Monday, January 27, 2020

January 27, 1917 -- Great Lakes Naval Station Takes Off

January 27, 1917 –  The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that after a two-day conference involving Captain W. A. Moffett of the Great Lakes Naval Station and Navy officials, “Recognition by the navy department of the Great Lakes naval training station as of equal importance with the Newport training station was practically assured.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 27, 1917]  As a result of the conference, the Navy Department has agreed to send the United States ship Gopher to the base to train recruits.  It will be renamed the Great Lakes.  The department has also agreed to hold a summer camp at Great Lakes in which between 3,000 and 4,000 civilians will be invited to attend.  Trade schools, equivalent to the ones at Newport, will also be created, permitting recruits to choose one or more trades out of a dozen at which they will become proficient while qualifying to serve  Great Lakes will also send a contingent to Washington, D. C. to participate in the inaugural parade of Woodrow Wilson as he begins his second term in office.  At the beginning of 1917 Great Lakes held 39 permanent buildings with about 1,500 sailors.  The entry of the United States into World War I impressed officials with the base's importance, and by the end of the war, 45,000 sailors were in training at the base, which had built 737 new buildings in just under two years.  In the early 1990’s the Base Realignment and Closure Commission closed the only two other naval training centers in Orland and San Diego, leaving Great Lakes as the only training facility for the Navy.  Today over 50,000 trainees move through the base annually.  The above photo shows thousands of Great Lakes sailors in the formation of a large American flag sometime during that momentous year of 1917.

January 27, 1901 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that there are only five wolves left within Chicago's limits where once there were thousands. When the great herds of bison on the Great Plains were slaughtered almost to extinction, the wolves that depended on them suffered as well, often turning to the herds of domestic cattle to survive. That, of course, only hastened their already tenuous existence as they were hunted ruthlessly with a good gray hide bringing $5 or more. "In America," the paper wrote, "no one renews the game supply and everybody seeks to destroy, blindly, selfishly, unreasoningly . . . There is no other country of equal enlightenment with this which allows its wild game, the property of the whole people, to be stolen for the individual profit of a few." The 1903 photo above shows one of the five wolves in Chicago on display at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

January 27, 1916 – Mrs. Lois Dunning, the president of the Three Arts Club, passes judgment on a Claude Monet painting that hangs among French and Belgian works drawn from the Panama-Pacific exhibition of 1915, a collection on display at the Art Institute of Chicago.  The Monet painting, “Vetheuil,” priced at $9,000, draws the attention of Dunning as she leads 200 women “gathered to hear her discourse on art.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 28, 1916] “Now look at this thing,” Dunning begins.  “A 10 year old could have painted it.  I don’t know whether the artist meant the lavender foreground for a bog, a stream, or a level bit of ground.  It’s awful.  It’s one of the worst things in the gallery.”  The tour continues as Dunning points to a painting by Pierre Carrier-Belleuse, “The Ballet Slipper.” The artist, Dunning declares, “ought to have known better than to have had the girl’s dress up to her knees.  You don’t see such beastly things in American art … we don’t want to see women’s faces brutalized.  That’s what this new school of art does.  It’s a far cry from that art of long ago when flesh was painted so delicately that it looks as if one might pinch it.” 

January 27, 1929 – The Chicago Motor Club opens its new 17-story headquarters at 66 East South Water Street, inviting members of the public to inspect the gleaming interior of this new Art Moderne masterpiece.  The structure is a testament to the marriage of design and the labor necessary to bring the design into reality.  It is the first office building in the city to “embody the ‘art moderne’ theme,” [Chicago Daily Tribune, January 27, 1929] for one thing.  It is impressive that the building was completed in just 234 days, a period that included the razing of the building that originally stood on the site.  The touring bureau for the club occupies the first floor of the tower, a site that reaches 30 feet in height and has no columns or posts.  The artwork is particularly impressive.  The Tribune offers this description, “The east wall is marked by three large windows, extending from floor to ceiling.   On the west wall is painted a map of the United States.  It was executed in modernistic style by John Norton, widely known Chicago mural decorator.  The size is nineteen by twenty-nine feet.   On it are portrayed nineteen transcontinental highways, together with the various mountain ranges and national parks.” The Chicago Motor Club moved its headquarters to Des Plaines in 1986, and the building on South Water Street closed in 2004.  In 2013 MB Real Estate led an effort to convert the unused tower to hotel space, paying about $9.5 million for the building and overseeing its rebirth as a Hampton Inn.
January 27, 1963 – The Chicago Tribune reports that the General Chairman of the St. Joseph Hospital building fund drive, John Sexton, has the first million dollars in pledges for the new $22 million hospital that is being built at 2900 Lake Shore Drive.  Ground was broken for the new St. Joseph in 1961, and it is expected that the 492-bed facility will be completed by December, 1963. The hospital will be 13 stories high and its “Y” shape will allow 85 percent of its rooms to face either Lincoln Park or Lake Michigan.  The new facility will replace the old St. Joseph Hospital, located at 2100 North Burling Street, which is largely antiquated.  One of its two wings is 90 years old while the more recent addition is nearly a half-century old.  The origin of St. Joseph Hospital goes all the way back to 1868 when three Daughters of Charity founded Providence Hospital in a two-story cottage at the corner of what is now Clark Street and Diversey Avenue.  [] In 1871 the Daughters of Charity built a new hospital at what is now Burling Street and Dickens Street.  The Great Fire of 1871 spared the facility, and it served as shelter for many victims of the fire.  That same year the hospital was the first in the city to open a psychiatry unit.  In 1893 the Saint Joseph School of Nursing, affiliated with DePaul University opened and by the time of its closing in 1964, 1,504 nurses had graduated from the school.  Today the hospital is a part of Presence Health, the largest Catholic health care organization in Illinois. The black and white photo shows the hospital under construction in the early 1960's.


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