Tuesday, July 7, 2020

July 7, 1889 -- Chicago River ... It Stinks

July 7, 1889 --  A Chicago Daily Tribune article provides a graphic description of the condition of the Chicago River, which it describes as “unprecedentedly horrible”.  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 7, 1889]. With journalistic tongue in cheek, the article describes dredging boats on the South Branch, “dipping up the heavy effluvia which rose from the surface,” depositing the odors on the shore where workmen cut them into blocks “resembling building stones,” claiming that “the Chicago River smell makes better material for foundations than concrete.”  The river is clearly in bad shape.  The article states, “As far out towards the lake as State street the surface is a mass of rising, shifting iridescent bubbles filled with deadly gas.  Generated in the filth below, they rise, float and sparkle for an instant, and go out with a gasp of poisonous breath.”  The lumber district of the South Branch presents “a solid surface of stagnant putrescence,” but that cannot compare to the waters of the South Fork – Bubbly Creek – where “the bloated carcasses of dead animals are lying on the surface everywhere.  A dozen at a time may be seen – and smelled – as the stagnant mass is stirred up.”   Farther south conditions continue to deteriorate as “The sputtering bubbles have here turned into boiling springs.  A mass of the slime ten feet across will suddenly commence to boil, and then it gurgles and surges, liberating thousands of feet of pestilent gases, and stopping only as another conglomeration of pollution commences its horrid bubbling.”  Pumps at Bridgeport, capable of moving 45,000 cubic feet of water a minute have no effect since they are pumping clear water that comes from the Ogden Slip and Mud Lake and has, because of recent rains, overflowed into the river itself.  Two of the eight pumps are out of order and two more are in bad shape … even in perfect conditions they are located too far south on the river to create enough of a current to move the mess that is upstream and cleanse it.  The article concludes, “The river in its present condition is a pestilence-breeding cesspool, a menace to everyone its foul breath reaches, and, as some of its filth may return through our water-faucets, it is a menace to the whole city.”  The Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, which would reverse the flow of the river and help to solve the problems that the river brought to those living near it, would still be 11 years away.

J. Bartholomew Photo
July 7, 1994 – The Lake County board agrees to join Lake Forest, Highland Park and Highwood in a committee that will determine ways in which Ft. Sheridan can be used.  The county and the three towns agree to appoint representatives to the committee, which will be given the responsibility for drawing up a comprehensive land-use plan for the closed Army base.  Lake Forest, Highland Park, and the County board will pay 30 percent of the committee’s costs while Highwood will contribute 10 percent.  Cook County board member Robert Buhai of Highland Park says that approval of the coalition at the county’s board meeting clears the way for the group to apply for federal grant money to help move the process along.

July 7, 1994 –Eldrick “Tiger” Woods, a “slender Cypress, Calif. prodigy who has been hyped as a future ‘Michael Jordan’ of golf,” competes in the opening qualifying round of the week-long Western Junior Open.  Observing a Par 4 on the sixteenth hole at Cog Hill’s No. 2 course in which Woods flied the green, landed behind a small tree, bumped the ball from there to within 18 feet of the pin, and made the putt, his father, Earl Woods, says, “He does that all the time.  He gets deep in trouble and comes out with a par—sometimes a birdie.  I’ve told him, ‘You’re gonna give me a heart attack.’ He just laughs.” [Chicago Tribune, July 8, 1994] Woods goes on to bogey Number 17 and 18, finishing the day with a 72, four strokes behind leader David Griffith of Aurora, Ohio.  The score leaves him in good position to make the group of 32 qualifiers out of a field of 178 players who are 19 years-old or under.  After the round, Woods says to reporters, “The attention I receive has been a big hassle, a pain in the butt.  No matter how I play, the media asks questions about my golf. My father tries to tone this down, but the questions are always there.”  As the photo above shows, six weeks later Woods would take the championship trophy at the U. S. Amateur Championship at the Tournament Players Club in Ponte Vedra, Florida, after being five down with twelve holes to play.

July 7, 1977 – The Chicago City Council sets up a special assessment district to collect revenue from State Street merchants for the cost and maintenance of the State Street pedestrian mall, scheduled for completion by March of 1979.  With suburban malls springing up as fast as they can be built and with many patrons who traditionally do their shopping on State Street moving to the suburbs, the thinking is that closing the street to all but bus and pedestrian traffic will make it more attractive to shoppers.  The idea comes a tad too late, and in the 17 years that the mall is open Wieboldt’s, Sear’s, Montgomery Ward, Goldblatt’s, Baskin’s, and the Bond store all go out of business.  There are as many reasons for the mall’s lack of success as there are people to share them.  Chicago’s Planning Commissioner in the 1980’s, Elizabeth Hollander, said, “The mall took the excitement out of State Street.”  Adrian Smith, the lead architect in putting the street back together again, said, “The buses would line up, one after another, like a herd, with their diesel fumes.”  Mayor Richard M. Daley, who hitched a ride on one of the machines that began breaking up the mall in 1996, said, “As Mayor I have found it difficult to find out whose idea this was in the first place.”  [New York Times, February 1, 1996]

July 7, 1954 – The vice-president of the New York Life Insurance Company, Otto Nelson, announces that the company will embark on the construction of the final 1,040 housing units needed to complete the 1,640-unit Lake Meadows housing project on the south side. Moving forward on the completion of the project was contingent on the city’s commitment to build a new school on two acres of ground near Thirty-First Street and the Illinois Central Railroad tracks, land that the insurance company would provide. Although the board of education, represented by the Superintendent of Schools, Benjamin Willis, could not give that commitment because its funds for 1954 and 1955 had already been allocated, assurance was provided that a school would be ready by the completion of the project.  The John J. Pershing School for the Humanities is the school that currently stands at that location.  Lake Meadows is shown in the above photo -- the glassy towers marching south in the right third of the photo.  Toward the right corner is the Pershing School, sitting just west of the railroad tracks.

Monday, July 6, 2020

July 6, 1954 -- Chicago Transit Authority Makes Major Upgrade on Lake Street Line

July 6, 1954 – The last trips are made by wood and steel elevated cars on the Lake Street branch of the system, today’s Green Line, between the Loop and Forest Park.  The general manager of the Chicago Transit Authority, Walter J. McCarter, reports that enough modern cars have been received to provide all metal cars for the Lake Street branch.  Metal cars have not previously been used on the Lake Street line because of a city ordinance that requires any elevated branch that heads into a subway to be made up of all metal cars.  Those lines had priority for the new cars.  Wood and steel cars will continue to be used during rush hours on the Ravenswood, Douglas Park, and Garfield Park branches and for the Evanston-Wilmette line.  The wood and steel cars date as far back as 1914 and 1915 when 250 of them were built by the Cincinnati Car Company.  A second order of 200 similar cars was delivered between 1922 and 1924.  The St. Louis Car Company delivered 200 of the new 6000-series cars to the C.T.A., beginning in August 1950.  Interestingly, the C.T.A. had purchased 600 brand new streetcars in 1947 and 1948 “when it became painfully evident that a tremendous shift was underway in travel habits from public transit to private automobiles”. [Chicago-l.org]  The agency solved two problems at the same time by rebuilding the streetcars into rapid transit cars.  Although the existing streetcar could not be modified as a whole, all of the components, right down to light fixtures and window frames, were used to outfit a new body shell, work which the St. Louis Car Company did between 1950 and 1959.  Three generations of equipment used on the Lake Street line are shown above – a wood car, a 4000-series car (the ones replaced in the early 1950’s), and a car of the bicentennial era.

July 6, 1964 – The 35-story Equitable building, now 401 North Michigan Avenue, is topped out in a light rain as a 35-foot white beam with the names of 6,000 Chicagoans written on it is hoisted into place at the top of the tower.  Also on the beam is the number 192,113,484, corresponding to the population of the United States at this time.  The building, designed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill in the mid-century modern style, is already 75 percent rented.  At a luncheon for about 200 civic and business leaders at the Sheraton Chicago Hotel, James F. Coates, the chairman of the Equitable Life Assurance Company of the United States, says that the landscaped area to be built south of Tribune Tower and in front of the Equitable building will be “the most beautiful in the world.”  [Chicago Tribune, July 7, 1964]  Today the trees that have stood in that area for 44 years have all been cut down and the area to the southwest of the tower is the site of the Michigan Avenue Apple store, which opened in the Fall of 2017.  In the above photo 401 North Michigan sits on Michigan Avenue with another Skidmore design, NBC Tower, to the east.

July 6, 1935 – The razing of the old Coast Guard station at the mouth of the Chicago River begins, work that is expected to take three weeks to complete.  Dedicated in 1903, the station’s days became numbered when part of it was destroyed by fire in 1933.  As soon as the demolition is complete, work will begin on a new station with work expected to wind up by late fall.  The old station had responded to 8,454 calls for assistance.   The old station with flag still flying proudly is shown above, along with the photo showing the station today.

July 6, 1915 – On its way to the Panama-Pacific Exposition in San Francisco, the Liberty Bell Special makes a stop at the La Salle Street station on a rainy evening.  Three hundred police officers are stationed around the station as “modern patriots by the thousands – grown patriots and patriots of the public schools, war patriots and peace patriots, Republican, and Democrat, and Socialist patriots – stormed the station.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 7, 1915] Some were fortunate to gain entrance to the station, but “tens of thousands” had to remain outside in a downpour. When the train arrives, over an hour behind schedule, three Army buglers, “trim and ramrod straight” signal its entrance. Then the line of people that stretches from Van Buren to Monroe Streets begins an orderly entrance to view the Liberty Bell, which stands on a specially constructed flat car, suspended in a wooden frame. A special guest is 10-year-old Margaret Cummins of 1102 Wellington Avenue, whose great-great-great grandfather, Jacob Mauger, took the bell to his farm and buried it when he learned that British soldiers were coming to seize it.  The bell remains in the city until midnight when it begins the next leg of its coast-to-coast trip.  This is the second trip that the Liberty Bell has made its appearance in the city ... the first visit was a much longer stay at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition as the above photo shows.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

July 5, 1967 -- Lions Club Lines Up for Longest Parade in Club History

July 5, 1967 – More than 18,000 members of Lions International parade down Michigan Avenue from Wacker Drive to Ninth Street as 200,000 people view the procession.  The parade steps off at 9:30 a.m. on a route that is supposed to last four hours.  However, four hours into the event units are still lining up at the starting line.  The parade finally ends at 2:55 p.m.  For the members of Lions International this was the largest parade ever mounted.  Appropriately, it marks the fiftieth anniversary of the organization, which was founded on June 7, 1917 at the La Salle Hotel in Chicago. Included in the parade are more than 40 floats, along with costumed marching units from all over the world; there is even a goat, bird, pig and groundhog from Virginia accompanying a “motley looking brand of ‘moonshiners.’”  Mayor Daley is at the reviewing stand between Harrison and Balbo before he leaves to speak at the opening of the Lions convention at Chicago Stadium. Governor Otto Kerner is also on hand to watch the festivities.  The above photo, taken in 1919, shows the original Lions Club members arranged in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.

July 5, 1938 – The Deerpath Inn of Lake Forest is swept by a fire that does $250,000 damage, most of which is covered by insurance.  Although the walls of the hotel are still standing, the top floor is destroyed with much of the rest of the structure damaged by smoke and water.  The dormitories of Ferry Hall at Lake Forest College are opened for hotel guests who “just had time to snatch their jewelry and clothes before the fire swept their rooms.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 6, 1938] Fire departments from North Chicago, Fort Sheridan and the Great Lakes Naval Training Station are needed to help the Lake Forest firefighters. The first Deerpath Inn was located on Deerpath Road and was converted from a private residence. In 1928 the hotel moved to a new location with 102 rooms in a three-story structure. The second Deerpath Inn was designed by architect William C. Jones who based his design on a Manor House in Chiddingstone, Kent, England. [LFLB History.org] Today the inn, now called the Deer Path Inn, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a member of the Historic Hotels of America.  The inn has a special place in this writer's heart. When I was a sophomore in high school the Army transferred my father to Fort Sheridan, and arriving in a frozen Chicago in November of 1965 after nearly four years in Hawaii, this was the first place we stayed.

J. Bartholomew Photo

July 5, 1915 – The South Park Commission places plans for the improvement of Grant Park on exhibit in Blackwell Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago.  The exhibit includes a model of the peristyle, designed by Edward H. Bennett, that will stand in the northwest corner of the park at the corner of Randolph Street and Michigan Avenue.  Other plans include a pair of pylons sixty feet tall to mark the entrance to the park and a line of trees from Randolph Street to Twelfth Street with a gravel walk 30 feet wide beside them.  J. F. Foster, Superintendent of the South Park Commissioners, says that when the work is completed Grant Park “will be a beauty spot unsurpassed by any of the formal gardens in the United States and equaled only by the public gardens of Italy.”  [Chicago Tribune, July 4, 1915] One of the great pylons, part of the 1915 plan, that today greets visitors to the park is pictured above.  Note the "Y" symbol in its center panel.

July 5, 1911 – An unabated heat wave in the opening days of July reaches a high of 101.5 degrees at 2:00 p.m. on July 5 with devastating results.  In the first five days of the month 125 infants have died from heat-related causes.  The fear is that a far greater number is to come.  Dr. C. St. Clair Drake of the Bureau of Vital Statistics says, “The soured milk fed the children in these hot days has started intestinal disorders which are rapidly growing worse.”  On this day 44 men and women die with one man, “crazed by the high temperature” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 6, 1911] hanging himself.  Ice companies are having tremendous difficulty in transporting ice to the outlying sections of the city since so much of the shipment melts before it reaches its destination.  Shrinkage is usually about ten per cent; ice companies are losing close to 80 per cent of their shipments in trying to get it delivered. As a result, fresh milk, fruit and other food items are in short supply in some parts of the city. Companies are also having difficulty in keeping their horses up and working.  Forty horses have died on city streets and over 200 have been affected so much that they cannot work.  The Humane Society has received 300 emergency calls since July 3.  On this one day alone over 300 horses are felled near the Loop with just one fountain for teamsters to water their horses in the area, that in front of the Y.W.C.A. on South Michigan Avenue.  Cooling temperatures and a slight chance of rain is predicted for July 6.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

July 4, 1974 -- Marquette Building in Jeopardy

J. Bartholomew Photo
July 4, 1974 – The Chicago Tribune reports that an attorney for the owner of the Marquette Building on the northwest corner of Adams and Dearborn Streets has labeled a city proposal for saving the building as “premature and not pertinent.” [Chicago Tribune, July 4, 1974]  The city’s proposal had been put forth on June 10 when the city Commissioner of Development and Planning, Lewis H. Hill, suggested that the building could be saved if the owner, Romanek-Golub and Co., was given “lucrative zoning bonuses” that would allow it to raze the buildings in the block bounded by Adams, Dearborn, Clark and Monroe Streets while allowing the Marquette to remain.  The position of Romanek-Golub is that it cannot “earn a fair income on operation of the Marquette under any circumstances” and that landmark status for the building “stigmatizes any building in the eyes of lending agencies and others.”  A position paper in which the Department of Architecture at the University of Illinois Chicago Circle assesses the worth of the building states, “The preservation of the great works of architecture, which are this city’s unique, valuable, and ongoing contribution to the culture and civilization of the twentieth century, must be seen as a positive force that will enhance the quality and thus the life of the city.”

July 4, 1902 – 10,000 people gather in Independence Square at Douglas Park and Garfield Boulevard as Illinois Governor Richard Yates unveils a great fountain as a band plays, Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean and 700 school children sing along.  In his speech the governor says, “You may go around the world, and into every port, and you will find no flag so dear to the seekers for freedom as the stars and stripes that wave over there.  It represents an unequaled, a sublime, and unprecedented citizenship.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 5, 1902]  The sculpture by Charles J. Mulligan stands on top of a 15-foot base in the shape of the Liberty Bell.  The children in the sculpture hold Roman candles that once served as fountainheads.  They also carry a flag, bugle and drum in the celebration of an old-fashioned Fourth of July.  Today the fountain basin is dry, surrounded by a ten-foot high fence as the above photo shows.

July 4, 1891 – The flag at Fort Sheridan is raised for the first time on its new flagstaff at 9:30 a.m. The Fifteenth Infantry is called out in full dress parade at 9:00 a.m., forming up on the road between the main entrance to the fort and the guardhouse, opposite to and facing the flagstaff.  Edith Crofton, the youngest daughter of the post’s commandant, Colonel R. E. A. Crofton, is given the honor of raising the flag.  The Chicago Daily Tribune reports, “It was no light task for a young woman to hoist a large flag to the top of a staff 210 feet high.  Nevertheless she bravely tugged at the rope and the flag slowly but surely ascended.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 5, 1891]. As the flag reached the top, the assembled soldiers presented arms, and as spectators applauded, the post’s musicians played “The Star Spangled Banner.”

July 4, 1883 – A reporter for the Chicago Daily Tribune sets out for a stroll through the Lake-Front park, today’s Grant Park, as “a deliciously cool breeze fanned his perspiring brow.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 4, 1883] He discovers that nearly every bench had one or two occupants, concluding that “as a tramps’ paradise the park was an eminent success.  Deep, raspy snores, indicative of a tranquil slumber, floated up from various quarters of the park, and here and there could be dimly seen a recumbent figure, flat on its back, its arms and legs ungracefully distributed about it, a coat serving as a pillow and darkness as a cove.” Encountering a police officer on his way out of the park, the reporter asks if the situation is normal and if anything is being done about it. “Yes, sometimes we pull ‘em in,” responds the officer. “but not often. It’s only when they’re drunk and come down here disturbing the quiet sleepers.  They’re not all bums that sleeps here.  Some of ‘em are pretty well-to-do, but put on their old clothes, leave their valuables at home, and come down here to sleep.  It’s cooler, you know, than sleeping in a close room.  Come down and try it some night, and I’ll see that you ain’t arrested.” The above photo shows the park as the decade comes to an end.

Friday, July 3, 2020

July 3, 1933 -- Century of Progress Highlights

July 3, 1933 – It is a B-I-G day at the Century of Progress World’s Fair on the eve of the Fourth of July.  The Firestone exhibit is dedicated with 300 employees from Akron, Ohio rolling into town to take part in the festivities.  A cat’s eye, “known as one of the rarest gems,” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 4, 1933]. Is added to the collection of precious and semi-precious stones on the second floor of the General Exhibits Group.  The cat’s eye is used as the centerpiece of the jewel of head dresses for the maharajahs in India.  And a bit of bad news … Dr. Frank Baylor, head of the emergency hospital at the fair, is called to give first aid treatment to Louis, one of the elephants in the show at the 101 Ranch.  Apparently, poor Louis developed blisters on his feet from too much parading.  Louis is equipped with a leather boot and told to take some weight off his feet.  

July 3, 1976 – The Chicago Tribune reports that artist Marc Chagall has donated a set of windows, entitled “The American Windows,” to the Art Institute of Chicago as a Bicentennial gift.  The windows will measure eight by thirty feet and will be installed in an area overlooking McKinlock Court, a space illuminated by natural light.  Chagall holds the city in warm regard as a result of the experiences he had in 1973 and 1974 in the creation and dedication of his mosaic The Four Seasons, installed on the east side of the plaza of the First National Bank of Chicago, now Exelon Plaza.

July 3, 1946 –The International Harvester Company opens an exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry, providing “a complete Midwestern agricultural exhibit with mooing cows, cawing crows, and the latest in farm equipment.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 2, 1946] The exhibit includes a modern farm home, “lifelike” barnyard animals and natural sound effects.  Part of the exhibit is a historical timeline of the development of farm machinery since the invention of the reaper by Cyrus McCormick in 1831.  Mr. John L. McCaffrey, the International Harvester president, speaks at the dedication, saying that the model farm will illustrate “the close mechanical tie between urban and rural life.”  Dr. George D. Sotddard, the new president of the University of Illinois, also speaks.  The photo above shows workers readying the exhibit for the public in 1946.

July 3, 1933 – All available police reserves are called out as 125,000 members of the city’s Jewish population attend “The Romance of a People,” sponsored by the Jewish Agency for Palestine, a pageant portraying the history of the Jewish race at Soldier Field.  Five years has been spent in the planning of the spectacle.  Writing for the Chicago Daily Tribune, James O’Donnell Bennett observes, “As I followed bright threads of fortitude, of tenacity, of abiding faith, and of stalwart racial consciousness and racial fidelity from which this fabric of drama was woven, I marveled that any Jew should ever be other than inordinately proud of his ethical and cultural inheritance, so rich and so ancient.  ‘Tis the rest of us who are parvenus by compare.”  At 9:00 p.m. twelve rabbis bear a gigantic scroll that is over twelve feet high to an altar in the center of the floor of the immense stadium. For two hours amplified voices read the story carried in the Torah as the drama unfolds.  At various times there are 750 dancing girls spreading flowers around the altar of the Pentateuch, Roman legionaries and chariots, and 3,500 actors acting out parts of the drama as 2,500 choir members sing, “their voices being led out to the audience by the most nearly perfect system of amplification that has ever been set up on this continent.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 4, 1933].  Most of those attending the pageant had spent the Jewish Day at the grounds of the Century of Progress World’s Fair, and their movement from the grounds to Soldier Field, starting around 7:30 p.m., overwhelmed the 400 policemen originally posted to maintain an orderly flow into the pageant.  Another 400 officers are called in, and 46 ticket windows, each with two cashiers are opened up.  Michigan Avenue is closed between Monroe Street and Twenty-Third Street in order for the crowd to reach elevated and bus lines when the show ends with the prophecies of Isaiah, “’Neither shall they learn war any more’ … as a single voice, high and clear, wafts into the starry sky, ‘How beautiful are thy tabernacles, O Lord!’”  The pageant is repeated on the next evening after the Tribune offers to sponsor the reprise performance so that “rich and poor of all creeds might witness the gigantic spectacle.”

July 3, 1912 – The Chicago Daily Tribune reports that a new record for inheritance taxes in Illinois has been set with a tax of $329,131 assessed on the estimated $17,000,000 estate of the late R. T. Crane.  Payment of the tax by July 8, 1912 will save the heirs of the estate more than $16,000 because of a five per cent allowance for prompt payment.  The estate of Marshall Field had set the previous record, with a tax on his estate of $125,000.  The Field estate, however, sheltered nearly a half-million dollars in tax liability by insuring that property in the estate did not pass on to heirs at the time of Field’s death.  Richard T. Crane had the singular fortune of being born the nephew of Chicago lumber baron Martin Ryerson.  At the age of 23, the young man moved to Chicago and began a partnership with his brother.  Crane’s timing could not have been better.  He had established himself as an astute businessman in the city years before the 1871 fire.  After the fire his mill met the appetite of the city, supplying it with pipe, steam engines and even elevators as architecture moved from four- or five-story buildings to soaring towers.  The company’s manufacture of enameled cast iron bathroom fixtures also synced up nicely with the demand for luxurious indoor sanitary facilities.  In 1910 the Crane company factories in Chicago employed over 5,000 men.  For more information on the Crane company and the son of its founder you can turn to this section of Connecting the Windy City.

Thursday, July 2, 2020

July 2, 1992-- Nike Town Chicago Opens On Michigan Avenue

July 2, 1992 – A thousand invitees join Mayor Richard M. Daley and a host of celebrity athletes as they open Nike Town, “the new high-tech shop created for those who aspire to perspire.”  [Chicago Tribune, July 3, 1992].   A half-hundred television screens show action shots of Michael Jordan wearing his Nike shoes as Jerry Seinfeld has fun with the grandness of the store.  The air conditioning system is overburdened as Seinfeld jokes that the Nike folks knew how to throw a “hot party.”  Guests enjoy shrimp, chicken, beef and peeled tomatoes sautéed with vodka for two hours before they are led into the store itself where, to the beat of house music, they encounter a life-size sculpture of Scottie Pippen floating 30 feet off the main floor.  The 68,000 square-foot store features more than shoes and sportswear … there are museum exhibits, aquariums, video theaters, and half of a basketball court.  Pneumatic tubes connect selling areas to the stock area on the fourth floor where “burly men sprint between shelves of orange and black boxes, pluck out the required shoes and feed them into the system.”  [The New York Times, July 19, 1992]. The price tag for the fitness emporium is estimated at $34 million.  The Chicago store comes just two years after Nike’s first Nike Town in-line store was opened in Portland, Oregon. 

July 2, 1974 – For the first time in 25 years mounted policemen go on patrol, making the rounds of Grant Park, Lincoln Park and Washington Park as bystanders greet the new patrols with positive reviews.  “The idea,” reports the Chicago Tribune, “is to have highly mobile and highly visible policemen on duty in the parks.”   According to the official website of the Chicago Police Department, the Mounted Patrol Unit currently maintains 32 geldings, chosen “for uniformity in appearance, size and temperament.”  All mounted officers must undergo a 14-week training program with only half of the officers who begin the program making the cut.  Mounted personnel include one lieutenant, four sergeants and 27 mounted patrol officers with the unit’s stables and training facility located within the South Shore Cultural Center grounds at 7059 south Shore Drive. According to the C.P.D. website, benefits of the horseback patrol include, “visibility for an officer to see over crowds of situations as well as for increased perception of police presence when a person can see an officer in a crowd.  They provide mobility, many times allowing an officer to get to a scene faster and more efficiently than on foot or in a vehicle.  They are Ambassadors of Good Will and encourage approachability by members of the public, since many people love animals or are curious about horses.”   Mounted officers are particularly effective in crowd management with one officer on horseback equaling the presence of ten officers on foot.  The above photo presents the first graduating class of mounted officers in 1974.

July 2, 1952 – The final section of the $22,000,000 Edens expressway is opened to traffic.  The last section of the highway connects the highway north of Lake-Cook Road to Skokie Road in Highland Park.  The completed expressway is named after William G. Edens, a Chicago banker who was the sponsor of the state’s first highway bond issue 34 years earlier.  The above photo, taken in 1952, shows the beginning of the new highway passing over Cicero Avenue.

July 2, 1894 –A United States Marshal reads an injunction to 2,000 strikers in Blue Island, an order restraining them from interfering with the operation of the Rock Island and 20 other railroads after which the assembled men “howled defiance at the Marshal and his deputies and promptly violated the injunction by throwing a box car across the tracks and stopping all traffic for the night.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 2, 1894] The injunction comes over a month after 3,000 workers go on strike at the Pullman Palace Car Company on Chicago’s South Side.  By the end of June, the strike had spread to 27 states, forcing the United States Attorney General to issue the order, which is read in Blue Island on this night. The local and state police forces are outmanned, and a call to the federal government for help is made as stranded railroad passengers are refused food and water by local merchants.  President Grover Cleveland is forced to order federal troops from Fort Sheridan to restore order and clear the way for mail, passengers and inter-state freight..

July 2, 1890:  Charles L. Hutchinson returns fro Europe, bringing with him a treasure trove of paintings destined ultimately to find their way to the Art Institute.  A year earlier Hutchinson, while in Florence, saw the collection of Prince Anatoly Nikolaievich Demidoff, a Russian industrialist and diplomat who had died shortly before.  It was Hutchinson’s original intention to make arrangements to have the prince’s collection displayed in Chicago and then returned to Florence, but upon arriving he discovered that Demidoff’s widow was looking to sell the paintings.  Hutchinson quickly arranged to meet Martin Ryerson, a wealthy Chicago steel tycoon, in Paris, and the two men get to work contacting money men back home, including Marshall Field and Phllip Armour.  For $200,000 the Chicago syndicate got thirteen paintings that Hutchinson describes in this way, “The collection is indeed superb.  It would be a worthy addition to the Louvre itself.  The names of the artists include Rembrandt, Hobbema, Van Ostade, Van Dyke, Johann Steen, Terburg, Teniers, Adrian Van der Velde, William Van der Velde, and Rubens.  With the exception of the Rembrandt there is nowhere in America anything to compare with these examples of the old Dutch artists.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, July 3, 1890]  Jan Steen’s groovy “The Family Concert” of 1666 was part of the collection, given to the museum by Hutchinson in 1891.

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.