Wow! Everybody who responded got the right answer!
Congratulations all! Some of you guessed. Some of you just knew you were right.
As you all know, the answer to the Puzzler is NAVY PIER.
Indeed the Pier has been:
A jail for draft dodgers and housing for several regiments of soldiers in 1917-1918.
The location of its own streetcar line, theater, restaurants and evergency hospital in 1919-1921.
Its own “golden age of recreational and cultural activity. Mayor William H. Thompson’s “Pageants of Progress” drew nearly a million visitors in 1921 and 1922.
A pioneer in broadcasting – the Chicago Federation of Labor radio station WCFL, “the voice of labor” began at the Pier in 1926.
“Municipal Pier”, renamed “Navy Pier” in honor of Navy personnel in World War I, 1927. Soldier Field had been completed in 1926 to honor those serving in the Army in WWI.
A lake freight and passenger terminus that declined, 1930-1940.
A Navy pilot orientation training center for 15,000 pilots for military service, including a young airman named George H.W. Bush, future President of the U.S. As many as 200 WWII planes still rest at the bottom of Lake Michigan as a result of training accidents. 1942.
A two-year University of Illinois undergraduate program replacing the Navy and remaining there until 1965. The Navy’s main mess hall became a giant library considered “the largest reading room in Illinois”. When I was a student at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in the early ’60’s we called the Pier “Champaign on the Rocks”.