Thursday, April 30, 2020

April 30, 1922 -- McVickers Theater Demolition Begins

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April 30, 1922 – Just minutes after the last audience member leaves the McVicker’’s Theater, workmen begin demolishing the structure.  J. H. McVicker opened the original McVicker’s Theater in 1857 on West Madison Street near Dearborn Street.  It was destroyed by fire and rebuilt twice on the same spot, after the Great Fire of 1871, and in 1890. Even when it wasn't burning, various renovations changed the appearance and configuration of the theater over the years as well.  The 1890 theater was designed by Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan, who had also extensively re-designed the theater that it replaced.  “It is told of McVicker,” the Tribune reports, “that he was himself a comedian of parts and that his great aspiration always was to play the grave digger in Hamlet.  Each time as Hamlet was played by the various great actors who came from time to time, McVicker always supplanted the regular comedian in the supporting company, and played the grave digger himself.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 1, 1922]  The original theater cost $85,000 ($2,500,000 in today’s dollars), an impressive sum in a hamlet of around 40,000 people.  After the Adler and Sullivan building was demolished in 1922, yet another McVickers (minus the apostrophe) was built according to a design by the firm of Newhouse and Bernham.  The theater opened on October 26, 1922 and seated well over 2,000 people.  It rolled along for five decades, functioning mostly as a motion picture theater until its luck ran out in 1985 when it was torn down.  Today’s One South Dearborn now occupies the site.  The above photos show the various theaters that stood on the site for over a century.

April 30, 1959 – At 10:30 a.m. the Dutch freighter Prins Johan Willem Friso, slides into a berth at Navy Pier and becomes the first ship to travel through the new St. Lawrence Seaway to Chicago.  Forty American Indians ride a tugboat out to the ship and accompany it back to the dock where Mayor Richard J. Daley and the Fifth Army band greet the ship and its captain, Sander Klein.  From the dock the mayor escorts Klein to Michigan and Ohio Streets where a parade kicks off, heading down Michigan to the Blackstone Hotel for a reception at which the captain is made an honorary citizen of Chicago.  A small amount of the ship’s cargo is offloaded from at the pier, but the bulk of the freight will be taken off in Calumet Harbor where the ship will receive a cargo of industrial and agricultural products bound for European ports.

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April 30, 1950 – The Chicago Daily Tribune runs a feature on the nine alleys that run through the Loop, providing an explanation of the significance of their names.  The feature is the result of the discovery of a street sign on “the hitherto nameless alley which runs from Wells st. to state st. between Monroe and Adams st.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 30, 1950]  That alley still is Marble Place.  The alley got its name as a result of the marble buildings that were constructed in the early days, the first use of a material other than wood in the center of the city.  Garland Court, which runs from South Water Street to Washington Street, between Wabash and Michigan Avenues, got its name from its sponsor, the Garland Stove Company.  Arcade Place, running from Franklin to State Street between Madison and Monroe Streets, began its life with an arcade over its eastern end.  An alley that led to the old courthouse, Court Place, runs from Franklin to State Street between Randolph and Washington Streets.  Calhoun Place, running from Franklin to State Streets, between Washington and Madison Streets, takes its name from John Calhoun, the editor of the first newspaper in the city.  An alley that runs between Lake Street and Randolph Streets from the river on the west to Michigan Avenue is named for, Ira Couch, the owner of the Tremont House, one of the city’s first hotels.  The Couch family mausoleum, by the way, can still be seen alongside La Salle Street near the Lincoln monument on the north side.  Couch Place becomes Benton Place east of State Street, a tip of the hat to Thomas Hart Benton, a United States senator from Missouri. Today Benton Place is a considerable distance east of State Street, running along a park in the middle of the Lake Shore East development.  Holden Court, which lies between State Street and Wabash avenue and extends in bits and pieces from Adams to near Roosevelt Road and over which elevated tracks run south of Harrison Street is named after C. P. Holden, a city councilman who lobbied for the construction of lake tunnels and water intake cribs to provide clean water to Chicagoans.  Finally, an alley running from Franklin Street to Michigan Avenue between Wacker Drive and Lake Street is named for Edward H. Haddock, a prosperous owner of Loop property during the time of William B. Ogden, the city’s first mayor.

April 30, 1903 -- A new tactic is used in an effort to appropriate land in Grant Park and use it for the construction of public buildings. The Illinois House of Representatives votes on a Senate bill to provide a site for the privately-funded Crerar Library, a legacy of Chicago businessman John Chippewa Crerar who left $2.6 million as an endowment for a free public library. The bill will empower park commissioners to authorize the construction of a free public library building on a site of their choosing, provided district tax payers approve the plan in a municipal election. The Chicago Daily Tribune editorializes, "There is land east of Michigan avenue where a site is available on which the trustees of the Crerar library will erect a handsome building if given an opportunity to do so. The land cannot be put to a better use. The house should give them an opportunity by concurring in the senate bill it is to vote on today." Although the legislation passed, the referendum never made it to the voters. The battle over the library, led by merchant A. Montgomery Ward for much of the rest of the decade, continued all the way to May of 1912 when the library trustees admitted defeat and announced their intention to purchase the land at Randolph and Michigan for the building. That building, designed by Holabird and Roche was delayed by the outbreak of World War I and finally finished in 1919. By the 1950's the building could no longer support all of the library's holdings, and the institution affiliated itself first with the Illinois Institute of Technology and then with the University of Chicago, where the current library, designed by Stubbins Associates, was completed in 1984. The late 1950's photo above shows the 1919 library across Randolph Street from what is now the Chicago Cultural Center and across Michigan Avenue from the Coca Cola sign. 150 North Michigan Avenue occupies this location today.  That is the A. Epstein & Son's design with the diamond top, pictured below the first photo.

April 30, 1886 – At the annual reception of the First Infantry, held a day earlier, word gets around that a fine gift for the organization would be a brand-new Gatling gun.  Members of the Commercial Club who are present get up a subscription list, and by the morning of April 30, $2,000 has been collected, and the gun is ordered by telegraph with the hope that it will reach the city by the evening so that it can be turned over to the regiment.  Representatives of the Commercial Club also assure officers of the First Infantry that when the lease on their present armory expires, “the regiment will find a new and permanent one ready for them.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, May, 1886] Five days earlier 25,000 workers had walked in a procession from the west side, near where the Haymarket riot would occur a month later, to a rally on the lakefront near where many of the city’s elite families made their homes.  Their cry was for an eight-hour work day, and anger was in the air.  Following the events of May, the Commercial Club did far more than purchase a Gatling gun … the members made it possible for the United States government to secure land north of the city, next to the Chicago and North Western Railroad tracks, so that infantry and cavalry units could be easily moved into the city in case of trouble. That was the origin of Fort Sheridan.  The First Regiment Armory would be finished by 1890, standing on South Michigan Avenue not far from where those 25,000 workers rallied in 1886.  It is pictured above.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

April 29, 2001 -- Art Institute of Chicago Announces Modern Wing Plans

J. Bartholomew Photo
April 29, 2001 – The Chicago Tribune reports that the Art Institute of Chicago has announced plans for a $200 million addition that will “create a major new entrance to the museum facing Lakefront Millennium Park and its parking garage, supply much-needed gallery and education space, and set the stage for one of the most dramatic internal reorganizations since the museum opened its doors in 1893.” [Chicago Tribune, April 29, 2001]   In order to make room for the new wing, the Goodman Theatre, sited mostly underground on the northeast corner of the museum, will be demolished.  The new building’s architect, Renzo Piano, says, “If you leave that building [the Goodman] there, you can’t do anything.”  The addition will add close to 300,000 square feet to the existing building’s 950,000 square feet of space.  Piano will also design a steel bridge that will connect the addition to Millennium Park to the north across Monroe Street.  The design for the new building, the first addition to the museum since the completion of the Rice Building in 1988, will feature a five-level structure with “three stories above ground and two below.  The top two floors will be for galleries.  The bottom two floors, both below ground, will be devoted to art storage and other ‘back of the house’ functions, such as a new loading dock that will replace the one along Monroe.  The ground floor, meanwhile, will house a visitors’ lobby, museum shop, resource facility for teachers and orientation areas for school children.”  Most striking, perhaps, will be the roof of the addition which Piano says represents his attempt “to strike up a dialogue with the football-field-size steel trellis" that [architect Frank] Gehry has designed just to the south of his band shell.  “Poetically speaking, it’s like a flying sculpture, a flying carpet,” Piano says.  Although optimistic projections called for the Modern Wing to be open by 2005, it actually opened in mid-2009, making the Art Institute of Chicago the second-largest art museum in the United States.  The Art Institute describes the Modern Wing in this way, “The building houses the museum’s world-renowned collections of modern European painting and sculpture, contemporary art, architecture and design, and photography.  The extraordinary scope and quality of these collections are a revelation, each displayed more comprehensively than ever before.  The Modern Wing allows the Art Institute to take its rightful place as one of the world’s great collections of modern and contemporary art.”  []  The above photo shows Renzo Piano's "flying carpet," the roof atop the Modern Wing with the entry arch from Louis Sullivan's Chicago Stock Exchange building in the foreground.
April 29, 1982 – An announcement is made that the Chicago Dock and Canal Trust has signed a contract to exchange the land under Lake Point Tower at 505 North Lake Shore Drive for a property to be named later in the year.  American Ivsco Corp. retains ownership of the residential tower with a ground lease that will continue until about 2045.  The president of Chicago Dock, Charles Gardner, does not disclose the future owner of the land.  It is believed that the transaction is the result of the conversion of the building from rental apartments to condominiums.  Such a conversion could not legally take place unless the building and the land are held in common ownership.  Chicago Dock had owned the 3-acre parcel of land since the 1850’s and leased it to the developers of Lake Point Tower in 1965.  On June 1, 1983 Chicago Dock announced the property that it had acquired in the swap with Lake Point Tower.  Gardner disclosed that the company had acquired a 60 percent interest in the Playboy Building at 919 North Michigan Avenue, plus an undisclosed amount of cash.  It is speculated that Continental National Bank and Trust Company will be the majority owner of Lake Point Tower and the land beneath it.  

April 29, 1963 – Mayor Richard J. Daley announces plans to build an 80-story apartment building west of the Merchandise Mart on Wolf Point.  The building will be the tallest building in the Midwest and the fourth tallest in the world, rising 782 feet with a 571-foot antenna at its top.  It is projected to hold 1,300 apartments and a 320-room hotel with a plaza that rises two floors above the bridge at Orleans Street.  The cost of the project, which will occupy 5.76 acres of land, is $45 million.  Studio apartments will rent from $120 to $200 a month; the 512 one-bedroom units will go for between $180 and $280 a month; 256 two-bedroom units will rent for between $270 and $370; and 128 three-bedroom units will top out at $420.  Each apartment will have glass from floor to ceiling with seven-foot balconies extending the width of the unit.  The first tier of apartments will not begin until the building reaches the 120-foot mark with four restaurants and a theater, along with shops making up the first floors.  There will be two levels of parking below ground that will hold 800 cars.  The architect for the project is Chalres Booher Gunther, who founded PACE Associates, an engineering firm that worked on early drawings of Marina City.  One can see the similarities to the two Marina City towers on the river six blocks to the east.  The project actually got a permit from the Federal Aeronautics Administration for the antenna, but that is as far as it ever went. The top photo gives some idea of the look of the colossus.  Below that is a Chicago Tribune rendering of the space that it was projected to fill at Wolf Point.  The bottom photo shows what Wolf Point will look like when the last of the three towers is topped out in the next few years.  Probably a good thing the original plan got shelved, right?

April 29, 1928 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that the Gage Structural Steel Company, with offices at 3123-41 South Hoyne Avenue, has set a record for placement of steel in a tall building.  According to R. H. Gage, vice-president and engineer of the company, a record of 36 working days was established in the steelwork of the 100 North La Salle building. Gage says, “The first delivery of structural steel was made on Feb. 24, 1928, and the final delivery on April 13, 1928, and the erection of same was completed shortly thereafter in the record time of seven weeks, or thirty-six working days.  Three days were deducted for inclement weather, when the steel erectors could not work, and Saturdays were figured as half days, owing to the fact that the steel erectors quit at noon.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 29, 1928] The 25-story building at the corner of La Salle Street and Washington required 1,958 tons of structural steel.

April 29, 1862 -- Report in the Chicago DailyTribune for this date: "A drunken man named Gates, who resides on Wells street, became suddenly sobered Saturday night, as follows: He was walking along the river dock between Randolph and Lake streets, when, by some means unexplained, he got into deep water. He howled lustily for help, and was rescued by two men, just as he was sinking for the last time. Never was a pickled article more suddenly or completely freshened than was Gates. He was taken in charge by the police and furnished with lodgings in the Hotel de Turtle, West Market station." Poor pickled Gates nearly met his doom just beyond the nearest bridge at Randolph Street, pictured above.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

April 28, 1896 -- Art Institute of Chicago Opens Jules Guerin Exhibit
April 28, 1896 – A collection representing two years of work by artist Jules Guerin opens with a reception at the Art Institute of Chicago.  The Chicago Daily Tribune characterizes the artist’s work “as a refreshing harmony in greens and grays.  The artist [Guerin] keeps all his work in extremely low tone.  He uses few colors.  His method is simple, but wonderfully forceful.  Several of his pictures possess a rare and rich quality of light and atmosphere, and in all of them he evinces a good knowledge of composition and skill in using that knowledge.  Every work he shows is full of sentiment and a fine feeling for the intimacy of animate with inanimate things.  His studies of the effect of surrounding nature upon human and brute life are admirable.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 29 1896]  Guerin is best known these days for the plates that he created to accompany The Chicago Plan of 1909, illustrations in muted tones that painted pictures of what a “city beautiful” might look like.  He actually was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri before he came to Chicago in 1880 to study at the Art Institute of Chicago.  In 1900 he set himself up in New York City, where he worked as an architectural illustrator.  In that capacity he met and was hired by Charles McKim, who at the time was working with Daniel Burnham and Frederick Law Olmsted on the McMillan Plan, a massive initiative to improve the core and park system of Washington D. C.  Guerin was hired to prepare illustrations for that plan, which led to a host of other commissions.  Burnham subsequently hired Guerin to illustrate the Plan of Chicago in 1907, which he and Edward Bennett were compiling for the Commercial Club of Chicago.  After work on that plan was completed, Guerin went on to enjoy a long career in which he did everything from illustrating books to designing the original fire curtain for the Civic Opera House.  He died in 1946.  The illustration above shows one of Guerin's plates for the McMillan Plan in Washington, D. C.
April 28, 1969 – Mayor Richard J. Daley announces that the Grand Central railway station at 303 West Harrison Street will be abandoned and that the two railroads using the station will move to the North Western railway station. Although the move must be approved by the Interstate Commerce Commission, the mayor is optimistic that everything will be worked out by the end of summer.  Taking down Grand Central, which was designed by Solon S. Beman and completed in 1890, will free up 45 acres for development.  It took quite a while for that development to begin … 50 years, more or less.  Things are happening in a big way on the site today, though, as the Riverline development is under construction, a project that will eventually bring 3,600 residences on a site that will include a half-mile boardwalk along the river and close to four acres of open green space.  A rendering of the completed project is shown above.

April 28, 1952 – Acquisition of land for the Congress Street expressway comes to an end as the Chicago City Council approves purchase of three downtown properties, the last of 1,860 parcels that have been acquired since 1942. The final three properties, purchased for $540,212, are for the widening of the expressway as it reaches Michigan Avenue by means of creating sidewalk arcades at Roosevelt College, the Congress Hotel, and Annes Restaurant at 51-59 East Congress Street.  The Commissioner of Subways and Super Highways, Virgil E. Gunlock, says that about 96 percent of the Congress corridor’s right of way has been cleared of buildings and that the super highway is expected to be completed by 1955.  He didn’t miss by much. The completed expressway opened on April 10, 1956.  The above photo gives some idea of how those 1,860 parcels of land came into play as the swath carved out for the new expressway brings it closer to the Loop. 

April 28, 1909 -- The Cubs come back in the ninth inning to beat Cincinnati in a squeaker, 6-5. Another sports reporting gem, this one by I. E. Sunburn in the Chicago Daily Tribune. "Meek as so many cosset lambs during the early innings of today's game," he writes, "Chance's [player-manager Frank Chance] men suddenly tore off their disguises, converted themselves into ravenous wolves, snatched away from the Reds the victory which was apparently clinched, and plunged a stiletto deep into the vitals of Clark Griffith [Cincinnati's manager]." Reds pitcher Bob Ewing is in command until the seventh inning when he allows two runs, but the Wrigley nine is still down by three going into the top of the ninth. Chance leads off the final frame with a single to right. Third baseman Harry Steinfeldt "poled a long fly" to left, but shortstop Joe Tinker "smashed one so hot that [Red shortstop Mike] Mowrey had no chance of stopping it. Outfielder "Circus Solly" Hofman laces a line drive into center. Chance scores, and "only two runs were needed to tie her up." Cubs second baseman Heinie Zimmerman pulls a line drive between short and second and Reds left fielder Dode Paskert, hustling to cut down a run at the plate "fumbled the ball in his eagerness and it bounded gleefully back toward the fence." Tinker and Hofman score and Zimmerman "sneaked around to third a toenail ahead of Paskert's throw in." Cubs catcher Pat Moran hits a bounder to Reds second baseman Miller Huggins, who makes "a fine shot to the plate to nil Zim's run," but Cincinnati catcher Frank Roth drops the ball. That is all that is needed to seal "the grandest rally that has been pulled off this season in any section of the map." The game is played at Cincinnati's Palace of the Fans, pictured above.

April 28, 1893 – The Chicago Club moves into “new and commodious quarters” [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 29, 1893] in the structure that formerly held the Art Institute of Chicago before the museum’s move to its new building on the lakefront.  Designed by John Root, the headquarters for the Chicago Club, at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Van Buren Street, “meets the taste of the critic in its plain yet rich proportions.”  Francis M. Whitehouse is the architect charged with renovating the building to make it suitable for the wealthiest private club in the city.  The first story wall will be lowered to make the ceilings of the entry level appropriate for the use of club members and “By this arrangement an extensive and finely proportioned hall was secured two and one-half feet below the level of the reading room.  A flight of marble steps leads up to the latter room.”  Servants’ rooms and a laundry are contained in an addition that has been built over the former courtyard of the Art Institute.  The club’s new headquarters will also have its own ice plant and electricity generating plant.  The elegant building would remain the Chicago Club’s headquarters until 1929 when it collapsed while being remodeled.  The top photo shows the building that the Chicago Club moved into in 1893.  The photo below that shows the same corner today.

Monday, April 27, 2020

April 27, 2019 -- Chicago Symphony Orchestra Ends Seven-Week Strike

chicago symphony strike
April 27, 2019 – the musicians of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra vote unanimously to ratify a contract, thereby ending a seven-week strike, the longest in the organization’s 128-year history, a walkout that saw the symphony’s director, Riccardo Muti, join the musicians on the picket line   The contract calls for an increase of two percent during the first two years of the contract, 2.5 percent the third year, 3.25 percent he fourth year and 3.5 percent the fifth.  In the final year of the contract the annual minimum base salary of a musician will be $181,272, keeping the musicians in step with Los Angeles and San Francisco.  A major issue in negotiations was management’s proposal to move away from a traditional defined benefit plan to a defined contribution plan.  The approved contract will freeze funds in the defined benefit plan, and musicians will have two options on when to make the switch to the new plan.  Management had insisted that the former plan had become too costly; musicians insisted that management’s proposal of putting a set amount of money into individual retirement accounts would put too much investment risk on the musicians.  Under the new contract  musicians will be guaranteed that when they retire, they will receive the same amount they would have received if the former pension plan had been continued.  Musicians also will see no increase in their health benefits.  A deal was finally reached with the help of Mayor Rahm Emanuel who called members of the bargaining party into his office in order to facilitate the process.  Emanuel says, “I want to thank the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association and the world-class musicians who make up the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for coming to the table and negotiating in good faith toward an agreement to end the strike … This is a fair deal for the symphony and its musicians, and a great deal for the future of one of our city’s greatest cultural institutions.”  [Chicago Tribune, April 28, 2019]

April 27, 1991 – Opening ceremonies are held for the Shedd Aquarium’s Oceanarium, the new home to two beluga whales, four Pacific white-sided dolphins, five Alaskan sea otters, three harbor seals, and a colony of penguins.  According to the web site of the aquarium “the modernistic Abbott Oceanarium … was linked physically and philosophically to the original structure by using the same white Georgia marble on its exterior.”  Architect Dirk Lohan says of his design, “If you have imagination, you can imagine that you’re on the edge of the ocean, looking out over the coastline, and these mammals are swimming and showing their abilities.  I kept all this below the roofline and dome of the old building, so the silhouette of the aquarium and city wasn’t destroyed in any way … I’ve seen aquariums where people sit surrounding the pool – like a circle in a circus tent, where the animals perform for you.  That was not something I liked.  I came up with the idea that, since we’re on Lake Michigan, why don’t we create the water surface of the pool in such a way that it visually links with Lake Michigan?”  []
April 27, 1980 – The Chicago Tribune reports that an investment group headed by Murdoch and Coll, Inc. has purchased the Fisher building at 343 South Dearborn Street for an undisclosed amount.  The new owners pledge to bring $100,000 in repairs to the 24-story building while adding capital improvements of a million dollars.  Murdoch and Coll’s vice-president, Gary Nelson, says, “Plans call for restoration of such old-world features as marble wainscoting, mahogany molding, brass hardware, and original lighting fixtures.”  [Chicago Tribune, April 27, 1980]  The Fisher building, designed by architect Charles B. Atwood, working for Daniel Burnham’s firm, is a Chicago Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  The 1896 building, home of the City Club Apartments, began a new period in tall building construction.  Its metal-framed construction made it possible to place more window glass in its face than had ever been attempted in a building of its height.  Running up and down the vertical elements between the windows are a variety of terra cotta pieces that play on the name of the building’s developer, paper magnate Lucius Fisher.

April 27, 1968 – Approximately 5,000 people gather in Grant Park for a rally against the war in Vietnam, and before the day is over 50 protestors are under arrest and 15 people are injured.  The day begins with no sign of trouble as “demonstrators gathered in the park, laughing and joking as they picked dandelions to make necklaces … [they] also snipped lilacs and placed them in their hair.” [Chicago Tribune, April 28, 1968] The march to the Civic Center, today’s Richard J. Daley Center, is peaceful as protestors keep to the sidewalk and obey traffic signals.  While some marchers circle the Civic Center, others cut ropes that barricade the plaza on the Washington Street side of the building.  The police, under the personal direction of Superintendent James B. Conlisk, Jr., begin moving the marchers out of the plaza and onto Washington and Clark Streets, prompting about 250 people to stage a sit-down protest on the plaza.  It is here that the first set of mass arrests takes place.  Some officers deploy MACE, and protestors begin to throw picket signs at the officers.  The commander of the First Police District, Captain James J. Riordan, is hit by a sign and treated for head wounds at Henrotin Hospital.  At the protest’s height a thousand police battle the marchers while 50 counter-protestors shout curses at the anti-war group.  Later, at the central district lockup army intelligence officers, F.B.I. agents and members of the police subversive unit, “seeking soldiers absent without leave and known Communists and Communist sympathizers” work their way through the jailed protestors.  This is just the beginning as protests escalate until they reach a fever pitch in late August of the year as the Democratic convention rolls into town, and scenes like the one above give way to mayhem.

April 27, 1914 -- Whatever goes up must come down. Usually. That proves true enough in the Fine Arts building on this date as elevator operator Louis Rosenfeld lets in a few more people than wisdom would dictate -- 16 to be exact in a car rated for a dozen. Two women and two men squeeze into the elevator, already crowded with students and teachers from the upper floors. As it begins to descend a cable snaps and roars down the shaft, slamming into the roof of the car. From there it snakes through the front of the car, striking several passengers. No one can move since the elevator is so crowded. Two women faint and the car stops a few feet from the bottom of the shaft as the emergency brakes take hold. The roar of the calamity can be heard on Michigan Avenue, and the entire building shakes.  The top of the car stops a few feet above the level of the first floor, and those rushing to help, including the manager of the Studebaker Theater, are able to pry the doors open and lift the passengers to safety. Fortunately, no one is seriously injured, but if I had been in the car, I might have given a considerable amount of thought to taking the stairs from then on.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

April 26, 2003 -- Illinois Railway Museum Acquires Illinois Central No. 201
April 26, 2003 – Illinois Central steam engine No. 201 goes on display at the Illinois Railway Museum.  The Rogers Locomotive and Machine Works of Peterson, New Jersey built the 107,600-pound engine with its coal bunker and water tank attached to the frame of the locomotive and positioned over the trailing truck, placing No. 201 in a category known as "tank engines."  The configuration meant that the relatively modest engine could operate easily in either direction and negotiate tight curves, factors that made it a good choice for commuter service in large cities.  []  There is some historical information that would indicate that Illinois Central Railroad engineer Luther “Casey” Jones was temporarily transferred to Chicago for I. C. commuter service during the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, and it is a fairly good guess that he would have sat at the controls of No. 201.  It was because of this that the I. C. sold the locomotive in 1928 to the Rosenwald Industrial Museum, the predecessor of today’s Museum of Science and Industry.  No. 201 rolled on and in 1932 was displayed as part of the festivities associated with the I. C.’s electrification of its suburban commuter service.  It took part in the Chicago Railroad Fair of 1948 and 1949 before being displayed at the Junction City Shopping Center in Peoria. It kept going – to Owatonna, Minnesota and, finally, on this date as an exhibit at the Illinois Railway Museum in Union, Illinois.

April 26, 1951 – General Douglas MacArthur lays a wreath at the memorial tablet of the Bataan-Corregidor Bridge at State Street, “speaking to weeping mothers concerning their sons who perished in the death march on Bataan”.  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 27, 1951] MacArthur says, “These men were mine … I shall always hold them inviolate in my heart.  Since they fell, I have shared with their mothers and families the sorrow of their passing.”  An estimated 25,000 people watch the ceremonies as 30 men “who had been liberated by the general’s return to the Philippine islands stood at salute as he passed.”  MacArthur’s visit comes as part of a nationwide tour that follows President Truman’s relieving him of his command of United States forces in Korea on April 11.  Police officer John Kliss, serving out of the Marquette station, a former Marine sergeant captured in the Philippines, says, “Mac was one of the swellest officers I ever had.”  Mrs. Frances Lovering, the mother of Corporal Fred Lovering, who died in a Manila prison camp says “with jaw firm … ‘It’s not a good thing to have politics mixed up with military affairs, and I’m behind the general.’”

April 26, 1925 -- The biggest crowd ever to see a baseball game in the city goes home disappointed as 44,000 fans watch the White Sox lose by forfeit, 9-0, to Cleveland. With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and the Sox down, 7-2, third baseman Willie Kamm comes to bat and grounds into a routine shortstop-to-first play to end the game. At least that is what 8,000 fans think who rush onto the field. Except . . . the Cleveland first basemen, a recent University of Michigan graduate named Ray Knode, can't find first base to complete the play. As the Chicago Daily Tribune writer James Crusinberry describes the play, ". . . evidently Mr. Knode failed to learn while at Michigan just exactly where the bag is located at the first corner. After catching the ball, and with thousands of fans rushing upon the field, he began hunting the bag. He stabbed with one foot here and with another foot there and then rolled in the earth and frantically searched for the bag. He couldn't find it and by that time Willie Kamm had crossed it and there was nothing left for Umpire Billy Evans, stationed at that corner, to do but pronounce Mr. Kamm safe." Despite the fact that there are 135 policeman on the field, order can not be restored. In the throng the umpires can't even locate one another. Finally, the head umpire, Clarence Rowland, declares the game, which the Sox undoubtedly would have lost anyway, a forfeit. A significant number of fans leaving the ballpark that afternoon probably never even knew that was the final result.

April 26, 1954 – As the plan moves forward to extend Wacker Drive south in order to join with the new Congress Street expressway, The Chicago Transit Authority board on this date agrees to remove and relocate the elevated structure in Van Buren Street between Wells Street and the river.  The decision awaits approval by the city which must compensate the C.T.A. for the $387,000 it will cost to complete the project.  This junction, known as “Tower 8,” was placed in service on October 3, 1897 to connect the Metropolitan West Side Elevated to the Loop Elevated.  It consisted of a T-shaped junction with a short three-block connector along Van Buren and Market Street, which is now Wacker Drive.  The top photo shows Tower 8 as it appeared before its removal.  The contemporary picture below it shows Van Buren Street at ground level, looking in the same direction, with the elevated removed.  The angled support at the top of the picture is the only evidence of the fact that the elevated ever ran west on Van Buren.