Friday, May 29, 2020

May 29, 1960 -- Fullerton Avenue Bridge to Be Replaced with Fixed Structure
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May 29, 1960 – The Chicago Tribune reports that after four years of legal hassles, the city will finally begin work on replacing the 65-year-old swing bridge across the Chicago River at Fullerton Avenue.  The city’s chief bridge engineer, Stephen J. Michuda, says this is the oldest uncompleted bridge project in the city, indicating that he worked on plans for the replacement bridge when he was a young assistant engineer in 1936 and 1937.  In 1955 the federal government approved a fixed bridge at Fullerton Avenue, a move that would save the city between $3 and $4 million in construction costs and between $30,000 and $45,000 a year in operation and maintenance.  A fixed bridge was opposed by parties that had interests in shipping on the North Branch, opposition that delayed construction.   The black and white photo shows the fixed bridge at Fullerton Avenue. Notice the amount of space the turntable consumes in the middle of the channel. The second photo shows the fixed bridge as it exists today.

May 29, 1991 – After defeating the Detroit Pistons in the N.B.A. playoffs a day earlier, the Chicago Bulls learn that Detroit defender Dennis Rodman, who pushed Chicago forward Scottie Pippen out of bounds in Game 4, opening up a six-stitch gash under his chin, will be fined $5,000.  N.B.A. operations director Rod Thorn, says “We looked at the facts and made a judgment. We had our security people investigate, and we feel he was seriously contrite.  The fine was for pushing Pippen.”  [Chicago Tribune, May 30, 1991] On the same day a letter of apology from Rodman is received by the Bulls, N.B.A. officials, and members of Detroit, Chicago and national media outlets. Addressed to “Mr. Scottie Pippen,” the letter reads, “Dear Scottie, I am writing this letter to apologize to you for the incident that happened in Monday’s game.  You are a great player and I’m glad you weren’t hurt by the incident.  It was merely one of frustration.  I am not the type of player of which I have been accused.  The situation was one of those things which should not have happened.  I am ready and willing to accept any fines or consequences set by the league for my actions. I sincerely apologize to you, your teammates and the entire Chicago Bulls organization.  I also hope that there are no hard feelings between you, your teammates and me.  Good luck in the NBA finals—its’ a tough road ahead of you. Sincerely, Dennis Rodman.” Bulls coach Phil Jackson responds, “We accept his apology, but we won’t forget the incident. You accept the apology at face value.”  Michael Jordan also jumps in, saying, ”As a team, we’ve forgotten about that.  We beat them and achieved something.  We’ll deal with Detroit when we play them again.”  The Bulls went on to beat the Los Angeles Lakers in the championship series in five games.  The confrontation between Rodman and Pippen, who would become teammates, was intense as can be seen in this YouTube clip.

May 29, 1966 – The Chicago Tribune reports that the first steel has been erected above ground for the 120 South Riverside Plaza office building that is being constructed over the air rights of the railroad tracks of Union Station just west of the South Branch of the Chicago River.  The steel, produced at the South Works of United States Steel and fabricated at the Gary plant of the American Bridge division of U. S. Steel, is part of 9,100 tons of steel that will be needed to complete the 22-story structure, a duplicate of the building at 10 South Riverside Plaza.  Tishman Realty and Construction Company has plans for a total of four buildings in the area that will be called Gateway Center, a project that will cost an estimated 100 million dollars.

Chicago Tribune Photo
May 29, 1916 – The tugboats Iowa and Gary tow the hulk of the steamer Eastland down the north branch and into the main stem of the river, headed for South Chicago, where the vessel will be converted into a training ship for the Illinois naval reserve.  As the Eastland passes through the draw of the Wells Street bridge, homebound citizens, standing in the rain and remembering the 812 people carried to their deaths on the ship just ten months earlier, jeer at the sight.  “Take ‘er out into the lake and sink ‘er,” shouts one man.  “Blow’er up!  Scuttle ‘er! Put her at the bottom where she put her passengers,” shout others.  [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 30, 1916]. The crew on the tugboats and the few deckhands on the ghostly Eastland seem “to be a sort of ghost crew, ashamed to be caught aboard such a craft.” The taunting crowds bring the employees of the Reid, Murcoch and Co. to the windows of the building on the north side of the river, a place that had been used as a temporary hospital and morgue for the hundreds of victims of the disaster.  At each bridge – Clark … Dearborn … State … and Rush … several hundred people “stood in the rain and watched until it disappeared in the mist.” 

May 29, 1906 – A fire breaks out in Armour Elevator “D,” located on a slip on the west side of the Chicago River at approximately Twenty-Second Street and Morgan, smoldering undetected until it blows out the north and south ends of the elevator and lights the night sky enough to be seen from Ravenswood to South Chicago. Sixty-two fire engines, some of them from as far north as Lakeview, and three fireboats are called to fight the fire in a massive structure containing a million bushels of wheat, corn and oats. The first firemen on the scene have to haul their equipment down a bank to the slip to get close enough to the fire. There are no nearby fire hydrants, so all of the water has either to be pulled from the slip or else come from fireboats. The massive Commonwealth Electric company plant northwest of the elevator is repeatedly ignited by burning embers, so the fire department’s efforts are devoted chiefly to saving it as well as lumber yards that lie to the west. Acting Fire Chief McDonough states, “It was impossible to save the elevators, and all the efforts of the department were directed to saving the millions of dollars’ worth of property in the vicinity. The recent rains soaked the lumber in the adjacent yards and probably did considerable toward stopping the spread of the flames.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, May 30, 1906] The photo above shows the elevator as it appeared before the fire, which must have been a spectacular conflagration.

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