Wednesday, March 11, 2020

March 11, 1994 -- Chicago River Bridges Moving toward Restricted Lifts
March 11, 1994 – Since the early days of the twentieth century, city officials have been ranting about the havoc that the random opening and closing of bridges on the Chicago River brought to city streets.  No one was exempt from the inconvenience … on May 10, 1905 even President Theodore Roosevelt was forced to wait for the Rush Street bridge to close as the schooner Robert L. Fryer passed through the channel.  In 1914 Congressman Fred Britten actually introduced legislation that would close the river from Rush Street to the lake, using lighters to carry cargo in order to avoid tying up streets in the busiest sections of the city.  However, in the early 1990’s things were operating just as they always had – any pleasure boater with a tall mast could request that bridges be raised, despite the hundreds of motorists and pedestrians that sat … “resigned to grit their teeth, mutter under their breath and hammer their car horns.”  [Chicago Tribune, March 11, 1994]  That began to change in the 1980’s when the United States Coast Guard approved the prohibition of bridge-raisings during the morning and evening rush hours while requiring boaters to request that bridges be opened days in advance.  In 1994 the Coast Guard, under increasing pressure from the administration of Mayor Richard M. Daley, began an experiment in which bridges would open for pleasure boaters on demand, except during morning and evening rush hours.  Specific hours were instituted for groups of sailors – weekends from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to midnight, and Wednesdays between the morning and evening rush hours.  Daley repeatedly raised the issue with the U. S. Transportation Secretary, Francisco Peña, prompting Peña to say, “The mayor raised some very legitimate concerns in those meetings about seeing if we could find a better system for raising and lowering the bridges in Chicago that recognized the impact that had on traffic downtown.  On its face, the current system seemed not to make some sense.” It didn’t hurt that the assistant transportation secretary for policy and international affairs was Frank Kruesi, formerly a close aide to Daley.  Predictably, there was push-back from boat-owners, which placed the Coast Guard in a difficult position.  The Chief of the Ninth Coast Guard District wrote in a memorandum, "In 19 years in the bridge program, this is the first case I’ve seen where temporary regulations have been, or will be, issued when data submitted has not been thoroughly reviewed to determine a possible need for permanent change.” It was a time of transition which brought us to where we are today … if you want to see the pleasure boaters slide along the river while the bridges raise to allow them passage, you have two chances a week – on Wednesdays and Saturdays from the middle of April through June and from the middle of September through the middle of November.

March 11, 2004 – Target, Inc. announces that it will seek a buyer for Marshall Field’s and for Mervyn’s, a San Francisco-based mid-priced chain.  Since buying the 62 stores that make up the Field’s division in 1990, Target has spent millions to prop up the brand.  Bob Ulrich, Target’s chief executive, says, “We’ve dedicated significant effort to increasing sales and profits at Mervyn’s and Marshall Field’s over many years.  As responsible stewards of the corporation’s assets, we believe it appropriate to identify possible strategic alternatives.’ [Chicago Tribune, March 22, 2004] Field’s began in Chicago in 1852 as a dry-goods store on Lake Street and upon moving to State Street became the nation’s first real department store.  In 1982 Batus Industries, Inc. bought the chain and soon after Dayton Hudson Corp., which became Target Corp., bought the chain from Batus.  Target sold Marshall Field’s to Federated Department stores in 2005, and amid loud protests Federated ended the Field’s saga by making the chain a part of its Macy’s North Division.

March 11, 1969 -- Close to 700 people, including the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, John Cardinal Cody, come together at the Highland Park Country Club to celebrate the one-hundredth anniversary of the town's founding. Lieutenant General Vernon Mock, the Fifth Army Commander, is also a guest of honor. When the members of the Stupey family arrived from Germany and in 1847 built the log cabin pictured above, they could not have imagined the North Shore town of over 30,000 souls that exists today.

March 11, 1942 – Wartime vigilance is in evidence at Fort Sheridan as Private Armand Marschick of Dearborn, Michigan is critically wounded after a sentry stationed at the Walker Avenue entrance to the military base fires at a vehicle that refuses his command to halt.  The driver a “divorcée, clad in cloth coat and negligee, is Mrs. Ruth Staley Hunt, 40 years old, ex-wife of a broker and daughter of the late A. E. Staley, Decatur starch manufacturer.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, March 12, 1942] Hunt, who maintains she lost her way, batters several military policemen “with her fist and feet” when they stop her.  At the Waukegan jail Hunt says, “I’m not going into those filthy cells,” and scratches Deputy Edward Zersen.  Deputies say that Hunt has been drinking.  Two days later four attorneys appear at her arraignment, and trial is set for March 20.  Entering an army post without permission carries a maximum fine of $500 or six months’ imprisonment.  Ultimately, Hunt is sentenced to 15 days in jail, but her troubles are not over.  In April of 1943 she is pulled to safety from the ledge of her fifteenth-story New York penthouse after threatening to jump.

Flora M. Hill
March 11, 1912 – The steamer Flora M. Hill sinks 600 feet from the two-mile crib outside the Chicago harbor, forcing 31 men and a woman onto a field of broken ice in order to survive. After distress signals are spotted early in the morning, a rescue party sets out from the two-mile crib, finding a vessel with its stern caved in from the crushing ice when it arrives.  At that point Captain Wallace W. Hill orders the crew from his sinking ship, and, using ladders and ropes, the survivors fight their way toward shore.  The Flora M. Hill’s wheelman, K. S. Thompson, a veteran of 48 winters on the Great Lakes, collapses and has to be dragged and carried .  Mrs. Mary Sanville, the ship’s cook, who had served on the boat for two decades, cries as she fights her way to the crib, “Too bad, too bad … Why, I have grown to love that boat.  Do you know that I first went to it when it was in the government service as the Dahlia?” [Chicago Daily Tribune, March 12, 1912] Sanville had continued brewing coffee and making food as crew members manned the pumps in a futile attempt to save the vessel. The tugboat Indiana makes the arduous trip through the ice field, picking up the fortunate survivors and putting them safely ashore at Dearborn Street. The Flora M. Hill, owned by the Hill Steamboat Company, left Kenosha at 6:00 p.m. on the previous night, loaded with automobile parts and brass bedsteads, leather goods and ladies' silk underwear.  It had once been a government lighthouse boat, the Dahlia, and was rebuilt in 1910.  The government dynamited the ship, sunk in 36 feet of water, as a navigational hazard in 1913.  In 1976 a diver re-discovered what remained of the ship, and it is used today as a beginner's dive site." [] 

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