Saturday, November 16, 2019

November 16, 1892 -- Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Moves Forward

November 16, 1892 – With 29 miles of the land for the proposed Sanitary and Ship Canal channel from the Chicago River to within a mile of Lockport under contract, the board of the Chicago Sanitary District considers a motion to appoint a board of consulting engineers to find answers to four pressing issues.  They include:  (1) “the disposal of flood waters from all drainage areas which materially mollify or affect the sanitary condition of the district; (2) the supplemental works and measures within the limits of the Sanitary District best adapted to create a sanitary condition of the same, special reference being had to the exclusion of sewage from the lake and the proper sanitation of the North Branch and tributary territory; (3) the supplemental works and inlets necessary to furnish the main drainage channel with a supply of water from the lake sufficient to fill the requirements of the Sanitary District law in view of the present and probably future population of the district and in view of any incidental and commercial features which may contribute to the best interests of the Sanitary District and the City of Chicago; and (4) the works and treatment needed between the lower end of the Section 14 above Lockport and Lake Joliet to properly dispose of the water brought down by the main channel in addition to the flood water, said works being considered with reference to the ultimate necessity of the General Government constructing a navigable channel throughout the reach connecting with the main channel of the sanitary district and to any incidental commercial advantages which the situation presents.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, December 17, 1892]  In short, the process of reversing the flow of the Chicago River, a project that will consume eight years, has begun.  The above photo shows the great canal under construction four years later in 1896.

November 16, 1934 – The Robert Bartlett Realty Company of Chicago purchases six model homes that were exhibited at the Century of Progress World’s Fair with plans to take them by barge to Beverly Shores in Indiana.  The six homes scheduled for the move are the Rostone home, the Cypress cottage, the Florida tropical house, the Armeco-Ferra home, and the House of Tomorrow, along with a contemporary rendering of a farmhouse.  A pier, 40 feet in width, will be built extending 200 feet into Lake Michigan at the Indiana development where the homes will be located to permit their relocation.  Robert Bartlett says, “The reason we bought these model homes is that they represent what we find are the most outstanding examples of modern home building, combining beauty and practical value.  We believe they will have a decided influence on home building in metropolitan Chicago.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 17, 1934]  According to the Indiana Landmarks website, “In hindsight, perhaps it’s not exactly shocking that Bartlett’s dream of creating a tony lakeside resort community in the middle of the depression failed.” In 1966 the United States National Park Service took over the area, which incorporated Beverly Shores into the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.  This arrangement provided little motivation for occupants of the homes to maintain them.  In the early 2000’s, however, Indiana Landmarks partnered with the National Park Service, leasing the homes from the federal agency and then subleasing them to people who were responsible for restoring them according to a strict contract. Four of the five homes have been restored under this arrangement.  The House of Tomorrow, designed by George Fred Keck, is in the process of receiving the same kind of love and may require over $2 million in restoration. The Florida house is shown above.  An excellent explanation of the five homes, their history, and their rehabilitation can be found here. 

November 16, 1953 – At 6:00 a.m. Dearborn and Clark Streets become one way roadways with Clark used for southbound traffic from Kinzie Street to Harrison with Dearborn handling northbound traffic from Polk to Hubbard Streets.  The city’s commissioner of streets and sanitation, Lloyd M. Johnson, says that the new one-way streets will help increase the flow of traffic through the Loop.  The above photos show Dearborn Street in 1953, looking south from Hubbard and the same street as it appears today.

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