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To mark the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway, a flotilla of seven warships escorted the Royal Yacht Britannia through the rivers and lakes all the way to Chicago. It was a muggy July 20th in 1959, when the Brittania, then almost new, dropped anchor at Chicago’s inner harbor, heralding Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip‘s arrival, the first to the city by a reigning British monarch.
As a 16-year-old, I filmed the action from a unique vantage point — aboard my father’s little launch, as the glistening Royal Barge powered by, nearly swamping us,with Phillip waving at the pleasure boats and the Queen ducking behind the windshield to keep her curly hairdo in place. Sailors at attention stood on the bow and stern of her mahogany, silver-trimmed barge, flying the royal banner. My film is long gone (I think I cut a clip from it into a high school film project we called “An Expose of Spiriualism.”
But here is a newsreel of the event from British Pathe: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/queen-conquers-chicago
The Queen’s barge landed at the Monroe Harbor seawall, since known as the Queen’s Landing, and she crossed a red carpet across Lake Shore Drive to Buckingham Fountain, where she was greeted by Mayor Daly and Governor Stratton. A million gawkers lined the shoreline and fountain area. They paraded in open cars up Michigan Avenue, crossed the Chicago River, and proceeded to lunch at the Ambassador West Hotel.
The impending demise of the Chicago News Cooperative, which has a daily web feed and has helped keep the New York Times relevant in Chicago, signals another step backward in journalism. The cooperative helped serve as a rescue blanket for some leading former Chicago Tribune journalists. It was long on real news coverage and opinion, not on infotainment and “if it bleeds, it leads” news reports. It lasted a little over two years. RIP!
Chicago News Cooperative to suspend operations
The Chicago News Cooperative, a non-profit news organization launched in 2009 to add another voice to the city’s journalism community, is expected to suspend operations, a source close to the organization told the Tribune Friday.
The CNC, which operates a web site and publishes a section in the Chicago edition of The New York Times twice a week, operates as a non-profit organization. It has a partnership with WTTW-Channel 11, Chicago publictelevision, and WBEZ, Chicago public radio.
This human sized hummingbird nest, which sleeps three (humans) has been on display at Chicago’s Lincoln Park Zoo. Unfortunately today is the last day to see the nest, so check it out in this video (http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/127789228.html).
I visited the wonderfully unique nest after lunch today with zoo officials. A real hummingbird nest is about the size of a penny, which is more than the value of some people-sized homes in today’s real estate market.
At the Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the country’s last free zoos, your penny goes a lot further, and could even be a down payment on a tasty lunch at the zoo’s pond-side Cafe Brauer!
On the site of an ancient sand dune, Frederick Law Olmstead, architect of New York’s Central Park, carved out an island, known as Wooded Island, in the 500-acre site of Jackson Park, part of the grounds for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Today restored, the island added the Japanese Garden in 1935, seen on a fine spring day in 2010.
Yesterday was the 150th birthday of Chicago sculptor Lorado Taft, the city’s most famous. On the occasion, Vicki and I visited his monumental work, The Fountain of Time, on the west end of Hyde Park’s Midway Plaisance. We were on a full day’s tour, called The Devil in the White City tour, led by historian Barbara Geiger. My I-Phone pic of the sculpture is attached.
We enjoyed the story of Taft’s employment of a number of young women sculptors to help get some work done for the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. It was highly unusual for women to do such work then. Fair organizer Daniel Burnham, hearing of Taft’s plan, was reported to have said, “I don’t care if he employs white rabbits, as long as he gets the work done.” The talented ladies were henceforth known as the “white rabbits.”
After more than a dozen years of work Taft’s Fountain of Time was unveiled in 1922. Based on poet Austin Dobson’s lines: “Time goes, you say? Ah no, Alas, time stays, we go.” the fountain shows a cloaked figure of time observing the stream of humanity flowing past.