Saturday, June 16, 2018

The History of Lake Chicago; Today's Lake Michigan.

The city of Chicago lies in a broad plain which, hundreds of millions of years ago, was a great interior basin covered by warm, shallow seas. These seas covered portions of North America from the Arctic Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico. Evidence of these seas are found in the fossils of coral, such as those unearthed in Illinois quarries at Stony Island Avenue, Thornton and McCook Avenues, or at 18th Street and Damen Avenue, all in Chicago. Evidence may also be found in the fossils in the Niagara limestone bedrock found throughout the Chicago area and extending all the way to Niagara, New York.

Much later, the polar ice cap crept four times down across the continent, covering the region with ice to a depth of a mile or more. As the climate changed, the ice melted, the last great ice flow, the Wisconsin Glacier of the Pleistocene period, which covered much of the northern half of North America, retreated, and an outlet for the melting water developed through the Sag River and the Des Plaines River Valley around Mt. Forest, in the area known as the Palos.

The Kankakee Torrent poured through those valleys, eventually leaving behind the prehistoric Lake Chicago or Glacial Lake Chicago, the term used by geologists for a lake that preceded Lake Michigan when the Wisconsin Glacier retreated from the Chicago area, beginning about 14,000 years ago.
Lake Chicago's level, at its highest, was almost 60 feet higher than the level of present Lake Michigan and the lake completely covered the area now occupied by Chicago. Its northern outlet into the St. Lawrence River was still blocked by remnants of the glacier and it drained through the so-called Chicago outlet, a notch in the Valparaiso moraine[1], into the Mississippi system. Its western shores reached to where Oak Park and LaGrange now exist.
As the glacier shrank in stages, the major three of which are often referred to as the Glenwood phase (50 feet above the level of Lake Michigan; circa 12,000 years ago), the Calumet phase (35 feet; circa 10,000 years ago), and the Tolleston phase (20 feet; less than 8,000 years ago). After each stage, the next barrier remained solid, holding the lake stable and creating distinct sandy beaches. If the outlet was formed by a steady erosion of the barrier, it would have been less likely that the well defined beaches would have been created.
This undated marker is located in the southern portion of Lincoln Park, on the foot path paralleling the east side of Stockton Drive. A second identical marker is located on the same ancient beach ridge 485 feet East-North-East from the first one.
The lake's southern shores were dammed by the hills of the Tinley-Valparaiso terminal moraine systems. As the glacier retreated farther and cleared the northern outlet, the lake level fell further and Lake Chicago became Lake Michigan. Along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, the beaches of Lake Chicago were destroyed by erosion, except the highest beach. Much of this beach was also destroyed. The best remaining segments are along the southern tip of Lake Michigan, now known as the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

[1] Moraines are accumulations of dirt and rocks that have fallen onto the glacier surface or have been pushed along by the glacier as it moves.

Chicago's gay-rights protest in June of 1977 marked the turning point of Chicago's LGBT rights movement.

Highlights of the history of the development of the U.S. LGBT communities:

December 10, 1924-The first gay rights group in the United States is founded at 1710 Crilly Ct. in Chicago and receives an Illinois state charter. The organization, started by an itinerant preacher and laundry, railway and postal workers, publishes two issues of a journal before being shut down after the wife of one of the directors learns about the group and calls the Chicago police.

December, 1950-As part of the era of McCarthyism, gay men and lesbians are added to the list of people considered security risks, and a purge of government agencies and the military begins.

June, 1961-Illinois becomes the first state to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private. The Motion Picture Association of America lifts its ban on gay themes in movies to allow "Advise and Consent" to be shown, but negative attitudes toward homosexuality are still evident since the story has the gay character in the movie commit suicide.

June, 28, 1969-New York City police raid the Stonewall, a gay bar on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village, the sixth gay bar to be raided in Manhattan in three weeks. Gay men and lesbians fight back over four days in what has come to be called the Stonewall Rebellion and is seen as the watershed event that triggered the gay liberation movement.

June, 1977-The nation saw former Miss America Anita Bryant – the seemingly good-natured woman who tried to sell them orange juice in Tropicana commercials – initiate a hostile "anti-homosexual" media campaign across the country.
Bryant was outraged at a Dade County, Florida decision to protect sexual orientation as a civil right and vowed to aggressively pursue its repeal. She took to the airwaves with her newly founded Save Our Children organization, a coalition devoted to repealing the act that banned housing and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. The coalition's efforts were successful, and on June 7, Miami area voters took a step backward, reversing the decision.

June 14, 1977-Anita Bryant landed in Chicago to perform at an event for Shriners Children’s Hospital. What transpired that day was an important moment for Chicago’s LGBT community – 5,000 individuals showed up at Medinah Temple (now a Bloomingdale's outlet store at Wabash and Ohio) to picket the event. The expression of solidarity inspired more and more Chicagoans to rally around the issue of gay rights and the next year’s PRIDE Parade saw a dramatic surge in attendance.
A demonstrator is arrested in front of the Medinah Temple on June 14, 1977, while anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant gives a concert inside.
The concert had been booked months earlier, before Bryant achieved a new national notoriety as leader of an anti-LGBT initiative in Dade County, Florida, where citizens voted to overturn an antidiscrimination ordinance that had been passed by the county commission earlier that year. The law prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, public service, and accommodations. The vote to repeal the law happened on June 7, 1977.
So a group of Chicago LGBT activists decided to organize a picket of the June 14th concert in Chicago. They were warned by gay establishment leaders that it would be an embarrassing failure. Back then, it seemed, the only time LGBT people turned out en masse was for the Gay Pride Parade.

But a spontaneous, unexpected turnout of 5,000-plus people proved the naysayers wrong. Protesters chanted "pray for Anita" and sang "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," according to the Tribune's coverage of the event. (Attendees of the concert reportedly sang the same tune.)

According to historian John D'Emilio's account of the protest, demonstrators carried signs that read "Anita is McCarthy in drag,"—a reference to Communist scaremonger Joseph McCarthy—and "God drinks wine, not orange juice."

"The gays were noisy but peaceful," a police spokesman told the Tribune, though eight demonstrators were arrested.

It was the first large-scale LGBT political demonstration in Chicago.

After the three-hour protest, some of the marchers headed over to Pioneer Court outside Tribune Tower to protest a series of inflammatory, questionably sourced articles co-written by then a Tribune reporter Michael Sneed (now of the Sun-Times) that purported to link a child pornography ring to the gay community in Chicago.

Coverage of the anti-Bryant rally made the Tribune's front page. And though Bryant's "Save Our Children" campaign triggered a national conservative backlash movement to defeat gay rights laws around the country, it also helped fuel the growing LGBT rights movement.

Bryant’s views may have only succeeded in strengthening Chicago’s LGBT community by giving greater visibility to the discrimination and injustices they faced.

November 28, 1978-Harvey Milk, elected San Francisco's first openly gay supervisor in 1977, and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone, are killed by a disgruntled former supervisor. Milk's death triggers protests, candle-light marches and new gay activism.

June 5, 1981-The federal Centers for Disease Control publishes its first report on the unusual occurrence of pneumocystis carinii pneumonia in five men in Los Angeles, the diagnosic sign that is to become one of the hallmarks of AIDS. No mention, however, is made of the fact that all of the men are homosexuals, for fear of offending the gay community or giving ammunition to anti-gay activists.

October 2, 1985-Rock Hudson dies of AIDS, and a disease that mainstream America thought it could ignore suddenly becomes a household word.

October 11, 1987-An estimated 500,000 gay men and lesbians march in Washington, D.C., for freedom from discrimination. The march is part of a week of activities that include the first unveiling of the Names Project, a huge quilt with each panel dedicated to a person who has died of AIDS, a ceremony in which 2,000 gay and lesbian couples exchanged marriage vows and a demonstration at the Supreme Court.

December 23, 1988-The Chicago City Council, by a 28-17 vote, passes a human rights ordinance that prohibits discrimination in housing, employment, education and accommodations based on sexual orientation as well as race, sex, age, religion and other categories. The ordinance was first introduced in the council on July 6, 1973.

June 5, 1989-San Francisco passes the most comprehensive domestic partners act in the nation. Non-married couples can register their relationship with City Hall. Partners and extended family members of city employees are eligible for health insurance benefits and partners have the bereavement leave and hospital visiting rights of married spouses. Seven other cities have such laws, and a similar bill is pending in Boston.

Progress always provokes backlash. Sometimes that backlash is vicious and violent, as in the case of the 1978 assassination of Harvey Milk, who had emerged as a national political figure by leading California's resistance to the Bryant campaign. Sometimes it's unimaginably tragic, as in Orlando. The struggle for justice—the struggle against hate—is unending, but relentless. It will not and it must not end. 

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Friday, June 15, 2018

The Dymaxion Car - displayed at the 1933/34 Chicago World's Fair.

In the late 1920’s experiments were being undertaken to test the aerodynamics of automobiles. One result of these tests was three prototype Dymaxion 3-wheelers built by the 4D company in the USA. The term "DYMAXION" comes from the words: DYnamic, MAXimum, and tensION.

Richard Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller conducted wind-tunnel test on three-wheeled teardrop shapes with a V shaped groove running under the vehicle. A rudder was also added to the vehicles and Fuller intended that this would unfold from the upper side of the tail and provide stability.
Richard Buckminster (Bucky) Fuller
The 4D company of Bridgeport Connecticut built three prototype Dymaxion Cars, or "Omni-Medium Transport" vehicles.
In 1933 Fuller hired Starling Burgess, an naval architect and a crew of expert sheet metal workers, woodworkers, former coach builders and machinist and they designed and built Dymaxion Car Number One which was shown publicly in July 1933. As a result of enclosing all the chassis and wheels in a streamlined shape Fuller is reported to have driven at 120 mph with a 90 hp engine. A conventional 1933 car would have required, Fuller estimated, at least a 300 hp engine. Fuller also claimed that fuel consumption of the Dymaxion car Number One was 30% less than a conventional car at 30mph and 50% less at 50mph. The Dymaxion weighed in around 1600 lbs. It was extraordinary maneuverability and could U-turn within its own length.
The two front wheels of the Dymaxion Car One were driven by a Ford V-8 engine. The single wheel at the rear was steerable.
On Dymaxion Cars Number Two and Three an angled periscope was provided to help compensate for the lack of a rear window. Initially the car created vast attention where ever it went. However a British auto enthusiast flew to Chicargo to examine the Dymaxion car and when he was injured and his driver killed after the Dymaxion collided with another car the headlines in the press referred to the vehicle as a “freak car” and undermined its 3-wheeled design. Although an investigation exonerated the Dymaxion car the car received a bad reputation and the British group cancelled their order for Dymaxion Car Two.
The Dymaxion Car Three was featured in the finale of Edward Hungerford’s “Wings of a Century” exhibit at the Century of Progress Exposition. The "Wings Of A Century" production took place daily on an open air stage opposite the Travel & Transport Building which housed the displays.
The design of the Dymaxion cars was one of the biggest break throughs in automobile design since the car had originated some fifty years earlier. Only one car (Car Two) now remains and is kept at the National Auto Museum, Reno NV. 
2010 Working Replica of the Dymaxion.
Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.