In 1958 CTA published an illustrated catalogue of future service improvements titled "New Horizons." Most of these proposals were never adopted. Here's a look at some of the plans for the Northwest Branch of the Blue Line.
In 1958 CTA was just over ten years old. The new agency was modernizing Chicago's transit system, and was confidently planning for the future. Here's another look at some of CTA's visionary proposals from a half-century ago, as outlined in the booklet "New Horizons."
In the 1950s the Loop "L" was called an "iron girdle" retarding the expansion of the central business district. CTA wanted to tear down the whole thing.
A few weeks ago I mentioned the Silver Line, an "L"-subway proposed by CTA. Last time I checked, the line had not advanced beyond the talking stage.
Chicago’s transit planners have never been afraid of making big plans. In 1958 CTA issued a detailed wish-list for the future titled “New Horizons.” Most of these proposals were never implemented, probably because of cost. Still, it is interesting to consider the transport system we might have had.
Streetcars on Washington Street crossed the Chicago River in a tunnel. During the 1930s the city proposed extending the tunnel all the way to Michigan Avenue, to ease congestion in the Loop. This was an update of the plan, featuring 1950s Twin Coach propane buses.
On July 9, 1896 a 36-year-old newspaper editor gave a speech before the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The next day he became the party’s candidate for President of the United States.
The economy was in bad shape in 1896. The country was arguing about how to solve the problem. Put simply, it was about Gold vs. Silver.
The Gold group wanted each dollar in paper money backed by a dollar’s worth of gold. They thought America needed a stable currency to bring back prosperity.
The Silver group wanted paper money backed by both silver and gold. That would put more money in circulation, and lead to inflation. But in the short term, the economy might rebound.
The Republicans nominated Governor William McKinley of Ohio for president. He was a Gold man. When the Democrats gathered in Chicago for their convention, none of their possible candidates seemed very exciting.
They met at the original Chicago Coliseum, at 63rd and Stony Island.
In 1932 the Great Depression was in its third year. Banks were closing and unemployment stood at about 25 percent. Many Americans felt hopeless.
This was an election year. With no improvement in sight, President Herbert Hoover and the Republicans were on the way out. The next president would probably be a Democrat.
The Democratic Convention met at the new Chicago Stadium that June. On the third ballot, the delegates nominated Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt of New York as their presidential candidate. They then appointed a committee to go to New York, and notify Roosevelt at a later date.
That’s the way it had always been done. But now there was radio. Everybody knew whom the Democrats had picked, as soon as it happened. Roosevelt sent word to the delegates to forget about the committee, and stay put. He would come to Chicago.
And to get there in a hurry, he would travel by airplane!
That’s wasn’t easy to do.
The sporting world had never seen anything like it. The date was August 30, 1981, and Arlington Park was holding the first thoroughbred horse race with a million-dollar purse. The race was called – what else? – the Arlington Million.
The idea originated with Joe Joyce, who’d headed the track since 1976. The inaugural Million was scheduled over a distance of one-and-one-quarter miles, and was open to three-year-olds and up. The winner was to receive 60 percent of that $1 million purse – nearly double the prize of the Kentucky Derby.
Republicans staged Chicago’s first national political convention in May of 1860. And for the first time ever, a citizen of Illinois was nominated for President of the United States. His name was Abraham Lincoln.
In 1860 the Republican Party was a new, dynamic, anti-slavery party. Four years before, in their first presidential campaign, they’d run a surprisingly strong race. Now the Democrats were split on the slavery issue. The Republicans would likely be picking the next occupant of the White House.
The Chicago convention site was a big wooden barn at Lake and Market (Wacker) called The Wigwam. Local boosters bragged the building could hold 10,000 people, making it the largest auditorium in the country
As the delegates and party faithful arrived, Lincoln looked like a longshot, one of a half-dozen minor candidates. He had served a single term in Congress, then gone back to practicing law in Springfield.
The big news the next two weeks will be the national political conventions. Chicago has hosted 25 of these gatherings, far more than any other city. That makes it an appropriate time to recall a few historic Chicago conventions, this week the Republicans, next week the Democrats.
We begin with 1920, when the President of the United States was chosen in a suite at the Blackstone Hotel.
In 1920 Democrat Woodrow Wilson was finishing up his second term in the White House. The Republican Convention was being held at the Chicago Coliseum that year, and it looked like happy days for the GOP. The country was in the mood for change.
Today’s party conventions are nothing more than pep rallies – by the time the opening gavel is banged, one candidate has locked up the nomination. That wasn’t the case in 1920. Back then local party bosses controlled things. Several roll-call ballots were usually needed to pick a nominee.
When the Republicans assembled on June 8th, there were two front-runners–General Leonard Wood and Illinois Governor Frank Lowden. The balloting began. Neither man could get a majority.