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Newspaper Page Text
the bursting of a water main. This was proven fp'e this morning when it
was shown that the water pipe remained sound until the street had col
lapsed. But the investigation did show that the accident occurred because the
Marshall Field people were allowed to construct a retaining wall of steel
sheeting, insteadof concrete, on what is practically a floating foundation.
. This retaining wall runs around the building at the sidewalk's edge
and goes down about 45 feet. It is made of steel sheeting and is cheaper
and quicker to erect than the usual concrete retaining. The fact that it
is more dangerous evidently did not occur to Building Commissioner
This steel sheeting was all that upheld the sidewalk. And then with
this flimsy protection the Marshall Field Company continued excavating.
Last night shortly before tne collapse
there was a hole about twenty feet
wide excavated. The dirt from th
street drifted into this hole. The
street was undermined and the crash
came, bursting the water main and
flooding the third basement of the
City officials talked in whispers
after examining the effects this
morning. It is rumored that the col
umns have been very much weakened
and more of the building is in danger
Deputy Commissioner Kostner as
serts that the cave-in was caused
solely by the insufficient strength of
the retaining walL
"The steel sheeting is a new idea.
The contractors asserted that it
would be quite as safe as the con
crete wall," said Kostner. "I was
down there this morning and investi
gated the report given out by repre
sentatives of the contractors and of
Marshall Field that it was caused by
the bursting of a water main. I
found this wasn't true."
Thomas Kiernan, assistant super
intendent of the water pipe exten
sion, who made the first lengthy in
vestigation of the accident, was more
"An areaway built on a floating
oundation cannot stand," he said.
"This accident was caused entirely
by the steel retaining wall and the
excavation at the base of it."
Commissioner of Public Works
McGann said that the accident was
caused by the desire -Sor breakneck
speed in erecting the building.
"There are buildings in the loop in
the same perilous condition," , he
There are three basements in the
new Field building. The building is
supported on caissons which go -down
to bedrock. All but the sidewalk.
That has merely the steel sheeting.
The plans for a speedy opening of
the building is shown by the fact
that it was planned to have the rest
of the building thrown open to the
thousands of shoppers while the third
basement was still being dug.
In some places the third basement
is only four or five feet high. Men
have been digging down there day
This morning Marshall Field offi
cials were very savage in giving ex
planations of the cave-in. Thomas
Nicholson declared the cause of the
accident was nobody's business and
refused to allow reporters to go down
to the basements and see if the
stories givea out were correct.
He declared that the building was
not damaged; that no harm had been
done. But experts agree that close
to $100,000 will be spent before re
pairs are completed.
"And," declared Commissioner
Kostner, "Field will pay for it, at
least as far as our department is con
Simpson claimed that Marshall
Field had a permit to excavate un
der the sidewalk to a depth of forty
five feet But that twenty-foot hole