Friday, June 19, 2020

June 19, 1967 -- Alewives Invade Chicago Beaches
June 19, 1967 – The beaches at Montrose, Rainbow, North Avenue, Ohio Street and Oak Street are flooded with dead alewives in what a park district official calls the worst plague of the fish that he has seen in his career.  Park district crews use bulldozers and high-lift trucks to remove the fish, but they keep washing up on the beaches faster than they can be carted away.  Joseph Krzesinski, the director of landscape maintenance for the park district, says, “They keep coming in.  In some places they are a foot deep.  Look out over the lake there they are as far as the eye can see.”  [Chicago Tribune, June 20, 1967]. The invasion was first noted on June 15 when an official of the Great Lakes Region of the Federal Water Pollution Control Administration spotted streaks of the dead fish being blown toward the Michigan shore.  Between June 17 and 18 the wind shifted, blowing from east to west, and by June 19 “Chicago’s shoreline was clogged with a silvery carpet of alewife carcasses.”  []. Alewives, originally inhabitants of the North Atlantic, were first seen in Lake Ontario in the 1880’s and gradually moved through the Great Lakes over the years. Marine biologists suggest that a combination of factors has led to the plague of dead alewives in Lake Michigan.  Over-fishing in the Great Lakes in the early part of the century, along with the explosion of the sea lamprey, an invasive species, resulted in the demise of the lake trout, the only natural threat to the alewife. When the 1960’s arrived, it was estimated that alewives made up 90 percent of Lake Michigan’s biomass.  Schools as large as 40,000 fish moved close to shore in late spring to spawn, with a female alewife carrying between 10,000 to 12,000 eggs.  After spawning a mass die-off of the fish would occur, which was especially pronounced in 1967, biologists theorize, because of extreme fluctuations in the temperature of Lake Michigan.  After 1967 the government began stocking the lake with Chinook salmon, “the most voracious fish in the lake”.  [Chicago Tribune, January 22, 2006].  The salmon feed at the same water level as alewives and have kept the alewife population in check.  The above photo shows the lake shore at Diversey Harbor during the invasion.

June 19, 1950 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that a large addition is being constructed and will expand the Berghoff Restaurant at 17 West Adams Street to double its present size.  The restaurant will expand westward to provide additional space for kitchens and cold storage lockers.  New dining rooms on the first floor and basement will be “in the traditional German style characteristic of the 52 year old restaurant . . . Large murals by Peter Diem and Jean Nordinger will portray scenes of the ‘90s at the World’s Columbian exposition and at the corner of State and Adams sts. where the late Herman Berghoff founded the restaurant in 1898.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 19, 1950] Berghoff came to Chicago from Fort Wayne, Indiana to run a restaurant at the 1893 fair.  He saw the future of Chicago as providing a huge business opportunity and established a restaurant with a capacity of 100 diners at the corner of Adams and State Streets.  In 1913, when that building was torn down, he moved a half-block west to the present location on Adams.
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June 19, 1933 – The Museum of Science and Industry formally opens with an invitation-only preview as W. Rufus Abbott, president of the museum’s Board of Trustees, heads up the group of officials greeting the institution’s first guests  A tour of the hall is conducted at 3:00 p.m., beginning with the John Doctoroff portrait of Julius Rosenwald, who supplied a significant sum to make the museum possible.  From dedication day until July 1, when the public will first be allowed inside the building, the museum will be open to a convention of engineers.  Today’s museum, of course, is the largest remnant of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  It was designed by Charles B. Atwood, working for Daniel Burnham’s firm, as the Palace of Fine Arts.  Because of the valuable nature of the works that it would showcase it was constructed with a brick substructure, unlike the temporary buildings that made up the rest of the fair.  A city bond issue of $5 million and an initial contribution of $3 million by Rosenwald (ultimately, he would give over $7 million to the museum) gave the museum its start, and it was incorporated in 1926.  Rosenwald took his inspiration from a visit with his son in 1911 to the Deutsches Museum in Munich.  Today the museum is the largest science museum in the Western Hemisphere and has hosted more than 180 million guests since its opening.  In its 400,000 square feet of exhibit space it displays more than 35,000 artifacts with permanent exhibits including the U-505 submarine, the Coal Mine, the Baby Chick Hatchery, and the Model Railroad exhibit.  The two photos above show the museum as it appeared when it was newly opened in the 1930's and as it appears today.

June 19, 1921 – After the first year of operation for the Michigan Avenue bridge, Chicago Harbor Master James J. McComb reveals some facts about its operation.  He reports, “During the first year of the bridge’s operation traffic has been dammed up by the span’s Herculean jaws 3,377 times, which involved the lapse of 13,606 minutes or 220.1 hours, an average of 4.028 minutes to each opening of the huge maw.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 20, 1921] During the summer the bridge swung open an average of a dozen times a day with the big day coming on July 24,1920 when it opened 24 times.  These are impressive figures when you consider the fact that the bridge remains closed during rush hours – from 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. As the figures are disclosed, workmen are at work, demolishing “the Rush Street bridge, the worn out old span to the west,” a span that will be cut into pieces and floated away on barges.  The Rush Street bridge, the fourth at this location, handled the bulk of traffic across the river from 1884 to 1920.  It is shown in the photo above, next to the Michigan Avenue bridge, today’s DuSable bridge, during the new bridge's construction.

June 19, 1920 – Miss Violette Neatley Anderson of 3347 Calumet Avenue becomes the first African American woman to be admitted to the bar in the state of Illinois when she graduates form the Chicago Law School in exercises held in the Oriental Consistory Auditorium at Dearborn Street and Walton Place.  Anderson was born in London, England and came to Chicago with her family at an early age.  She graduated from North Division High School in the city in 1899, advancing to a degree program at the Chicago Athenaeum.  She worked as a court reporter from 1905 to 1920, steadily working toward a law degree which she attained in 1920. In 1922 she will become the first woman prosecutor in Chicago.  She will go on to become a force in shaping the Bankhead-Jones Act, passed by Congress in 1936, a bill that provided sharecroppers and tenant farmers with low-interest loans to buy small farms.  President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the act into law in 1937.  []

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