April 23, 1914………Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field), opens for the first time, with the Chicago Federals as the first tenants. The Federals are part of the upstart Federal League, the 3rd Major League. The Federals will remain in Weeghman Park for 2 years, winning the championship in 1915, before the league dissolves, and the Cubs move in, in 1916. The Cubs had been playing in West Side Park. Charley Weeghman owns the Cubs that first year, with William Wrigley also owning a small percentage, and the park remains Weeghman Park until 1920, when it becomes Cubs Park. It remains Cubs Park until 1926, when William Wrigley, the sole owner of the Cubs then, officially names it Wrigley Field. Why was this park built in a more residential section of Chicago and not near a major road? Well because the park, built in 1914, was situated near the Milwaukee Railroad. This is the only remaining Federal League park that still stands. The photos are Weeghman Park, April 23, 1914.
Have you seen parakeets in Chicago? Some time in the 1970s, somebody’s pet parakeets escaped. These weren’t tropical parakeets, but ones that evolved in the relatively cold climate of southern South America, called Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus). Their cold-tolerance and huge apartment building-like stick nests, along with food from backyard bird feeders, allows them to survive Chicago winters. There are still populations on Chicago’s south side, where they have been since the 70s, and there are other colonies in the suburbs.
Join the group Ringling Brothers Circus Memories and share your memories and experiences
Today, April 15th, we celebrate the life and times of Harold Lee Washington (April 15, 1922 – November 25, 1987); an African American lawyer and politician who became the first African-American Mayor of Chicago, serving from 1983 until his death in 1987.
Harold Washington was born in Chicago and was raised by his father. After dropping out of high school during his junior year, Washington earned a high school equivalence degree in the Army, after being drafted during World War II. He graduated from Roosevelt University in 1949 with a degree in political science followed by a degree in law from Northwestern University in 1952. Washington began his political career when he succeeded his deceased father in 1953 as a Democratic Party precinct captain. After positions as a city attorney and a state labor arbitrator, he served in the Illinois House of Representatives for eleven years.
He then advanced to seats in the Illinois State Senate in 1976 and the United States House of Representatives in 1980. Washington was instrumental in the 1982 effort to extend the 1965 Voting Rights Act. In 1977, Washington made an unsuccessful bid to become the mayor of Chicago. In 1983, he again entered the mayoral race and won the primaries. He edged out Republican Bernard Epton in the general election to become the city’s first African-American mayor. Washington increased racial diversity in city administration, assuring equal opportunities for women and minorities seeking employment and ended city patronage.
He had difficulty implementing his initiatives since his political opponents held the majority of the 50 City Council seats. In 1986, after a Federal court called for new elections in certain wards that were deemed racially biased, however, Washington achieved more legislative success. He unexpectedly died of a heart attack shortly after his reelection in 1987, ending hope for a popular, progressive, multiracial city government.
Despite the bickering in City Council, Washington seemed to relish his role as Chicago’s ambassador to the world. At a party held shortly after his re-election on April 7, 1987, he said to a group of supporters, “In the old days, when you told people in other countries that you were from Chicago, they would say, ‘Boom-boom! Rat-a-tat-tat!’ Nowadays, they say [crowd joins with him], ‘How’s Harold?’!”
In later years, various city facilities and institutions would be named or renamed after the late mayor to commemorate his legacy. The new building housing the main branch of the Chicago Public Library, located at 400 South State Street, was named the Harold Washington Library Center. The former Loop College in downtown Chicago was renamed Harold Washington College. In addition to the downtown facilities, the 40,000-square-foot Harold Washington Cultural Center was opened to the public in August 2004, in the historic South Side neighborhood of Bronzeville, at 4701 S. King Drive. Across from the Hampton House apartments where Washington lived, a city park was renamed Harold Washington Park, which was known for “Harold’s Parakeets”, a colony of feral monk parakeets that inhabited an ash trees in the park. On the campus of Chicago State University, at 9501 S. King Drive, one of the campus’s buildings is named Harold Washington Hall.
What are the issues and what are the politicians proposed solutions ?
The lack of a political debate, whether in debate format, literature or via door to door discussion has done a great disservice to the residents of the Village of Schiller Park.
Since this election cycle has not defined the issues or the solutions; let’s examine on the eve of the election what we should have been deciding upon, NOT politicians trashing of each other !
No one has clearing talked about the critical issues with infrastructure, starting with the repaving of streets. The Mayor and Board in a united effort unanimously adopted a .05 per gallon for gasoline tax for which now they are trashing each other. They have indicated that they are going to use some of the money to eliminate a deficiency in the police and fire pension funds which need $50 million dollars and use some of the money to repave the Village streets (costs approaching $20 million dollars). Yet did anybody mention that the tax will only raise about $450,000 per year ? Do the math it does not add up ! What is the solution ? Do we as taxpayers keep facing steeper and steeper costs each year, no real solution ? Just eyewash ? In the last 25 years where is the short range and long range plan for the street program ?
Deteriorating Sewer and Water Infrastructure
Most of the current sewer and water infrastructure is more than 50 years old with some in excess of 90 years old. To properly upgrade and replace the necessary infrastructure could run as high as $65 million dollars. What type of surcharge on the consumer in Schiller Park will be necessary to complete these upgrades in a reasonable period of time to avoid future service interruptions ? What are the long range and short range goals ? No one can answer that question.
Obsolete Police Station
When the Schiller Park Police Station was occupied in 1967, it was already obsolete. Yet the department has continued to function for 50 years in a crowded and inefficient facility. When will the politicians recognize that this community has to not only have the facility to provide services to the residents, but operate next to the World’s busiest airport and the third largest city in the United States. Where do we find the funding for a new police station (Costing approximately $12,000,000) ? What are the positions of the candidates on supporting the law enforcement to protect our residents ?
What are the positions of the political adversaries in the cleaning up of the 22 acre polluted landfill and how do they envision its future contribution to the economic health of the Village of Schiller Park ? No one put forward a plan or ideas to address this 60 year problem.
What are the positions of the politicians to the erection of billboards on the eastside of the Tri State Tollroad ? What are their positions on the proliferation of the electronic billboards ? No statements and no answers. Someones response is to put a referendum on the ballot, clearly we know the community opposes the expansion of the billboards from the public meetings and petitions. We need to hear from the politicians not keep putting it on the residents.
Proliferation of Parking Lots
Neither side can deny culpability for inviting in and expanding the parking lots in Schiller Park. Now everyone is running from what the door was opened to when the first parking lot anchored the Mannheim Road Gateway TIF. What are the positions of the candidates and how do they propose that this runaway train be stopped ?
Schiller Park is a metropolitan community, not a rural community. So why do we continue to provide unengineered street lighting sporadically through the town on wooden poles ? With the growth in technology, the politicians should be able to propose a plan using the latest technology to provide an engineered solution for the Village and its residents. The looks of the Village would be greatly enhanced with proper ornamental street lighting as well as the safety for all residents.
Where is the effort by the politicians to give priority to employ qualified residents with the Village instead of employing non residents. No politician of any differing political persuasion proposed an ordinance or resolution to provide priority in employment to qualified residents. The voters should demand that their tax dollars go first to employ residents.
Intergovernmental CoOperation with Surrounding Towns for Economic Development
What are the politician’s positions on cooperation with Rosemont, Franklin Park, and Bensenville for the attracting and mutually working to recruit and retain business in the region ? What type of models would they be willing to approve to attract and retain business. For example, shared sales tax revenue ?
What are the positions of the politicians on adopting an ordinance to impose term limits on local government elected positions ? Why has not any of them introduced for consideration by the Village Board such an ordinance ? Would the candidates support term limits ?
So what is the position of the politicians on the hiring of relatives for government employment in Schiller Park ? If they chose to chastise one elected official for such conduct, where or when has an ordinance been proposed to eliminate or limit such employment options ? Would the candidates support a ban on nepotism ?
Contracting of Services
No one discussed the current privatized or contracted services, nor did anyone talk about how such expansion could save taxpayer’s money. What are the positions of the candidates on the privatizing of governmental services ?
Consolidation of Government Services
What are the positions of the candidates on considering of the consolidation of services to safe the taxpayers’ money. What services could they consider to be reviewed to consolidate ? Currently, per Illinois law, Schiller Park is consolidating their 911 services with Norridge and Harwood Heights, with the 911 center being relocated from our police station to the Harwood Heights police station. What other police services for example should be consolidated ? For example the police lockup and processing, should it be regionalized ? What do the candidates feel about the consolidation of the police department lock up ? Consolidation is trending in government nationally, what are the positions of the candidates as to how far it would benefit the taxpayers of Schiller Park ?
Adult Use District
No adult use district could be established close to any residential area without Board approval, furthermore there are standards that bar such usages from near residents and homes, so what are the candidates positions on changing the current usage?
So where is the realistic discussion to discuss the realistic solution ? Which political party has a plan ? Or is this just Illinois political