June 29, 2010—
What a time it was. A good time. In 1907 the Chicago Cubs were in the midst of a dynasty. They won 107 games, lost 45 and beat Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series. The Cubs pitching staff was led by Orval Overall and Three Finger Brown and a guy named Wildfire Schilte patrolled right field like Smokey the Bear.
Chicago was in a renaissance.
The Cubs were second in the National League in attendance (422,550) and a couple miles east of their beloved West Side Grounds (Wrigley Field wasn’t built) Chicago author Hamlin Garland founded the Attic Club atop Symphony Center (formerly Orchestra Hall).
In 1909 the non-profit organization that supports men and women in the fine arts and performing arts was renamed The Cliff Dwellers Club. In 1996 the club moved next door to the 22nd floor penthouse of the office building at the southwest corner of Michigan Avenue at Adams Street. The outdoor veranda has a breathtaking view of Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago and Lake Michigan.
Like the Who said, “Because all the while/I can see for miles and miles.”
The Cliff Dwellers Club is the site of the July 8 party for the hardcover version of my minor league baseball journal “Cougars and Snappers and Loons (Oh My!) [$24.95, http://www.cantmisspress.com/]. The event runs from around 5:30-8 p.m.. There’s a cash bar along with complimentary cheese and vegetable trays. I’ll be bringing some Cracker Jack and a bottle of Cazadores tequila. The party is being thrown by my publisher George Rawlinson.
I’ve been to one of George’s previous events at the Cliff Dwellers.
The regal space is one of the most well kept secrets in Chicago. Bring a camera. The spirit of the club rolls out from the Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 and an 1891 exhibit at the Art Institute. Native Americans were predominately featured at each venue.
The club was named after the Henry Blake Fuller novel “The Cliff Dwellers,” where he parallels the emerging cityscape of Chicago and the Native American Cliff Dwellings of the Southwest. (For much more visit the Cliff Dwellers website http://www.cliff-chicago.org/).
Who knew? My only Cliff-in-Chicago reference was the lumbering Cliff “Moondog” Johnson, who played left field for a blue spell during the 1980 Cubs season.
Moondog landed in Chicago via Cleveland after the 1979 season when he punched out Goose Gossage in the New York Yankees locker room, sending the Goose to the D.L for two months. And people think Carlos Zambrano has issues.
7/8/10 should be a blast. Swing by if you can.