Thursday, September 20, 2018

State Street (Amusement) Park at the South-east Corner of State & 22nd Streets in Chicago. (1883)

CHICAGO'S STATE STREET PARK, aka: "THE ROLLER COASTER"
Illustration of Patent № 298,710 "Roller Coasting Device" granted on May 13, 1884.
Alason Wood's invention was noticed and imitated by several other Toledo Ohio inventors and businessmen, like Philo M. Stevens who traveled to Chicago to build a circular railway with a slightly modified design. The Chicago Daily Tribune reported on September 30, 1883 that his 22-foot-high, 140-foot-diameter circular railway was under construction at a cost of $800 on a large vacant lot at the corner of State and 22nd Street in today's South Loop community. The reporter misspelled his name as Philo M. Stevenson. 
The grounds used to be called "State Street Grounds" aka: "23rd Street Grounds" which was a baseball park. In it, the Chicago White Stockings played baseball from 1872 to 1877, the first two years in the National Association and then in the National League.
23rd Street Park - The First Home of the Chicago White Stockings.
The park grounds was on the block bounded by 22nd Street (now Cermak Road), State Street, 23rd Street, and Armour Avenue (now Federal Street).

The design, according to the patent he applied for on October 16, 1883, was nearly identical to Wood's, but had a constant slope down, and a constant slope up. The car, which stopped at the end of the uphill grade, was held in place by an anti-rollback pawl. The two-car trains could accommodate 6-9 passengers seated sideways in each car, and Stevens offered three short 15-18 second rides for a nickel. The newspaper article claimed that Stevens had already built two coasters in Toledo, and would built one shortly in New Orleans.

His patent #298,710 Roller Coasting Device was granted on May 13, 1884, and assigned to the Roller Coaster of America Company; thus where the generic name roller coaster originated.
ABOUT THE CIRCULAR RAILWAY
Alason Wood was the first to be granted a patent for a circular railway with series of undulating drops after the lift hill. This was a radical departure from the lineage of switchback railway design, but considering that Wood was unfamiliar with those convoluted designs, his approach was novel in that it returned its passengers to near its starting point without the need of a separate return track.

Wood was a dirt poor carpenter, but a born tinkerer, who after watching children slide down hills on their slide boards, was inspired to design a railroad whose cars could travel both up and down hills. He envisioned a ride that would thrill its passengers with speed, rather than take them for a slow scenic ride. His innovation was to bend the rails into a circle, allow the passenger car to roll down the incline from a height, and use the ride's final uphill incline as a brake on the car's momentum, thus eliminating the need for friction brakes to bring it to a final stop. By logically tying the two ends of his tracks together into a continuous elliptical loop, he returned passengers to their starting point without the inconvenience of awaiting a return train or the interruption of a mildly exciting ride.

His wood-framed ride had a height of 23 feet, diameter of 150 feet, and a circumference of 475 feet. A platform 13 feet above ground, where passengers debarked, had a seating capacity of 200 for those awaiting their turn. Passengers walked up the stairs to the loading platform, while pairs of cars each seating six sideways on a long bench were winched up a nine-foot-high incline. It was a short exhilarating downhill ride over a series of undulating hills, only ten to twelve seconds from start to finish, but passengers could ride it three times for their nickel.

Wood's patent was quite detailed in the various slopes of his ride. The cars gained speed down a 15% grade, a drop of just 6 feet over 48 feet of track, then only dropped two additional feet along the next 167 feet before reaching the next 15% down-grade along 64 feet of track, then finally down to the bottom, a two foot drop along 53 feet of track. The car's speed was arrested as it climbed a 15% grade of 9 feet over a 72 foot distance, and then glided into the unloading station along 22 feet of level track.

Wood sold half his pending patent to Joseph A. Cahoon, a businessman in Toledo for $17,000 plus royalties. Cahoon saw its potential as an amusement ride, and since he could recover the ride's construction cost of $600 within a several weeks at most, he and several associates began construction, first in Toledo and possibly Cleveland in 1883. They then built in Ponce de Leon Springs in Georgia as reported by the Augusta Chronicle, and Coney Island, NY in June 1884, and at Philadelphia's Fairmont Park in July 1884.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

The Shipwreck of the "Silver Spray" rests a stone's throw from Hyde Park's 49th street beach in Chicago.

On July 15, 1914 -- almost exactly a year before the SS Eastland disaster -- the Silver Spray, a 109-foot-long ferry, set sail to pick up 200 University of Chicago students and take them to Gary, Indiana, to tour the steel mills.
Unfortunately the trip never came to pass as the Silver Spray ran aground on Lake Michigan's Morgan Shoal, a massive underwater rock formation that was formed millions of years ago by glacial activity. 
Morgan Shoal is a million square foot dolomite shelf left over from glacial action millions of years ago near what would eventually be Lake Shore Drive at 49th Street. The wave action at this unique spot along the shoreline creates the city’s only pebble beach and a tricky navigational spot for boats.
Once it was apparent that the ship was doomed, the captain and the seven-man crew decided to remain with their ship, not even halting the preparation of the evening's stew.

Three days later, after various vessels attempted to pull the Silver Spray free of the limestone reef, the crew was taken ashore. Attempts to salvage the ship only caused it to slam against the rocks, and the wooden steamship quickly broke in two.
A Chicago Examiner comic from July 16, 1914, the day after the Silver Spray hit Morgan Shoal and two days before waves finally broke the ship apart.
In addition, the boiler had been left on and the ship caught fire as it sank, making for quite the spectacle. Groups of spectators on shore began collecting the wooden debris as it floated in and burnt them in large bonfires. It must have been a delightful time.
The remains of the Silver Spray can still be seen peeking out of the waters of Lake Michigan. While most of the wooden structure is long since gone, the ship's metal boiler still juts out of the water.
The boiler of the Silver Spray.
The Silver Spray is the closest shipwreck to the shoreline of Chicago and is thus a popular diving spot, along with Morgan Shoals in general.
Some swimmers even paddle out to the wreck and sunbathe on its exposed angle. For better or worse, the Silver Spray seems to be bringing more joy to people in its death than it ever did during its operation.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Kate Sturges Buckingham was one of the great women in Chicago's history.

Kate Buckingham died in her home at 2450 North Lakeview Avenue on December 12, 1937 at the age of 79. She was buried in Woodlawn Cemetery in Zanesville, Ohio alongside her parents, brother and sister.

Kate Sturges Buckingham
In announcing Miss Buckingham’s passing The Chicago Tribune noted, “She was godmother to the Art institute; the collections for which it is most famous were her gifts. She was godmother to the opera; at the time of her death she was a guarantor. She was godmother to some 200 or more music and art students. She was a heavy donor to the Field museum, to innumerable Chicago charities, to many, many nameless Chicagoans.”

Despite being one of the wealthiest women in the United States and one of the most generous individuals in a city blessed with a long procession of altruistic citizens, Miss Buckingham preferred that no credit come to her for the many contributions she made. Later in life she ordered that her name be removed from the Social Register and severely limited her circle of friends.

Miss Buckingham was born on August 3, 1858, the eldest daughter of Ebenezer and Lucy Buckingham, in Zanesville, Ohio. Her mother’s father, Solomon Sturges, was responsible for bringing the family to Chicago in the 1850’s. At that time the Sturges and Buckingham families controlled a string of grain elevators in Ohio, Pennsylvania and along the Erie Canal. It was sound business sense to move to Chicago and in 1850 Miss Buckingham’s great uncle, Alvah Buckingham, constructed the first grain elevator in the city.

Everything that the Buckingham and Sturges families owned was obliterated in the Great Fire of 1871, their homes on the north side of the city, their grain elevators along the river, the first of many tragedies that would become a motif that ran through Miss Buckingham’s life.

A second fire in 1873 gave rise to one of the earliest examples of Miss Buckingham’s generosity. After that second conflagration, the 15-year-old Kate launched a drive to raise funds for a Christmas party to bring some measure of joy to children in the Cook County hospital.

The Tribune describes the effort... “On Christmas eve the Christmas tree, heavily laden with gifts, was set up in the children’s ward and its many candles were lighted. Tragedy swiftly followed. Through some mishap the burning candles started a fire. The tree and all its Christmas largesse burned down. Bur young Miss Buckingham, nothing deterred, set forth to raise anew money enough for gifts for each child. And did.”

The family relocated their home to Prairie Avenue, the city’s most select street, and the family business, J & E Buckingham, prospered beyond measure. In 1882 Miss Buckingham’s father also built a grand home in Lake Forest, but despite its location on a bluff above Lake Michigan, the family continued to make its principal home in Chicago.

It was in the Prairie Avenue home that Kate and her sister, Lucy Maud, were educated. It was in this home that Lucy Buckingham died in 1889, and it was there that Kate’s sister became increasingly incapacitated. From the house Clarence Buckingham, Kate’s brother, and their father expanded the family’s enterprises to include banking, insurance, steel manufacture, and real estate.

The family’s affiliation with the Art Institute began in the 1890’s when Clarence, impressed by the Japanese art that was exhibited at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, began to collect Japanese prints. Ebenezer died in 1911, Clarence died just over a year later, and Lucy Maud lingered on in increasingly poorer health until 1920. All the losses must have further isolated Kate, a woman left alone in a house that mother, father, sister and brother had shared for her whole adult life.

She continued to collect art, though, following her brother’s lead. Clarence had been a governing member of the Art Institute of Chicago for three decades and a member of the Board of Trustees for a dozen. [Scultz & Hast] After the death of her sister, Kate Buckingham gave her entire collection of Japanese prints, etchings and engravings, Chinese pottery and porcelain, Persian miniatures, Chinese ritual bronzes, Italian silver and English lusterware to the institute. [The Frick Collection. Archives Directory for the History of Collecting in America]

She also furnished the Art Institute’s Gothic room in the memory of her sister and finished the Jacobean Room at the museum in the name of her parents. In 1925 she gave her brother’s entire collection of fourteen hundred sheets of Japanese prints to the museum as well.

Miss Buckingham also wrote a check to the Art Institute that was to be used for a great monument to Alexander Hamilton. Of course, her most memorable contribution was the donation that allowed construction of the great [Buckingham] Fountain in Grant Park, dedicated to her brother, along with a $300,000 endowment to provide for its maintenance.
The Buckingham fountain was donated by Kate Buckingham in honor of her brother Clarence in 1927. The fountain was the largest in the world at the time it was built, and is still one of the largest. Edward H. Bennett designed the monument in collaboration with French sculptor Marcel Loyau and engineer Jacques H. Lambert.

The fountain was meant to represent Lake Michigan and the four states that touch the lake - being Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. The fountain is constructed of Georgia pink marble. To give a vision of just how large the fountain is - the bottom pool is 280 feet in diameter, the lower basin is 103 feet. the upper basin is 24 feet and the upper basin is 25 feet above the lower basin.
But here is something else that resulted from her generosity about which most people are unaware. On February 12, 1912 Kate Buckingham bought a property of 81 acres in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts. It was not far from where a 55-room “cottage,” which her father had built near Pittsfield, Massachusetts, stood until it burned to the ground in 1899.

On the new piece of land Kate Buckingham built Bald Hill Farm. After her death the farm, to which another 80 acres had been added, was sold to Serge and Natalie Koussevitzky. Mr. Koussevitzky was the conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, a man with a dream of one day creating a summer musical festival for the symphony. In 1978 after the death of the Koussevitzky’s, the organization purchased the property, and it now lies at the heart of the Tanglewood Music Festival.

When she died, Kate Buckingham left a half million dollars to friends and relatives. She left another $126,000 to her maid, chauffeur, children of her caretaker, her nurses, doormen and elevator men at the Lakeview cooperative building. In today’s dollars those gifts would total over nine million dollars. She left another $3.1 million for art and cultural organizations, including two million to the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Tribune article that conveyed the news of Kate Buckingham’s death ended with “a well authenticated anecdote,” dealing with “one of her rare visits to the Continental Illinois National bank and Trust company, in which she was an important stockholder.”

“On this occasion,” the story went, “she stopped at the cashier’s cage to get money. She had no identification papers with her and the teller asked if any one in the bank could identify her. She cast a brief, flashing glance around the nearby desks. ‘They’re all dead,’ she snapped.”

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Chicago's First Roller Skating Rink.

The first roller skating rink in Chicago was the "Chicago Roller Skating Rink" located at Congress and Michigan which is in the Chicago Loop area. It opened in November 1880.
Rumor has it that the Chicago Roller Skating Rink was the roller skating venue during the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition because there was no rink on the fairgrounds.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Manual 'Ferris' Wheel at the Old Catlin Illinois Fairgrounds Kills a Young Girl in 1876.

The Ferris wheel[1] originally called 'Ups and Downs,' among other names, was without power and was operated by men who manually pushed the cars around as they came to them. The directors of the fair were afraid the “contraption,” as they termed it, was unsafe and refused to give the owner permission to operate it on the fairgrounds.
The man who had charge of the wheel placed it just outside the fence which enclosed the fairground and on the first day an attempt was made to operate it --- it collapsed.
An 'Ups and Downs' ride at an unknown location. The arms extending a couple of
feet beyond the carriages served as handles for manually turning the ride.
One person, a young girl, was killed and several other people were injured. The owner escaped by mounting a horse and riding swiftly away. He was never apprehended and escaped facing a charge of manslaughter.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


[NOTE] The first Catlin Fair was a one day event organized in 1850 and held on the site of the First Presbyterian Church. It was moved for the third year to Butler’s Point [2], and continued there for 40 more years without profit. 

[1] Although this article is about 1876, I use the term "Ferris wheel" (aka: Observation Wheel) which was 1st coined at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, is used for the benefit of the readers visualization. 

[2] Butler's Point - James Butler settled on land which lay just to the west of Catlin in 1819 and the area became known as Butler's Point. When a railway station was built where Catlin is now located, trade and residences drifted to the better facilities, and Butler's Point was lost in Catlin. This village was named Catlin on account of that being the name of one of officers of the Wabash railroad. 

Sunday, September 16, 2018

A downtown Chicago museum no one seems to know about, and, you can just walk-in!

The Chicago Cultural Center at 78 East Washington Street opened in 1897 as Chicago's first central public library. 
The Main Chicago Public Library. Circa 1898
The building is a Chicago Landmark that houses the city's official reception venue where the Mayor of Chicago has welcomed Presidents and royalty, diplomats and community leaders. It is located in the Loop, across Michigan Avenue from Millennium Park. It was converted in 1977 to an arts and culture center at the instigation of Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg.
The city's central library is now housed across the Loop in the spacious, post-modernist Harold Washington Library Center at 400 South State Street which opened in 1991.
The Harold Washington Library Center.
As the nation's first free municipal cultural center, the Chicago Cultural Center is considered one of the most comprehensive arts showcases in the United States. Each year, the Chicago Cultural Center features more than 1,000 programs and exhibitions covering a wide range of the performing, visual and literary arts. It also serves as headquarters for the Chicago Children's Choir.
The stunning landmark building is home to two magnificent stained-glass domes, as well as free music, dance and theater events, films, lectures, art exhibitions and family events. Completed in 1897 as Chicago’s central public library, the building was designed to impress and to prove that Chicago had grown into a sophisticated metropolis. The country’s top architects and craftsmen used the most sumptuous materials, such as rare imported marbles, polished brass, fine hardwoods, and mosaics of Favrile glass, mother-of-pearl and colored stone, to create an architectural showplace.
Located on the south side of the building, the world’s largest stained glass Tiffany dome ― 38 feet in diameter with some 30,000 pieces of glass ― was restored to its original splendor in 2008.
On the northside of the building is a 40-foot-diameter dome with some 50,000 pieces of glass in an intricate Renaissance pattern, designed by Healy & Millet.

FURTHER READING: The History of the Main Chicago Public Library.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

PHOTO GALLERY

On a personal note: 

In the late 1960s I visited the Main Chicago Library to complete a grammar school assignment. For those who remember, there were two hallways running north-south from entrance to entrance. In those hallways were displays of cultural arts; sometimes paintings, sometimes display cabinets lined both hallways with collections of "stuff." I was lucky enough to be there during the exhibit of Cracker Jack (1896) toys thru time. I was a vast collection, over 2,000 toys, and took all the cabinets in both long hallways. 
Pot Metal Toys
Cracker Jack originally included a small "mystery" novelty item referred to as a "Toy Surprise" in each box. The tagline for Cracker Jack was originally "Candy-coated popcorn, peanuts and a prize." Prizes were included in every box of Cracker Jack beginning in 1912. Early "toy surprises" included rings, plastic figurines, booklets, stickers, temporary tattoos, and decoder rings.
1960s-70s Plastic Toys
The prizes attained pop-culture status with the catch-phrase "came in a Cracker Jack box," particularly when applied sarcastically to engagement and wedding rings of dubious investment value.

Saturday, September 15, 2018

The Bloody Autumn at Nauvoo (Mormon Town), Illinois in 1845.


In historical writing and analysis, PRESENTISM is the introduction of present-day ideas and perspectives into depictions or interpretations of the past. I believe presentism is a form of cultural bias, and it creates a distorted understanding of the subject matter. Reading modern notions of morality into the past is committing the error of presentism. I'm well aware that historical accounts are written by people and can be slanted, so I try my hardest to present articles that are fact based and well researched, without interjecting any of my personal opinions.

Joseph Smith, who founded the Mormon Church in 1830, had been living with his followers in Missouri, where they had various conflicts with locals, including an armed skirmish with the state militia. In 1838, Governor Lilburn Boggs signed a military order directing that the Mormons be expelled or exterminated: “The Mormons must be treated as enemies and must be driven from the state or exterminated, if necessary, for the public good.
Smith and the Mormons fled across the Mississippi to Nauvoo, Illinois (aka: Mormon Town), which quickly became the second most populous town in the state in the 1840s. The population was such that Nauvoo rivaled Chicago for “biggest city in Illinois.” One statistical comparison is that in the fall of 1845, Nauvoo’s violent crime rate very likely surpassed that of Chicago.
Nauvoo in the mid-1840s with the
Mormon Temple in the background.
In 1845, crime in Chicago was such that the city had only four men responsible for keeping the peace: one marshal and three assistants; whereas the Nauvoo police force, in January of 1845, numbered 500 men. While there were extenuating circumstances in Nauvoo necessitating a high number of peacekeepers, in the fall of 1845 Nauvoo’s policemen were often the source of violent crime.

There were conflicts and tensions in Nauvoo as well. When a local newspaper printed editorials claiming that the religious leader was a fraud, Smith sent a group of followers to destroy the newspaper office. He was then arrested and sent to jail, where a lynch mob tracked him down and killed him.
The Mormon Temple in Nauvoo, Illinois. c.1845
Brigham Young, who quickly took command of the church and its followers, tried to stifle any dissent and banish his rivals. The killing of Phineas Wilcox was part of his consolidation of power. 

In his book, One Nation Under Gods, Richard Abanes details some of these events from September of 1845. He writes:
“A halt to the violent conflict between Mormons and anti-Mormons lasted but a brief period of time after Smith was killed. Armed mobs of Illinoisans, incited by endless newspaper articles covering Mormon issues, soon began to conduct raids against isolated church settlements. Mormons were threatened, Latter-day Saints' homes were burned, rumors about various Mormon atrocities circulated, and militias were called out by the governor. Church dissenters and critics, meanwhile, continued to expose aspects of Mormonism that church leaders did not want revealed. The Saints retaliated with verbal intimidation, religious condemnation, and acts of physical violence… More disturbing were the many murders, vicious beatings, and intimidating assaults perpetrated by the Nauvoo police against perceived enemies of the church. Policeman Alan J. Stout summed up the rational of the Saints on these matters, explaining that to his mind such activity was nothing more than avenging the blood of Joseph and Hyrum. In reference to the Mormon dissenters remaining in Nauvoo, Stout expressed a common sentiment: ‘I feel like cutting their throats.’” 
Here are just a few accounts of those violent crimes from September of 1845:

On September 14, the Nauvoo police had three men flogged because they were not in good fellowship with the church.

On September 16, Phineas Wilcox was stabbed to death by fellow Mormons in Nauvoo, because he was believed to be a Christian spy. Wilcox was last seen as he was led toward the Masonic Hall by three Mormons. Wilcox’s stepfather, Orrin Rhodes, inquired after him and searched for him for a week, finally concluding, “Wilcox has been murdered by… Mormons.”
Phineas Wilcox
Frank Worrell, a Carthage Jail guard who failed to protect Joseph Smith, was murdered on September 16, shot out of his saddle by Porter Rockwell.

Again on September 16, Rockwell also killed four unnamed “anti-Mormons” at Highland Branch, near Warsaw.

Andrew Daubenheyer disappeared on the road to Carthage on September 18. He was later found buried in a shallow gave near a campsite on the Carthage road “with a musket ball through the back of his head." In due time Daubenheyer was given a proper burial with a headstone that reads, “Killed by the Mormons.”
The Andrew Daubenheyer Headstone.
Later in September, “several Saints captured a young man by the name of McBracking” who was accused of burning Mormon homes. McBracking’s friends found his body the next day and reported, “After shooting him in two or three places, they cut his throat from ear to ear, stabbed him through the heart, cut off one ear & horribly mutilated other parts of his body.”

Mormon apostles Heber C. Kimball and Orson Hyde ordered the killing of apostate Lambert Symes, who subsequently “disappeared without a trace.”

Nauvoo’s bloody autumn of 1845 could have been much worse, but as it was, it clearly demonstrated that the Mormons and non-Mormons of Hancock County would never learn to live together in peace. “Therefore,” wrote Brigham Young, “we propose to leave this county next spring, for some point so remote, that there will not need to be a difficulty with the people and ourselves…” 

Tensions with other communities continued to escalate, and, a year later, over 2,000 armed anti-Mormons marched on Nauvoo. Young decided that it was no longer wise to stay in the area. He led his flock west in 1846 to the Utah Territory and settled in the Salt Lake Valley. Although the territory was remote, difficulties between Mormons and non-Mormons did not cease for long. Young and his followers would become instrumental in founding the state of Utah.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Friday, September 14, 2018

The First-Ever Brownie was invented in Chicago by Bertha Palmer for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.

Like Twinkies and deep dish (or pan) pizza, brownies were born in Chicago. Credit goes to Bertha Palmer, wife of the Palmer House’s original owner, Potter Palmer. Apparently the organizers of the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 asked her and the hotel to concoct a delicious and transportable dessert, and this classic was born.

Unlike other brownie recipes which started appearing in 1904 and specified that butter and sugar were first creamed before being combined with a small amount of melted chocolate, the Palmer House brownie is made with more than a pound of melted chocolate and a pound of melted butter. The finished brownie is also glazed with apricot jelly.  A combination of chocolate fudge and brownie, crispy-chewy on the edges, ultra dense and chocolatey, it’s best served frozen, or very cold… otherwise, gooey things happen.
The Famous Palmer House Fudge Brownie
Actual photograph of the Palmer House Brownie.
YIELD: About 24 brownies

ACTIVE TIME: 20 minutes

Brownie Ingredients
1 lb. plus 2 oz. high-quality semi-sweet chocolate
1 lb. butter (1lb  = 2 cups OR 4 sticks)
12 oz. granulated sugar
8 oz. cake flour [1]
1 Tbsp baking powder
4 large whole eggs
1 lb crushed, toasted walnuts

Apricot Glaze Ingredients
1 cup water
1 cup apricot preserves
1 envelope unflavored gelatin powder

INSTRUCTIONS
Make brownies: Melt chocolate with butter in a double boiler or heat-proof bowl suspended over very hot water. Mix dry ingredients in a mixing bowl (except walnuts.) Mix melted chocolate/butter mixture with dry ingredients. Whisk in eggs, one at a time, taking about 5 minutes continuous whisking from the first egg to the last. Butter and flour a 9 x 12 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350. Toast walnuts for about 15 minutes until fragrant. Lower oven temperature to 300. Chop walnuts and set aside. Spread brownie batter into the prepared pan. It will be very liquid. Sprinkle surface with the chopped walnuts, pressing down so that they are partly submerged. Bake in 300 degree oven 45 to 50 minutes until the brownies have crisped on the edge of the pan–about 2-inches around the full edge of the pan. The brownies in the center of the pan will remain slightly jiggly. Note: even when properly baked, these brownies will test “gooey” in the center with a toothpick test, due to the richness of the batter. Remove brownies from oven and cool on a rack for 30 minutes. Chef Stephen Henry says for cleanest slices, freeze the brownies for three hours after glazing. Then cut, and serve while very firm and cold.

Make glaze: Mix water, preserves and unflavored gelatin in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until boiling; heat at boiling for two minutes. While the glaze is still hot, spread a thick layer over the brownies. Cool completely. Place in the freezer for 3 to 4 hours. Slice and serve while very cold and firm.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D. 


[1] What is the difference between (all purpose) flour and cake flour? - Cake flour is a finely milled, delicate flour with a low protein content; it's usually bleached. When used in cakes, it results in a super-tender texture with a fine crumb, and a good rise. Chiffon and angel food cake are two great examples of where cake flour really shines. The primary difference between cake flour and all-purpose (AP) flour is the protein content (which becomes gluten). The protein content of cake flour is about 8%, while the protein content of AP flour is slightly higher.

The History of the Dreamland (Amusement) Parks in Springfield, Illinois.

There were two amusement parks at 23rd Street and Capitol Avenue, in Springfield, Illinois, before the three Dreamland Parks. The first one being the "White City" and then the short-lived "Woodland Park." 

The original Dreamland Park was founded in 1912. It had a dance pavilion, baseball fields and other facilities, but folded sometime before 1918. 

The name was then adopted by the Black entrepreneur, Amos Duncan (1887-1945). Duncan built a new Amusement Park, "Dreamland Park" at 2425 Cornell Avenue in 1921 which lasted into the late 1930s. The park was a major attraction for the black community during a time of segregation, as people came from as far as St. Louis and East St. Louis, arriving by rail which ran directly into the park. The park catered to black organizations for picnics and festivals. Many activities took place on a regular basis such as dances, live music, baseball games, rodeos, and picnics. Negro League baseball teams such as the Cincinnati Clowns and the Pittsburgh Steelers and the likes of Steel Arm Taylor and hall of fame pitcher Satchel Paige made several trips to play in Dreamland Park. The park became a major attraction and large celebrations, lasting several days, were held on holidays such as the Fourth of July and Lincoln’s Birthday. By the mid-1930s Dreamland Park started to decline as Amos Duncan ran into financial difficulties. 

Duncan sold the property to Ed White in 1938, but White was unable to successfully sustain the park.
The current Dreamland Park is located at 2300 Taylor Avenue and commemorates Duncan’s enterprise. It was added to the Springfield park system in 1996. Land that was formerly Dreamland Park was dedicated by the Southeast High School to its new school grounds.

Compiled by Neil Gale, Ph.D.