By Mary Dixon

The year 1972 was the year of the worst train wreck in Chicago history. Two Illinois Central commuter trains collided Oct. 30 at 27th Street, killing 45 people and injuring another 300. Later that year in December, a United Airlines plane crashed on its approach into Midway Airport, killing another 45 people.

In the summer of 1972, Mayor Richard J. Daley and about 60 colleagues were kicked out of the Democratic National Convention in Miami Breach when a group of reformers challenged their credentials. George McGovern was nominated to run against President Richard Nixon. McGovern lost the election in a landslide.

And after the violence of the 1968 Democratic National Convention, a federal appeals court overturned the convictions of Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, Jerry Rubin and the rest of the Chicago Seven. They had been convicted of crossing state lines to incite a riot. The trial judge, Julius Hoffman, had been criticized for his sarcastic attitude toward the anti-war protesters.


Other Chicago news in ’72:

  • O’Hare International Airport began scanning luggage with X-Rays to prevent hijackings
  • The Chicago Housing Authority was ordered to start scattered site housing for the poor and the phasing out of the city’s housing projects
  • Chicago Daily News columnist Mike Royko won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary
  • The Stock Exchange Building at LaSalle and Washington was demolished despite protests from preservationists and some Chicago aldermen. The historic Adler and Sullivan design of the trading floor can be seen at the ¬†Art Institute

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