Chicago Tribune, April 11, 1909
HICAGO is considering the building of commercial piers into the lake for the accommodation of nits shipping.
At the present time it appears that the proposition made by q great corporation for the building of these piers north of the river will have most favorable consideration at the hands of the harbor commission.
The company asking this concession is in a position to pay for it. It can afford to pay for it.
The Tribune believes that no plan for the building of commercial piers should be considered unless it shall provide for recreation piers such as New York, Boston, and half a dozen other cities have established. How to get this water front feature is more than suggested in the following article.
Recreation Feature City’s Necessity.
As a resident of Chicago—man, woman, or child—wouldn’t it please you now and then if you could promenade half a mile or more into the lake along the broad deck of a recreation pier freely as you traverse the gravel walks of a public park?
It has occurred to THE SUNDA TRIBUNE that these questions so quickly will be answered in enthusiastic affirmatives that THE TRIBUNE has anticipated them and has prepared to show conclusively that in the present consideration of plans looking to the buildings of commercial piers into the harbor the city of Chicago must make a tremendous mistake if it enters into any scheme which does not provide this free recreation feature, which shall be in control of the proper park board.
Boston’s Pier Attracts Thousands.
Almost twenty years ago Boston made appropriations for building a distinctly recreation pier a full mile out into the bay and for years students of Cambridge, twelve or fourteen miles away, have been attracted to it in season, while South Boston has swarmed over it in countless thousands.
Eight years ago New York’s charter creating Greater New York gave to the commissioner of docks the power to establish one specific recreation pier “at or near the foot of Perry street on the Hudson river.” Wisely, however, the same section provided for such other piers in the Hudson and East rivers as the commissioner “shall deem from time to time necessary for the use of the inhabitants of the city of New York.” At the present time New York has eight of these recreation piers, all of them in conjunction with the dockage pf vessels carrying merchandise on the rivers and canals.
Contrast some of last summer’s pictures of the crowds and vistas of New York and Bostons’s recreation piers with the pictures of Chicago’s crowds making their way out to the rough and tumble surfaces of the harbor breakwater merely to catch a bit of air and sunshine above the water of the lake! Shall any one question that Chicago people will crowd to a recreation pier that promises a walk of half a mile out, invited by an artistic structure which shall present suggestions of walking the deck of a giant steamer at sea?
Private Docks Recreation Failures.
At the present time the Chicago harbor commission is considering a proposition of a big corporation looking to that concern’s building three great docks half a mile into the lake just south of Indiana street, north of the river’s mouth. The tentative scheme is that, with the city’s permission, this company will build these docks at a cost of $8,000,000 or more, agreeing that at the end of twenty years title to these docks shall be made over to the city. At the present time there is no such dock extending into the lake harbor. There are a hundred miles of private docks lining the banks of the Chicago river, but as beauty spots they are distinct, fetid failures for the most part, to say nothing of private watchmen with clubs. To get to a breakwater a boat is an absolute necessity.
James A. Pugh, president of the Pugh Terminal company, with its huge seven story warehouse, 150 feet wide and 2,350 feet long, at the foot of Illinois street, has made the overtures to the city for permission to build these three docks into the lake. Frontage rights from the river to the north line of Indiana street are asked. The piers are to be 2,500 feet long and 200 feet wide. The width of the slips will be 200 feet also.
This north pier at Indiana street has been designed for the use of passenger boats on the lakes, with two floor levels. On the lower level the cargoes of the lake boats will be loaded and unloaded, while on the upper level, about twenty-five feet above the water, passengers will embark and disembark. The plans submitted to the harbor commission provide for the Indiana street trolley line’s making a loop for the entire length of the pier, enabling passengers to drop from his car or catch it close to the vehicle which he would leave or board.
Questions Bring Forth Varied Answers.
It is this proposition which the city, through the harbor commission, at present is considering. At the present time a breakwater resembling an amputated arm lies at an oblique angle off shore to the far northeast of the proposed pier sites. Already the national government has made an appropriation for closing the shore gap from Huron street, which will leave this breakwater arm a full protection to the harbor from Huron street to the harbor light one mile out from the shore at its southern end. Into this completed harbor, it is proposed to extend the commercial piers of the Pugh terminal company for 2,500 feet, and it is into this harbor that at least one recreation pier should be provided.
But how? Where? Tin connection with one of these freight piers? Or high up over the passenger level of the north pier, which is to be looped by the tracks of the Indiana street line?
Chicago Examiner, October 31, 1909
The first Fall meeting of the City Council Harbor Commission, which is to decide the policy of the administration for establishing an outer hartnor, by which it is expected to make Chicago the commercial center of the world, will be held Thursday afternoon m the City Hall.
Chairman Charles M. Foell of thc committee announced yesterday that his committee would be ready immediately to take up the plan for improving the lake front, and the promoters of the project to build a system of piers, docks and terminals that will exceed anything of the kind in the world will be on hand to present the ideas for improving the lake front from the river to Indiana street.
PLAN FOR CHICAGO OUTER HARBOR
Drawing from plans of Andrew McAnsh which will be submitted to the Council committee on harbors at its first Fall meeting.
Want 50-Year Franchise
The Chicago Dock & Canal Company, of which James A. Pugh is the directing general, yesterday sent to the harbor committee a revised plan for the huge system of piers and docks and wharves that the company plans to erect on Chicago’s water
The same company will lie ready to argue with the Aldermanic body for the right to a franchise which will give it a right to the water front between the points named for fifty years, unless at some time In the life of thc franchise the city finds itself able to operate the wharves itself, and a municipal ownership clause will give the municipality the power at once to take over the properties, allowing the owners a reasonable profit for their Investmentand trouble.
The Chicago Dock & Canal Company asks for a franchise for which it agrees to pay the city compensation at the rate of 5 per cent of its gross receipts. It argues its right to the lake front site under a charter granted the concern in 1854 by the Illinois Legislature, when United States Senator Shelby M. Cullom was Speaker of the House and William Ogden was Mayor of Chicago.
The concern at present holds title to all the land on the water front between the river and Indiana street, with the exception of 100 feet which it hopes to get from the city.
Chicago Tribune Drawing
Propose World Center Here.
On this site Pugh and Andrew McAnsh and their colleagues In the venture hope to build the system of piers and wharves which they declare will promote Chicago to the foremost ranks of the world’s commercial cities the moment it is begun, and in a short time make the city the world’s commercial center.
In the new plan presented to the Aldermen the prompters show three piers extending into the lake nearly 2,OOO feet, with slips between wide enough to permit two large boots to turn at the same time. The southern pier is for “out” freight. The center pier is for “in” freight. The northern pier la for passenger boats, a recreation pier, a market, convention hall and buildings to be used for various purposes.
Boat ferries for lighterage and transmission of freight to cars and wagons are planned ln connection with the system, the lighters to- navigate the river between stations established by the various railroads entering the city.
Lighterage Business Established.
Already the lighterage business has been established. The company has obtained a franchise from the city which permits it to maintain loading stations at various points along the city.
At the first meeting of the Council committee, it is planned to outline the city’s policy with regard to the harbor problem. Corporation Counsel Brundage has a tentative ordinance before the committee which permits the city and the Chicago Dock & Canal Company to operate under a partnership agreement similar to the traction ordinance. The ordinance plans for the city to receive 55 per cent of the net receipts, and the company 45 percent. This is offered in case it is decided by the Council that the city is not in a position at present to build its own harbor. Some of the Aldermen, while arguing that a harbor must be built at once, point out that the municipality is without the funds to build it. lt is because of the impoverished, condition of the treasury that the promoters of the Chicago Dock & Canal Company hope to be able to get their franchise.
Safeguard City Interests.
“The cily will be careful to safeguard its interests m thc harbor matter,” said Chairman Foeli of the committee. “We are not going to overlook any chance that will let us have our own harbor at the very earliest possible moment. If it is found that the city cannot at once build its harbor, you may rest assured that whoever builds it will be bound by such an ironclad ordinance that the municipality will lose nothing in the long run.
“The harbor must be built, whether by private or public capital is to be decided upon later. The plans of every one will be given thorough considerations and the committee will move carefully, having in mind all the time ultimate, possession of the harbor for the city itself.”
Building of the Municipal Pier
The construction of Municipal Pier in 1914 was just one of the projects that reshaped the lakeshore. It was completed on 25 June 1916 and was the world’s longest pier at 3,300 feet.
The 293-foot wide steel and cement structure extended 5/8 mile from Grand Avenue into Lake Michigan and was designed to serve as a huge freight terminal to encourage lake shipping. On each side, it had two double-decked buildings, which housed launches for ships and warehouse space. A roadway that ran the length of the Pier separated the two buildings. On the shore end of the Pier, planners set up an open-air promenade where Chicagoans attended carnivals or even free lectures given by the City’s Health Department. And on the lake end, the city built a concert hall which accommodated more than 3,000 people.
Streetcars traveled in a loop along the passenger decks of the Municipal (Navy) Pier’s inner court in 1921.
Daniel Burnham’s plan called for building five piers. However, lake shipping never became as important as city leaders hoped. Rather, manufacturers continued to give preference to the railroads. Added to this the cost of building and maintaining the pier, meant that the additional piers were never completed.
In 1921, Chicago Mayor William H. Thompson held Pageant of Progress which drew over one million visitors in a fifteen-day time period. It was the only pier of the time to combine the business of shipping with the pleasure of public entertainment. Soon after the war, Municipal Pier was renamed to Navy Pier as a tribute to Navy personnel who served during World War I.
Chicago Tribune, July 5, 1916
50,000 Find Municipal Pier a Great Civic Achievement
The Municipal Pier had an impromptu dedication yesterday.
It will not be entirely ready for the public until July 15, but it is sufficiently complete to permit full inspection. Yesterday one of the biggest crowds ever assembled in the city wandered toward the new structure. Before the day was done it was one of the most agreeably surprised throngs of the 50,000 men, women, and children who ever gathered in Chicago.
From time to time articles about the pier have been printed in the newspapers, but the great holiday throng was not prepared for anything like the recreation section of the pier.
Unique in the World.
The bare statement that no city in the world has any structure on a water front that compares with the new Municipal pier was apparently fully appreciated by the joyous thousands who went to take a peek at things and remained all day to enjoy themselves. Many remained to see Chicago’s shore line at night.
And with the good nature that everywhere yesterday marked Chicago’s sensible Fourth of July, several of the steamboat folk helped make it a new day for the Chicagoans who have dreamed for years of what the lake front might be made, but never seemed to have any faith that their dreams would be realized. Trips into the lake were made by the Theodore Roosevelt, the United Shores, and the Mackinac.
First Used as Dock.
The Roosevelt, together with the ships of the Northern Michigan Transportation company and some of the smaller excursion craft, are the only ships the owners of which thus far have consented to engage dockage at the pier.
The Roosevelt alone carried 10,000 persons to and from the pier during the day, it was reported, and the Jackson park boats handled another 5,000. Smaller craft plying between the north and south side parks called at the pier off and on all day. All the steamers displayed hundreds of flags floating from mastheads and decks and most of them carried bands, playing patriotic tunes.
The day’s rejoicings were heightened at night came on and the big excursion steamers began to light up. Thousands of red, white, and blue incandescent globes were reflected in the harbor and the music floated across the water.
Music and Dancing.
But yesterday’s approval of the pier is yet to be heightened when the great undertaking is completed, for then there will be music and dancing in the great hall at the lake end. There will also be rest rooms and galleries adorned with works of art and great promenades lined with arm chairs and providing place for picnic parties.
From the high observation towers one can get a view of all Chicago’s shore.
The bigness of the thing is what made the thousands marvel. From the lake, on passing steamers, or from the city side at a distance it looked rather pretentious as to size, but its mammoth inner proportions were unseen until yesterday.
Fifty thousand people this one afternoon—and no one crowded. They think they can put 100,000 human beings out the and have things entirely comfortable.
The street car people were not counting on the crowds that wandered that way and they got into a tight hole in the evening. But provision as to trackage is there. The cars run to the theater and recreation space on the far end on an elevation that does not interfere with anybody or anything, It is merely a question of running enough cars, and that, it was promised, will be attended to on the next inspection day.
Begun Under Harrison.
The great pier seems to fulfill more than the drama of its originators back to Mayor Carter Harrison;s time. It was during his administration that the dream began to form. The first pile was driven in April, 1914. When the finishing touches have been put on the pier will have cost $4,500,000.
Business was combined with pleasure in the building of the pier. It is a double decker, running 3,000 feet out from shore—right out into the deep blue of the lake—and with a dockage space on the lowest level of more than a mile and a half. What will interest the populace will be the recreation section, which is constructed solely with a view to giving the people of Chicago a place to go out into the lake, away from the shore a sufficient distance to get away from all the city noises and annoyances, and where they may board the lake boats with the convenience that is affirded in a great railroad terminal.
Chicago Examiner, July 16, 1916
75,000 AT NEW PIER.
For the first time since its opening the new municipalpier conferred its full blessing upon the public. In the evening alone more than 75,000 persons sought the pier’s cooling breezes, and the Chicago Band gave the first pier concert of the season. Johnny Hand’s band will be the special attraction to-day. And it is now possible to buy food and soft drinks on the pier. Many families held picnics there yesterday and many more will be held to-day.
John Hand III (aged 5) made his conducting debut at the concert on July 16, 1916
The Cement Era, November, 1915
Method of Building Municipal Pier
Concrete is entering more than any other material into the construction of Chicago’s new municipal pier, which extends a half mile out into the lake at Grand avenue. The pier is north of the mouth of the Chicago river, in line with Grand avenue and Illinois street. It is 3,000 feet long and 292 feet wide. At the shore end is a headhouse, forming the entrance and having offices on the upper floors. From the rear of this extend two parallel double-deck buildings, 2,335 feet long, for freight and passenger service.
These are at the sides and are separated by a central 80-foot driveway. The remaining 665 feet is for recreation purposes, with an open upper deck, which forms a shelter for the space below. Near the end of the pier is a
municipal hall for public meetings, concerts, etc.
From the shore or beach to the concrete bulkhead wall on the United States harbor line there is a fill 500 feet long. This stretches south to the river and will be extended 400 feet north of the pier to form a park and im
prove the approach facilities. Two double-track railway lines will be laid along the sides of the driveway adjacent to the sheds. These tracks will connect with the harbor branch of the Chicago & Northwestern Railway at the street level; but locomotives will be allowed to work them only at night.
A double-track incline will connect the street railways on Grand avenue and Illinois street with tracks on the upper deck of the pier. There will be a single track along the inner (or driveway) side of each shed, extending along the recreation deck to a passenger terminal loop and station in the terminal building. One or more intermediate loops across the driveway will make it unnecessary to run all cars the full length of the pier. A concrete walk 81½ feet wide will be laid between the shed and the track.
The substructure, which was built at a cost of about $1,000,000 by the Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Company, of Chicago, consists of a reinforced concrete dock wall on a rock filled pile foundation, the space inside the wall being occupied by a hydraulic fill. The wall is supported on 3 rows of piling, the piles in the outer row being 50 feet long, those in the other two, 40 feet long. The piles in the two outer rows are spaced 4 feet center to center; those in the inner row are 2 feet center to center. The rows are spaced 8 feet center to center and are held together a few feet below the top by 1%-inch round anchor rods, placed by men in wading suits after the piles were driven.
The outside row of piles supports 12×15-inch triple lap Wakefield sheet piling driven after the other piles were in place. Inside of the 3 rows of bearing piles, anchor piles were driven 8 feet center to center and 30 feet from the back row of the dock wall.
The piles were driven by floating pile drivers. The inside row, and the piles for the foundations of all the buildings of the superstructure, which are to rest on these and not on the fill, were driven from the inside; the others were driven from the outside. In all, about 800,000 linear feet of piling was used.
The space between the piles of the dock wall was filled with stone, obtained from the Chicago Drainage canal and brought to the work in barges, to a point about 1 foot below water level. The space inside of the walls was filled with material excavated from the lake bottom.
The concrete dock wall was poured in place. Its dimensions are shown in an accompanying drawing. The concrete, a 1:2:4 mixture, was mixed and placed from a floating plant. The material was brought alongside the scow containing the mix and hoist and unloaded from the material scows into hoppers above the mixer. Two wooden fenders, bolted into cast iron sockets set in the concrete, run along the face of the wall. On top of the wall, cast iron mooring posts are placed every 60 feet.
At the shore end of the pier is the head house. The work on this structure was done by the Chaney-Archibald Company, of Chicago. This building provides the entrances to the pier for different classes of traffic. It is a steel structure, with brick outer walls. At either end is a tower containing a 60,000-gallon steel tank for fire protection purposes.
From the head house, for a distance of 2,250 feet out, the pier is occupied by freight and passenger sheds, one on each side of an 80-foot central driveway. Each of these buildings is 100 feet wide, and 2 stories in height. The footings, beams and slabs of the lower floor are of rein forced concrete; the columns, girders and floor beams of the second floor are of structural steel, encased in concrete. The floor of the second story is a 5-inch reinforced concrete slab. The roof of the second story is carried by a steel arch, with a monitor. The roof slabs, precast on the ground, are of reinforced concrete, covered by composition roofing. A walk extends along the outer side of the roof of each shed. The lower story of the sheds is devoted exclusively to freight traffic; the upper story is the passenger deck.
On the first floor level, a railway track extends along the pier alongside the sheds. On the second floor level, street car tracks, an extension of the Grand avenue line, will run along the passenger deck. Edward Scheidenhelm is the general contractor for these buildings, and the contract price is $1,091,800.
The contractor’s material yard is at the side of a slip opening from the river. Crushed stone, from 14 to 1 inch in size, is delivered by deck scows, the stone being carried in 312-yard wooden skips or boxes piled upon the deck. A steam stiff-leg derrick, with an 80-foot boom, mounted
on a platform above the ground, picks up each box separately, swings it over the top of the stock pile and lowers it to rest so that the chain sling is slack. A man on the pile then unlatches the end door and unhooks one loop of the sling, so that the derrick raises the box by one end, and the stone is discharged.
Torpedo sand from the St. Joseph river, in Michigan, is delivered by a large steel suction-dredge, or sand-sucker. with hopper of 100 cubic yard total capacity. Locomotive cranes on its deck pick up the sand with 1½-yard grab buckets and dump it upon a belt conveyor on a pivoted boom swung out from the side of the vessel. This conveyor deposits it in the stock pile. Beneath the stock piles is an inclined belt conveyor 270 feet long. The sand and stone, in adjacent piles, are fed directly upon the conveyor, which delivers the materials into an elevated bin having hopper-bottom compartments for 20 yards of stone and 20 yards of sand.
The material is handled from the bins to the mixer plant in 12-car trains of 1½-yard, side-dump, Lakewood steel cars. These ride on tracks of 36-inch gauge laid with 45-pound rails and wood ties. A 16-ton, four-wheeled Davenport locomotive handles the trains. Because of the large amount of timber in falsework and forms, the smoke stack of this engine is fitted with a tall wire cylinder as a spark arrester. The engine, when it brings back a train of empty cars, is uncoupled and switched off, leaving the cars to run into a siding. The engine is then coupled to a train of cars standing on the track under the bin. These it moves forward gradually, and each car is loaded (with sand or stone as required) by means of a slide-gate in the hopper. The engine then takes this train out on the pier, while the empty train is backed onto the loading or bin-track by means of a crab and cable.
At the mixer, which is an electrically driven Marsh Capron machine, the track is raised by blocking to form a hump or long vertical curve. The engine hauls its loaded train over this hump, pushing before it the empty train through a switch, and then couples onto this empty train
to haul it back through a siding past the hump track. A cable leads from a drum on the mixer plant to a snatch block and then back along the track. This is hitched to the train of loaded cars and pulls it back over the hump, each car being dumped at the summit to deliver its con tents into a hopper at the side of the track. Universal cement is brought out in horse wagons and motor trucks, which are hauled out easily on the finished concrete deck. The sacks of cement are wheeled to a platform behind the traveling mixer plant. From this storage pile they are thrown upon a belt conveyor which carries them to the mixer floor.
The mixer plant is a timber structure about 14×28 feet, 30 feet high, having an elevator tower 8 feet square and 125 feet high. It weighs about 45 tons. This outfit is supported by rollers on plank runways laid on the sand fill, and is moved ahead by a cable attached to an anchor pile and operated by the drum mentioned above. The machine is moved about 300 feet at a time (at intervals of seven days), and makes this move in about four hours.
At the rear of the machine is a bucket elevator raising the sand and stone from the hopper to the elevated bins, which hold 80 yards of stone and 80 yards of sand. The mixer is of 1-yard capacity, mounted on the lower deck, and delivers the concrete into a 1-yard elevator bucket. At the proper height this is tripped and dumped sideways to discharge the concrete into a hopper fitted with a gate and a flexible-pipe spout leading to the discharge chutes. The equipment of the mixer outfit includes a 20-horsepower motor for the mixer, a 15-horsepower motor for the stone bucket elevator, and a 100-horsepower motor for the tower elevator.
From each side of the tower projects a trussed frame 120 feet long, carrying a Wylie sheet-iron chute. The frame is trussed horizontally also to give it lateral stiffness. The upper end of each frame and the hopper within the tower are raised and lowered by cables passing over sheaves on top of the tower. For the upper deck of the sheds and for the roof slabs (which were poured in forms on the completed upper deck) the concrete is delivered in place by spouting to a hopper and chute which travels on the roof framing. Wheeled carts are used to reach some of the more distant sections.
For concreting the lower deck, the lower end of the trussed chute is supported by a timber horse or A-frame 8 feet high, mounted on small wheels. From this, portable lengths of sheet-iron spouting are carried on light timber falsework and blocking. At the outer end of the floor, the slope of this spouting is rather slight, and men push the slushy concrete along with hoes. With a 1-yard mixer and elevator bucket, handling a batch about every minute, the delivery of concrete from the chute is almost continuous. The bottom of the trussed chute has two trap openings, with flexible pipe spouts to deliver concrete at inter mediate points. The trap swings up, so as to block the chute.
In advance of the concreting, pits are dug in the fill for the column footings over the foundation pile clusters, and trenches are cut for the longitudinal girders between the footings. Light timber forms are placed in these, with forms also for pedestal footings where required. The rods are cut and bent on the work, and are held in place by blocks and wiring.
The space between the girder forms is leveled off and the clay fill covered with a bed of sand, and over this is placed the network of reinforcing rods for the slab. The concrete is deposited in the trenches and upon the sand and is worked into place with hoes, while the surface of the slab is leveled by means of shovels.
For the flat-slab upper deck, the bottom form is supported by timber falsework in the usual way, and the surface of the concrete is troweled to form the finished floor.
After this floor has set, it is covered with sheet iron plates and a layer of roofing paper, and rectangular forms are placed upon it for the 4-inch roof slabs. These are 3 feet 4 inches by 8 feet and weigh about 1,500 pounds each.
An iron loop is set in each end of the slab for attaching a chain sling. The slabs are hoisted and set by a small traveler moving along the roof framing and having its cable attached to a hoisting engine on the deck below.
August 6, 1916
New Painting of the Chicago Lake Front Including the Municipal Pier and the New Navy Building, made especially by Walter S. Harrington for the Fort Dearborn Magazine, 1921