This week in Illinois history: Oct. 29-Nov.4
Oct. 29, 2016 — Illinois. The U.S. Navy commissions the USS Illinois nuclear submarine in Groton, Conn. The fourth U.S. Navy ship named for the Land of Lincoln, the USS Illinois is a Virginia-class attack vessel that deploys the latest in undersea warfare and stealth technology. It had been more than a century since the last ship named after the Prairie State was commissioned, according to the Illinois Channel.
Oct. 30, 1893 — Chicago. World’s Columbian fair closes. Chicago hosted this fair in celebration of explorer Christopher Columbus’ journey to the Americas. According to History.com, the event debuted many modern scientific advances, including an AC generator, a cannon measuring 46 feet and Juicy Fruit chewing gum. The quadricycle, the world’s first gas-powered car, also commanded attention here, as Daimler (of Daimler-Benz fame) showed his prototype of the vehicle that would one day replace the horse and buggy.
Oct. 31, 1978 — Haddonfield. The Halloween movie franchise debuts, set in this Illinois town. Nine films and 40 years later, this suburban town remains the site of the notorious serial killer referenced in the movies, but celebrating the ghoulish holiday has not been allowed there for 30 years.
Nov. 1, 1820 — Vandalia. Illinois designates Vandalia as its state capitol. Although its tenure lasted only about 20 years, Vandalia’s capitol building has stood the test of time. The site is “Impressive with its high ceilings, tall windows and vintage furnishings,” as the city’s website notes. Future president Abraham Lincoln got his start here, and 30,000 tourists visit annually.
Nov. 2, 2010 — Springfield. Voters elect Pat Quinn to his first full term as governor. Quinn, a Democrat, ascended to the top position after the impeachment of his predecessor, Rod Blagojevich. Quinn, a former tax attorney, had served as lieutenant governor for six years and state treasurer before that. After filling in for the departed Blagojevich for two years, Quinn swayed voters in his own right for a full, four-year term before Republican Bruce Rauner succeeded him.
Nov. 3, 1948 — Chicago. The Chicago Tribune declares the wrong winner of presidential election. In an infamous black-and-white photo, President Harry Truman proudly displays the Tribune’s faulty headline declaring Thomas Dewey winner of the 1948 presidential election. With most of the press against him, as History.com reports, Truman traveled the country by train to get his message directly to voters. The strategy worked, and Truman became a duly elected president, rather than just the guy who finished out Roosevelt’s term.
Nov. 4, 1842 — Springfield. Abraham Lincoln and Mary Anne Todd exchange nuptials. As History.com reports, the “tall, gangly” Lincoln, 10 years Mary Todd’s senior, proposed and then canceled his offer before they were finally wed on this day in history. We may never know why they went on break, but the relationship had good bones: Lincoln became a firebrand for emancipation and Mary Todd’s upper-class, Kentucky prep-school upbringing had groomed her for politics. United in the belief that the U.S. should abolish slavery, the couple withstood death threats against Lincoln and charges of selling out Todd's heritage. But by 1865, with the war over, it was their vision for the country that prevailed.