Wednesday, July 1, 2020

July 1, 1963 -- Jackson Park Coast Guard Station Shuts Down
July 1, 1963 – The United States Coast Guard station in Jackson Park closes with responsibility for the station reverting to the Chicago Park District, from which the Coast Guard has been leasing the property.  The station had been manned by only 11 men and handled only 75 to 80 calls in an average year.  The Coast Guard stations at Calumet Harbor and the lake, along with the station at the foot of Randolph Street, will pick up the slack.   The Jackson Park station was established in 1890, and, according to Chief Warrant Officer Robert Ashton, the commander of Group Chicago, “Back in the early days, there was a real need for the station … In 1902, you had to walk the beaches to spot an accident.  Now, accidents on the lake often are spotted by planes.”  [Chicago Tribune, June 30, 1963].  The old station is still there on the western edge of the Jackson Park Outer Harbor.  If you are biking or walking on the lakefront trail, you will move right past it around Sixty-Fourth Street.  The top photo shows the station early in the twentieth century.  The second photo shows the park district property in the left center of the photo with the Jackson Park Yacht Club across the basin and La Rabida Children's Hospital beyond that.

J. Bartholomew Photo
July 1, 1940 – The 440-foot nautical-themed beach house at North Avenue Beach opens.  The facility has 14 showers and 1,440 baskets that allow men and women to check personal effects while heading for the beach.  In order to give the “ship” a credible lake-worthy appearance the art deco structure is equipped with a crow’s nest, booms, yard arms, lanterns, portholes and flags.  The North Avenue Beach was completed as part of a $1,250,000 Works Progress Administration project, that wound up in 1939, an undertaking that added 875,000 square feet of new parkland extending north to Fullerton Avenue with a new overpass at that juncture.  The beach house is a design by architect Emanuel V. Buchsbaum.  It was replaced in 2000 by a new facility with 22,000 square feet of space. The above photo shows the beach house as it appears today.

July 1, 1933 – The Museum of Science and Industry opens its doors for the first time at 10:00 a.m.  No formal ceremony is held.  Only the great Central Hall will open as many of the exhibits that will eventually be displayed are being shown at the Century of Progress World’s Fair on the lakefront a few miles to the north.  All of the exhibits at the museum will be free with the exception of the Coal Mine, for which there will be a twenty-five cent charge.  A feature of the museum will be its interactive displays, exhibits “capable of being operated by switches or levers, to demonstrate scores of processes or inventions.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 2, 1933]  The museum, originally the Palace of Fine Arts at the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 housed the Field Museum of Natural History for a time, but then fell into decay.  In fact, the South Park Board voted to raze it in 1921.  Fortunately, that didn't happen.  The photo above shows the condition of the building before the effort to restore it began.

July 1, 1917 – An investigation begins into the origins of a fire that consumes $750,000 worth of valuable film from the vaults of the Pathé Film Company in the Consumers’ Building at 220 South State Street.  The Chicago manager of Pathé, C. W. Bunn, speculates that the fire is the product of labor unions sending a message as they seek to unionize film company employees. He says “Taken in connection with threats that have been sent to me and to other film managers, I am convinced the fire was of incendiary origin.  Four employees were at work in the office.  They heard a noise in the vault, as if something had fallen.  An explosion followed and the vault door was blown out with a blast of smoke and flame.  The falling noise probably was the working of a time mechanism that touched off a bomb.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 2, 1917]  After the blast and fire, police officers are stationed at the offices of 16 film companies in the city as Attorney Lewis F. Jacobson, representing the film exchanges, holds a conference with police officials at City Hall.  Jacobson presents a letter that the president of Local No. 157 sent to all film company managers, in which he states, “Get busy and organize. Start at once or we will start our work.”  The deputy police commissioner then orders the arrest of the organizer and former business agent of Local 157.  Two days later a judge grants an injunction against Locals 110, 134 and 157 of the Moving Picture Machine Operators’ union, restraining the unions “From picketing, spying, assaulting, or intimidating, congregating about, at, or near the places of business of the complainants; from attempting to deal with employees toward unionization, and from boycotting or otherwise molesting exhibitors using the films of its complainants.”   [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 4, 1917].  Through quick work firemen were able to confine the Pathé fire to the sixth floor of the Consumers’ building, a building in which three other film distribution companies are located – the Universal, Mutual and the Feature.  This catches the eye of the city’s corporation counsel, who notes “flagrant violations of city ordinances in regard to the handling of moving pictures.”  Fire officials announce that they will prepare an ordinance that excludes all companies handling motion pictures from the central business district because of the danger of explosions.  The above photo shows a detail of the Consumers' Building, one of the last of the Chicago School designs, a 1913 building designed by the firm of William Le Baron Jenney, William Bryce Mundie and Elmer C. Jensen.  

July 1, 1910 – Comiskey Park opens for its first game as 24,900 fans watch the Chicago White Sox lose to the St. Louis Browns, 2-0.  Despite the loss, the opening of the new park is a success that “crowned the tremendous efforts which have been put forth in the last few weeks to get the mammoth plant ready for its christening and it passed through its baptism as if to the manor born, while tens of thousands of the Old Roman’s friends cheered at every possible opportunity to show their appreciation of the gift he had prepared for them.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 2, 1910] A thousand people wait in line to purchase tickets when the gates at the new park open at 1:00.  A brass band greets entering fans, who cheer the Chicago team when it “emerged from its dressing rooms, clad in new coming out gowns of dazzling white, nattily trimmed with blue and designed by G. Harris White, dentist, pitcher, and outfielder as well.”  Cheers rise again as Charles Comiskey is presented a big banner at home plate as a band on the field plays “Hail to the Chief.” In January of 1909 Charles Comiskey, who had owned the club for ten years, bought a plot of land used by the city as landfill and commissions Zachary Taylor Davis, a graduate of the Armour Institute, to design a new ballpark for the White Sox.  On March 17,1910 the cornerstone for the new park is laid.  Less than four months later the park opens. The same architect designed Weeghman Field, today’s Wrigley Field, on the north side which opened four years later.

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