Sunday, January 19, 2020

January 19, 2010 -- Asian Carp DNA Found in Lake Michigan

January 19, 2010 -- Researchers report that for the first time DNA of Asian carp has been found in Lake Michigan. The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service and other agencies quickly move to allay fears about the invasive species spawning on the balconies of River North high rises, saying that there is still no evidence that live carp have entered the lake. Major General John Peabody says, "The fact is that we don't know where the fish are. DNA tells us there is a presence in those areas and we've got to begin looking at whether we are getting false positives or negatives so we know what we're dealing with." Hours before the announcement the U. S. Supreme Court refuses to address the carp issue, rejecting Michigan's request for an injunction that would force Illinois to stop any sources of water that might flow into Lake Michigan.

January 19, 1970 – Judge Julius J. Hoffman rules in United States District Court that the conspiracy trial of the “Chicago 7” will be conducted seven days a week, beginning at the time of the decree.  William Kuntsler, one of the defense attorneys for the individuals accused of conspiracy and inciting to riot during the 1968 Democratic convention, argues that the defense needs the weekends to continue to prepare its case.  The decision to add Sunday court sessions in a trial that started on September 24 is made when Kuntsler protests Hoffman’s order on the previous day to add Saturdays to the court schedule to move the trial along.  When the judge denies Kuntsler’s motion to end Saturday court sessions, Kuntsler then moves for the court to meet seven days a week, to which Hoffman agrees.  It isn’t until February 18, 1970 that a verdict is returned with each of the seven defendants acquitted of conspiracy although two men are found guilty of crossing state lines with the intent to incite a riot.  While the jury is deliberating, Hoffman cites each defendant and the lawyers in the case with a number of contempt charges, carrying sentences from a few months to four years.  On November 21,1972 all convictions are reversed in the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh District, and the contempt charges are dropped as well.  The United States decides not to retry the case.
January 19, 1903 – Illinois Telephone and Telegraph workers begin wiring downtown buildings for “automatic telephones” with 10,000 phones to be in operation by the First of May.  A building at 191 Fifth Avenue – today’s Wells Street – will house five floors of switching equipment, making possible the elimination of party lines in the business section of the city and cutting the cost of telephone service by half.  The maximum charge for office telephones will be $85 a year with a $50 charge for private residences.  The phones will first be installed in all drug stores and other public places where “slot” telephones are placed.  A customer who wishes to make a call will be charged five cents, payable to a store clerk.  The business will get to keep the profit from all receipts that exceed the $85 yearly charge for the business.  The president of the company says, “We are going to make telephoning cheap in Chicago – so cheap that I expect to see 250,000 phones in use here within ten years where there are now only 40,000 main line instruments.  If we can realize the average amount which the gas company collects – which is about $3 a month a customer, I believe – if we can realize that much we will still make a better profit than the gas company for we will have no coal bill.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 18, 1903]

January 19, 1872 – A little over a year after Chicago is destroyed by fire, the Chicago Tribune reports on the progress being made at establishing a fire-proof ordinance within the city.  The City Council, according to the article, is leaning toward a strict fire-proof ordinance within the center of the city, but seems inclined to exempt “that part of the South Division west of State and south of Twenty-fifth street, and west of Halsted street; all of the West Division south and west of Halsted, Rebecca, Throop, Twelfth, Reuben and Van Buren streets, and west of Western avenue … all of the West Division beyond Western avenue, north and west of Walnut and Reuben streets and Chicago avenue … in the North Division, all of the territory north and west of Chicago avenue, Wells street, and North avenue.”  [Chicago Tribune, January 19, 1972] This plan, the article indicates, “surrounds the city, north, west, and south, with a cordon, several miles deep of wooden buildings.”  The plan seems to take special care to avoid damaging the lucrative house-moving business, an industry the paper did not look upon with favor.  “No man who erects a permanent building,” the article states, “can tell the day when there may not be backed in on each side of his building some old rotten tenement, to be rented out at extortionate rates for prostitution, gambling, or other equally disreputable business.”  Contained within the ordinance, though, is a stipulation that whenever the owners of a majority of the ground on any block outside of the fire district shall so request, that block shall come under the provisions of the fire ordinance.  The paper urges the legislators to go farther, to make it unlawful “to erect any wooden building, barn, or shed within 150 feet, in any direction, from a brick or stone building already erected.”  The article ends with a plea to pass the legislation, “The passage of an ordinance prohibiting the erection hereafter of any wooden buildings in the city, with proper provision for the enforcement of the law, would be equal, in its financial effects, to the free loan of several millions of dollars.  It would relieve this city of an enormous indirect tax, and would invite hither a large amount of capital for permanent investment, which will avoid us if we continue to be a city of shanties.”

Saturday, January 18, 2020

January 18, 1945 -- Midway Airport Gets New Terminal Building

January 18, 1945 -- Agreement is reached between Chicago and airline officials in a plan to build a new terminal building at the city airport, today's Midway International Airport. Scaled way back from what once was proposed as an elaborate $1,750,000 terminal, the new proposal calls for a building about 1,400 feet long, costing $470,000. The airlines agree to bear the cost of the new building, along with loading areas, taxiways, and parking places, getting the city to repay the investment by remitting the cost of landing fees over a period of ten years. The city architect, Paul Gerhardt, Jr., will design the building. Each of the eight airlines using the airport agree to rent space at $2 a foot, and a share of the cost of construction will be assessed each air line based on the ratio of its scheduled flights.

January 18, 1951 – Virgil E. Gunlock, the Chicago Commissioner of Subways and Super-highways, announces that Herlihy Mid-Continental Construction is the lowest of five bidders on the project to extend Wacker Drive between Madison and Washington Streets.  The company submits a bid of $1,076,493 for the work.  This will be the third of eight blocks in the 12.5 million dollar project to construct the two-level extension of Wacker Drive from Lake Street to its connection with the Congress Expressway to the south, which is itself in the final stages of construction.  The Market Street stub of the elevated line, pictured above, ran south along the route of Wacker Drive, formerly Market Street, and had to be removed in order for the project to be completed.

January 18, 1954 – The Vice-President of the Columbia Broadcasting System, H. Leslie Atlass, announces that the network has purchased the Chicago Arena at 630 McClurg Court for $1,500,000 and plans to convert it into a “television city.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 19, 1954] Four studios will occupy 50,000 of the 87,000 square feet in the facility. The remainder of the space will be used for scenery and maintenance shops, storage areas and facilities for film processing.  WBBM-TV will then vacate its current studios at the State-Lake building at 190 North State Street and the Garrick Theater at 64 West Randolph Street within the year.  The Chicago Arena, designed by architect A. N. Rebori, was used for ice reviews, tennis matches and other sporting events. It was finished in 1924 at a cost of $800,000 and was originally called the Chicago Riding Club.  The building achieved a historic milestone on September 26, 1960 when John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon met in the first televised presidential debate in history.  The building was demolished in 2009, and in December of that year the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago bought the site.  On March 25, 2017 the Institute opened the new building, the $550 million Shirley Ryan AbilityLab on the site, serving patients who need extended care and rehabilitation services after they leave traditional hospitals.  The Chicago Arena is pictured in the black and white photo above.  The new AbilityLab is shown on the site in the photo below that.
January 18, 1972 – A heavy cordon of police is stationed around two water filtration plants after two young men are arrested and charged with plotting to poison the city’s water supply with typhoid bacteria.  Charged with conspiracy to commit murder are Allen C. Schwander, 19, and Steven Para, 18. Both men are arrested in an apartment on Fairfield Avenue in Evanston.  States Attorney Edward V. Hanrahan says, “Investigation disclosed that an organization called ‘RISE’, of which Schwander and Pera were organizers, had allegedly planned poisoning water supplies and spreading deadly diseases in Illinois and elsewhere. Members of ‘RISE’ were allegedly to be inoculated and immunized enabling them to survive … and to form the basis of a new master race.” [Chicago Tribune, January 19, 1972]  Deputy Police Superintendent James Rochford reassures the public, saying, “There is no evidence at this time that these people [the two arrested] have the ability or capability to carry out the act.”  Mayor Richard J. Daley underscores Rochford’s declaration.  “The city’s water is safe and all necessary steps to protect the water in the future will be taken,” Daley says.  Bond is set at $250,000 for each man.

Friday, January 17, 2020

January 17, 1925 -- Chicago Loop Turns Day into Night -- Smoke Menace Increases

January 17, 1925 – Day is turned into night in the Loop as “every available light in the central business district was utilized to offset the darkness” as a “condensed cloud of smoke, soot, dirt, tar, ash, ferric oxide and gasses … reduced the light to such an extent that it was all but dark.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 18, 1925]  The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that the city’s damage by smoke is in excess of $50 per family each year, “the sheer physical damage to property of all kinds from collars and cuffs to lace curtains and rugs.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 12, 1925]  “Each year Chicago throws away for smoke damage almost as much money as it cost to build the world’s fair and the sanitary canal,” the article continues.  The city has been trying to do something about the problem of smoke pollution since 1881 when the first crude anti-smoke ordinance was passed.  In 1912 the city spent $46,000 in an attempt to moderate the problem.  By 1924 that figure had slipped to $26,600.  In 1910 the staff of the smoke inspection bureau numbered 34, but by 1924 that number had dwindled to 10.  On January 21, 1925 the City Council orders its health committee “to begin at once and continue from day to day an inquiry of the causes and effect of air pollution in Chicago, and to report its finding and recommendations to this council not later than March 1, 1925," noting that in failing to confront the issue the city “not only fails to meet its obligation and one of the first purposes of its existence, but also directly contributes to sickness, suffering, and possibly death, which fails to take all reasonable precautions and measures to protect, promote, and conserve public health.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 22, 1925]  Things did not improve quickly ... the above photo shows the corner of Lake and State Streets at 10:15 a.m. on February 1, 1957 ... 32 years after the Tribune cried out for change in 1925.
January 17, 1909 –The Chicago Daily Tribune reviews “the greatest wrecking operation that ever was carried out in Chicago,” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 17, 1909] the demolition of four square blocks bounded by Canal, Clinton, Fulton and Madison Streets. Beginning on May 2, 1907 a hundred individual structures that housed more than 500 businesses were leveled within 18 months to make way for the new passenger terminal for the Chicago and North Western Railroad.  Two months before the operation began, three men, working for the Garden City Wrecking Company, inspected every building in the area, in an attempt to assemble an accurate bid for the work.  Leading the list of salvageable material that the appraisers found was lumber worth between $400,000 and $500,000.  The Tribune reports the buildings held “… old joists, beams, and stringers of cork pine that the lumber market today could not equal in quality and sizes.  Timbers twenty odd feet in length without a knot to mar them were the rule.  Forty years ago this pine – now almost extinct – could be bought for $12 a thousand feet; today such pine will sell for $150 a thousand.”  Over a hundred workers spent 18 months clearing the area, hauling away millions of tons of material from the 13-acre site.  The Ogilvie Transportation Center at the bottom of the highlighted rectangle now anchors the section of the city that was cleared in 1909.  It replaced the Chicago and North Western terminal that was demolished in 1984.

January 17, 1920 – Chicago wakes up to the realization that the day of the hangover is gone as Prohibition begins at midnight.  On the previous day “auto trucks were at a premium during the late afternoon and early evening” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 17, 1920] as individuals pursued the last chance to buy liquor for home consumption and transport it to their homes.  Major A. V. Dalrymple, the “head of the prohibition enforcers” promises that no effort will begin at enforcing the new law for ten days. “Of course I don’t mean that you can sell the stuff tomorrow,” he says. “Far from it. But we will not start any search of seizure until this ten day period has passed.”

January 17, 1915 – South Halsted Street between Polk and Madison Streets becomes a battle ground as 1,500 unemployed men, women, boys and girls battle the police.  According to the Chicago Daily Tribune, “Shots were fired, clothes were torn, eyes blackened, and heads cracked while clubs, blackjacks, and revolver butts were used with bruising effect on heads, arms and knuckles” as the “hunger procession” proceeded up Halsted Street.  [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 18, 1915] The battle occurs after a meeting of the unemployed at Bowen Hall at the Hull House settlement.  Two detectives inside the hall, dressed as unemployed workmen, listen as Lucy Parsons, the widow of Albert Parsons, who was hanged for alleged complicity in the Haymarket Riot of 1886, speaks.  The detectives, Sergeants Fred Krueger and Herman Eastman, report that trouble is brewing.  First Deputy Superintendent of Police Herman Schuettler, who himself was at his post during the Haymarket riot, orders, “Demand a permit from them, and if they haven’t got one order them to disperse. The reserves will be on the way to help you.” A procession forms on Polk Street, just west of Halsted and begins to march, six people abreast, up Halsted, carrying a large black banner with one word, “Hunger,” displayed in white letters.  The police order the marchers to disperse, but the marchers continue onward, a voice crying out, “To h___ with the orders.  We’re hungry!”  The policemen, small in number and waiting for reinforcements, are surrounded.  According to the paper’s reporter, “In a minute the cluster under the swaying ‘hunger’ banner was a maelstrom of fists and clubs.  Girls and women shrieked and fell to the ground in the fray.  A small, dark haired girl, climbing on to the shoulders of a man, dove head foremost into the center of the fight, her fingers reaching out for the eyes and hair of the policemen … The detectives drew their revolvers and began to lay to right and left, felling all within reach … Women threw their arms around the necks of the plain clothes men, biting them and tearing their faces with finger nails.”  On the marchers move, coming up to a phalanx of policemen at Harrison Street; the procession breaches the line and continues north to Adams Street where they encounter mounted officers.  On they continue to Monroe Street.  Battered at each new block “the ranks of the marchers were becoming noticeably thinned.  Those remaining appeared to be the more vindictive who had succeeded in fighting their way through.”  Finally, at Madison Street the marchers find themselves surrounded, and many of those who are left “made for doorways, alleys, saloons, lunch rooms, and basements, where they mingled with the surprised patrons and escaped.”  At each intersection along the route of the march arrests are made, and those taken prisoner charged with rioting, unlawful assemblage and parading without a license.  At the conclusion of the festivities the Tribune reports, “Halsted street looked like an armed camp with squads of police stationed at the corners and mounted men patrolling the middle of the street.”  Mrs. Lucy Parsons is shown above, missing a glove, after her arrest.

January 17, 1903 -- Judge Arthur Chetlain sentences George Wellington "Cap" Streeter to an indeterminate term in the penitentiary at Joliet for manslaughter for the killing of John S. Kirk on February 11, 1902 in the "District of Lake Michigan." The dead man had been a watchman for Henry W. Cooper, the man lakefront property owners had engaged to protect their interests on the north side of the river near Oak Street. "Cap" Streeter was not personally connected to the scene where the killing occurred; he was held responsible because testimony indicated that he had told the occupants of the district that if anyone "came fooling' around" to shoot him. After being found guilty in December 3, 1892, Streeter said, "They found us guilty but it only goes to show that when a lot of millionaires get together and get the help of the state the liberty of a man ain't safe. This whole thing is a scheme." The captain and his missus are pictured above.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

January 16, 1978 -- State Of Illinois Building -- Better Off on Dearborn Street?

January 16, 1978 – Paul Gapp, the architecture critic for the Chicago Tribune weighs in on Governor James Thompson’s “sudden outburst of enthusiasm over building a $100-million skyscraper in the Loop to house State of Illinois offices.”  [Chicago Tribune, January 16, 1978]   In the midst of the energy crisis of the late 1970’s, Gapp approaches the subject from an environmental point of view.  Arguing that the Sherman House, which will be torn down under Thompson’s plan to make way for the new state building, “is handsomer than most of the downtown hotels built in Chicago since World War II,” Gapp says, “Huge amounts of non-replaceable energy went into the hotel’s building materials and construction.  More energy would be required to tear it down, and an immense amount needed to put up a new structure in its place.”  (If he only knew the amount of energy it would eventually take to make the workspace habitable …)  Gapp has a better idea … putting the state offices in “a cluster of nineteenth century buildings on South Dearborn Street” – The Fisher Building, the Old Colony and the Manhattan – a move that the Chicago Architecture Foundation had advocated four years earlier.  In 1977 the U. S. Congress appropriated $150,000 for a pilot study on how best to preserve the Manhattan, Old Colony, Monadnock, and Marquette buildings, a study that the architectural firm of Harry Weese and Associates is leading.  Gapp concludes, “Thompson and other state officials should give all of this data their closest attention and forget about a new skyscraper.  Conversion of the landmarks to state use would instantly move Chicago from the rear to the forefront of the preservation and recycling movement.  It would also, quite probably, save taxpayers a great deal of money.”  Gapp did not win the argument.  The Thompson Center, a design by Helmut Jahn for C. F. Murphy, did get built.  Currently, the state is trying to figure out a way to unload the building, groaning under the weight of millions of dollars of deferred maintenance.  The top photo shows the Sherman House and the adjacent Greyhound bus station on Randolph Street.  The photo below that shows the same corner with the Thompson State of Illinois building.  It's anybody's guess as to what the corner will look like in the future ...
January 16, 1976 –The management of Wieboldt Stores announces that distribution of Green Stamps with purchases will end in two weeks.  The chain of department stores has been distributing the stamps since 1957, and all redemption centers for the stamps in the Chicagoland area are in Wieboldt’s stores.  Arthur K. Muenze, the president of the company, says the stamps will be discontinued because “public interest in them has decreased and they are no longer effective in attracting customers to the stores.” [Chicago Tribune, January 17, 1976] A spokesman for Sperry and Hutchinson Co., which distributes the stamps, confirms that redemption centers in nine Wieboldt stores will close by the end of January.  “There is no need for panic or for anyone to rush in and redeem their stamps before they want to.  We’re in good shape as a company.  We’re not going to leave anybody high and dry,” the spokesman says. 

January 16, 1892 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that the Executive Committee of the Interstate Exposition Board of Directors has agreed to sell its massive building on Michigan Avenue to the Art Institute for $2,100.  This guarantees, the paper reports, “ … the doom of the old structure.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 16, 1892] Representatives of the Art Institute say that a check will be issued immediately and within ten days demolition of the Interstate Exposition Building will begin.  The huge building east of Michigan Avenue occupied the site of the present Art Institute of Chicago for 20 years and was designed by Chicago architect W. W. Boyington.  It provided a place for exhibitors to display their products and also served as an Illinois National Guard Armory, as well as the site of political conventions in 1880 and 1884.  It was also the first home of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

January 16, 1925 – At the closing session of a two-day conference of the Great Lakes Harbor Association 300 delegates from 80 cities located on the Great Lakes pass a resolution that requests the United States Secretary of War "to require of the sanitary district of Chicago the installation, within a reasonable length of time, of a modern system of sewage disposal and protested against any legislation that may sanction diversions affecting the water levels of the great lakes.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 17, 1925] The resolution reads, “With an astounding disregard for the rights of her neighbors and in defiance of all precepts of law and justice, under the pretext that the sanitary welfare of that city made the dilution system of sewage disposal necessary, Chicago has for twenty years been abstracting the waters of the great lakes in great quantities.  This abstraction of water has on the one hand caused the lowering of the levels of the lakes to the injury of commerce thereon, and on the other the raising of the levels of the Illinois river to the injury of the land owners of that region.  The sewage which Chicago by virtue of its sanitation system is thus carrying into the Illinois river is polluting the waters of that stream to an alarming degree.”  Officials of the sanitary district plan to leave for Washington within two days “to face the interests which would prevent the city from diverting 10,000 cubic feet of water per second from the lake for sanitary purposes.”

January 16, 1945 -- In one of the worst fires to hit Chicago in a quarter-century 14 people are killed and 8 injured in a fire at the General Clark Hotel at 217 North Clark Street. The night manager of the hotel states that 76 people were registered when the fire started just after midnight. It was brought under control three hours later, after three people had jumped into firemen's nets and a dozen others had been rescued by ladders.