Wednesday, October 16, 2019

October 16, 1943 -- Subway Opens at State and Madison
October 16, 1943 – Chicago’s first subway officially opens at 10:48 a.m. when Mayor Edward Kelly cuts a red, white and blue ribbon across the northbound tracks of the State and Madison street station. Before the ceremony ten special trains, departing from ten different terminals at 9:15 a.m., make their way to the location of the ribbon cutting.  As the lead train passes the underground station at North-Clybourn, the Lake View High School band plays a Souza march.  []  The ten trains converge at State and Madison where they unload dignitaries, and the ceremony begins.  The inauguration of the new subway, first proposed close to three decades earlier, includes a parade along State Street which requires an hour to pass the reviewing stand at State and Madison.  Addressing the crowd that braves a cold north wind, Kelly says that the 4.9 miles of the new subway between Armitage and Seventeenth Street is only the beginning, proclaiming, “In order that industry come to the city, new neighborhood communities be created, and in order that slum areas may be cleared and our blighted areas rehabilitated, it is absolutely necessary that Chicago have a truly great transportation system.”  []  Subway Commissioner Philip Harrington adds, “I can assure you of the thoroughness and durability of this structure and the safety of its equipment.  This subway compares more than favorably with any of the other undergrounds in the country.”  It is expected that the new subway will carry 70 million passengers in the first year of operation.  Regular service on the new line begins on the following day.  In the above photo Mayor Kelly, surrounded by reporters, rides the ceremonial train to the dedication ceremonies.  You can find an interesting clip of the ceremonies on dedication day here.

October 16, 1918 –In an address on the closing day of the annual convention of the American Bridge and Building Association, John K. Melton tells the 500 members that a time will come when ocean liners will dock in the Chicago River.  He says, “The most fertile land in the country is that inundated ground covered by the river at its flood tide, and by reclaiming that ground the money can be raised to build the docks down the length of the river to New Orleans, which will enable us to bring the big liners to this port.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 17, 1918]Following the address the association adopts resolutions that urge the reclaiming of the lands Melton referred to as an effort crucial to support the war effort.  The ocean liners never arrived, sadly.  But we did get our own liner up on the North Avenue beach as the above photo shows.

October 16, 1975 – King Olav V of Norway, in town for the observances of the 150th’ anniversary of the start of Norwegian immigration to the United States, receives a gift from Mayor Richard J. Daley – a facsimile of the 1922 Montgomery Ward and Company catalogue.  A spokesman for Ward’s says that Daley had first seen the catalogue, a replica of the original and created by Ward’s as a nostalgia item, during the dedication of a store at the Ford City Shopping Center, an appearance that caused His Honor to arrive 15 minutes late to his meeting with the King, and “decided it would make a nice gift for King Olav and took one along.” [Chicago Tribune, October 17, 1975] Says Daley, “I told him he should order from it because Montgomery Ward is a great place to do business, and we all know what the catalog meant to the early settlers who came to Chicago.”  According to the Tribune, “Olav made no comment.”  During his stay the 72-year-old King tours the Art Institute of Chicago, where on May 4,1939 he was the first person to sign the guest book for visiting dignitaries.  He is also feted at a University of Chicago luncheon, held to inaugurate a university chair in Norwegian studies.  The above photo shows King Olav V in front of the Norwegian Memorial Lutheran Church at 2614 Kedzie Boulevard where he stopped to hear a Children's Choir during his stay.

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