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Motionless Monument


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Dear Mr. Ballowe,

There is a possibility that my memory is playing tricks on me, but I would nevertheless like to suggest that there might be a significant gap in your history of the Balbo column [October 30].

My own recollection is that the column was "exiled" to storage during World War II, precisely because of its fascist connotations, and was not relocated on what was then southbound Lake Shore Drive until many years afterwards, possibly as late as after the second coming of McCormick Place.

If I am correct, that would explain the "sudden" deterioration in the last five years. It hadn't been battered by road salt for 60 years, but spent most of that period in mothballs.

While this may not be conclusive evidence, I have located an aerial shot of what is now the Museum Campus in the post-war era, and the Balbo column does not seem to be visible.

Ed Cohen

W. Chase

James Ballowe replies:

I spoke with Robert Foster, city space coordinator of the Chicago Park District, who searched through files on the Balbo column going all the way back to its dedication in 1933. While it is possible that the column was placed in storage during the war, the district has no record of its having been removed since its installation.

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