Thursday, November 7, 2019

November 7, 1922 -- Polling Place Raided by Gunmen

Chicago Police Superintendent Charles Fitzmorris
November 7, 1922 – Armed with automatic pistols, 18 men hold up two policemen, judges, clerks and watchers in the polling place at 44 Rush Street and carry away the ballot box and tally sheets.  It is thought that the raiding party is led by State Representative Lawrence O’Brien in a “desperate attempt to steal an election which was apparently lost.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, December 8, 1922]  The Chicago Police Commissioner Charles C. Fitzmorris demands that officers “take O’Brien at all costs,” and police officers are dispatched to prevent further election abuses.  O’Brien had already had a run-in with the law earlier in the day when he struck a supporter of his opponent over the head with a revolver.  The raiding party had entered the polling place at 446 Rush Street, saying that “they were dissatisfied with the manner in which the count was being conducted, and were authorized by the election board to take the ballots to the election commissioners’ office.”  They left in two cars, later car-jacking another car and demanding that the driver take the ballots to City Hall. 


November 7, 1936 – The president of the Chicago Park District, Robert J. Dunham, announces that the outer drive highway is well on its way to completion.  Dunham states, “By applying sound traffic principles our engineers have succeeded we believe, in providing plans for limited highways all the way from Irving Park boulevard to South Chicago—about fifteen miles … Without building superhighways above the level of other streets, they have utilized the lake front so that these limited driveways will be protected and be as safe for travel as though they were upper level or subway roads.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 8, 1936] It is expected that within the next year the link bridge across the Chicago River and Ogden slip will be finished as will the Grant Park connections to the bridge.  There is a stumbling block, though, in that Lake Shore Drive, north of the link bridge, will still be only 40 feet wide, permitting, at best, only four lanes of cars.  When funds become available, it is hoped that a new limited-access highway will be built east of the present drive, separated from it by an eight-foot parkway, lined with trees.  Farther north the plan, which has already begun, is to drain the Lincoln Park lagoon, using the new land for a depressed limited-access highway through the park.  The plan, which also includes work on expanding the drive along the lakefront near the Field Museum, is expected to run in excess of $27,500,000.  The above photo shows the bridge that will carry Lake Shore Drive across the river under construction in 1936.

November 7, 2006 – The Mills Corporation of Chevy Chase, Maryland, the group developing Block 37, agrees to sell the retail and transit portions of the $450 million project to developer Joseph Freed and Associates.  The empty block surrounded by State Street and Dearborn Street on the east and west and Washington Boulevard and Randolph Street on the south and north, has stood vacant for 17 years after the city bought it for $46.5 million, sold it to the original developer for $12.5 million and then watched various development schemes fall apart as one of the premier blocks in the Loop sat waiting for something, anything, to happen.  The senior vice-president for Freed, Steven Jacobsen, says of the acquisition, “We’re very bullish on this location based on its 24-hour-a-day population base.”  [Chicago Tribune, November 8, 2006] The developer will face the same challenges the previous developers have faced.  For one thing, the retail section of the project must be filled with “stores that have little or no presence elsewhere in the Chicago area.”  Freed’s challenges are not restricted to Block 37.  The developer is also trying to fill a quarter of a million square feet in the former Carson, Pirie, and Scott building just across State Street.  Martin Stern, executive vice president of U. S. Equities Realty, says of the venture, “The most important thing for Block 37 is to get dirt moving and see the project is for real.” 

November 7, 1977 – From the “Being in the Wrong Place at the Wrong Time Department” – Ms. Raphan Boonying drives her car across the Wells Street bridge, heading north, and encounters a warning gate dropping down in front of her, prompting her to stop with the front wheels of the vehicle on the street and the rear wheels on the bridge.  The bridge then begins to rise.  “Suddenly I felt the rear of the car going down,” Boonying says.  “I thought, ‘I am going to die’ and I screamed.”  Officials describe what happens next.  The car begins to slide back toward the river as the bridge opens, but before the car falls into the brink the upper section of the bridge’s double-deck truss system catches it and crushes its rear section, pinching it between the bridge and the street.  The bridge-tender swears that he did not see any vehicle on the bridge when he began to raise it.  Trains of the Ravenswood and Howard lines, which run atop the structure, are delayed for two hours as the wrecked car and its shaken owner are removed.  The Tribune graphic, shown above, shows how close Ms. Boonying came to ending up in the river.

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