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.

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