If you are something over 60, and lived in Chicago or the suburbs, you surely remember where YOU were on that Thursday, January 26, Please leave your story in comments below.
It was 5:02 a.m. on January 26, 1967 when the first flakes of snow began to fall harmlessly to the ground. The weather bureau predicted 4”, later revising it to 9” and again to 15 inches. What did they know?
At 10:10 AM, 29 hours and 8 minutes later on Friday January 27th the snow finally stopped with a record 23” crippling Chicago, suburbs, and several states. Wherever we were, snow was up to our knees or worse.
Kenneth Goodman left his home at 5221 Winthrop about 11 PM on a bitterly cold Sunday night, January 15, 1967 in his 1961 Chevrolet station wagon. He was scheduled to begin his shift at midnight at McCormick Place on Chicago’s lakefront. He was employed as a security guard the Kane Watch Service. Aocording to a Kane ad of the time, he was paid $1.65 per hour and his uniform was supplied.
McCormick Place, at the time was the largest convention center in North America built at a cost of $35 million. It was opened in November 1960, with 486,000 ft.² of exhibit space.
in this crazy upside-down world of ours, I find myself spending more time recalling the past, as a kid in a simpler Chicago. Neighborhoods were safe and we didn’t lock our doors. Maybe not all of you are as old as I am but bear with me while I remember my Chicago in the 1950s.
The picture above is of Kindergarten September 1949, Daniel Boone School on the far northside of Chicago. I am the kid behind the birdcage, already having to wear glasses.
Growing up was carefree as we rode our bikes through burning leaves at the curb and stayed out til the streetlights came on. How I remember the unmistakable smell of those smoldering leaves.
We had water balloon fights on hot summer days and played ball in the alley. Third base was Mrs. Erickson’s garbage can.
Well before our softball game or water fights, the milkman would come down the alley in his tiny white truck. The strawberry man would come down the alley selling lugs of fresh strawberries. The scrap man would come down the alley loudly calling out “rags and old iron”. I always thought he said “ragsolion” but what did I know? I was just a kid. Without apology, this was simply my Chicago as I was growing up.
We captured butterflies, grasshoppers and lightning bugs, we climbed trees, built a fort on an empty lot. We ran through the lawn sprinklers. We traded baseball cards and had a cherry Coke at the soda fountain. We drank Kool-Aid or set up a lemonade stand on a street corner.
please understand that I’m seeing our city from a Northside perspective not intending to slight the South side. Your mileage may vary but please read on and enjoy. It gets better.
Some 87 years before McCormick Place, Chicago had a grand exposition building. On September 25, 1872 the Chicago Interstate Industrial Exposition building opened on Michigan Avenue, now the site of the Art Institute. This huge convention center opened just two years after the great Chicago fire destroying over 17,000 buildings.
The “Glass Palace” as it was known, was to show how much the city had recovered following the great fire. It was billed as “the largest structure ever built on the American continent” with 220,000 square feet of exhibit space. It held that title until the 1893 world’s fair where the Manufacturers and Liberal Arts building was built even seven times bigger.