Monday, September 21, 2020

September 21, 1950 -- Columbus Hospital Dedicates New Wing

September 21, 1950 – The Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Cardinal Samuel Stretch, blesses and formally opens the new addition to Columbus Hospital at 2540 Lake View Avenue.  Columbus Hospital was founded in the early 1900’s when Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, who arrived in Chicago in 1903, followed a directive from the city’s archbishop, James Edward Quigley, leading an effort to purchase a Lincoln Park Hotel which was turned into the hospital.  With the 1950 addition the hospital’s capacity rises from 500 to 750 beds.  Also part of the new addition is the narthex of a chapel that will be built to accommodate visiting pilgrims.  The chapel is completed in 1955 and, despite the fact that the hospital was shuttered in 2001 and a swanky Lincoln Park high rise residential tower, 2550 North Lake View, was completed on the site in 2012, the chapel still exists.  The chapel and shrine were a separate property belonging to the order of nuns founded by Mother Cabrini, and, through donations from the faithful, they were preserved and refurbished under the direction of architect Mark Sullivan.  The above photo shows the careful preservation of the chapel as Columbus Hospital was being demolished.  A look at the chapel and the history of Columbus Hospital can be found in this YouTube video … and a look at the work of Mother Cabrini can be found in this entry in Connecting the Windy City.
September 21, 1979 – Governor James Thompson signs a bill that allows banks to install electronic teller machines away from their main premises.  The bill had previously passed the Illinois General Assembly with more than a three-fifths majority, despite the fact that critics labelled the measure as a form of branch banking that would give larger banks an unfair advantage over smaller banks. The bill allows banks or savings and loan associations “to install automatic teller machines in up to 10 locations that could receive deposits and loan payments, issue withdrawals, and transfer funds between accounts.”  [Chicago Tribune, September 22, 1979]  The new law also allows expansion of “point of sale” terminals that can cash checks. According to, the first automated banking machine in the United States was created by a former professional baseball player named Donald Wetzel, and in 1969 a Chemical Bank branch on Long Island installed the first of his machines.  Machines were installed in various locations after that, but the new technology really moved forward when Citibank spent more than $100 million in 1977 to install the machines across New York City.  Shortly thereafter, a huge January blizzard blanketed the city, and banks closed down for days.  The use of automated teller machines increased by 20 percent during the storm.  A new era had begun. 

September 21, 1941 – A near tragedy is averted as the Midnight Special on its way out of Chicago and bound for St. Louis is halted just in time to avoid falling into the Chicago River when the railroad bridge at Twenty-First Street is opened to permit a lake freighter to pass.  The engineer brings the train to a halt with “its small front wheels and first large drive wheels already over the water and beyond the rail ends.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, September 22, 1941]  No one is hurt in the mishap, the passenger cars are pulled back to Union Station, and the passengers continue the trip after the fouled tracks are cleared.

September 21, 1906 – The laying of the cornerstone for the new Cook County building is highlighted by the presence of United States Vice-President Charles W. Fairbanks, who arrives to preside at the ceremony.  A long and circuitous parade begins at 2:00 p.m. at the Auditorium Annex where Fairbanks is staying and moves north to Clark, where the principal speakers ascend the dais.  Mayor Edward F. Dunne, Governor Charles S. Deneen, and Vice-President Fairbanks deliver the addresses at the Clark Street ceremony.  In the cornerstone rest volumes of Cook County history, the proceedings of the Cook County board for the year, the membership rolls of the principal clubs of the city, various artifacts supplied by the Chicago Historical Society, and copies of the day’s newspapers.  In the evening a banquet is held at the Auditorium Annex for 500 people.  Pictured above, the county’s half of the building on Clark Street, designed by Holabird and Roche, will be completed by 1908.  The city’s half on La Salle Street will follow two years later.  

September 21, 1891 –The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that because of the attractiveness of its quarters and because of the easy access it will have to the much-heralded World’s Columbian Exposition, due to open in 1893, there has been “much wire-pulling among officers and men of influence to secure the detail” at Fort Sheridan, under construction on the North Shore.  As the spring of 1892 comes to an end it is anticipated that close to 1,000 soldiers will be stationed at the new garrison, including eight companies of the Sixth Cavalry, currently stationed in Nebraska, eight companies of the One-Hundredth Infantry, already at the fort, Light Battery E, an artillery unit, just ordered to the base, and, at the end of the spring, four troops of cavalry.  Over a million dollars has already been expended on the construction at Fort Sheridan with at least another $200,000 worth of construction still to be completed. The base will be the most expensive military garrison in the country, and, when it is completed, it will also be the largest.


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