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Thursday, December 01, 2005

Time Zone History

When the Chicago Tribune wanted the Windy City on Eastern Time

The debate regarding the question of whether South Bend will be on Chicago time or New York time could all be settled if Chicago were on Eastern Time.

At one time the Chicago
Tribune was engaged in trying to get Chicago to be in the eastern time zone. Business rivalry and presidential politics were all in the mix.

This was the Chicago of competing dailies. The biggest were the morning Chicago Tribune, commanded by 'Colonel' Robert R. McCormick and the afternoon Daily News, headed by 'Colonel' Frank Knox. Knox was the 1936 Republican Vice-Presidential candidate on the ticket headed by Alf Landon. Knox was later to serve as Secretary of the Navy for Franklin Roosevelt during WW II.

The story, from Richard Norton Smith's biography "The Colonel - The Life and Legend of Robert R. McCormick:"
[T]he Morning Colonel and the Evening Colonel, as Chicagoans referred to McCormick and Knox, were engaged in a skirmish testing each man's clout. Beginning in October 1935, the Tribune pressed local officials to extend summer daylight saving time to a year-round basis, in effect placing Chicago in the eastern time zone and thereby depriving the Daily News of an hour's advantage in publishing news from Wall Street. According to Lloyd Wendt, in his authoritative 1979 history of the Tribune, a deal was arranged whereby McCormick would acquiesce in a GOP ticket with Knox's name on it and the voters of Chicago could decide for themselves their preferred time zone. Although the Morning Colonel had Mayor Kelly in his pocket, the Kelly organization failed to deliver, and McCormick's crusade ended ignominiously. 1

1. pgs. 343-344, "The Colonel" by Richard Norton Smith; 1997 Houghton Mifflin Company.

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