Tuesday, October 22, 2019

October 22, 1961 -- Lake Shore Drive Keeps "Collapsible Curbs"

October 22, 1961 – The city’s Deputy City Commissioner of Streets, William Marston, says that the “collapsible curbs” on Lake Shore Drive between North and Belmont will be continued indefinitely.  He says, “We had hoped a year ago that the opening of the Northwest expressway would relieve the traffic demands on Lake Shore drive enough so we would discontinue the use of the mobile fins.  But after nearly 12 months of Northwest expressway operation, we find that there is still almost as much traffic on Lake Shore drive as there was a year ago.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 23, 1961]  The reversible lane dividers dated from the mid-1940’s, and, despite periodic breakdowns, were an innovative way of moving traffic along the lakefront.  They could be raised or lowered to provide six lanes in the direction of rush-hour traffic instead of the standard four lanes in each direction.  The curb-high barriers were removed in 1979.

October 22, 1974 – Shortly before noon a piece of decorative tile falls from the State and Madison building at 22 West Madison Street, killing a woman who is walking on the sidewalk.  A First District patrolman is about 15 feet away when the accident occurs, and he reports, “I heard a loud crash and turned around to see this woman and all the debris lying on the sidewalk.” [Chicago Tribune, October 22, 1974] Building Commissioner Joseph F. Fitzgerald, Jr. orders the building agents to undertake major repairs of the building’s fa├žade, noting that in 1972 his office had found “evidence of cracking and weakness in the building facing and ordered the agents to make repairs.” It would be another 22 years before the city adopted a comprehensive policy for the maintenance of exterior walls in older buildings.  Today a critical exam of building facades is required every 4, 8 or 12 years, depending on the building’s classification. If a building owner files an Ongoing Inspection and Repair Program report every other year, the critical exam is waived. The ordinance applies to all buildings 80 feet or more in height.  The tile fell from the area near the top tier of windows in the middle of the left side of the building pictured above.

October 22, 2004 – The Dave Matthews Band, under attack after a driver for the band’s touring bus is accused of emptying 300 pounds of liquid waste into the river through the grates of the Kinzie Street bridge on August 8, presents checks for $50,000 to the Friends of the Chicago River and the Chicago Park District.  A written statement from the band explains, “We have decided to take action now even though it may turn out the incident was not caused by one of our buses.  We simply want to begin the healing process.” [Chicago Tribune, October 23, 2004] In the incident of August 8 passengers of a passing river tour boat are deluged with the contents of the buses waste disposal tank, and five people are taken to Northwestern Memorial Hospital for testing.  A witness is able to write down the coach’s license plate number, and the vehicle is identified as one chartered by the band, which is passing through the city on the way to a performance in Wisconsin.

October 22, 1887 – Standing Lincoln, Augustus Saint-Gaudens’ sculpture of the Great Emancipator, is dedicated at the entrance to Lincoln Park.  On the day after the dedication The Chicago Daily Tribune describes the scene, “Since the night of the great fire Lincoln Park has never contained within the same area so many human beings as thronged its plains, clustered under its trees, and in every variety of vehicle crowded its roadways yesterday afternoon.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 23, 1887]  The statue, one of two sculptures in the city (The other is Storks at Play in front of the Lincoln Park Conservatory) provided for in the will of lumberman Eli Bates, is dedicated on a gray afternoon.  Chicago Mayor E. A. Roche heads the dignitaries, and Abraham Lincoln II, the 15-year-old grandson of the late president, releases the flag covering the statue as upwards of 10,000 people watch.   The statue is a good place to seek out in the next few weeks as the trees to the north show their autumn colors.  Stand before the likeness of a politician who rose above the fray, made the hard choices, and ultimately paid for it with his life.  It gives one something to think about as we head toward November. 

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