The Second Chicago Fire
Three years ago, the Great Chicago Fire killed 300 people, left 100,000 homeless and destroyed 3.3 square miles of Chicago. The fire started in the O'Leary barn and was spread by the wind. The balloon wood-frame construction used in those days just about guaranteed that any fire would climb straight up the walls and into the attic. In the aftermath, changes were made in the building code... such as it was, but new construction is slow to begin in the midst of a world-wide economic depression. Two more fires break out this year. 812 buildings are destroyed including schools and churches. 47 acres just south of the Chicago business district go up in flames. Even though the loss of life was greater in the Great Chicago Fire, the insurance companies have been hit in the pocketbook harder because this time the fire has destroyed an established neighborhood with more expensive buildings. The Board of Underwriters makes demands on the city for major changes in fire regulations, enforcement of the building codes and the provision of fire hydrants, but the city seems to blow them off. The Underwriters resolve not to write another policy until the new fire regulations are implemented and enforced... not just changed in writing, but actually enforced. Have a nice day.  
Dear Diary... How about a Zeppelin?
Ferdinand von Zeppelin scribbles his first ideas on the design of a new type of airship. It is a rigid-frame that holds together several balloon envelopes within itself. His inspiration has not come to him instantly. It has been a process. Von Zeppelin was an official observer for Germany during the War Between the States. Balloons were used by the Union Army to rise above the battlefield in order to judge the size and position of Confederate forces. In fact, General Armstrong Custer was one of the first to use this system, although not very successfully. As he went aloft, Custer asked the pilot if the balloon was safe. The pilot jumped up and down in the basket to assure the General that the balloon was quite sturdy. Custer stopped asking after that. Around that time Von Zeppelin took a balloon ride and that sparked his interest. Years later, while attending a lecture, the speaker suggested that the mail could be transported via balloons. The problem with that idea is that balloons only follow the winds. What is needed is a lighter-than-air vehicle with a rudder and propeller, like a ship at sea. Von Zeppelin writes down his initial thoughts in his diary. He is on his way to creating a lighter-than-air ship that can go where he aims it. 
There is this game where serious people swat a fuzzy green ball back and forth over a net while others watch and applaud. I'd tell you the name of the game but it is Greek to me and thus unpronounceable. (It's called: sphairistikè.) The English call it "Sticky" because they can't pronounce the Greek name either. The developer of this game is an Englishman and a good marketer (except for the name). He boxes a net, rackets, balls and a rulebook and ships several packages across the world to friends, officials and religious leaders. He encourages them to give it a try. An American woman spots the game being played and brings the idea to the United States. Now they call it lawn tennis and they follow the rules that came in the box. By 1877 the Wimbledon Championships will begin.  
- Harry Houdini, the escape artist and illusionist. He will expose false mediums as he searches for proof of an afterlife. 
- Robert Frost, the poet. "And miles to go before I sleep." 
- Gertrude Stein, the author. She will say, "There is no 'there' there," referring to Oakland, California as a destination. 
This Year in Wikipedia
Year 1874, Wikipedia.
- Chicago Fire of 1874 - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “Many insurers did halt their activities in Chicago, and only returned to issuing policies in the city after the municipal government adopted many of the suggested reforms.”
- Chicago: its history and its builders; a century ... v. 2. - Full View - HathiTrust Digital Library - HathiTrust Digital Library. babel.hathitrust.org (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016.
- McBride, Elyse Gundersen (2013). "The Changing Role of the Architect in the United States Construction Industry, 1870 - 1913". Construction History (The Construction History Society) 28 (1): 121-140. http://www.austinlibrary.com:2138/stable/43856031.
- Alex Shrugged notes: In my younger days I was schooled in wood-frame construction and worked within the construction industry as a soils inspector. My opinion is informed by my experience and learning.
- Ferdinand von Zeppelin: Airships - Wikipedia, 2014 [last update]
- The Hindenburg. u-s-history.com (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “The United States possessed the only natural deposits of helium in the world. That factor caused U.S. government officials to become wary of Adolph Hitler and his growing Third Reich because of prior rigid German aircraft used in bombing raids during World War I. Following a meeting with President Theodore Roosevelt and the Zeppelin Company, the U.S. Congress passed The Helium Control Act, which denied the Zeppelin Company U.S. helium for their new ship. Instead, the Hindenburg's cells were inflated with the explosive gas, hydrogen.”
- Tennis - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “In December 1873, British army officer Major Walter Clopton Wingfield designed and patented a similar game ;– which he called sphairistikè, and was soon known simply as 'sticky' – for the amusement of guests at a garden party on his friend's estate of Nantclwyd Hall, in Llanelidan, Wales. According to R. D. C. Evans, turfgrass agronomist, 'Sports historians all agree that Wingfield deserves much of the credit for the development of modern tennis.' According to Honor Godfrey, museum curator at Wimbledon, Wingfield 'popularized this game enormously. He produced a boxed set which included a net, poles, rackets, balls for playing the game – and most importantly you had his rules. He was absolutely terrific at marketing and he sent his game all over the world. He had very good connections with the clergy, the law profession, and the aristocracy and he sent thousands of sets out in the first year or so, in 1874.' The world's oldest tennis tournament, the Wimbledon Championships, were first played in London in 1877. The first Championships culminated a significant debate on how to standardize the rules.”
- Walter Clopton Wingfield - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “Major Walter Clopton Wingfield MVO (16 October 1833 – 18 April 1912) was a Welsh inventor and a British Army officer who was one of the pioneers of lawn tennis. Inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame in 1997, as the founder of Modern Lawn Tennis, an example of the original equipment for the sport and a bust of Wingfield himself can be seen at the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.”
- Top US athletes deny cheating after hackers show usage of banned substances — RT Sport. rt.com (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “Williams was allowed to take oxycodone, hydromorphone, prednisone and methylprednisolone in 2010, 2014 and 2015, despite the substances being placed on WADA’s list of banned substances. However, the documents released also showed that Williams had been given special permission to take some of the drugs. The authorization was given by Dr. Stuart Miller from the International Tennis Federation (ITF).”
- "Russian Hackers Draw Attention to Drug-Use Exemptions for Athletes - The New York Times", September 14, 2016. Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “Antidoping authorities, who have faced scrutiny this year related to the doping scandal emanating from Russia, said that increased funding for WADA would also translate into more careful policing of therapeutic exemptions. WADA is jointly funded by sports federations and the Olympic committee, and national governments, of which Russia is a top contributor.”
- Harry Houdini - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “While many suspected that these escapes were faked, Houdini presented himself as the scourge of fake spiritualists. As President of the Society of American Magicians, he was keen to uphold professional standards and expose fraudulent artists. He was also quick to sue anyone who imitated his escape stunts.”
Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening by Robert Frost - Poetry Foundation (1923). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
- Gertrude Stein - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “Two quotes from her works have become widely known: 'Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose' and 'there is no there there', with the latter often taken to be a reference to her childhood home of Oakland, California.”
- Guglielmo Marconi - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “Guglielmo Marconi, 1st Marquis of Marconi was an Italian inventor and electrical engineer known for his pioneering work on long-distance radio transmission and for his development of Marconi's law and a radio telegraph system. He is often credited as the inventor of radio, and he shared the 1909 Nobel Prize in Physics with Karl Ferdinand Braun 'in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless telegraphy'.”
- NAB Marconi Radio Awards - Wikipedia (2016). Retrieved on 20 September 2016. “The Marconi Radio Awards are presented annually by the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) to the top radio stations and on-air personalities in the United States.”