Tuesday, August 18, 2020

August 18, 1904 -- Lake Bluff Protests Navy Proposal for North Shore Base


August 18, 1904 --  The president of the village board of Lake Bluff calls for a meeting at which objections will be made to the U. S. government’s plan to establish a naval training station in the North Shore suburb.  The principal objection appears to be that Lake Bluff, along with several other suburbs, would end up in the unenviable position of being bookended between the new base, if it is built as proposed, and Fort Sheridan to the south.  A letter of protest is circulated, the text of which reads:


“The residents of the north shore suburbs object to having the new naval training station located at Lake Bluff.  They find, through the secretary of the navy that this is not a naval college, as was supposed, but a naval recruiting station, where the government will enlist 6,000 men and boys each year.  After keeping them for a few months it will select 2,000 of the best and send them to the east, where they will be put on vessels, the other 4,000, known as culls, being turned loose.


“The residents of this beautiful north shore district are horrified at the thought of this scum of humanity being released in their midst.  Many of these people, after being attracted to this station to get plenty to eat and drink for a few months, will be turned free to become a menace to the safety of the community.


“These people are at a loss to understand why the government should ever consider the idea of locating a naval station along this shore, where there is nothing but high bluff without any inland body of water or chance of ever making one, and with scarcely a possibility of constructing an outer harbor.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, August 19, 1904]


Opened in 1911, Naval Station Great Lakes is the Navy’s largest training facility and home of the service’s only Boot Camp.  It is located on 1,600 acres overlooking Lake Michigan with 39 of its 1,153 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  [https://www.cnic.navy.mil/regions/installations]

The above photo shows sailors marching past the base administration building in November of 1913, two years after the base opened.

August 18, 1969 – The Chicago Plan Commission approves a zoning ordinance for the 80-acre air rights site of the Illinois Central Railroad south of the river and east of Randolph Street.  Lewis Hill, the Commissioner of Development and Planning, says, “Successful planned development here will greatly affect the future of the whole central area and much of the city and metropolitan area.  It is in both the public and private interest that this development proceed beyond a mere meeting of minimal standards to the achievement of an environment of high quality.”  [Chicago Tribune, August 19, 1969]   Illinois Center today occupies the upper left section of the railroad yard below the river in the above photo.

August 18, 1960 – James F. Tobin, president of Wieboldt Stores, Inc., announces that the firm will take over full control of Mandel’s stores at State and Madison Streets as well as in Lincoln Village Shopping Center at 4041 Milwaukee Avenue.  “Wieboldt’s will bring to State street the same high standard of merchandise and customer service policies which has spearheaded the Wieboldt progress and steady growth in the Chicagoland area for the past 77 years,” says Tobin. [Chicago Daily Tribune, August 19, 1960] Werner A. Wieboldt, the chairman of Wieboldt says, “I have great personal admiration for State street and for the many reputable merchants who have made it great.  We are dedicated to add to its strength of attraction and hope to make it an even greater retail center.” 

August 18, 1935 –A double bill of “Cavalleria Rusticana” and “Pagliacci” opens at 8:15 p.m. in the auditorium at Navy Pier.  This will start an eight-week series of opera at the pier with performances being offered at a cost of 50 cents and a dollar.  Part of the program is underwritten by the city council through an appropriation of $2,500.  Prior to the evening’s program an announcement is made that opera-goers will be admitted in their shirt sleeves and that patrons will “enjoy the advantages of the natural cooling system provided by Lake Michigan.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, August 18, 1935] The above photo shows the pier in 1936 in a view taken from Oak Street.

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