks, opened up with windows above the tracks by architect Renzo Piano as part of the construction of the Modern Wing.

June 22, 1879 – The Chicago Daily Tribune chronicles the “dangers to life and limb incident to the highway” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 22, 1879] noting that in the previous seven weeks, there have been 59 runaways, 44 persons injured and five killed on city streets.  The statistics are so unbelievable that only a full listing will make clear what life must have been like in Chicago during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.  Imagine …

May 1:  Julius Stoehr, a medical student, was knocked down while endeavoring to stop a runaway horse and buggy on the corner of State and Washington streets, and his left arm broken below the shoulder.
May 3:  John Lyman was thrown from a team driven by Henry Rawson, near the corner of Canalport avenue and Halsted street, and badly injured about the head.
May 6:  Henry Fosberg, 8 years of age, was run over by a hack driven by some person unknown.  One wheel passed over his chest, injuring him severely.
May 6:  Two powerful horses attached to a loaded ice-wagon belonging to the North Side Ice Company ran away on Sedgwick street, and turning on Chicago avenue smashed a lamp-post and letter-box, and finally collided with a farm wagon.
May 7:  Horse and buggy owned and driven by William Mason collided with Randolph street car No. 306.  The car horses broke loose, and one ran into a lumber wagon and was severely injured.
May 10:  John McCarty, 3 years old, while playing on the street, was run down on the corner of Halsted and Monroe streets by a wagon driven by Charles Bush.
May 11:  An American Express wagon smashed a letter-box on the corner of Clark and South Water streets.
May 11:  James Conley, 7 years old, instantly killed on Bunker street by a truck owned by Armour and Co.
May 12:  Team belonging to Philip Lang ran away on Halsted street, and smashed a lamp-post.
May 12:  Horse attached to a buggy owned by W. H. Wells and Bros., ran away from there and collided with C. Schultz’s grocery wagon, badly injuring his horse.
May 12:  Team attached to hack No. 112 ran off from in front of the Tremont, smashed the carriage, and ran into a Randolph street car, killing one of the horses.  Total damage, $500.
May 12:  Horse attached to a light wagon, driven by Adam Conrad, of Mokena, Ill., ran away at South Water street.  The wagon was smashed against one of the posts of the Clark street bridge, and Conrad, a man of nearly 60, sustained such injuries that he died on the following day.
May 13:  An unknown man was run down near the corner of Union and Hubbard streets by a horse and buggy driven by Julius Anderson, of No. 311 West Division street.  The man fell on the street-car truck, and was trampled on by the horses attached to a passing car.  He died in a few minutes.
May 13:  A team and hack owned by Hoffman and Amberg ran over Bessie Wilson, 3 years old, on the corner of Green and Madison streets, Injuries slight.
May 13:  Mrs. Niell, of 5 Hubbard street, was run over on Canal street by a buggy driven by Louis Powell.  Her injuries were not serious. 
May 13:  Mrs. Gallman, of 99 Miller street, while signaling a street-car at the corner of Taylor street and Blue Island avenue, was run down by a horse and buggy driven by J. F. Potter, and sustained some severe bruises.
May 13:  J. E. Jones’ horse and buggy ran off from in front of 133 West Madison street, but the rig was not greatly damaged.
May 18:  Hobart Herkenberger, 9 years of age, was kicked in the face by a horse owned by Philo Corkell, and four teeth knocked out.
May 18:  Mr. Tunstall, residing at the Palmer House, was thrown from his buggy at Thirteenth street and Wabash avenue and terribly cut about the head.
May 19:  George Weber, 5 years old, living at No. 160 Green street, was run over by T. B. Read’s ice wagon while trying to cross the intersection of Green and Indiana streets. His hand was badly cut and his left leg broken in two places.
May 19:  Joseph Lubski and John Hupka, residing in Emma street, were thrown from a buggy, and Lubski sustained a fracture of two ribs and some severe bruises on the head.
May 21:  E. Prenitce and George Threipland were thrown from a buggy near the Twelfth-street viaduct.  Neither of them was severely injured.
May 21:  George Middleman, while riding in a Milwaukee-avenue street-car, had a rib broken by the shaft of a coal-cart running through the side of the car.
May 22:  Horse attached to Herman Leon’s butcher-wagon ran away on South Water street and wrecked two wagons, besides injuring a horse.
May 24:  Albert E. Covre’s team ran off on West Madison street, and collided at Paulina street with car No. 332, damaging it considerably and injuring one of the car-horses.
May 24:  Margaret Griffin, aged 60, was knocked down by a buggy owned and driven by C. E. Wiswall while attempting to cross the street at the intersection of Clark and Washington streets, and was severely injured.
May 24:  Joseph Leduc, 4 years old, No. 101 Bunker street, was run down on the corner of Desplaines and Bunker streets, by a brick-wagon driven by John Matson.
May 24:  Charles Zimlo and another smashed their buggy and damaged a Lincoln avenue street-car near Fullerton avenue.  The buggy was smashed and the driver and one passenger on the car were thrown off.
May 27:  George Beaubien, aged 12, was run down on the corner of School and Desplaines street by a horse and buggy driven by some person unknown.
May 28:  John Hogan, 48 Thirteenth place, was run over by a horse and buggy driven by Henry Hechman.
May 28:  Team attached to a wagon ran off on South Union street, and, at the corner of Lake street, ran into a horse and wagon driven by Louis Pankey.
May 28:  Team attached to wagon ran off from in front of No. 18 Halsted street, and, at Randolph street, collided with a horse and wagon driven by James Sweeney; Sweeney was badly bruised.
May 28:  Horse attached to Jacob Pinney’s buggy ran off on Chicago avenue, and near Franklin street, smashed up D. E. Mitchell’s buggy.  P. B. Foley, who was riding in the first-named vehicle, was badly bruised about the left hip.
May 29:  Edward Gay’s team ran off with his buggy on Ashland avenue, and Gay was thrown out and severely bruised.
May 31:  Willie Cornell, 8 years old, was run over on the corner of Morgan and Randolph streets by J. B. Able’s milk-wagon.  His right leg was broken below the knee, left leg and arm sprained, and the body badly bruised.  In this case the fault appeared to be with the child, who was playing ball.
May 31:  Charles McWilliams, 18 years old, had his right leg badly jammed between the wheel and wagon-box of one of Keeley’s beer-wagons on Archer avenue.
May 31:  A horse attached to a buggy owned by L. Frank ran away on Curtis street and collided with an Indiana streetcar.  Miss Ellen McGuire, a passenger on the car, was severely injured by broken glass.  The horse broke its legs and was shot by an officer.
May 31:  One of Kaseberg and Co’s lumber-wagon teams ran off on Hobbie street. John Abney, aged 27, tried to stop the runaways, but slipped, and both wheels of the wagon passed over him, causing instant death.
June 2:  A horse and buggy, driven by a drunken man and with two other passengers, while proceeding at a furious rate over the Milwaukee avenue viaduct, struck Mrs. Jane Farley, aged 60, causing such injuries as to necessitate her removal to the hospital.
June 3:  C. H. Boynton, lighthouse-keeper, was run down on Canal street by a horse and wagon owned by George Auer, of No. 180 West Twelfth street.
June 3:  T. Patzack and Co’s team ran off with a heavy wagon on Monroe street, and at State street ran into and smashed a buggy.  No one hurt.
June 3:  Mrs. Marpole, of No. 39 Plum street, was run over by one of Brand’s beer-wagons driven at a furious rate by Adam Hembes.  One of her ribs was broken, and she received other injuries.
June 4:  James Redden, 9 years old, was run over on West Lake street, by a horse and buggy driven by Albert Runbe.
June 5:  A team belonging to the Calvary Cemetery Company ran off on Canal street, smashed a pickle-wagon on Randolph, and did other damage.
June 7:  Mrs. Louisa Kokel was run over in an alley in the rear of 39 Clybourn avenue by a light wagon driven by Edward Cane.
June 9:  Hose-cart No. 17 collided with a truck-wagon at Lake street bridge, and the horse was so badly injured that it had to be killed.
June 9:  John Wolf’s lumber-wagon collided with Mandel Bros. delivery-wagon on Kinzie street.  Wolf was thrown out, and Gustav Fick also received some injuries.
June 10:  Team attached to a brick-wagon ran away from the corner of Larrabee and Menominee streets, and smashed a wagon and a lamp-post.
June 10:  A horse attached to a buggy driven by Matt Tooney ran away on Twenty-sixth street, near State.  Tooney was thrown out and the wheels passed over him, injuring his legs.  The runaway struck the curbing at Michigan avenue, and the horse had to be killed.
June 14:  John G. Ehrhoff, of No. 220 Freeman street, was thrown from his buggy, on Indiana street, and his right leg broken.
June 14:  A boy named Peter Fritz was run over on Thirty-first and Clark streets by Wereke Bros. grocery wagon, and received some severe cuts and bruises.
June 16:  Team owned by the Empire Warehouse Company ran into Dr. Clark’s buggy on the corner of Market and Madison streets. Nobody killed.
June 16:  Ralph Knight, 6 years old, was run down by a wagon driven by John Moore, and was badly bruised.
June 18:  An infant son of Andre Herman, of No. 152 Hastings street, was struck by the pole of a wagon drawn by a runaway team and instantly killed.
June 18:  A newsboy named Abraham Cassanger was run over outside The Tribune office by a buggy driven by Mr. Munton, of No. 85 Madison street, who attempted to drive off, but was detained.
June 19:  A horse attached to a buggy driven by C. F. Camp ran off on Twelfth street, and one of the shafts of the buggy ran into the breast of a horse driven by Daniel Corkery, of 44 Twenty-second street.
June 19:  Mrs. Dorothy Young and Mrs. Eliza Baumgarten were thrown from a buggy on State street, near Sixteenth.  Mrs. Young broke her right arm and the other lady was severely injured.
June 19:  Mr. H. A. Christy was thrown from his buggy on Michigan avenue and was badly bruised. 
June 20:  Daniel Ryan, of No. 61 Henry street, fell under a Blue Island avenue car and the front wheel passed over his foot, crushing it at the instep.
June 20:  A hay-wagon collided on Halsted street with car No. 121 and Michael Butler, driver of the wagon, was thrown to the ground and severely injured.
June 20:  Charles Ducharme, 9 years old, was run down by a runaway horse on the corner of Clark and Van Buren streets, and received injuries which may result very seriously.

June 22, 1991 – The Dead Zone opens in Chicago as 10,000 to 20,000 faithful followers of the Grateful Dead camp out in the city for the weekend.  Although the Chicago Park District prohibits camping at Soldier Field, the site of the concert, the city does allow Deadheads to camp at Lake Shore Drive and Roosevelt Road.  The Chicago Tribune observes, “In the Dead Zone, the tie-dyed shirt is the national costume.  Anything vegetarian is the national food.  Hackey Sack, a bean bag game, is the national pastime.  Reality is easily sublimated.”  [Chicago Tribune, June 24, 1991]  In three and a-half hours of music the band plays 18 songs with one intermission, beginning with the 1987 release Hell in a Bucket and a cover of The Band’s The Weight as the encore.

Friday, June 21, 2019

June 21, 1906 -- Michigan Avenue Awash in Illegal Gasoline Storage Tanks
June 21, 1906 – The city’s official chemist, Hugo Jone, issues a warning about the explosive power of gasoline that is illegally stored in garages along “automobile row” on South Michigan Avenue, noting that a gallon of gasoline carries the explosive power of a pound of dynamite.  According to Jone, there is enough gasoline stored beneath public land along automobile row “to blow up every building, including residences, in the street.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 22, 1906].  He is specific about the threat.  The Pardee-Ullman Company at 1218 Michigan Avenue has an illegal 280-gallon tank.  The William Herrick Company at 1841 Michigan Avenue has an 800-gallon tank.  The Bennett-Bird Company at 1470 Michigan Avenue has a 250-gallon tank.  The Oldsmobile Company at 1828 Michigan Avenue has a 500-gallon tank.  He goes on to name many other companies in violation of the law. A great majority of the firms have placed their tanks beneath adjacent sidewalks and streets on public property. Particularly perilous is the Walton Auto garage at 285 North State Street, which has a 260-gallon tank at a business that is surrounded on all sides by residential buildings.  The Tribune observes, “The strange failure of all sorts of city inspectors to see these tanks when they were being placed is still one of the mysteries of the city hall.”  An order is immediately rolled out that demands that all such establishments remove gasoline from their storage tanks by noon on June 22.  If such action is not taken, the city will pump out the gasoline and confiscate it.  The above photo shows Motor Row as it appeared along South Michigan Avenue in 1910.

Joseph Medill
June 21, 1894 – At a meeting of the Civic Federation, held at the Auditorium building, Joseph Medill, former Mayor of Chicago and owner of the Chicago Daily Tribune, addresses the group on a variety of topics.  Medill offers six “reforms” that he believes need to be instituted to “eventuate in valuable reforms of the municipal government and conduce to the welfare and happiness of the citizens.”  They are: (1) Make the Mayor ineligible to reelection at the expiration of his term.  A term, and out a term; (2) Establish a municipal service system on the lines of the Federal civil service system; (3) The police should be completely divorced from partisan politics. To insure this the police officers would be taken from both parties as nearly equal as practicable to start the system … No policeman should be dismissed from the force except for good cause.  His political leanings ought not to be considered … A partisan police force is only half a force.  It may be likened to a nuisance – an abomination; (4) The same rules for selection and qualification should be observed in appointing members of the Fire Department; (5) All clerks and accountants also should be selected by competitive examination on qualifications; the tests to be similar to those of the United States civil service; (6) All inspectors of work, of machines, and of material should be chosen for their expert knowledge, honesty, and capability, and be dismissed for lack of them in discharging their duties.”  Of the six reforms, Medill considers the first to be the most important.  “The Mayor must be freed from the reelection temptation,” he states. “He must be emancipated from the control of the ward politicians and scheming contracts and men with ‘pulls’. He must be protected from the malign influence of the ‘walking delegates’ of bummer politics and placed in a position where he can serve the people courageously and faithfully and let his future reputation rest on the excellence of the discharge of his duties as Mayor.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 22, 1894]

June 21, 1956 – The Chicago Plan Commission approves a 15 million-dollar plan that will eliminate the two 90-degree turns on the south approach to the Lake Shore Drive bridge over the Chicago River.  Engineering consultant Ralph Burke was commissioned in 1955 to undertake the engineering studies that would allow the project to move forward.  The main features of the plan he recommends include:  (1) filling in a portion of the lake about 200 feet from the shoreline so that a system of ramps will move traffic from Michigan Avenue at Oak Street onto Lake Shore Drive without an intersection; (2) Ramps will also be created for both Ohio and Ontario Streets at Lake Shore Drive, again through the use of Lake Michigan fill between the shore and the proposed water filtration plant north of Navy Pier with Ohio and Ontario becoming one-way streets east of Michigan Avenue; (3) Wacker Drive east of Michigan Avenue will be extended and double-decked between Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive; (4) On and off ramps will be created to replace the intersections of Lake Shore Drive at Monroe, Jackson and Balbo; and (5) a “trestle structure” [Chicago Tribune, June 22, 1956] will be built to carry Lake Shore Drive to the east of the Naval armory, a building and dock space just to the southeast of Randolph Street.  In the black and white photo above the old Naval armory building is outlined in red.  The recent photo shows the roads as they got built with the site of the old Naval Armory in red. The old “T-intersections” at Ohio, Ontario, Randolph, Jackson and Balbo all remain.

June 21, 1926 – The City Council Committee on Railway Terminals receives the official estimate for the cost of straightening the Chicago River between Eighteenth Street and Polk.  The total comes to $9,852,062.  Close to $8,000,000 of that sum will be paid by the railroads.  This will be a huge project, but once the finances are in place the entire operation will take just one year to complete.  Seven railroads are involved, with property being sold between the railroads so that their yards might be consolidated and aligned with the street grid, a movement that will open up acres of property for development in the south Loop east of the river.  The above photo gives a good idea of the massive nature of the project.  For more information on this massive project you can go to this feature in Connecting the Windy City.