Prairie State Wire

Prairie State Wire

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

This week in Illinois history: April 9-16


By Robert Hadley | Mar 28, 2018

Kinzie Street bridge

April 9, 1973 - Chicago. Bribery charges stick against ex-Gov. Otto Kerner. The former governor had been out of office for five years and was already an appeals judge in federal court when a jury handed up its verdict convicting him of accepting bribes in secret from a racetrack manager. All had gone well until the manager tried to deduct the bribes on her income tax returns.

April 13, 1965 - Illinois. Floods affect the Midwest after tornados rake the area. Although an ominous photo of a double-vortex tornado has placed the Palm Sunday storms into the history books, the flooding that began around the same time had an equally devastating impact. According to the National Weather Service, thousands of families were displaced as the Mississippi and other rivers overflowed their banks.

April 13, 1992 - Chicago. Billion-dollar flood damage knocks the city for a loop. The elaborate and ancient system of underground passageways housing electrical lines beneath the downtown business district were no match for a flood that darkened City Hall and dozens of businesses while halting subway lines and trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

April 13, 1917 - Gillespie. Birthdate of “Dallas” actor Howard Keel. Though 1980s viewers may remember him for his work on the evening soap “Dallas,” Keel first made a name for himself in a string of 1940s and 1950s Hollywood films. Among them were “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” "Annie Get Your Gun” and “Kiss Me Kate.”

April 15, 1907 - Urbana-Champaign. Engineering students form Triangle Fraternity. It took little more than a dozen students joining forces to launch Triangle Fraternity, a group that today continues to foster good character, moral integrity and fellowship among engineers, architects and scientists, according to its official website.  

April 15, 1898 - Peoria. Birthdate of comedian Marian Jordan. Before the modern sitcom “Mike & Molly,” there was Molly McGee of the legendary “Fibber McGee & Molly” radio show. During radio’s Golden Age (roughly 1920 to 1950), Jordan played Molly McGee, remembered as the patient, sweet wife of Fibber on NBC. The show ran for 14 years.

April 15, 1989 - Chicago. Large lottery split between two families. Though it doesn't seem especially large compared with today’s payouts, the $69 million prize earned it the title of “nation’s biggest” in 1989. Winner Daniel Dixon was quoted in an Associated Press story, saying, “It’s more money than any of us ever expected to see in our lifetimes.” The amount was split four ways, but only two winners stepped forward, each grabbing a $17.5 million share.

April 15, 1955 - Des Plaines. First McDonald’s restaurant franchise opens. Ray Kroc, who sold milkshake mixers brothers Richard and Maurice McDonald in California, opened a franchise of the brothers' McDonald’s Bar-B-Q hamburger stand on this day in 1955. Kroc's franchising vision led to McDonald’s Corp., the franchisor today of thousands of hamburger stands worldwide.

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