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Chicago, IL


21 Apr 1855 Lager Beer Riot
3 Nov 1863 The Rush Street Bridge collapses.
8 Oct 1871 Mrs. O'Leary's cow starts the Chicago Fire, killing 250 and destroying 17,000 buildings. Bad cow.
4 May 1886 A rally meets at the Haymarket over the previous day's violence at the McCormick Reaper Works labor strike. 176 policemen move to disperse the crowd of 200 workers when a bomb explodes, killing one cop. In the ensuing shootout, six more cops are killed and 60 wounded. No records exist of deaths or injuries on the worker's side.
10 Nov 1887 Louis Lingg, scheduled to be hanged for his alleged role in the Haymarket riot bomb, commits suicide by holding a lit stick of dynamite in his mouth.
11 Nov 1887 A.R. Parsons, Adolph Fischer, George Engel, August Spies are hanged for their alleged roles in the Haymarket riot bomb.
1 May 1889 The first of May is designated "International Workers Day," in commemoration of Chicago's Haymarket riots of 1886. The new holiday is actually an appropriation of the banned Beltane (Day of Fire), or May Day, traditionally celebrated by encircling a phallic maypole with delectable fertile virgins.
30 Dec 1903 The worst theater fire in US history occurs at the Iroquois Theater in Chicago, killing 602. Most of the exits were locked; no fire drills had ever been conducted; and no water was available for extinguishing the fire. But, a prominent sign displayed above the entrance to the edifice read: "Absolutely Fireproof".
24 Jul 1915 Almost 800 Western Electric employees and their family members perish when the chartered steamer Eastland rolls over in Chicago harbor. History blames the top-heaviness of the ship, exacerbated (ironically) by the recent addition of lifeboats.
11 Jun 1919 In Chicago, a race riot erupts at the white-only 29th Street Beach.
21 Jul 1919 Two passengers, a mechanic and 10 bank employees are killed when a Goodyear blimp, the Winged Foot Express, catches fire and crashes through the roof of the Illinois Trust and Savings Bank.
27 Jul 1919 In Chicago, a race riot leaves 38 killed and 500 wounded.
9 Oct 1919 The Cincinnati Reds win the World Series, but only because key Chicago White Sox ballplayers agreed to throw the series for $100,000 in bribes.
14 Feb 1929 The Capone gang kills six members of the "Bugs" Moran gang and one other person at the S.M.C. Cartage company in Chicago, in an event known as the St. Valentine's Day Massacre. Bogus police officers were used so that it appeared to be a routine police bust. Except for all the bodies.
9 Jun 1930 Jake Lingle, a reporter for the Chicago Tribune, is shot dead gangland-style at the Illinois Central train station underpass, during rush hour. Dozens of people witness the murder, and the Leo Vincent Brothers are caught four months later after an intensive manhunt. Lingle was allegedly killed over a $100,000 gambling debt owed to Al Capone.
15 Feb 1933 An unsuccessful attempt on Franklin D. Roosevelt's life by Joseph Zangara in Miami leaves Chicago mayor Anton Czermak dead. Zangara is electrocuted the following month.
30 May 1937 Police kill 10 strikers and wound 90 others at Republic Steel. For their part, only 35 cops are injured.
17 Mar 1942 John Wayne Gacy, part time clown, serial killer, and sodomizer of dozens of boys, is born in Chicago. His father was convinced Gacy was a "sissy", but friends and family didn't really suspect anything untoward was afoot until his 1968 arrest for coercing a teenage boy employee into committing multiple homosexual acts.
25 May 1950 34 people burn to death when a streetcar collides with a gasoline tanker at State and 62nd Place.
15 Apr 1955 The first McDonald's franchise opens in Des Plains, a suburb of Chicago. Because it is the first one launched by Ray Kroc, he names it "McDonald's #1" despite the fact that the McDonald brothers had already opened eight of their chain restaurants before they began accepting licensees. Kroc's unfortunate numbering system guarantees perpetual confusion for amateur fast food historians the world over.
1 Dec 1958 An intentionally set trash fire at the Our Lady of Angels school kills over 90 students and three nuns in Chicago. Many students leap to their deaths.
14 Jul 1966 Richard Speck slaughters eight student nurses from South Chicago Community Hospital.
23 Aug 1968 The Youth International Party designates Pigasus as their choice of candidate for U.S. President. The boar hog is introduced at a press conference outside the Chicago Civic Center, with the slogan "They nominate a President and he eats the people. We nominate a President and the people eat him." The gathering is broken up shortly thereafter when the Chicago PD takes into custody the Yippie organizers and their pig.
27 Aug 1968 TV newsman Dan Rather gets beaten up in front of cameras on the floor of the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The reporter was trying to interview a delegate being dragged off the floor when the bruisers turn on him. "He lifted me right off the floor and put me away. I was down, the breath knocked out of me, as the whole group blew on by me... In the CBS control room, they had switched the camera onto me just as I was slugged."
20 May 1971 The bassist and lead singer for the band Chicago undergoes five hours of emergency surgery after getting jumped at a Cubs-Dodgers baseball game. Peter Cetera winds up losing four teeth because some guys decided that his hair was too long.
1976 Evel Knievel fails during a practice run over a tank of killer sharks at Chicago Amphitheater. Concussion and two broken arms. A cameraman loses an eye from a flying piece of shrapnel.
4 Feb 1977 11 passengers are killed and 266 injured when two elevated trains collide. One of the motormen bears the brunt of the criticism after he is discovered to have four joints in his possession at the time of the accident.
26 May 1978 A safety officer at Northwestern University opens a suspicious package which had been delivered to a professor. The object explodes in Terry Marker's hands, making him the first victim of the Unabomber.
25 May 1979 Immediately after flight 191 takes off from Chicago's O'Hare Airport, engine number one tears loose from its wing and falls off. A few seconds later, the DC-10 rolls onto its left side and impacts the ground. All 271 aboard the plane are killed in the explosion, along with two bystanders.
12 Jul 1979 It is "Disco Demolition Night" at Chicago's Comiskey Park, where baseball tickets cost only $.98 if the purchaser brings along a disco record for the bonfire. During the second game of the doubleheader, thousands of vinyl LPs fly onto the field, generating enough chaos that the White Sox are forced to forfeit.
12 Mar 1980 A Chicago jury found John Wayne Gacy guilty of the murders of 33 men and boys. The next day, Gacy was sentenced to death; after years on death row, he was finally executed in May 10, 1994.
10 Jun 1980 Percy Wood, president of United Airlines, receives a parcel at his home in Lake Forest, Illinois. Inside is a copy of the book Ice Brothers by Sloan Wilson. When he opens the book, it suddenly explodes, throwing shrapnel into Wood's hands, face, and thigh. The book turns out to be a present from the Unabomber.
1982 Seven people killed in Tylenol product tampering in the Chicago area.
27 Apr 1986 During a live TV special, journalist Geraldo Rivera opens Al Capone's vault beneath the Lexington Hotel in Chicago. He finds nothing inside, apart from a few empty bottles.
1987 Jesus Christ appears in the rust marks of a Chicago bowling alley's dilapidated metal chimney.
13 Apr 1992 Chicago's downtown business center is crippled by massive flooding, as 124 million gallons of water inundate 50 miles of underground freight tunnels and adjoining basements. City workers dump sandbags, rocks, and mattresses into the Chicago River in a vain attempt to slow the floodwaters. All told, it will take 12 days to seal the leak and drain the tunnels. The disaster causes $800 million in damage, and the IRS graciously grants one week of amnesty for Chicago-area residents to file their tax returns.
4 Sep 2000 During a campaign stop in Naperville, Illinois, Presidential candidate George W Bush turns to running mate Dick Cheney and says, "There's Adam Clymer, major league asshole from the New York Times." Cheney responds, "Oh yeah, he is, big-time." Unbeknownst to the men, their comments are transmitted clearly to the television news feed. Rather than offer a mea culpa to Clymer, Bush later issues this non-apology: "I regret that a private comment I made to the vice-presidential candidate made it onto the public airwaves. I regret everybody heard what I said."

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