Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Three Guys Lurking In Garfield Park

I'm abandoning my usual practice of cropping out borders, even decorative ones, because someone was unable to write small enough to keep the labeling out of the image.  Thoughtless!  Well, what do you expect from these three lurkers, who are, very likely, up to no good.  Personally, I suspect they're mashers.

Garfield Park, in the East Garfield Park neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, first opened as Central Park in 1874.  Then it was 40 acres, today it's grown to 184.  It's original design was by landscape architect, William LeBaron Jenney.  In 1881, the name of the park was changed in honor of the recently assassinated president, James A. Garfield.  Garfield Park is also the home of Garfield Park Conservatory.  (No, not a music school, but one of the largest municipal greenhouses in the United States)  In 1905, parks superintendent Jens Jensen, had demolished three small conservatories in the parks system.  With the collaboration of several architects and engineers, he designed the 4.5 acre replacement.  It was built in Garfield Park, with construction lasting from 1906 to 1907.  It's design was meant to mimic the shape of a prairie haystack.  Jensen also designed the building with separate rooms, each meant to invoke a particular landscape.  Some of the oldest plants at the conservatory are a collection of 300 year old giant ferns.  Hmm, isn't that where our three lurkers are lurking?

Time to delve into the world of archaic language.  Today, mashing is known as inappropriate touching if the judge is feeling generous, sexual assault if he(or she) isn't.  Basically, men, mostly young men, would position themselves in some semi hidden place, like a secluded walkway in the Garfield Park Conservatory, where young women would likely pass, and as those women passed, they would reach out and, well, cop a feel.  And yes, mashing was a crime.  Italian tenor, Enrico Caruso, was arrested for mashing in San Francisco a few days before the 1906 earthquake.  I have no idea whether he ever stood trial or not.

A quick confession on the Caruso story.  About two decades ago I read a book on the quake, so I'm going on memory on this one.  I'm just too tired to go online and research details.  To use a favorite term of former Pres, George W., I might be misremembering, so don't quote me without looking it up.

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