Friday, April 10, 2020

April 10, 1865 -- Lee Surrenders; Chicago Celebrates
April 10, 1865 – As a new day begins, the Dearborn Light Artillery fires a hundred guns … “their echoes waking up the sleepers who had not left their beds at the stroke of the bell.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 11, 1865]  The bell is sounded to wake citizens to the news that General Robert E. Lee has surrendered the Army of Northern Virginia, and war is all but over.  The Tribune reports, “The halcyon of peace – victorious peace – hovered o’er the head and the angel of prosperity was seen approaching with a balm for the healing of the nation.”  As the sun begins to rise, the streets of the city are full with bonfires burning, gunfire echoing, and flags flying in all quarters.  Business is suspended for the day, and schools are dismissed at noon.  A meeting of the committees of the Board of Trade is held at the Tremont House, ending in a resolution that a salute of 200 guns be made at 4:00 p.m. and the court house bell would be rung.  A hastily assembled parade is formed before the appointed hour, and thousands march up Lake Street to Franklin, down Franklin to Washington, east on Washington to Clark, down Clark to Van Buren, east on Van Buren to Michigan Avenue, and up Michigan to the starting point on Lake Street.  At one point the procession stretches nearly four miles.  In the evening “fireworks by the thousand and candles by the million” are set off with “scarcely a dark window … seen in the central part of the city.”  Bonfires blaze on every corner of Clark Street from Lake Street to Van Buren in the central part of the city.  The Tribune ends its coverage of the day with these words of hope for the future, “May the sun of peace now rising never know setting more.”

April 10, 2017 – The Chicago Cubs open Wrigley Field Plaza for the first time as Crane Kenney, the club’s president of business operations, says, “Our vision was to create a neighborhood center where families, fans, and visitors can find entertainment, unique and local food options and daily attractions in an urban park setting.” [Chicago Tribune, April 10, 2017] As part of the festivities the team hoists its World Series Champion banner at 6:15 p.m. prior to a 7:00 p.m. start of the first home game of the season against the Los Angeles Dodgers.  The Park at Wrigley fills a triangular spot just to the west of the ballpark between Clark Street and Waveland Avenue.  It features a two-story flagship Cubs Store that sells team gear and memorabilia.  It also includes a fountain and an artificial turf mini-field on which kids can run around and adults can soak up the Wrigley Field ambiance.  Plans are to use the area as an ice skating rink during the winter months.

April 10, 1992 – The U. S. Steel Group’s South Works closes its doors, ending a run at this location that goes all the way back to 1882 when the company began as the Chicago Railway Mill Company, and the mill that once produced steel beams for most of Chicago’s skyscrapers and jobs for thousands of area residents” ends its run [], leaving an uncertain future.  A U. S. Steel spokesman, Thomas R. Farrall, says, “We want to get value from the facilities.  The mill is one direction real estate and development is another direction.”  [Chicago Tribune, April 10, 1992] About 730 workers will lose their jobs with the closing.  Only 30 of those are eligible for pensions. Various development schemes have been hatched over the intervening years.  The latest one for the 420-acre site, released early in 2017 envisions a build-out in four phases, each phase contributing 3,000 low- and mid-rise buildings, built around a harbor and spread over 30 city blocks along the lake shore.  The area that the South Works covered is shown in the photo above.

April 10, 1955 -- The Chicago Daily Tribune editorializes about a $5,000,000 appropriation 
bill sponsored by State Representative William E. Pollack, a Republican from Chicago, to locate a four-year campus for the University of Illinois on the North branch of the Chicago River around California Avenue. "The university's budget requests have been cut drastically." states the editorial. "For the university to expand its operations and expenditures in Chicago when it can't get enough funds for the proper operation of the facilities that it now has would be the height of folly." [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 10, 1955] Ten days later Mayor Richard J. Daley would begin his first term as the Mayor of Chicago, and he would say toward the end of his career that helping to arrange for a branch of the University of Illinois in Chicago was his greatest achievement. The university's library is named for him. The photo below shows His Honor officially opening the new university on February 22, 1965, ten years after and over six miles south of Representative Pollack's proposal.
April 10, 1937 – Fire breaks out at 4:00 a.m. at the South Shore depot that sits alongside the Illinois Central Railroad station just east of Randolph Street.  It doesn’t take long before “flames burst through the roof of the structure, lighting up Michigan avenue in the vicinity of the public library, and attracting hundreds of motorists and loopgoers to the scene.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, April 11, 1937]  The fire brings a large response from the Chicago Fire Department as fire fighters keep their distance battling the 2-11 fire while crowds on the Randolph Street viaduct watch the heroics.  The twelve-year-old structure was first used by the Illinois Central but was turned over to the South Shore in 1931.  This is the second time a fire has gutted the depot.  In a May, 1934 fire, five fire fighters were injured.  In the above photo the station stands just to the right of the peristyle, which was torn down in February, 1953.  Today this is the northwest corner of Millennium Park.

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