Monday, August 26, 2019

August 26, 1893 -- City Hall Riot

Chicago Daily Tribune
August 26, 1893 – Even as the World’s Columbian Exposition continues to draw crowds that will eventually total more than 27 million people before it ends in October, trouble looms on the horizon.  As the nation’s economy begins to sour, the voices of the jobless and the downtrodden grow louder. On this day police battle with the aggrieved in front of City Hall with at least nine men badly hurt.  The trouble begins at the corner of Washington and La Salle Streets when a United States mail wagon tries to drive through a parade of protestors that is marching toward a rally on the lakefront.  A few marchers grab the harnesses of the horses, stopping the wagon.  The Chicago Daily Tribune reports, “In a minute several thousand paraders and hundreds of onlookers, swept by the impetus of the paraders were fighting around the wagon.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, August 27, 1893].  A small contingent of police inside City Hall fights its way through the crowd on Washington Street, which “from Clark Street to Fifth Avenue [today’s Wells Street] was packed with human beings.”  The force is successful in freeing the mail wagon, but another fracas breaks out when protestors turn over a horse and buggy belonging to a private citizen.  The inspector in charge of the small force of officers takes his men to the overturned buggy, rescuing its occupant, but the crowd presses forward, battering the officers and their leader until “some one struck a terrible blow on the head [of the Inspector] with a paving stone and he fell senseless.”  At this point 50 officers from the Central Station arrive, and moments later 25 more men from the Harrison Street station follow.  Fifteen minutes after the trouble begins “the street was clear and hundreds of officers drawn from every station within a radius of three miles were patrolling the streets about the City Hall keeping every one on the move.”  Eventually, 350 officers are deployed.  The day had begun peacefully enough with a mass meeting on the lakefront where speeches were made and a brass band played.  The meeting breaks up, and a parade of several thousand men begins to make its way through the Loop with the group’s leaders exhorting the crowd to “maintain order and keep the peace.”  As the head of the parade turns east on Lake Street from La Salle, the tail end of the marchers is adjacent to City Hall where the violence begins.  One of the men arrested in the overturning of the wagon says, “I will get a razor and cut my throat.  I have had nothing to eat for two days and now I get clubbed.  I don’t want to live.”  Mayor Carter Harrison is just down the street from City Hall, getting his hair cut, when the trouble begins.   He makes his way to his office and immediately issues an order that there be no more parades. In the meantime, the first part of the march, far removed from the action in front of City Hall, makes its way back to the lakefront where speeches continue as a large group of policemen surrounds the scene.  A resolution is read and cheered loudly.  It asks the mayor to use his influence “to distribute at once public work which will give employment to the workless and at the same time tend to materially improve this great city.”  Then Mayor Harrison shows up and urges patience, saying, “The Eternal Jehovah took six days to make the world, and you cannot remedy all the ills of your situation in twenty-four hours.  If you are quiet and go home and do not disturb the peace you will then be conserving your own interests … I am sworn to protect the city, and I will do it. While doing it I will try to help every man I can.  I am older than most of you, and I know that peace and order will serve you best. Don’t listen to incendiary speeches. They will only harm you, and none must be made.  I appeal to you to listen to reason.  You cannot make money out of speeches and disorder.”  Around 6:00 p.m. “the puffing of Illinois Central engines became so incessant that the speakers could not be heard by any one twenty feet away,” and the mass meeting slowly dissolves with a resolution to assemble once again on the following day at Madison and Market Streets.  As the meeting breaks up and the protestors head for home, so, too, do crowds of people crossing the viaduct at Van Buren Street, lucky folks who had spent a day on the Great White Way of the fair.

August 26, 1926 – Mrs. Frances Kinsley Hutchinson, the widow of the late Charles L. Hutchinson, a Chicago banker and civic leader, agrees to give Wychwood, the family’s 72-acre estate in Lake Geneva, to the State of Wisconsin as a nature preserve.  The estate dates to 1901 when the Hutchinson’s began their quest to “preserve the natural beauty of an isolated wilderness of native flowers and plants.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, August 26, 1926] The estate drew scientists, botanists and horticulturists from all over the country as the couple was “vigorously interested in keeping their estate out of the hands of vandals and yet making it available to the nature loving public.” The late Charles L. Hutchinson had been the president of the Art Institute of Chicago while his wife served as president of the Wild Flower Preservation Society of Illinois, and even before Hutchinson’s death the two had set out to find a means of carrying out the plan to keep the estate as a nature preserve.  The agreement with Wisconsin did not last long.  Charles Hutchinson had also been a member of the Board of Trustees at the University of Chicago, and that connection led his widow to seek an agreement with the university in 1933 to donate Wychwood to the school with a 25-year trust to maintain the property.  Frances died in 1936, and the trust expired in 1957 at which time the U. of C. decided to separate itself from the preserve.  Philip K. Wrigley bought the eastern part of the estate, a tract that bordered on his own property.  George F. Getz, Jr. bought the western portion of the property while the middle section which contained the original Hutchinson home was purchased by Clarence B. Mitchell, who removed the top two floors to create a ranch-style home designed in the architectural style of the late 1950’s. Mitchell kept the home for a little more than a year before it, too, went to the Wrigley family.  The original home of the Hutchinson's is shown in the top photo.  Below that is a photo of its appearance today.

August 26, 1927 – The new Adams Street Bridge opens at 2:00 p.m. when Mayor William Hale Thompson uses a pair of golden scissors to cut a ribbon that stretches across its center.  Nearly a thousand cars join a parade from Grant Park to the bridge as boats stream up the river to watch the ribbon-cutting and listen to speeches from Mayor Thompson, Commissioner of Public Works Wolfe and Deputy Commissioner Edward F. Moore.  The new bridge cost $2,500,000 and had been under construction since 1923.  It sits on piers that go down 95 feet to bedrock and extends 265 across the river.

August 26, 1927 – John Philip Sousa conducts “Stars and Stripes Forever” on a terrace east of the new Buckingham Fountain as the fountain is dedicated before 50,000 Chicagoans.  And “As though responding to the direction of the bandmaster and the magic of his baton, the fountain began to glow with misty blue lights circling each of the three tiers.  A moment later the rush of water started.  For half an hour the lights were played on the 134 jets, through which 5,500 gallons of water were poured each minute, and all the various lighting effects were displayed.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, August 27, 1927]  Walter B. Smith, a friend of Kate Buckingham, the woman who donated the fountain to the city in memory of her brother, Clarence, makes an address explaining the donation for Buckingham, who is present among the guests in the grandstand.  Michael Igoe, a member of the U. S. House of Representatives and a commissioner of the South Park Board, accepts the $700,000 fountain on behalf of the city.

No comments: