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.


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