Thursday, October 8, 2020

October 8, 2003 -- Sting Entertains 40,000 at Grant Park Free Concert

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October 8, 2003 – As the Chicago Cubs are in the midst of defeating the Florida Marlins, 12-3, in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series at Wrigley Field, Sting performs before a crowd of 40,000 at a free concert in Grant Park.  The show takes place on a 140-foot stage that took eight days, 150 laborers, 24 trucks and $2 million to construct.  [Chicago Tribune, October 9, 2003]. With an eight-piece band behind him, Sting makes his way through 19 songs, ranging from his first hits to a couple of songs from his just-released “Sacred Love” album.  The concert was received favorably ... it is best not to reflect upon what happened in the 2003 National League Championship.  Certainly, don't ask Moises Alou about it.  Ever.

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October 8, 1949 – The Edens Parkway is dedicated with a bronze plaque honoring William G. Edens placed at the new road’s grade separation over Cicero Avenue just north of Foster Avenue.  In 1912 Edens, a banker, became the first president of the Illinois Highway Association and in that capacity began a campaign to pave the state’s roads, an effort that ultimately saw over $60 million in bond issues raised to fund highway construction.  Although construction continues on the new highway, by the end of 1950 it is anticipated that the new six-lane highway will carry more cars in a 24-hour period than existed in the entire state when Edens began urging a plan for the area’s future transportation needs.  Speaking at the event is Virgil E. Gunlock, the Chicago Commissioner of Subways and Superhighways and Illinois Lieutenant Governor Sherwood Dixon, who praises the cooperation of the state, county and city in the construction of the 15-mile highway as the three governmental bodies shared the $21 million cost of the project.  The highway ultimately opens on a December day in 1951 and is considered to be the city’s first true expressway. [newswttw.com] It was a better day in October than the official opening of the road on December 20, 1951 as the above photo shows.

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October 8, 1943 – The Art Institute of Chicago announces that it has acquired Salvador Dali’s “Inventions of the Monsters,” a 20- by 30-inch canvas that will be added to the Winterbotham collection, a group of paintings the acquisition of which was made possible through a trust fund established by Joseph Winterbotham in 1921. According to stipulations of the trust agreement, the fund was to be used solely to purchase modern paintings by foreign artists with the total number of paintings acquired to be capped at 35.  Although the painting has been on display at the museum since July, this is the first indication that the Art Institute will add it to its permanent collection.  According to the Art Institute’s website, Dali, when he learns that the Chicago museum has obtained his work, responds, “Am pleased and honored by your acquisition.  According to Nostradamus the apparition of monsters presages the outbreak of war.  This canvas was painted in the Semmering mountains near Vienna a few months before the Anschluss and has a prophetic character.  Horse women equal maternal river monsters.  Flaming giraffe equals cosmic masculine apocalyptic monster.  Cat angel equals divine heterosexual monster.  Hourglass equals metaphysical monster.  Gala and Dali equal sentimental monster.  The little blue dog alone is not a true monster.  Sincerely, Salvador Dali.”  [artic.edu]   Today “Inventions of the Monsters” can be viewed in Gallery 396 at the Art Institute of Chicago.


October 8, 1937 – Less than 72 hours after the new bridge opens carrying Lake Shore Drive across the Chicago River, the first accident occurs at 3:00 a.m. when a northbound auto hits the wall on the west section of the tricky s-curve leading onto the bridge.  The 21-year-old driver continues driving north in the darkness, rather than making the right angle turn and heading toward the lake where the second right angle carries the bridge across the river.  He ends up traveling over an 18-inch divider, crossing the southbound lanes of traffic, and slamming his car into a retaining wall.  A spokesman for the Illinois Automobile Club had observed earlier that no motorist would be able to make either of the two right-angle turns south of the bridge traveling any faster than 15 miles-per-hour.  Otto Jelinek, the traffic engineer for the Chicago Park District, says, “The new bridge is of benefit to the entire Chicago street transportation system, and if critics will be patient we’ll iron out the wrinkles in a few weeks.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 8, 1937] It would be 49 years before the “wrinkle” that choked Lake Shore Drive south of the bridge would be ironed out, but in 1986 a sweeping curve was opened, allowing for a far more efficient movement of traffic.  The above photo shows the dedication of the bridge on October 7 ... the accident occurs 72 hours later at the right angle shown in the bottom left of the photo.


October 8, 1934 – The Chicago Daily Tribune presents information gained from an interview with the three remaining survivors of the 225 fire fighters who lost the battle to save the city 63 years earlier.  Hoseman George Leady, 89-years-old, starts the reminiscing as the Retired Fireman’s Association of Chicago honors the few remaining surviving firemen who fought the inferno.  On the anniversary of the fire that destroyed 17,500 buildings and left between 90,000 and 100,000 people homeless, it is interesting to think about what Leady had to say.  It wasn’t until the third alarm came that the city’s largest fire wagon was dispatched, Engine No. 9 with a pumping capacity of 500 gallons per minute.  “It got hotter and hotter,” Leady says.  “We took doors off their hinges and held them in front of the pipemen to keep their coats from igniting.  The hose in the street, full of water as it was, began to smoke and char.”  The fire drove the men to Polk Street and finally all the way to Michigan Avenue and South Water Street where hoses were dropped directly into the river because the hydrants no longer worked.  “I was the last man on the south side of the river,” Leady says.  “. . . all our men were gone, gassed or knocked out by the smoke, except the driver and me . . . we abandoned the hose in the street and got four scared horses harnessed up.”  The driver, Johnny Reese, provides a crucial piece of information about the cause of the fire, snorting at the idea that a cow burned the city to the ground.  “Why I saw the whole bunch of loafers who started that fire,” Reese says.  “Those fellows had been drinking all afternoon in O’Leary’s barn, and smoking their pipes.  Some sparks of burning tobacco – they didn’t have cigarets (sic) in those days -- got into the hay and set the barn.  The whole bunch was standing round the hydrant at Forquer and DeKoven streets and I know, because I heard them talking among themselves.” \

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