Friday, May 22, 2020

May 22, 1933 -- Art Institute of Chicago Gets Approval to Tap Ferguson Fund for New Building
May 22, 1933 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that a Circuit Court judge has arrived at a decision that will allow the Art Institute of Chicago to build a $400,000 addition to the east of the original 1893 building.  Judge William V. Brothers interprets the will of B. F. Ferguson, a wealthy lumberman who created a $1,000,000 trust that could be used to build “statues and monuments commemorating national figures and historical events”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 22, 1933], finding that the word “monument” can include a building.  The museum’s addition will be the twelfth “monument” that will be created through the funds in the Ferguson trust.  It will be a long time before the judge’s decision led to a building.  The Ferguson Wing on the north side of the original 1893 building was not opened until 1958.  The black and white photo shows the corner on Monroe and Michigan before the Ferguson Wing was completed.  The second photo shows the Ferguson Wing on the north side of the original building just after it opened. 

May 22, 1963 – James H. Gately, Chicago Park District president, announces the details of a $60,000 dairy barn planned for the zoo in Lincoln Park.  Donated by a Chicago affiliate of the National Dairy Council, it will be the second of six buildings projected for the area south of the present zoo that will demonstrate the working of a midwestern farm.  Gately says that visitors will be able to watch cows being milked on a raised platform behind glass walls.  The first building in the project, the main barn, was underwritten by Walter Erman, the chairman of the Luria Steel and Trading Company, and his wife, Ida.

May 22, 1960 – Mayor Richard J. Daley dedicates the new Stanley McCormick Court at the Art Institute of Chicago on the southeast corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Drive. Mrs. Stanley McCormick, the donor, sits “quietly in the front row and declined to step into the spotlight of attention to accept the plaudits of the 125 governing life members, trustees, staff members, and other guests who attended the dedication.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 23, 1960].  McCormick dedicates the new garden and courtyard in honor of her late husband, the son of Cyrus McCormick, the inventor of the mechanical reaper.  The court is a 42,000 square foot garden with an 80-foot by 30-foot pool and fountain. William McCormick Blair, president of the Art Institute’s Board of Trustees, calls the court “a significant addition to the landmarks of the city.”  McCormick Court today holds three significant sculptures:  "Large Interior Form" by Henry Moore; "Cubi VIII" by David Smith; and "Flying Dragon" by Alexander Calder.

May 22, 1956 – Mayor Richard J. Daley says it might be a fine idea to have gondolas, “operated by experts from Venice,” [Chicago Daily Tribune May 23, 1956] on the Chicago River.  He added further that it would be great to see boys and girls fishing from the river banks.  Behind the message lies a motive – the mayor adds that for such pastimes to occur the federal government would need to permit an increased diversion of Lake Michigan water into the river, something that cities and states on the Great Lakes have fought for over four decades.

May 22, 1934 – Disaster occurs at the Oakley building, 143 West Austin Avenue, when a 40,000 gallon water tank on the top of the building falls through the roof and smashes through the core of the building to the first floor. Five workers inside the building are killed and another half-dozen seriously injured. One of the injured, Clyde Otto, who was hurt in the stampede for the fire escapes describes the event: “The walls began to shake all of a sudden and we heard a series of crashes – I guess it was the tank hitting the various floors. The girls began to scream and every one rushed for the fire escape.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 2, 1934] The last inspector to examine the tank was Daniel Hartford, who had approved it in January. Appearing before an inquest on June 1, he was asked how much he knew about the work he was doing. Hartford answered, “I didn’t know anything about it . . . I’m just the same as you or anybody else who might inspect it.” A few days later the city’s building commissioner says that of the 3,000 water tanks on city roofs the building department only has records for two-thirds of them. At least a thousand such tanks were built before 1919 when the state required that blueprints of the tanks be filed with the building department.

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