Saturday, October 3, 2020

October 3, 1949 -- David Adler ... Spontaneity, Grace and Elegance




October 3, 1949 –The Chicago Daily Tribune praises the life and work of David Adler, who died on September 27.  Adler was born in Milwaukee in 1882, studied at Princeton University, and, after a time in Europe, joined the office of architect Howard Van Doren Shaw in 1911. He failed the architect’s exam in 1918, and it wasn’t until 1928 that he was awarded an honorary license.  At that point he had over 30 commissions to his name, all of them authenticated by architects who had a background in structural engineering.  During the 1920’s, though, Adler designed some stunning residential homes, many of them on the North
Shore.  The Tribune observes, “Somebody once said that Adler’s houses had the quality of Mozart’s music and, indeed, they have Mozartean spontaneity, grace, and elegance in line and decoration.  They are always fresh but never eccentric or startling.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 3, 1949]  The paper points out a set of row houses near the Elks’ memorial in Lincoln Park as a particular achievement, pointing out that they “display his genius for dealing freshly with established styles and conventional forms.”  The row houses are landmarked and have a fascinating history as can be seen in Chicago’s historic preservation report that can be found at the city site here.  Adler designed them with a partner, Henry Corwith Dangler. In the past couple of years they have seen an impressive renovation effort, resulting in two city homes at Adler on the Park.  According to the @properties website one unit, at 2700 North Lakeview, is listed at $6,600,000. The three photos above show the row houses as they looked in 1922 when they were completed, a few years back when they were serving as what appeared to be a halfway house, and as Adler on the Park.

Chicago Tribune photo

October 3, 1933 – The Illinois Commission to A Century of Progress and the Dante Alighieri Society host a luncheon to honor the Marchese and Marchessa Guglielmo Marconi.  After the luncheon and a visit to the Hall of Science, today’s Museum of Science and Industry, the Marconis are given a reception in the Italian pavilion at the World’s Fair site, which is closed to the public where Marconi, Italian Consul Castruccio and David Sarnoff, all make speeches that are broadcast to Italy.  In the evening the president of the Century of Progress, Rufus C. Dawes, and his wife entertain 125 people at a dinner held in honor of the Marconi’s at the Federal building.  President Walter Dill Scott of Northwestern University presents the Italian inventor with an honorary Doctor of Science degree.  Although everyone in the entourage is exhausted, Marconi insists on traveling back to the fair grounds to visit the amateur radio station, W9USA.  In the darkened Travel and Transport Building of the closed fair, he finds two operators on duty who do not seem to know their visitor, complimenting the men on their transmitting equipment.  One responds, “But it was only built by an amateur,” to which the inventor replies, “Ah, but I am only an amateur myself.”  [rfcafe,com], quite a modest reply, considering he shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1909 and is credited today as being the inventor of radio.  In the above Tribune photo Marconi and his wife meet with Cardinal George William Mundelein after attending services at Holy Name Cathedral during their stay in Chicago.


October 3, 1906 – The Chicago Daily Tribune decrees in its lead on this date, “Chicago is the baseball center of the earth.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 4, 1906] “Since last night a combination pennant pole, marking the site of Chicago has served as the earth’s axis, and around it something less than 2,000,000 maddened baseball fans are dancing a carmagnole of victory, while in every other city in the American and National leagues there is woe.”  After the New York Yankees lose to the Philadelphia Athletics, the city realizes that the magic number has been reached, and the White Sox have clinched the American League pennant.  In one week the team will meet its crosstown rival, the Chicago Cubs, in the World Series.  At the end of July the White Sox were mired in sixth place.   The paper observes that, despite the hopelessness of the situation, “People who cannot understand how the White Sox can win pennants should have visited the American league park and seen Comiskey and Jones working with their bunch of mediocre material, trying to make them into a pennant winning team.  Now Comiskey has a theory that team play will beat individual ability.  He was teaching his team the points.”  After finishing the season with a team batting average of .230, the worst in the American League, the White Sox defeat the Cubs in the World Series in six games.


October 3, 1885 – On this date the Chicago Daily Tribune reports on a letter that the Chief Librarian of the city has sent to the Chairman of the Council Committee on Buildings.  The letter provides detail about the location of the city’s first library, housed in a converted water tank on Dearborn Street, just east of today's Rookery Building.  Mr. Poole, the librarian, urges the temporary removal of the library to the new City Hall, just up the street on Washington Boulevard, citing the grave risk of the city’s entire collection of books being destroyed by fire.  The present location of the library is "overcrowded already, many valuable books being in consequence stored in out-of-the-way corners for want of a place to put them.”  The library has four floors and no elevator.  On the fourth floor is a newspaper reading room of 3,292 square feet, a periodical reading room with 2,307 square feet, and a room for patent books and documents continuing 2,503 square feet.  The floor below contains the main collection in 16,324 square feet of space.  Since the collection of the library is increasing by 10,000 volumes a year and the threat of fire can not be ignored in a city that burned to the ground just 14 years earlier, Librarian Poole is a bit distressed that he has not received an answer from Alderman Mahony, to whom he had directed the letter.  The book room of the "water tank library" can be seen in the engraving above.

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