Fire at 1200 feet over Chicago


It was a warm 83 degrees in Chicago on Monday, July 21, 1919.  The movie “Daddy Long Legs” starring Mary Pickford was playing at the biograph theater. Vaudeville was alive and well at the State-Lake theater. All seats $.25. Ten thousand were cheering the end of the stockyards workers strike. A brick bungalow could be had for $4000. A loaf of bread seven cents. A quart of milk was nine cents.

On that day,  Evelyn L Meyer, 28 years old,  made her daily weekday trip downtown from her home at 5135 Blackstone Avenue on Chicago’s far south side. Evelyn was a teller at the llinois Trust and Savings Bank at 231 S. LaSalle, corner of Jackson Blvd. in downtown Chicago. She earned about $15 a week.

Evelyn and 150 bookkeepers and clerks were closing up  the bank at about 4:55 PM in and around the main banking hall. Built in 1897, the bank featured a beautiful open lobby, topped by an enormous skylight over a marble columned rotunda.  

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