Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Red Hot Ranch at 3118 West Devon Avenue, Chicago, Illinois. (1952-1985)

In 1952, Isabel & Al Deutch opened the Red Hot Ranch on Devon Avenue between Albany Avenue, and Troy Street in Chicago’s far north side community of West Ridge in the West Rogers Park neighborhood. Little did they know they were creating a hot dog icon that would be remembered for well over a half century.
A William Rubin original one-of-a-kind watercolor of the Red Hot Ranch painted especially for my sister. The original detailed oil painting hangs in the Vienna Beef headquarters.
Isabel hired many neighborhood kids. She was like a second mom to all. Mailmen started and ended their routes there, getting a cup of coffee in the morning and a hot dog, fries and a Nedlog (Golden spelled backwards) drink (grape or orange) in the afternoon.

Al was a chemical engineer who gladly worked the stand during the late shift, often going past midnight, wrapping those Vienna hot dogs and fries together. It was the hangout best remembered for its vitality as a happening little shack and the center of the neighborhood activity for many years.

The Ranch, as it was known, is gone now but will always be a part of the north side culture. Vienna Beef inducted the Red Hot Ranch on September 24, 2010.

High resolution prints on quality papers, canvas or wrapped canvas in sizes up to 60" x 40"


The History of Rosiclare, Illinois, in Hardin County on the Ohio River.

Hardin county was made by taking the south end of Gallatin and the northeast part of Pope. It was created March 2, 1839, and was only 185 square miles in size.
The second smallest county in Illinois next to Putnam county. There are three towns in the county; Elizabethtown, with a 2010 population of 299; Rosiclare, 1160; and Cave-in-Rock, 318. 

The first settler within the limits of the county was reported to be James McFarlan, Sr., who had a contract with the United States to furnish beef for the garrison at Fort Massac. He settled at the present site of Elizabethtown in 1808, where the trail crossed from Nashville, Tennessee to the salt works at Equality.
Here McFarlan ran a ferry across the Ohio for twenty years. William McFarlan was also a settler as early as 1808. Benona Lee came in 1809. In 1808 Govenor William H. Harrison gave permission to Isaac White and Jonathan Taylor to operate a ferry at Elizabethtown. John King was the first cabinet maker. Mr. Ewell was the first teacher and Rev. Stilly, a Baptist minister, preached the first sermon in the county.
In 1839 lead was discovered on the farm of Mr. James Anderson, one mile south of the site of the present day town of Rosiclare. Nothing was done at that time toward developing the deposit. In 1842 a Mr. Pell, living one mile north of Rosiclare, discovered fluorspar and lead. Companies were organized and mines opened.
These mines were worked at intervals until 1851 when they were abandoned. Nothing more was done until recent years when the fluorspar mines were opened up. Since then there has been great activity in the fluorspar, zinc, and lead mining businesses. The mines are less than a mile out of Rosiclare. There were two railroads built, one steam and the other electric, leading to the river and used to move the raw products of the mines to the river where they are loaded on to barges for transportation to buyers. The mines were closed due to cheaper foreign competition in 1996.
Since 1965, the annual Hardin County Fluorspar Festival has been held in the fall in Rosiclare, Illinois to celebrate the influences brought to the area by the Fluorspar Mining Industry. 

Eldorado Illinois' Founding History.

The surveyor was Martin D. Gillett, and the plat was made on May 24, 1858. Elderedo, which now is called Eldorado, was named for its founders - Judge Samuel Elder, his son, William Elder, his grandson, Francis Marion Elder, and a neighbor, William Reed. 
The Interurban Train of Southern Illinois Railway and Power Company Heading out from Eldorado to Carrier Mills.
The post office was established on December 8, 1858, and Nathaniel Bramlet was the first postmaster. Early Elderedo had only three streets laid out. The State Road became State Street, Walnut Street, and West Street. The business houses were on State and Walnut Streets. The first businesses in Eldorado were started just before and in the Civil War period.  Hiram Brown had the first dry-goods store on State Street. Tom Vaughn later built a general store, as did Cox and Elder, all on State Street. 

John H. Scott, a farmer, opened a general store in Eldorado after his return from war service. Scott also, with four others, organized a company and drilled the first oil well in the county. From 1896 to 1906, John H. Scott engaged in the business of selling buggies and light vehicles.   

The first general stores in Eldorado were owned by Nathaniel Bramlett and N. Webber. Each of these stores was started before the Civil War. In 1872, Choisser Bros. operated a livery stable and also ran a hack daily to Benton and return. Womack Bros, sold boots and shoes, hats, caps, family groceries, and a general line usually sold in such stores. The Eldorado Grange established a store in 1879, where they sold dry goods, notions, hats, caps, boots and shoes, trace lines, hardware, check lines, and farm implements.

In 1865, Doctor John F. Latham entered into a partnership with his brother, S. C. Latham, in the drug business under the firm name of Latham Bros., and advertised "we will respectfully inform the citizens of Eldorado and vicinity that we will keep constantly on hand a full stock of articles in the line of business which we will sell as cheap as any other druggist in southern Illinois." Cummins & Vaughn opened a "family" grocery store there in 1872.

Major William Elder built the first hotel. It furnished lodging for those who were employed building the railroads through the village. 

The original village was incorporated in 1870, with the following board of trustees: William Elder, president; James S. Neal, W. C. Wiedemann, J. N. Elder, and G. L. Eubanks, members. 

A. Ledvina was a carpenter, joiner, undertaker, and manufacturer and dealer of furniture. In 1887, Eldorado boasted two drug stores, four dry goods stores, five groceries, one clothing store, one hardware store, one stove and tin-ware shop, one harness shop, one jeweler, one foundry and machine shop, two sawmills, two millinery stores, two livery stables, three hotels, one lumber yard, and one spoke factory.

The most extensive business interests in Eldorado were those of the Burnetts. C. P. Burnett began a mercantile firm in 1871, with his brother-in-law under the name of Burnett & Musgrave. This firm continued until 1885, when Burnett opened his own general store. In 1889, he organized the firm of C. P. Burnett & Sons, taking in with him his sons, C. H., L. E., R. E., and C. P.  In 1903, after the death of the elder Burnett, the business was incorporated and continued by the sons. The general merchandise store was divided into separate stores selling clothing, hardware, and groceries. It was in this business that the elder Burnett started the first bank; It was started by Burnett accepting sums of money from his customers merely for safe keeping for which he paid no interest. Out of this practice evolved a private bank which later was granted a charter as a state bank. Burnett owned large holdings in land and was interested in many other enterprises in and around Eldorado.

This settlement, by 1896, could boast of exceptional railroad facilities - The Illinois Central, The Louisville and Nashville, and The Chicago, Cleveland, Cincinnati and St. Louis. Like several other villages, when the railroad company placed the name on the station, the name was spelled Eldorado, instead of Elderedo, and it has been known by that name since that time. East Eldorado begins at First Street, and was added after the original village was platted. 

Broadway at Leland Avenue looking north toward Lawrence Avenue Chicago, Illinois. 1926

Broadway at Leland Avenue looking north toward Lawrence Avenue Chicago, Illinois. 1926

The Story of an American Merchant, Richard W. Sears in Chicago by 1893.

Richard Warren Sears was born on December 7, 1863, in Stewartville, Minnesota, to Eliza A. Benton and James Warren Sears, a successful wagon maker.

When Richard was 15, his father lost his substantial fortune in a stock farm venture; his father died two years later. Young Richard then took a job in the general offices of the Minneapolis and St. Paul Railroad to help support his widowed mother and his sisters.

Once he had qualified as a station agent Sears asked to be transferred to a smaller town in the belief that he could do better there financially than in the big city. Eventually he was made station agent in Redwood Falls, Minnesota, where he took advantage of every selling opportunities that came his way. He used his experience with railroad shipping and telegraph communications to develop his idea for a mail-order business.

As a railroad station agent in a small Minnesota town, Sears lived modestly, sleeping in a loft right at the station and doing chores to pay for his room and board. Since his official duties were not time consuming, Sears soon began to look for other ways to make money after working hours. He ended up selling coal and lumber and he also shipped venison purchased from Native American tribes.

In 1886 an unexpected opportunity came his way when a jeweler in town refused to accept a shipment of watches because no rail freight charges had been paid. Rather than having the railroad pay to return the shipment, Sears obtained permission to dispose of the watches himself. He then offered them to other station agents for $14 each, pointing out that they could resell the watches for a tidy profit. 

The strategy worked and before long Sears was buying more watches to sustain a flourishing business. Within just a few months after he began advertising in St. Paul, Sears quit his railroad job and set up a mail-order business in Minneapolis that he named the R. W. Sears Watch Company.

Offering goods by mail rather than in a retail store had the advantage of low operating costs. Sears had no employees and he was able to rent a small office for just $10 a month. His desk was a kitchen table and he sat on a chair he had bought for 50 cents. But the shabby surroundings did not discourage the energetic young entrepreneur. Hoping to expand his market, Sears advertised his watches in national magazines and newspapers. Low costs and a growing customer base enabled him to make enough money in his first year to move to Chicago and publish a catalog of his goods.
In Chicago Sears hired Alvah C. Roebuck to fix watches that had been returned to the company for adjustments or repairs. The men soon became business partners and they started handling jewelry as well as watches. A master salesman, Sears developed a number of notable advertising and promotional schemes, including the popular and lucrative "club plan." According to the rules of the club, 38 men placed one dollar each week into a pool and chose a weekly winner by lot. Thus, at the end of 38 weeks, each man in the club had his own new watch. Such strategies boosted revenues so much that by 1889 Sears decided to sell the business for $70,000 and move to Iowa to become a banker.

Sears soon grew bored with country life, however, and before long he had started a new mail-order business featuring watches and jewelry. Because he had agreed not to compete for the same business in the Chicago market for a period of three years after selling his company, Sears established his new enterprise in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He hired Roebuck again and this time he dubbed the product of their partnership A. C. Roebuck and Company. In 1893 Sears moved the business to Chicago and renamed it Sears, Roebuck and Company.


Once established in Chicago, the company grew rapidly. The first edition of the Sears catalog published in the mid-1880s had included a list of only 25 watches. 

By 1892, however, it had expanded to 140 pages offering "everything from wagons to baby carriages, shotguns to saddles." Sales soared to nearly $280,000. A mere two years later the catalog contained 507 pages worth of merchandise that average Americans could afford. Orders poured in steadily and the customer base continued to grow. By 1900 the number of Sears catalogs in circulation reached 853,000.

Sears was the architect of numerous innovative selling strategies that contributed to his company's development. In addition to his club plan, for example, he came up with what was known as the "Iowazation" project: the company asked each of its best customers in Iowa to distribute two dozen Sears catalogs. These customers would then receive premiums based on the amount of merchandise ordered by those to whom they had distributed the catalogs. The scheme proved to be spectacularly successful and it ended up being used in other states, too.

Richard Sears had a genius for marketing and he exploited new technologies to reach customers nationwide via mail-order. At first he targeted rural areas: People had few retail options there and they appreciated the convenience of being able to shop from their homes. Sears made use of the telegraph as well as the mails for ordering and communicating. He relied on the country's expanding rail freight system to deliver goods quickly; passage of the Rural Free Delivery Act made servicing remote farms and villages even easier and less expensive.

Such tremendous growth led to problems, however. While Sears was a brilliant marketer (he wrote all of the catalog material), he lacked solid organizational and management skills. He frequently offered merchandise in the catalog that he did not have available for shipment, and after the orders came in he had to scramble to find the means to fill them. Workdays were frequently 16 hours long; the partners themselves toiled seven days a week. Fulfilling orders accurately and efficiently also posed a challenge. One customer wrote, "For heaven's sake, quit sending me sewing machines. Every time I go to the station I find another one.

You have shipped me five already." Roebuck became exhausted by the strain of dealing with these concerns and he sold his interest in the company to Sears in 1895 for $25,000.
With his partner out of the picture, Sears badly needed a manager. He eventually found one in Aaron Nussbaum, who bought into the company with his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenwald. It was Rosenwald, not Sears, who transformed Sears, Roebuck "from a shapeless, inefficient, rapidly expanding corporate mess into the retailing titan of much of the twentieth century." He streamlined the system by which orders were processed, employing a color-coding scheme to track them and an assembly-line method of filling them. These efficient new techniques enabled the company to meet the challenge of handling an ever-increasing number of orders. 

By 1895 the company was grossing almost $800,000 a year. Five years later that figure had shot up to $11 million, surpassing sales at Montgomery Ward, a mail-order company that had been founded back in 1872.

In 1895 Sears married Anna Lydia Mechstroth of Minneapolis and they had three children.  

In 1901 Sears and Rosenwald bought out Nussbaum for $1.25 million.

By 1906, for example, Sears, Roebuck was averaging 20,000 orders a day. During the Christmas season the number jumped to 100,000 orders a day. That year the company moved into a brand-new facility with more than three million square feet of floor space. At the time it was the largest business building in the world.
Beginning in 1908 Sears, Roebuck and Co. sold mail-order Modern Homes program. Sears was not an innovative home designer. Sears was instead a very able follower of popular home designs but with the added advantage of modifying houses and hardware according to buyer tastes. Individuals could even design their own homes and submit the blueprints to Sears, which would then ship off the appropriate precut and fitted materials, putting the home owner in full creative control. Modern Home customers had the freedom to build their own dream houses, and Sears helped realize these dreams through quality custom design and favorable financing.
Over the next 32 years, Sears designed 447 different housing styles, from the elaborate multistory Ivanhoe, with its elegant French doors and art glass windows, to the simpler Goldenrod, which served as a quaint, three-room and no-bath cottage for summer vacationers. (An outhouse could be purchased separately for Goldenrod and similar cottage dwellers.) Customers could choose a house to suit their individual tastes and budgets. Production ended in 1940 and Sears sold about 70,000 - 75,000 homes. 

History of Sears Modern Homes and Sears Honor Bilt Homes, includes Floor Plans in the Digital Research Library of Illinois History®

In the initial production year of 1909, the Sears Motor Buggy was offered only as a $395.00 ($10,250.00 in today's dollars), solid-tired, runabout. But starting in 1910, Sears offers 5 different models of the automobile. The truth of the matter is that they were all basically the same car with different amenities, like fenders, lights, tops, etc. 
The Sears resigned as president of the company he had founded in 1909. His health was poor and many of his extravagant promotional schemes had begun to run into opposition from his fellow executives, including Rosenwald. He turned the company over to his partner and retired to his farm north of Chicago. At the time of his death on September 28, 1914, Sears left behind an estate of $25 million ($582,281,862 in today's dollars) and an enduring legacy of success in the highly competitive world of retailing. 

The Oldest House in Chicago's West Ridge Community, West Rogers Park neighborhood.

In 1871, Peter Schmitt Jr. (aka: Schmidt; Americanized to Smith when married to Elizabeth Phillip), built this stunning home at 6836 North Ridge Boulevard for a cost of $5,100.00. The home still stands and has been in the same family for 146 years. Today's value is $510,000.
The number of Chicago residence jumped from 50 in 1830 to 4,170 by 1837. Construction supplies never kept up with demand. The extraordinary demand for quick shelter led to Chicago’s first reputation for architectural innovation; balloon framing. In 1833 St. Mary’s Church was built on a new principal of construction – the substitution of thin plates and studs, running the entire height of the building and held together only by nails. The older and more expensive method of construction used mortised and tenoned joints. A house now could be erected in a week, but usually was not fixed to the ground. 

The Smith house was near completion but still under final construction at the time of the Great Chicago Fire. The house was much further north of the conflagulation and totally safe. There is no record of the building style, but one can assume, since it is still standing, lived in and owned by the same family, that it used “old school” construction methods.

Expense Record of Building the Schmitt House; recorded in 1871: 
Carpenter Work:........Cash......$750
Mason Work:............Cash......$600
Plastering:............Cash......$250
Lumber:..........................$750
Sash and Moulding:...............$150
Lime and cement:.................$125
Locks and Things:................$75
Paint and Painters:..............$100
Brick:...........................$675
Lumber at Evanston:..............$75
Freight:.........................$50
Tinsmith:........................$63
Stone Work:......................$50
Carpenter Cash:..................$50
Moulding Door:...................$50
Other Cash payments:.............$1337
Grand Total:.....................$5150


Manning & Bowes Saloon After a Bomb Explosion in 1909.

Manning & Bowes Saloon after a bomb explosion showing the room near the bar in ruins with four men standing and sitting at one end of the bar. The saloon was located at 321 State Street (today, 501 South State Street) in Chicago. (1909)

NO ARRESTS FOR BOMB NO. 30
Chicago Sunday Tribune - June 27, 1909

Although the police profess to have one man under suspicion as having caused bomb explosion No. 30 at Manning & Bowes Saloon, 321 State Street, no arrests were made yesterday (Saturday, June 26, 1909). There is a rumor that is gaining in strength that the man under suspicion has a strong political "pull," but the police deny that this is true of the person they are seeking.

Detectives from the headquarters and the Harrison street station house continued work throughout the day upon the case, but were unable or unwilling to report any progress when asked about the bomb throwers. 

Assistant Chief of Police Schuettler declares that every means the department has at its command is being used in the pursuit of the man or men responsible for the repeated outrages.

"I wish I knew who the certain police official is who knows the persona responsible for the dynamite bombs in the so-called gamblers' war; I would give ten years of my life to know who is responsible for the outrages."

This was the statement made last evening by Assistant Chief Schuettler, in response to a published account said to have been made by persons who are said to be in touch with gambling situation.

"I don't believe there is any official attached to the Chicago police department who has information that would lead to the identity of the perpetrators of the bomb outrages," said the assistant chief.

"I have officials of a powder company at work trying to locate the place where the bomb throwers obtain the powder which is the explosive used in most of the bombs. I believe we are close upon the track of the bomb throwers, but cannot afford to make arrests upon suspicion. We have several persons under surveillance, but it is our business to catch them in the act in order to secure a conviction."

"It makes me feel mighty bad to know that no arrest has been made as yet, but we would be in a worse way if we made arrests upon suspicion and were unable to produce evidence against the suspects that would satisfy a court."

"We have followed up the movements of all the known gamblers, and we have obtained lists of men that are supposed to be their enemies within the gambling fraternity. I have heard rumors that there is someone who we are afraid to arrest. That is untrue."

"If we secure evidence against anyone, no matter how he may be connected, we will not hesitate to make arrests. This last outrage has made the detectives who have worked at times upon cases determined to land the men who are responsible."

Edith Spurlock Sampson (1901-1979), a Woman Breaking Glass Ceilings.

Edith Spurlock Sampson was born in Pittsburgh on October 13, 1901. She grew up in a working class family, one of seven children, and attended Pittsburgh’s Peabody High School. Upon graduation, she married Rufus Sampson, a field agent for Tuskegee Institute.


Edith Spurlock Sampson
After working briefly for Associated Charities in Pittsburgh Sampson decided to enroll in the New York University School of Social Work. One of her instructors, George W. Kirchwey, a Columbia University Law School professor, suggested she pursue a career in law after he noticed her doing exceptionally well in his criminology class. Sampson and her husband moved to Chicago to care for two children left by her deceased sister.  She attended evening classes at the John Marshall Law School and earned a law degree. She then enrolled in Chicago’s Loyola University Law School. In 1927 she became the first woman to receive a Master of Law degree from Loyola University.    

Sampson went to work for Cook County in 1927. She worked as a probation officer and then assistant referee in juvenile court, a post she held for eighteen years. In 1934, Sampson established her own practice and became one of the first women to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court. By 1947 she was appointed assistant state’s attorney (prosecutor) for Cook County.

Sampson was also affiliated with the Chicago Professional Women's Club, the Afro-World Fellowship, and the Women's Progressive Committee, serving for a time as president of each organization. She worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of Women Voters, the National Council of Negro Women, and the Chicago Urban League.

In 1950, Sampson became the first African American named to the permanent United States delegation to the United Nations. While working at the UN, Sampson went on several international lecture tours and held membership on the U.S. delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 

In 1962, at the age of 61, Sampson was elected a judge on the Chicago Municipal Court. With that election she became the first black woman in the United States elevated to the bench by popular vote. Sampson retired from the bench in 1978 and died one year later in 1979 in Chicago, Illinois.

The Hub Roller Rink & Axle Roller Rinks of Illinois.

The Hub Roller Rink opened October, 1950 at 4510 North Harlem Avenue, Chicago, Illinois in an area that was quite desolate. For those who are familiar with Chicago today, this area is now a mass of shopping malls and small stores.
In 1950 there was nothing between the Roller Rink and Irving Park Road.
At the corner was the “Harlem Outdoor Theater (drive-in theater)”, and across the street was the Illinois State Police Headquarters. South of Irving Park was some small stores and a few restaurants that many of the Roller Rink regulars hung-out at after the rink closed.


The HUB was a supersized roller skating rink for its time and housed a Giant Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, originally played by Leon Berry. The skating area was about 275 feet long and some 95 feet wide. The floor was much larger if you include the area outside of the rink railings that allowed skaters access to the rink floor.


Music by Leon Berry, Organist at the Hub.
The skating had set “styles of skating” that were displayed on a lighted sign when the organ music would change tempos. The majority of the time the skating style was “All Skate” Some of the other skating styles were: Couples Only, Waltz, Fox Trot, a few fancy dances such as; Collegiate and the 14-step.
The Romp was when skaters joined hands in groups of 3, 4, or 5 people and the end person would be “whipped” around the turns, which many times would end in a group falling from the high speeds.
The rink was open every night and had matinees Saturday and Sunday. Weekends always found huge crowds, some who never even put on a pair of skates. The lobby area was almost as big as the rink. It had a large oval snack bar about 40 feet long, in the center of the lobby. Around the outside walls were coat rooms, shoe skate rentals (leave you shoes as security for the rentals), a skate store and a skate repair window (minor adjustments to rentals or personal skates were free), as well as a small dance floor with a juke box.
The Axle Roller Rink - Norridge, Illinois. Formerly the Hub Roller Rink.
The lobby was separated from the rink by a two story office and the coat room. The only access to the rink area was through a large opening in at the west end of the lobby.

The Hub changed owners and was renamed “The Axle” in 1974. The company, “M&R Amusement” owned all three roller skating rinks.
             
The Pro Skate Shops in the Axle Roller Rink in Niles, Illinois, in my case, gave me the first credit account I had when I was only 14 years old. I put down $60.00 on a great pair of professional men's roller skates which had high-end wheels and a jump bar to keep the trucks from breaking off under stress. They were very expensive, but I skated there on weekends (2 or 3 times, including Sundays) for 5-6 years, so it paid off for me.

Here's how it worked. Every time you went to skate you'd have to give the Pro Shop at least $5 and your shoes to store. After skating, you returned the skates to the Pro Shop and give them the roller skates to store until you came back the next time.

I never told my parents until the day I paid them off (in a little over a years time) and brought them home. After about 6 weeks, the shoes were broken-in and I could wear thin socks without getting any blisters! 

During the Intermissions the rink held age-related speed races. I won, a lot! The winners would get a free pass for your next admission. That helped me payoff the skates quicker because my parents gave me money for the admission cost and skate rental.

The Axle locations were:
  • Countryside, IL: Route 66, just East of LaGrange Road.
  • Chicago, IL (Norridge): 4510 North Harlem. [Formerly: Hub Roller Skating Rink]
  • Niles, IL: Milwaukee Avenue just North of Golf Road
The Axle closed its doors in October of 1985.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

The History of Merrill C. Meigs Field Airport, Chicago, Illinois (1948-2003)

Merrill C. Meigs Field Airport (ICAO: KCGX) was a single strip airport that was built on Northerly Island, the man-made peninsula that was also the site of the 1933–1934 Century of Progress World's Fair in Chicago. 
The airport opened on December 10, 1948, and became the country's busiest single-strip airport by 1955. The latest air traffic tower was built in 1952 and the terminal was dedicated in 1961. The airfield was named for Merrill C. Meigs, publisher of the Chicago Herald and Examiner and an aviation advocate.
Northerly Island, owned by the Chicago Park District, is the only lakefront structure to be built based on Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago. 
The island was to be populated by trees and grass for the public enjoyment by all. However, drafted less than six years after the Wright brothers' historic flight, the 1909 plan did not envision any airports for Chicago.
The Main Terminal Building was operated by the Chicago Department of Aviation and contained waiting areas as well as office and counter space. The runway at Meigs Field was nearly 3,900 by 150 feet. In addition, there were four public helicopter pads at the south end of the runway, near McCormick Place. The north end of the runway was near the Adler Planetarium. The airport was a familiar sight on the downtown lakefront. 
George W. Bush Boarding Marine One Helicopter in 2002 at Meigs Field, Chicago
It was also well known as the default takeoff field in many early versions of the popular Microsoft Flight Simulator software program.
In a controversial move on March 31, 2003, the airport achieved international notoriety when then Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley ordered city crews to bulldoze the runway at night, and without the 30-day advance warning required by FAA regulations.
The Northerly Island's  91- acre peninsula juts into Lake Michigan at the heart of Chicago's Museum Campus has been repurposed as Daniel Burnham's 1909 Plan of Chicago envisioned. The majority of this space is dedicated to nature and features beautiful strolling paths, casual play areas and a spectacular view of the Chicago skyline.

JUST THE FACTS:
In 1972, Mayor Richard Daley proposed Meigs' closure but he backed down when threatened with the loss of federal FAA funding.

In 1980, Mayor Byrne proposed Meigs' closure for the 1992 World's Fair if the City was chosen as the host city.

In 1992, the City Department of Aviation published its intent to close the airport in its annual report.

In 1994, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced plans to close the airport and build a park in its place on Northerly Island. 

On September of 1996, when the Park District & Department of Aviation closed Meigs. Within two months, the State Legislature voted to reopen the airport under state control. In January 1997, Governor Edgar & Mayor Daley struck a bargain: Meigs would reopen for 5 years, with the City retaining control of the airport.

Meigs was reopened in February of 1997.

In 2001, a compromise was reached between Chicago, the State of Illinois, and others to keep the airport open for the next twenty-five years. However, the federal legislation component of the deal did not pass the United States Senate.

On March 31, 2003 in the early morning hours, the city bulldozed, with Chicago Police escort, the runway at Meigs Field.

The FAA fined the city $33,000 for closing an airport with a charted instrument approach without giving the required 30-day notice. This was the maximum fine the law allowed at the time.

On September 17, 2006, the city dropped all legal appeals and agreed to pay the $33,000 fine as well as REPAY the $1 million dollars in FAA Airport Improvement Program funds that it used to destroy the airfield and build Northerly Island Park. 

The Term "Mickey," as in "I was slipped a Mickey" has Chicago Roots.

After Al Capone, Mickey Finn is probably the most famous criminal name in Chicago history. Between 1896 and 1903, he ran a saloon at 527 South State Street (today it would be at 1101 South State Street, Chicago).
Finn was a diminutive Irishman who first came to Chicago to work graft during the influx of visitors drawn to the World's Fair in 1893. An expert pickpocket and a fence for stolen goods, he plied his trade on travelers arriving at Dearborn Station and throughout the Custom House Place levee district. Soon, he found work tending bar at a tough saloon in Little Cheyenne, where he began training others in his techniques, particularly the streetwalkers who frequented the bar and helped gentlemen select drinks.

But Mickey Finn is best known for his own bar, the Lone Star Saloon and Palm Garden, which he opened in 1896. For seven years, it held the reputation as the toughest joint in the city -- and it certainly served the strongest drinks. The Lone Star was populated by resident "house girls," who made it their job to encourage visitors to drink as much as possible, and to offer any other services that might be requested of them for a price.

In 1898, Mickey Finn met a mysterious voodoo priest named Dr. Hall, who made his living selling love potions and trinkets to the superstitious and uneducated folk of the red light district, and also supplying them with heroin and cocaine. From Dr. Hall, Finn purchased brown bottles filled with liquid and a white, powdery chemical detritus, which no one ever precisely identified, but which made Mickey Finn famous.
Back at his bar, Finn mixed Dr. Hall's concoction with snuff-tinged water and liquor to make "Mickey Finn Specials" -- which the house girls promoted unceasingly. Pity the poor fellow who was cajoled into proving his manhood by ordering this stiff drink though. Isabel Fyffe and "Gold Tooth" Mary, two of the Lone Star's house girls, later testified before an Aldermanic committee about the effects of the drink:

When the victims drink this dopey stuff, they get talkative, walk around in a restless manner, and then fall into a deep sleep, and you can't arouse them until the effect of the drug wears off.

After falling prey to the knockout drink, the house girls and the bartender would drag the victim into one of the Lone Star's back rooms, which Mickey Finn referred to as the "operating room." There, he was stripped naked, and anything of any value was removed from his person, including his clothes if they were of sufficient quality. Later, his body would be dumped into the alleyway behind the saloon. When he awoke the next day, the victim usually had little memory of what had happened and how he ended up in a dirty levee alley.

Not all of Finn's victims suffered only robbery. Gold Tooth Mary testified:
I saw Finn take a gold watch and thirty-five dollars from Billy Miller, a trainman. Finn gave him dope and he lay in a stupor in the saloon for twelve hours. When he recovered he demanded his money, but Finn had gone...Miller was afterward found along the railroad tracks with his head cut off.

Like all saloon-keepers in the First Ward, Mickey Finn paid his protection money to the Aldermen/Vice lords Michael Kenna and John Coughlin, and he was convinced he would never be caught. But in 1903, the jig was up. Persistent reports of dopings at the Lone Star led the police to investigate the saloon more closely, and Gold Tooth Mary and some of the other house girls began to fear that one day, Finn would take their hard-earned savings. She told the city graft committee,

I was afraid I would be murdered for the two hundred dollars I had saved up, and I did not want to be a witness to any more of the horrible things I saw done there. I was afraid I would be arrested some time when some victims who had been fed on knockout drops would die. When I saw his wife put the drugged liquor to the lips of men I could not stand it, as bad as I am. Oh, it was just awful to see the way men were drugged and stripped of their clothing by Finn or his wife. Finn had an idea that most men wore belts about their waists to hide their money. He had robbed a man once who hid his money that way, and he never delegated searching the 'dead ones' to the skin.

Finn claimed that Mary was framing him, saying "I'd lose money in feeding 'dope' along with the big 'tubs' and the clams I dish out to the 'guys' that blow in here. I wouldn't get enough money out of their clothes in a year to pay for the 'dope'."

But on December 16, 1903, Mayor Carter Harrison ordered the closure of the Lone Star Saloon, and Mickey Finn wisely left town shortly thereafter. But not before he sold the formula for his famous drink to a number of other Southside saloons, who marketed it as a "Mickey Finn," or even just a "Mickey". The name eventually came into use as a generic term for any knockout drink, and to "slip a mickey" into someone's drink now means to secretly drug an unsuspecting victim.

Mickey Finn's saloon is long gone, replaced by a modern condominium building and a pet store fills the space where the Lone Star once beckoned to unsuspecting victims.

by Chicago Crime Scene Project.

The Neway Auto Wash Bowl, Chicago, Illinois.

In the early 1920s the Neway Auto Wash Bowl was built at 300-310 South Federal Street in Chicago by The New Way Auto Cleaning & Service Corp. 
The Neway Auto Wash Bowl, 300-310 South Federal Street, Chicago, Illinois. 1924
The car was first driven around this pool of water to flush mud and dirt off of the undercarriage. It was then driven up into one of the stalls and the car was washed in the normal manner to complete the job. 

Thompson’s Cafeteria Restaurants of Chicago, Illinois.

Although it is largely forgotten today, the Chicago-based John R. Thompson Company was one of the largest "one arm lunchrooms" chains of the early 20th century. Food would be very cheap but customers had to sit in a schoolroom style chair with a small eating surface and wide spread out arm-rests, one being short, making it difficult to get real comfortable and stay too long. It was Thompson's way to turn-over tables faster and increase profits by decreasing a customers dining time.
We so strongly associate fast food chains with hamburgers that it may be surprising to learn that Thompson’s popular sandwiches included Cervelat (a cooked sausage), smoked boiled tongue, cold boiled ham, hot frankfurter, cold corned beef, cold salmon, and Herkimer County cheese, served on “Milwaukee Rye Bread” baked by the restaurant chain’s own bakery.


Thompson's Cafeteria on Randolph St. Chicago.
Thompson was proud that his meals were suited for sedentary office workers of the early 1900s. A 1911 advertisement claimed that lunch at Thompson’s “won’t leave you logy and lazy and dull this afternoon.” Thompson, an Illinois farm boy, ran a rural general store as his first business. He sold it in 1891, moved to Chicago, and opened a restaurant on State Street. He proved to be a modernizer in the restaurant business as well as in politics.

He operated his cafeteria's on a “scientific” basis, stressing cleanliness, nutrition, and quality while keeping prices low. In 1912 he moved the chain’s commissary into a premier new building on North Clark Street. Thompson’s, then with 68 self-service lunchrooms plus a chain of grocery stores, became a public corporation in 1914, after which it expanded outside Chicago and into Canada.

By 1921 there were 109 restaurants, 49 of which were in Chicago and 11 in New York with a commissary (a restaurant or cafeteria in a military base, prison, movie studio or other institution) in New York City. By the mid-20s Thompson’s Restaurants, Childs Restaurants, and Waldorf Lunch System were the big three U.S. restaurant chains.
In politics Thompson served as a Republican committeeman and managed the campaign of a “good government” gubernatorial candidate in 1904. A few years later he failed in his own bid to run for mayor, promising he would bring efficiency to government while improving schools and roads. In the 20s he financed a personal crusade against handguns.

Despite John R. Thompson’s progressive politics, his business would go down in history as one that refused to serve Negros. Or, as civil rights leader Marvin Caplan put it in 1985, “If the chain is remembered today, it is not for its food, but for its refusal to serve it.” Thompson died in 1927.
Where he stood on the question of public accommodations is unclear but the chain faced numerous lawsuits by Negros in the 1930s. However the best known case occurred in 1950 when a group of integrationists led by Mary Church Terrell was refused service in a Washington D.C. Thompson’s Restaurant. 

The group was looking for a case that would test the validity of the district’s 19th-century public accommodations laws. After three years in the courts the Thompson case (for which the Washington Restaurant Association raised defense funds) made its way to the Supreme Court which affirmed the so-called “lost” anti-discrimination laws of 1872 and 1873 as valid.

Over the years the Thompson chain absorbed others, including Henrici’s and Raklios. At some point, possibly in the 1950s, the original Thompson’s concept was dropped. 

By 1956 Thompson’s operated the Holloway House and Ontra Cafeterias. In 1971, as Green Giant prepared to buy Thompson’s, it had about 100 restaurants, including Red Balloon family restaurants, Henrici’s restaurants, and Little Red Hen Chicken outlets. 

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Sally Rand (Helen Gould Beck) 1904-1979, "Fan Dancer" at Chicago's Century of Progress World's Fair of 1933 and "Bubble Dancer" at the Fair in 1934.

"Although reformers have raised a storm of protest over nude dancers in the Streets of Paris, the Oriental Village and Old Mexico at the Chicago World's Fair, the dances have not yet been stopped. One of the girls, Sally Rand, is shown in her "Fan Dance," in which the feathers are her only covering, and do not cover her at times." Chicago, IL - July 22, 1933.
"I haven't been out of work since the day I took my pants off." Sally Rand.
She's considered an American icon in the world of entertainment although most contemporaries have no idea who she is until her legendary risqué "fan dance" is brought up. Then they put two and two together. Burlesque star Sally Rand was born in the Ozark Mountain town of Elkton, Missouri on Easter Sunday in 1904, her father a corporal in the Spanish-American War and her mother a Pennsylvania Dutch Quaker.

Inspired by the legendary ballerina Anna Pavlova, Sally became interested in dance at a young age and left home to join a carnival as a teen. She invariably became a cigarette girl, chorine, café dancer, artist's model and circus performer (Ringling) through a series of introductions. She subsequently joined a repertory theater company and took acting seriously for the first time.

During the 20s she appeared in a number of stage shows. Films came her way as she was able to score work (due to her agile background in the circus) from Mack Sennett and Hal Roach in a few of their daredevil slapstick shorts. 

A Wampas (Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers) Baby Star of 1927, she joined mentor Cecil B. DeMille's stock company and entered feature films with a new name that DeMille gave her - "Sally Rand."
She decorated a number of silents, including westerns with Hoot Gibson and others, but a pronounced lisp hurt her career come the advent of sound. It was at this juncture that the shapely dame decided to work on incorporating her talent for dancing back into her career. With the right mixture of enticement, imagination and intricate feathery placement, Sally Rand came upon her secret formula to success.


As an exotic burlesque performer, she not only winningly ignited male libidos but found a steady gig for the rest of her days. A long-standing job at the Paramount Club in 1932 is where the idea of her "fan dance" was created.

Initially coming to Chicago in a show called "Sweethearts on Parade," in 1932, Sally soon accepted a position at the Paramount Club, in response to an advertisement for "exotic acts and dancers."

It was at the Paramount Club that she first performed the "fan dance," using two large ostrich feather fans purchased at a second-hand shop.

Following a "Lady Godiva" inspired stunt at the gates of the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair, Sally became a featured performer in the "Streets of Paris" concession and catapulted into stardom on May 30, 1933, with her performance of the now legendary "Fan Dance."


Sally Rand - Fan Dance Video, 1933 Chicago World's Fair.

Nearly every account of Sally Rand's career includes the declaration that she "danced nude at the 1933 World's Fair."  Well, maybe.  As often as not Sally Rand's "nudity" was actually a body stocking or, perhaps, a coat of white theatrical cream.  Whatever the reality, the illusion was sensational.  As Sally manipulated two pink seven-foot ostrich fans to conceal and reveal much, but not all, only the eagle-eyed could successfully claim to have seen anything.


As you might imagine, the act was an unqualified sensation. At 29 years old, the diminutive (5' 1") damsel with the knockout figure (35-22-35) began packing them in by the thousands.  And it wasn't long before the shouts hit the fans.  Pillars of the community were outraged, public officials were consulted, and officers of the law were dispatched. Miss Rand found herself in court, answering to charges that certain performances at the Century of Progress Exposition were "lewd, lascivious, and degrading to public morals." To his credit, the judge was a man of sober perspective:
"There is no harm and certainly no injury to public morals when the human body is exposed, some people probably would want to put pants on a horse. When I go to the fair, I go to see the exhibits and perhaps to enjoy a little beer. As far as I'm concerned, all these charges are just a lot of old stuff to me. Case dismissed for want of equity." -- Superior Judge Joseph B. David, July 19, 1933
Some 22½ million paid visitors celebrated the Century of Progress in Chicago, ensuring that the name "Sally Rand" would be remembered for generations to come.

When the Chicago fair reopened in 1934, Sally perceived the need for something new: "I had to find a new twist." She decided on a bubble dance: "I wanted a balloon sixty inches in diameter, which is my height, made of a translucent or transparent material." The only trouble was that the biggest balloons available were a mere 30" in diameter. They were heavy red target balloons used by the War Department. Since no one knew how to make the required equipment, Sally fronted the funds for necessary experimentation herself. After numerous tests, the super-dooper, see-through bubble was born.

Sally Rand - Bubble Dance - 1934 Chicago World's Fair.

In the 1930s she also appeared in legit plays including a stint as Sadie Thompson in "Rain" in 1935 opposite Humphrey Bogart. She would appear in later years at various revues, expositions and fairs still teasing and playing "hide and peek" with the guys, her act seldom straying from its original concept. 
She was arrested a few more times than she was married (at least three husbands can be credited to her marriage account). She continued to appear on stage doing her fan dance past age 60 and once replaced an ailing burlesque star Ann Corio in the stage show "This Was Burlesque" in the 1960s. She also shared the stage with burlesque topliners Tempest Storm and Blaze Starr. 

Sally's final appearance took place in Kansas City in 1978 and she died the following year.

SALLY RAND PHOTO ALBUM