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Full text of "Chicago : its history and its builders, a century of marvelous growth"







CHICAGO 

Its History and Its Builders 



A CENTURY OF MARVELOUS GROWTH 




By J. SEYMOUR CURREY 

I Honorary Vice-President Illinois State Historical Society, Vice-President 
Cook County Historical Society, Member Chicago Historical Society, 
American Historical Association, Illinois State Library Association, 



National Geographic Society, Chicago Geographic Society. 



PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED 



1910 
THE S. J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY 

Chicago 



CHICAGO 

Its History and Its Builders 



A CENTURY OF MARVELOUS GROWTH 




By J. SEYMOUR CURREY 

Honorary Vice-President Illinois State Historical Society, Vice-President 

Cook County Historical Society, Member Chicago Historical Society, 

American Historical Association, Illinois State Library Association, 

National Geographic Society, Chicago Geographic Society. 



PROFUSELY ILLUSTRATED 



1910 

THE S J. CLARKE PUBLISHING COMPANY 
Chicago 



DITORIAL STAFF AND ADVISORY BOARD. 



RT. REV. SAMUEL W. FALLOWS, 

Bishop Reformed Episcopal Church. 

. HON. JESSE HOLDOM, 

Judge Appellate Court. 

GEORGE P. UPTON, 

Formerly Editorial Writer Chicago Tribune. 

ISHAM RANDOLPH, 

Consulting Engineer Inland Improvement Commission. 

FRANK W. SMITH, 

Cashier Corn Exchange National Bank. 
President Pioneer Sons and Daughters of Chicago. 

FRANCIS A. EASTMAN, 

City Statistician. 

HON. ORRIN N. CARTER, 

Justice of the Supreme Court of Illinois. 

ELIAS COLBERT, 

Formerly Editorial Writer Chicago Tribune. 



GEORGE H. FERGUS, 

Fergus Printing Company. 



DR. NATHAN S DAVIS, 

Physician and Surgeon. 



MISS CAROLINE M. McILVAINE, 

Librarian Chicago Historical Society. 



WILLIAM J. ONAHAN, 

Retired. 



GEORGE F. STONE, 

Secretary Chicago Board of Trade 



A. F. NIGHTINGALE, 

County Superintendent of Schools 

ROBERT J. BENNETT 

Vice/President W. M. Hoyt Company. 

HON. HENRY S. BOUTELL, 

Representative in Congress from the Sixth District. 



Page two 



NTRODUCTION. 




history is made in a city like this in every decade of 
its existence to fill many a volume with the annals of its 
progress and achievements in every field of human endeavor. 
The bald narrative of the city's growth is one of the "fairy 
tales of science," and the observer who has followed its 
course of development never ceases to wonder at the re- 
markable results of its material and intellectual activities as 
they take form before his eyes. No matter what plans of improvement 
are made, it is found before many years that they were not sufficiently 
comprehensive, and must be enlarged and adapted to the needs of the later 
time. If, fortunately, the founders of our great institutions, our libraries, 
museums, University, Historical Society, or Art Institute, have left room 
for expansion of the original plan, the need for greater work quickly 
presses upon its capacities. 

Dates and statistics are the dry bones of history. Clothe them with 
human interest and they become imbued with life and are awakened into 
reality. No forward sweep of vision, however far it may be projected, 
can have its proper value and significance without a knowledge of the past 
for comparison. No realities of the present can be of the best use or 
enjoyment to us unless a background of the past is placed before us for 
our guidance and instruction. The man, who makes use not only of what 
his own experience has taught him, but of what he has learned of the 
experiences of those who have gone before, adds to his efficiency in pro- 
portion to his knowledge thus acquired. "History," says Gibbon, "is 



Page three 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society. 

MARQUETTE'S MAP. 

Showing the western part of Lake Michigan and route of Joliet's expedition of discovery in 
1673. Joliet and Marquette began their journey at Green Bay, proceeded up the Fox River and 
down the Wisconsin River; followed the Mississippi down as far as the mouth of the Arkansas 
River, and returned by way of the Illinois River and the DesPlaines^Chicago Portage. 

Page f o UT 



little more than the register of the crimes, follies and misfortunes of man- 
kind;" but that is only a half truth. "History is philosophy teaching by 
example." More than that: it makes us the heirs of the ages, records the 
advances in enlightenment, warns us of dangers to avoid, and furnishes us 
examples of the virtues in every situation in life which we ourselves may 
encounter. "If men could learn from history," says Coleridge, "what 
lessons it might teach them." 

Why was it that this city outstripped all other competitors in the race as 
a center of trade and transportation ? The locality as Nature left it was not 
inviting. There was a wide-spread flat but a few feet above the level of the' 
surface of Lake Michigan, extending far to the south and west, intersected 
by a sluggish water course, while to the north of the stream a sandy soil, 
but slightly elevated above the lands in the other direction, supported a 
forest of oak and maple. But by way of this slow-moving stream lay a 
highway to the "great river," which the explorers established as their 
route of travel, and by which the conquest of the magnificient domain 
beyond was made. Other routes were practicable, one by way of the Fox 
river of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin river, another by way of the St. 
Joseph and Kankakee rivers; but none was found where all the conditions 
were so favorable as the route by way of the Chicago and DesPlaines 
rivers. 

More than that, there was a sturdy class of settlers who, in the early 
days of the century just closed, coming from states farther east, whose 
ancestors had themselves been pioneers, were most fortunately attracted to 
this spot. Representatives of the virile race of the Pilgrim Fathers, who 
after a century or two of residence in New England, New York and Ohio, 
pushed on until they planted themselves here at the gateway of empire. 
Great numbers of Scotch-Irish from the mother country, and Germans 
from the fatherland, came and added "bark and steel" to the human fibre 
of the growing metropolis, until the new city gained an impetus which, 
as yet, shows no signs of exhausting itself. Not only are they the sup- 
port of the best traditions of the nation, but are wise and strong in 
building up and maintaining the material and moral institutions, which are 
the striking characteristics of the community. Add to this the natural 

Page five 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society. 

HOUSE OF JOHN KINZIE 

On the north side of the river, opposite Fort Dearborn. Its location 
was at the foot of Pine Street. 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society, 

JOHN H. KINZIE. 
Son of John Kinzie, Chicago's first settler. 



Page six 



and valuable increment from the immigration of the Scandinavian and other 
nations of Europe that have been pouring their best and bravest into the 
city and the west for generations, and it is easily seen what accounts for 
the pre-eminence of Chicago and its tributary territory. 

"In the rapidly developing west," says Thwaites, "a hundred years 
and less mark the gap between a primeval wilderness and a complete civili- 
zation. Time, like space, is, after all, but comparative. In these hundred 
years, the northwest has developed from nothing to everything." 

History, like charity, begins at home. The first step in its study 
should be regarding the place we live in, though in practice our systems of 
teaching take up the history of remote times and places which belong to a 
later stage of historical study. 

In later years many great movements and enterprises, whose begin- 
nings and progress have found a place in former histories, have made 
important advances or diminished to the vanishing point. For example, 
the Illinois and Michigan Canal prodigiously affected the people of this 
city during the years that it was passing through its several stages of con- 
struction to completion and activity. Its importance as a factor in the 
development of the city has gradually waned until all its traditions are 
now memories only, and its prestige is transferred to the great waterway 
schemes in course of realization. Our lake marine has totally changed in 
character in the last generation. The World's Fair has passed into history, 
leaving behind it "trailing clouds of glory;" the literary and artistic life 
of the people has been quickened, keeping pace with the immense expan- 
sion of the material side of existence. Plans for railroad improvement, 
city transportation, extension of parks, and the beautification of the city, 
are engaging the attention of the community. It is the day of engineer- 
ing triumphs, and enterprises of "great pith and moment" are continually 
becoming accomplished facts. The list is long which might be mentioned 
as examples, and while some have finished their careers, others again have 
entered upon new and enlarged fields of activity and usefulness. 

Chicago has had its historians, though their works are difficult to pro- 
cure and are only to be found in the libraries of public institutions or 
hidden away in private collections. There can be no question of the need 

Page seven 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society. 




^ 



Came to Chicago in 1836; became Member of Congress in 1843, serving six terms, and 
was Mayor of the city in 1857 and I860. 



Page eight 



of a history prepared on a plan to mark the points of the rapidly receding 
past, with due regard to their true perspective value. What has been 
written is of great value, but the view-point has changed in the years 
since a history laying any claims to fulness has appeared. What were 
important events have diminished in historic value, and with a revision of 
statement there is demanded a thousand additions to complete the presenta- 
tion into a consistent and harmonious whole. Likewise the constituency 
of readers has changed; a new generation has come upon the scene 
eagerly seeking knowledge of the events of the past. 

The plan of this work will embrace the following principal divisions : 

1. The explorers' period and the French domination. 

2. The period of settlement and early growth. 

3. The period of the Civil War and the Great Fire. 

4. Lake marine and waterways. 

5. Railways. 

6. Manufacturing. 

7. Mercantile. 

8. Banks and banking. 

9. Real estate. 

10. Building and architecture. 

11. Religious history. 

12. Medical history. 

13. Bench and bar. 

14. Educational. 

15. Literary and artistic. 

16. Science and culture. 

17. World's Fair. 

18. Men of Chicago. 

19. Chicago womanhood. 

20. Chicago beautiful. 




Page nine 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society. 

CHICAGO AS IT APPEARED IN J804. 
Fort Dearborn on the left. John Kinzie's house on the right. 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society. 

FORT DEARBORN IN 1804. 

Destroyed at the time of the Chicago Massacre in I8J2. The later Fort Dearborn was 

built in 1816. 
Page ten 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society. From painting by Edgar S. Cameron. 

CHICAGO'S FIRST POSTOFFICE IN 1833. 
Log building near the present site of Lake street bridge at the east end. 




FEDERAL BUILDING AT CHICAGO. 
Begun in 1896, completed in 1905. 



Page eleven 




J. SEYMOUR CURREY. 



Page twelve 



SKETCH OF THE AUTHOR. 




>R. J. SEYMOUR CURREY has been a resident of Chicago 
and Evanston since his boyhood. Born in Peekskill, in the 
state of New York, he came west with his father and family 
and lived for a time in Will county, where his father carried 
on a farm. Being ambitious for a college education, he found 
employment in Chicago and engaged Prof. Geo. Quackenbos, then living 
on Chicago avenue near Rush street, as a private tutor, and prepared him- 
self for admission to college. It was his purpose to go to Yale College, 
but finally he decided on the Northwestern University at Evanston. After 
some three years of preparation with Prof. Quackenbos, he entered the 
freshman class of the Northwestern University in the class of '71. He 
did not complete the course w T ith this class, but from that time onward he 
has maintained his residence in Evanston. 

Having been regarded as a man who was in sympathy with the cause 
of the public library movement, then in the infancy of its development, 
he was elected in 1886 as a director on the board of the Evanston Public 
Library. In this work he continued twenty-two years, being regularly 
re-elected when his term expired so long as Evanston remained a village; 
and in 1892, when it was incorporated as a city, he was appointed by the 
mayor to continue in the office, and re-appointed on each occasion when the 
regular term expired, until July, 1908, at which time he declined to serve 
longer. During the period of his service on the library board he acted as 
secretary, vice-president and president; and largely owing to his activity 
and influence a new building costing $135,000 was erected, which is one of 
the finest buildings of its size in the west. 

The city council of Evanston, in a series of resolutions, expressed 
its "deep sense of gratitude for his faithful and efficient services while 
acting so long as a trustee for our city library." The board of directors 
of the Evanston Public Library adopted resolutions which were engrossed 
on parchment and handsomely framed, and in which the following language 
was used: "That we deeply regret Mr. Currey's retirement from the 

Page thirteen 




NEW COOK COUNTY COURT HOUSE. 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society. 

COOK COUNTY COURT HOUSE 1865. 
Procession leaving the building at the time that President Lincoln's remains were lying 

in state, May I, 1865. 
Page fourteen 



board of directors of this library ; that we recognize that the final comple- 
tion of our new library building is very largely due to his active and 
continuous efforts through many years." 

In 1898 Mr. Currey, together with Judge Harvey B. Hurd and others, 
organized the Evanston Historical Society, of which he is now president. 
This society is regarded as one of the model societies of its kind in the 
west, and enjoys the confidence and support of the community with which 
it is identified. 

More recently Mr. Currey has been instrumental in the formation of 
the Cook County Historical Society, of which he is vice-president. He is 
also honorary vice-president of the Illinois State Historical Society at 
Springfield, corresponding member of the Chicago Historical Society, 
member of the American Historical Society of Washington, D. C., the 
Illinois State Library Association, the National Geographical Society of 
Washington, D. C., the Chicago Geographical Society, and the Sons of 
the Revolution. From this it can be seen that his tastes and associations 
are of a character which will fit him for the task of preparing a history of 
Chicago, with the life and history of which he has been so long and inti- 
mately connected. 

In the preparation of contributions to various publications on subjects 
of historical interest, Mr. Currey has been a prolific w T riter and lecturer, 
and he is regarded as the chief authority on matters of history connected 
with the North Shore, which has necessarily included Chicago history. 

Throughout the long period of his residence in Evanston, Mr. Currey 
has been a daily visitor to Chicago, except during temporary absences. 
From a time anterior to the great fire he has been in constant contact with 
the city's life in all its stages of development; and what this means to a 
man w r hose interest in affairs is keen, and whose acquaintance is extensive 
among men who are influential in the building up of the city, can be readily 
understood; and thus he has naturally and inevitably become identified with 
the spirit and modes of thought of the people with W 7 hom he has been so 
long associated. Especially familiar with the details of commercial and 
manufacturing enterprises, he posseses a wide knowledge of their various 
activities, and has either assisted in or directed the organization and con- 
duct of a number of lar.ire corporations. 

Page fifteen 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society. 

RUINS OF THE INTERIOR OF THE CHICAGO POSTOFFICE 
after the great fire of 1871. 




By permission of Chicago Historical Society. 

INTERSTATE INDUSTRIAL EXPOSITION. 

Built in 1873; demolished in 1892. 
Page sixteen 



PUBLISHERS 7 ANNOUNCEMENT. 




HE work herein outlined has been in contemplation for a num- 
ber of years. While several histories of the city have been 
published, we felt there was still here a field to be explored, 
facts unearthed, and a new setting given to stories heretofore 
published. In the selection of the editor for the work, many 
inquiries were made of those most directly interested, and who have taken 
the greatest interest in the city's history, and almost unanimously we were 
referred to J. Seymour Currey as being the one man best equipped by 
education and training to undertake the great task. He has gathered 
around him as Associate Editors and Advisory Board men and women 
specialists in certain lines, who by their writings and by their advice and 
counsel will be of inestimable help in making this the greatest local history 
ever published. 

Mr. Currey has entered upon the work, and will throw his whole soul 
into the production of a history that will be unequalled by that of any 
great municipality. The publishers place around him no restrictions, and 
only request of him to do his best. On our part, we promise that w r e will 
do our utmost to make the work mechanically all that can be desired. It 
will appear in five royal octavo volumes, printed on a fine quality of book 
paper, with many beautiful illustrations to attract the eye and illustrate 
the subject matter of the history. A large sum will be expended for this 
purpose. 

The work will appear in three styles of binding de luxe, half morocco 
and buckram. 

Page seventeen 




FREDERICK A. HOWE 

Arrived in Chicago June 7, 1834, and has resided here continuously since 
that time. He is seventyvnme years old. 



The de luxe edition will be very attractive, and will find a place in the 
homes of the most refined and intelligent people. This is limited to five 
hundred numbered sets, with the autograph of the author in each. It will 
be bound in three-quarter imported genuine Persian morocco, the binding 
to be all hand-made w r ith extra large corners of the same material, using 
imported German cocoa paper on the sides of the book, the inside linings 
of the covers to be of the same paper to match the outside. The backs 
are to be finished in genuine gold leaf with a special design of tooling, 
unique in character, suitable for this style of book making. The edges 
are to be gilt with genuine gold leaf, and both the covers to be reinforced 
with muslin joints. 

As may be inferred, the work is one of great magnitude and will 
require time and much research on the part of Mr. Currey, and, therefore, 
no definite time can be given for issuing the same. We want to make it 
as perfect as possible, and we feel that the citizens of this great city will 
give their support to it and aid in all their power to make it what it should 
be a most attractive and trustworthy history. 

The plan of the work contemplated has already received the hearty 
endorsement of many of Chicago's most progressive citizens. 

THE S. J. CLARKE PUBLISHING CO. 

358 Dearborn Street, Chicago. 




Page nineteen 




From photograph taken in 1870 

MRS. ADALINE (NICHOLS) HEARTT 

Oldest living resident of Chicago. Born Fort 
Niagara, New York, March 21, 1831. Came to 
Chicago June 15, 1832. Daughter of Luther 
Nichols, soldier at Fort Dearborn. 



Page twenty 




By permission of The Inter-Ocean.