Chicago Trivia Quiz #16—Answers

1. Before Old Chicago, what was the flagship beer of the Peter Hand Brewery?

(D) Meister Brau

2. Kroch’s & Brentano’s was a _______________.

(B) book store

3. The auto dealer who sponsored TV wrestling was _______________.

(A) Bert Weinman

4. Which store had the slogan “Where the Models Buy Their Clothes”?

(D) William A. Lewis

5. Which of these was NOT an afternoon newspaper?

(C) Chicago Phoenix

Chicago Trivia Quiz #16

A quiz on departed Chicago businesses—

1. Before Old Chicago, what was the flagship beer of the Peter Hand Brewery?

(A) Tavern Pale

(B) Drewrys

(C) Bullfrog

(D) Meister Brau

2. Kroch’s & Brentano’s was a ___________.

(A) restaurant

(B) book store

(C) tobacco shop

(D) law firm

3. The auto dealer who sponsored TV wrestling was __________.

(A) Bert Weinman

(B) Jim Moran

(C) Morris B. Sachs

(D) Harry Lippe

4. Which store had the slogan “Where the Models Buy Their Clothes”?

(A) Marshall Field’s

(B) Smokey Joe’s

(C) Charles Stevens

(D) William A. Lewis

5. Which of these was NOT an afternoon newspaper?

(A) Chicago Daily News

(B) Chicago Today

(C) Chicago Phoenix

(D) Chicago’s American


Katie and Howard (1-21-1937)

The Ambassador East was hosting two of America’s A-list celebrities.  The question on everyone’s mind was—would Katharine Hepburn and Howard Hughes get married in Chicago?Poster

At 29, Hepburn had already won an Oscar as Best Actress.  She was in town appearing in a stage version of “Jane Eyre.”  Hughes was a dashing 30-year-old oil millionaire who had become a Hollywood producer.  He was also a famous aviator.

On January 19, Hughes broke his own speed record by flying from Los Angeles to New York in 7 hours, 28 minutes.  Then he flew to Chicago and checked into Hepburn’s hotel.  He got a separate room, three floors away.  That’s the way things were done in 1937.

The wedding rumors immediately started.  County Clerk Michael Flynn helped the story by announcing he was ready to personally issue a marriage license to Katie and Howard.  When the County Building opened for business on January 21, a crowd had already gathered, hoping to catch a glimpse of the happy couple.

By mid-day, over 3,000 people clogged the corridors.  Many in the throng were County employees who had abandoned their offices to join the stake-out.  The few couples who came to get their own marriage licenses had trouble getting through the mob.

Closing time arrived.  Hepburn and Hughes still hadn’t shown up.  Now attention shifted to the Ambassador East, where photographers and hundreds more fans kept vigil.  Hepburn finally emerged and left for the theater, without Hughes.  The paparazzi followed.

After the performance, Hepburn tried to avoid her pursuers with a decoy—she dressed her maid in a mink jacket and slacks, and sent the woman off in a cab.  The trick didn’t work.  When the actress did leave, the press was still on her tail.

Hepburn returned to the hotel at 3 a.m., accompanied by her co-star.  When one waiting photographer snapped a picture, the escort stepped forward and smashed the camera.  Meanwhile, Hughes remained out of sight.

Katharine Hepburn and Howard Hughes never did get married, in Chicago or anyplace else.  They eventually went their separate ways.  Hughes became a billionaire and died an eccentric recluse in 1976.  Hepburn won three more Oscars and lived to be 96.

As a postscript, Cate Blanchett won an Academy Award for portraying Hepburn in the 2004 Howard Hughes biopic, The Aviator.  So, does that count as a fifth Oscar for Katie H?






Then and Now, Troy-Roosevelt

1910–Troy Street @ 12th Street (Roosevelt Road), view north

2019–the same location

In 1902 the Metropolitan ‘L’ extended its Douglas Park branch through North Lawndale.  Four years later, Sears opened its giant mail-order complex to the north, at Homan and Arthington.  By 1910 this block just east of Kedzie Avenue was already fully settled and residentially mature.

Today North Lawndale is bouncing back after decades of decline.  Here buildings on the west side of Troy Street have been cleared to make way for the Lawndale Terrace town homes and apartment tower.  As a result, with the alley between Kedzie and Troy gone, the utility poles now line the street.


Then and Now, Yates-92nd Place

1938–Yates Boulevard @ 92nd Place, view north

2019–the same location

In 1938 the Chicago Park District had plans to extend its system of parkways into the city’s southeast side.  The Depression had already delayed the project, but now this quiet residential street was slated to become Yates Boulevard.

World War II further delayed the extension of the parkway system here.  The plan was eventually abandoned.  Today this is Yates Avenue, a one-way local street.


Super Bowling (1-8-1901)

It’s 1901 and it’s winter.  The football season has ended, and baseball is just a memory.  Only Canadians care about hockey.  You say there’s a new sport called basketball?

But there’s big sports news in Chicago today.  The first national bowling championships are being held here.

Americans had played various forms of bowling since colonial times.  In 1895 a group of New York clubs founded the American Bowling Congress.  They drew up a list of standard rules and equipment specs.

Opening squad of the first ABC Tournament

Within a few years, bowling clubs in other cities joined the ABC.  Now there was talk about having a tournament to decide who the country’s best bowlers were.  Chicago was given the honor of hosting the first ABC Tournament in 1901.

The Chicagoans leased the second floor of a warehouse on Wabash Avenue.  Six bowling lanes were donated by Brunswick, an equipment manufacturer eager to promote the sport.  The tournament was planned for three divisions—Team (5-man), Doubles (2-man), and Singles (individual).

Forty-one teams signed up for the three-day event.  The tournament attracted added publicity when Cap Anson announced he would compete.  The recently-retired baseball star was the most famous athlete in the country.  It was like getting Michael Jordan to bowl a century later.

Frank Brill

January 8th, opening day, was for five-man teams.  The early lead was taken by a quintet from Erie, Pennsylvania.  Everyone seemed to be having a good time, and the Tribune reported only one problem—there wasn’t enough room for all the fans who wanted to watch the action.

On the second day, Standard Five of Chicago clinched the Team championship.  The Doubles event was won by two New Yorkers, C.K. Starr and Johnny Voorhies.  Meanwhile, Cap Anson was bowling terribly.

The final day brought the Singles.  A total of 115 men rolled three games each to determine who would win the medal as the first National Bowling Champion.  And another ex-ballplayer stole the show.

Frank Brill had pitched one season for Detroit.  He was never the diamond star that Anson had been.  But Brill was a master of the 19-pound, no-hole bowling ball.  His 648 score took the Singles.

After this modest start, the ABC Tournament became an annual event.  Today it is known as the United States Bowling Congress Open Championship.  With a field of over 80,000 men and women, it is the largest participatory sporting event in the world.


Yesterday and Tomorrow

YESTERDAY (January 6th) I was a guest on Justin Kaufmann’s “Extension 720” show on WGN-radio.  We talked about some fugitive stories featured in Hidden Chicago Landmarks.

Historian John R. Schmidt explores hidden Chicago landmarks: The Unknown Fugitives

TOMORROW (January 8th) I will be sharing some stories from the book at the Clearing Branch Library (6423 West 63rd Place, Chicago), 6:00 to 7:30 pm.