Saturday, November 9, 2019

November 9, 1937 -- Dr. Walter Gropius Feted at Palmer House

November 9, 1937 – Dr. Walter Gropius, a professor of architecture at Harvard University, speaks before the members of the Association of Arts and Industries at a dinner held in his honor at the Palmer House.  Gropius tells the assemblage, “The development of machinery in the last century forced the craftsman and the artist into separate fields, but the artist today must appreciate the technical as well as the artistic value of his work.  He must adopt the machine as the modern vehicle of form.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 10, 1937]  The lecture of Dr. Gropius is part of ceremonies that accompany the dedication of the New Bauhaus, a school of design located in the former mansion of Marshall Field at 1905 Prairie Avenue, pictured above.

November 9, 1937 – Captain E. V. (Eddie) Rickenbacker, the general manager of Eastern Air Lines, tells 200 members of the Bond Club of Chicago that the city should build a downtown lakefront airport as quickly as possible or lose ground to other cities in the nation.  At a Union League Club luncheon, Rickenbacker says, “It’s your duty and the duty of every civic body to get behind such a movement now, while the spirit of spending seems to be with us.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 10, 1937] Rickenbacker points out that the airline industry is “selling speed”; yet, Chicago “must let its passengers out on a field already ridiculously small, which is a full hour away from the business and financial district.” He adds that in the not too distant future planes will be “carrying from forty to sixty passengers …with service every hour on the hour; service between Chicago and New York every fifteen minutes, with the trips completed in about three hours.”  The World War I ace and Medal of Honor recipient concludes, “Chicago can only meet its immediate and future needs in a terminal field through an island aerodrome.”

November 9, 1909 –Under orders from the District Attorney, revenue agents and deputy United States marshals arrest five men and one woman in order to break up “what is alleged to be an extensive illegal manufacture and sale of oleomargarine.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, November 10, 1909] The bogus butter operation is apparently master-minded by three brothers – Edward, Frederick and Henry Marhoefer – who have 16 butter, egg and provision stores in various parts of the city.  According to the authorities, the oleomargarine was being sold “without being properly branded and without the government tax being paid.” The prisoners were taken to the federal building and “closely questioned” by the Assistant District Attorney. The Marhoefers protested their innocence.  Oleomargarine, a French invention, was first produced in 1869.  It “was part of a processed food revolution which began in the 1880’s and which ensured that instead of starving, the poor of the industrialized world survived and thrived.” []  Butter was a big business, but it was a luxury that many could not afford.  The idea that a cheaper substitute – even if it was partially composed of milk -- put a scare into dairy farmers, and legislators responded by slapping a hefty tax on the product.  By the early 1900’s the tax had risen to ten cents per pound. The prohibition of yellow dye to make margarine look more appetizing was also a part of legislative action, and by 1900 artificially colored butter was contraband in 30 states. Some states took more extreme measures, requiring that margarine be dyed pink. [] It wasn’t until 1950 that the severe restrictions began to die away.

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