Wednesday, December 12, 2018

The History of the Monarch Brewing Company of Chicago.

Monarch Brewing Company was a nondescript group of brick buildings at, 1090-1118 West 21st Street, Chicago operated on this site from 1892 until 1958, making it one of Chicago’s longer lasting breweries, and one of the few to survive long after the end of Prohibition.
The section on the left with bricked up windows was once a bottling house for the brewery (likely built in the 1930s), though it has been heavily altered and shortened.
A former warehouse and shipping building on 21st Place is also still standing. All of the other former brewery buildings on the site have been demolished over the years.

Drink Coaster
WWII Advertisement

Property History:
Joseph Hladovec Brewing Company (1890-1892)
Monarch Brewing Company (1892-1898) Telephone: Canal 6500
Monarch Brewery United Breweries (1898-1909)
Monarch Brewery (1909-1922)
Monarch Beverage Co. (1923-1932) The Prohibition years.
Monarch Brewing Co. Inc. (1932-1936)
Monarch Brewing Co. (1936-1958)
Van Merritt Brewing Co. opened on the same site in 1958 and closed in 1967.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

1902 Picture of Milwaukee Avenue and Fulton Street, Chicago.

Looking north-west on Milwaukee Avenue at Fulton Street on the 2-digit (address) block in 1902. Today, this is the 200 hundred block of Milwaukee Avenue after the 1909 Chicago street renaming and renumbering system was put in place. If the photo showed a little more of Milwaukee Avenue, you would see the Lake Line elevated ('L') tracks.
In this photograph is the relocated "Green Tree Tavern" Building which is the long building. The John Walsh & John J. Quinn horseshoers at 31 Milwaukee, and a dry goods store with an ad for the Chicago American[1] Newspaper on the building. Wooden sidewalks, Chicago Street Paver Bricks, and streetcar tracks[2].

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

[1] The paper's first edition came out on July 4, 1900, as Hearst's Chicago American. It became the Morning American in 1902 with the appearance of an afternoon edition. The morning and Sunday papers were renamed as the Examiner in 1904. James Keeley bought the Chicago Record-Herald and Chicago Inter-Ocean in 1914, merging them into a single newspaper known as the Herald. William Randolph Hearst purchased the paper from Keeley in 1918. Circulation figures for Chicago newspapers appearing in Editor & Publisher in 1919. The American's circulation of 330,216 placed it third in the city, behind the Chicago Tribune (424,026) and Chicago Daily News (386,498), and ahead of the Chicago Herald-Examiner (289,094). Distribution of the Herald Examiner after 1918 was controlled by gangsters. Dion O'Banion, Vincent Drucci, Hymie Weiss and Bugs Moran first sold the Tribune. They were then recruited by Moses Annenberg, who offered more money to sell the Examiner, later the Herald-Examiner. This "selling" consisted of pressuring stores and news dealers. In 1939, Annenberg was sentenced to three years in prison for fraud and died behind bars. The newspaper joined the Associated Press on October 31, 1932.

[2] Streetcar Tracks - Route- Milwaukee Avenue. Abandoned: May 11, 1952. Streetcar service started in 1859 with horse-drawn cars, which were replaced by electric-powered trolleys by 1890. By the mid-1930s, 3,742 streetcars were running on tracks laid along 529 miles of streets in a grid that provided Chicagoans a streetcar stop within a few blocks of where they lived, worked or shopped.

Friday, December 7, 2018

About Clarence Buckingham and his Memorial Fountain in Chicago's Grant Park.

Clarence Buckingham was born on November 2, 1854 in Zanesville, Ohio, the eldest of three children born to Ebenezer and Lucy (Sturges) Buckingham. The family moved to Chicago when Clarence was a young boy, and it was from here that his father rapidly expanded his successful business building and operating grain elevators. 

The family’s North side home was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, and in 1875 they moved into their new home at 2036 S. Prairie Avenue. The new residence housed a valuable collection of art which in time became one of the finest private collections in the city. An article in the Chicago Tribune dated May 6, 1883 entitled “Some of the Notable Pictures in the Collection of Mr. E. Buckingham, of This City” described in detail a number of the works, many of which were watercolors. The Buckinghams instilled a love and appreciation of art upon their three children, which would have a profound effect upon those children later in life.

Ebenezer Buckingham died in 1912, leaving a $4 million estate to his three unmarried children (his wife had died in 1889). By that time, Clarence had become a successful businessman in his own right. Starting out in his father’s company, he later became a broker and a director of both the Corn Exchange National Bank and the Illinois Trust and Savings Company. He also served as president of the Northwestern Elevated Railroad Company, and was involved in insurance, steel and real estate. 

Clarence Buckingham’s strong interest in art blossomed in the 1890s when he began assembling a collection of Japanese woodblock prints of exceptional quality and range, assisted by Art Institute curator Frederick W. Gookin and architect Frank Lloyd Wright. 

A director of the Art Institute for more than a decade, he frequently loaned items from his personal collection for exhibition.  He also purchased and gave artworks directly to the Art Institute.

Buckingham died on August 28, 1913, one week after returning to Chicago from his new summer residence at Lennox, Massachusetts. He had been in good health up to within a few weeks of his death, so his sudden demise at the age of 58 was a shock to his family and friends. He was interred at Woodlawn Cemetery in Zanesville, Ohio.

In 1914, his sister Kate loaned his entire art collection to the Art Institute. She continued to acquire additional works and in 1925 she formally gave the prints to the museum, along with an endowment to maintain and expand the collection. The Clarence Buckingham Collection originally contained about 2,500 works and has grown through purchases and gifts to more than 16,000. (It was also in 1925 that Kate Buckingham razed the old family home on Prairie Avenue when she relocated to a spacious apartment on Lakeview Avenue on the North side.)

The lasting legacy of Clarence Buckingham, of course, is the fountain that bears his name in Grant Park. Officially called the “Clarence Buckingham Memorial Fountain,” the project was announced in January 1924, when the South Park board of commissioners voted to accept the gift, donated to the city by Kate Sturges Buckingham in memory of her brother, Clarence Buckingham, and was thus constructed at a cost of $450,000. Kate Buckingham also established the Buckingham Fountain Endowment Fund with an initial investment of $300,000 to pay for a maintenance fund, for a total cost of $750,000.
The design of the fountain, twice the size of that of Latona at Versailles. Architect Edward H. Bennett of the firm Bennett, Parsons and Frost, designed the fountain and French artist Marcel Loyau produced the sculptural elements. Work commenced in August 1925 and would take two years to complete. 

James O’Donnell Bennett, a columnist for the Chicago Tribune, writing about the fountain just a week after its dedication, said in part:
“In a week the Buckingham fountain has captured the imagination of the town, enlarged its aesthetic sense, and done it spiritual good. The gift is more than a memorial to Clarence Buckingham. It is an expression of the lake by which it is fed and which it extols. As such, Chicago has comprehended it and as such loves it. It is the lyric of the lake. It will never grow old or commonplace. Sunlight and shadow, mounting and waning breeze will ever renew and ever vary its spectacle and its song. It will go on forever.”
The fountain was officially dedicated on August 26, 1927. An estimated 50,000 people attended the ceremonies and watched the inaugural performance of the fountain’s water jets and colored lights, set to a live performance of the “Stars and Stripes Forever” performed by John Philip Sousa’s band. 
It is one of the largest fountains in the world. Built in a Rocky rococo wedding cake style and inspired by the Latona Fountain at the Palace of Versailles, it is meant to allegorically represent Lake Michigan. It operates from April to October, with regular water shows and evening color-light shows. During the winter, the fountain is decorated with festival lights.
Many tourists and Chicagoans visit the fountain each year. The fountain operates daily from mid-April through mid-October with the last show beginning at 10:00 pm. Water shows occur every hour on-the-hour and last 20 minutes. During shows, the center jet shoots up vertically to 150 feet, and night shows are choreographed with lights and music.

The fountain is constructed of Georgia pink marble and contains 1,500,000 U.S. gallons of water. During a display, more than 14,000 U.S. gallons per minute are pushed through its 193 jets. The bottom pool of the fountain is 280 ft in diameter, the lower basin is 103 ft, the middle basin is 60 ft and the upper basin is 24 ft. The lip of the upper basin is 25 ft  above the water in the lower basin.
The fountain's pumps are controlled by a Honeywell computer which was previously located in Atlanta, Georgia until the 1994 renovation when it was moved to the pump house at the fountain. The fountain's security system is monitored from Arlington Heights, a Chicago suburb.

In 1994, the fountain received a $2.8 million restoration to its three smallest basins which developed leaks due to Chicago's harsh winters.

The latest renovation project on Buckingham Fountain began in September 2008. This three-phase project modernize aging internal systems in the fountain and restored deteriorated features. Funding came from a combination of the Buckingham endowment, city and park district funds and a grant from the Lollapalooza music festival which is held annually near the fountain.
Phase I was dedicated April 3, 2009. This phase included permeable pavers to surround the fountain. This replaced the crushed stone that was used since the fountain was constructed. The pavers make a safer and smoother surface and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Phase II began in the winter of 2009. This phase included the demolition of the fountain table, installation of extensive underdrainage system, new landscaping, site lighting, signs, site furnishings, sewer system, selective demolition within or adjacent to the fountain's outer basin, repairs of some existing cast-in-place concrete elements and installation of new cast-in-place elements.

Phase III includes the restoration of Buckingham Fountain and fountain table, the construction of a new equipment room with selective demolition, structural construction and repair, masonry restoration and repair, mechanical and electrical work, bronze restoration and repair and installation of site improvements and amenities.
Buckingham Fountain is often mistaken for the eastern terminus of U.S. Route 66, but in fact it is not. The original eastern terminus was at the intersection of Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago in 1926. In a later alignment, the terminus was moved east two blocks to the intersection of Jackson Drive and Lake Shore Drive after the latter was designated as U.S. Route 41. It remained there until the eastern terminus of Interstate 55 was completed at Lake Shore Drive, and then that also became the eastern terminus of Route 66 until I-55 completely replaced the route in Illinois and Route 66 was decommissioned. Today, Jackson Boulevard is a one way street heading eastbound, towards Michigan Avenue and Lake Shore Drive. As a result of changing two-way streets to one-way traffic, you can come into Chicago on the original old Route 66, but you have to leave by way of Adams Street (one way westbound). Adams Street begins at the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago.

Nevertheless, many people still associate Buckingham Fountain with the start of Route 66, even though it had not been built yet when the route opened on November 11, 1926 — whereas Lorado Taft's "Fountain of the Great Lakes" in the South Garden of the Art Institute of Chicago, which has been at that intersection since 1913, actually preceded Route 66 by 13 years and Buckingham Fountain by 14 years.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.