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Full text of "Chicago The History Of Its Reputation"

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CHICAGO 



THE HISTORY Ofr"rPS REPUTATION 



Part I hy 

LLOYD LEWIS 

/nf r m/Mr fiVn and Furl II % 

HENRY JUSTIN SMITH 



HAHCOUBT, BRACE AND COMPANY 



NEWYOEK 



CHICAGO 

THE HISTOEY OF ITS 
REPUTATION 



INTRODUCTION 



Lo, 



before the Limited slows down for its glide into the 
terminal yards, a traveler knows that Chicago lies before him. 

From whichever direction he comes, he crosses level country 
which, though dotted with towns, still has the horizon, the 
tints, and something of the grand freedom, of the Mid-Western 
steppes. Soon the windy open spaces fall behind. Into the 
picture move the shapes of industrial plants, a legion of mon- 
sters that stroke and hiss on the city's borders. Their chim- 
neys are like clusters of reeds- Ghostly amid the vapor, or sharp 
against the sky, their contorted limbs, their mystic collections 
of turrets, derricks, raised trackage, have majesty and pathos 
as well. 

In this radius, too, are the marching towers of power lines, 
an occasional gas tank, like an absurdly large cheese, the low, 
windowed buildings of many a factory; and then, touching 
elbows and patterned a good deal alike, villages, suburbs, in 
which the city's terra cotta and old-time frame construction 
are curiously mingled. 

The city thickens. Innumerable streets wheel by ; the eye can 
follow their long, monotonous length for miles. Every other 
one seems to have a street car-line. The train thunders over 
a succession of viaducts. Masses of buildings peer at it and 



vanish stores, apartments, hotels, college towers, chur 
spires. From somewhere come piercing sounds, audible abo 
the rumble of the train ; and an indefinable throb can be fe* 
the composite pulse of millions of people. One feels a myster 
in it all, a force both thrilling and terrifying. One knows thai 
the hunt for dollars, women and fame is violent here, scarceh 
hidden behind the sleek machinery of an efficient age. 



Coming from the east, the traveler has had glimpses, of tei 
between astonishing sand-mountains, of a sparkling blue lake 
He now gets broader and broader views of it. If he has neve? 
seen it before, the size of this lake is beyond his expectation, 
Why, it is an inland ocean, no less! The farther shore cannot 
be made out. This body of water has a surf, and fascinating 
bands of color. White gulls circle silently over it. In wintet, 
this side of the blue rollers, the beach is rimmed with ice. 

And suddenly, on a curve far ahead, the traveler catcher 
sight of a phantom city of towers. They float, it seems, on .% 
sort of island, with their spires or sharp shoulders taking a 
dove-color from the lake mists and the landward vapor* 

It is only a glimpse. The train rushes through more 
and over more viaducts. It arrives; the traveler alights. 
now finds himself at the feet of those stunning towers* 
form a row of proud, glistening titans along the boulevard y 
and they face a park, vast acres of which are lawn, or highwayi 
three times as wide as Napoleon ever imagined* The strange- 
had best get his first impression from this lakeside park; 
perhaps standing on the steps of the marble Field Museum* 
He will then begin to realize what the lake means ; and, facing 
that epic rampart of buildings, he will see to what a pol&t the 
"skyscraper idea," Chicago's own discovery, has advanced 

He will also, very likely it has happened a good many 
times begin to revise his theories about the sort of 
the city has. 

vi 



He can stand on the south veranda of the Art Institute, 
overlooking a little plaza where pigeons strut and flutter as 
placidly as in front of St, Mark's, Venice; from here he can 
see the life of a modern boulevard, rich, organized, confident; 
and he can look up again at the tiers of skyscraper windows, 
behind each collection of which cities-within-cities do their 
work with a precision that amounts to monotony. 

The trouble is, he may begin to think that he has seen it 
all. That, also, has happened. 



It will take a good part of a life-time to see it all. And 
by the time the observer has studied one part, he may find that 
another part, when he goes back to it, has changed beyond 
recognition. 

The city has a daemon Innovation. 

It has come to the height of a passion for tearing up, im- 
proving, substituting, enlarging. It is in a frenzy of discon- 
tent with everything that was big enough for the last genera- 
tion ; and of course, hardly any of those things are really big 
enough for this one. So, on every hand, not only "down-town" 
but miles distant toward the border, there are seen wreckage, 
huge holes in the earth, new steel frame-works; and, on the 
lake front, great areas of unfinished park, all pushing toward 
some sort of complete result. 

In the meantime, a student of the city will have to hurry if 
he <*Kpets to take home a memory of the older Chicago. In 
one region, the "near north side/ 5 benign nineteenth century 
houses are fairly tumbling before the invasion of smart, tall, 
money-making buildings. On side streets, still "fashionable," 
old-time "mansions^ of granite or brick tend to resist the com* 
mercial wave ; but look across their mansard roofs and you are 
sure to see the threat of a new "step-back." Meantime, the 
district remains wistfully beautiful, full of contrasts, Euro- 
pean in Its slight shabbmess, its Bohemia, its peculiar twilights* 

vii 



The near part of the "south side 5 ' suburb only sixty years 
ago is now largely what sociologists call a depressed area. 
Even the negroes are leaving its older localities; industry is re- 
making these pest-holes. Farther out are isolated, peaceful 
relics of a prosperous age ; a few rows of red-brick houses sug- 
gesting the Back Bay of Boston, a few streets where large 
dwellings, in the architectural style of a generation ago, still 
stand amid broad lawns. But the inevitable thought is, how 
soon will they pass? 

Having ridden through this "south side," possibly down a 
boulevard swarming with black people their costumes gen- 
erally touched with picturesque color having seen miles of 
aging houses and uninspired flat-building blocks, the stranger 
will meet with a surprise. Away out there beyond the valley of 
tarnished things, he will come upon a community of red roofs 
and gray walls, with the ivy of thirty years growing upon 
them a University. Most of the buildings have a misleading 
air of great age. The oldest of them is thirty-seven ! They stand 
along a double boulevard, the Midway Plaisance, which yieldn 
nothing to the Champs Elyses except the exquisite slope of 
the latter. And on this boulevard rises a new gray tower, almost 
white, the tallest eminence outside of the "loop." It crowna a 
great building of cathedral type, the University Chapel, just 
come into the life of Chicago as its purest symbol of religious 
feeling. Its foundations go down to bedrock ; its walk are solid 
masonry. When the scrambled novelties of other sections of the 
city are long gone, this chapel will remain, more beautiful 
with age. 

From such an architectural height, the sojotirner may go on 
to examine new residence districts of modem pattern* spread- 
ing over lands that were entirely vacant twenty~five years ago; 
or he may choose to visit the "bad" regions* Oh, yet, he must 
see the "slums" ! But though he can find plenty of tumble* 
down houses, plenty of vicious haunts, he need hardly expect 
to discover such immense unbroken areas of despair as exist* 
for example, in London. He will find Chicago^ poverty 



vm 



scape invaded by wide streets, on which ambitious merchants 
are replacing "rookeries'* with commonplace but decent build- 
ings. He will be shown extensive acres where community manu- 
facturing or warehouse interests have "cleaned up," banish- 
ing whole squares of shanties. He will see other squares with 
play-grounds, gymnasium apparatus, clubhouses; and still 
others where apartment buildings, clean at least, have risen 
in place of huddles of foul shanties. 

If he has time, the traveler may follow the course of one of 
those "longest streets in the world" say Halsted Street, 
Milwaukee or Western Avenue and see where daring real 
estate men have plotted new subdivisions, to be filled speedily 
with standard collections of dwellings, stores, hotels, and always 
a moving picture theater twice as big as the old-time vaude- 
ville house. In rows of bungalows, amazing in extent if 
depressing in their sameness, now live people, or their de- 
scendants, many of whom were once satisfied with a wooden 
cottage close to a lumber yard. 

Perhaps the visitor will push on into the actual suburbs, 
noting no perceptible border-line between them and what is 
officially "city." He will see clearly what a rush there has been 
into new territory (which has grown five times as fast as 
Chicago proper), what an eagerness to get among forests 
or capture rolling meadows. He will be pleased to see the ad- 
vance of good taste in house design, the obvious interest in 
gardens, in landscaping. He can follow the numerous curves 
of one of the longest and most attractive of highways 
Sheridan Road pursuing it, anyhow, as far as Lake Forest, 
where he can find (on the McCormick and Ryerson estates, for 
example) gardens of challenging nobility, 



But he has not yet "seen Chicago," 

Where are the "foreign quarters," the melting-pot districts, 
that he has read about? 

ix 



They are still there, many of them, yet possibly different 
from what he expects. He can ride down Halsted Street, it is 
true, and, just as reported, merchants* signs in nearly every 
language will confront him, and masses of pedestrians, making 
an entertaining parade of race and costume, will pass. But it 
will not be long before the old "Ghetto," with its famous Max- 
well Street market, will yield to the urge of the new genera- 
tion to move away from anything so purely racial. As for the 
Hull House district, which has seen one group of nationals 
after another arrive, suffer and pass on, it is now hemmed 
in by business development, which some day may possess it 
entirely. 

"Down there," "where foreign groups used to occupy con- 
siderable areas, with walls of suspicion between, the tendency 
has been for these groups to mingle, so that your guide will 
say, "This block is Italian ;" over across the street is "Little 
Holland. " The old-time battles between Irish and "Dago 5 * 
come seldom. The Irish have moved. Meantime, except on fete 
days, miles of "foreign district 55 betray scarcely a sign other 
than on store fronts of being anything but American. The 
great immigrant influx stopped years ago. The children of 
those who came in then are thinking of something else than the 
"Old Country." 

In cafes, theaters, and little stores there are echoes of old 
"melting-pot" days. But just as expressive of the way the 
foreign-born live today are streets, clean as a Chicago street 
can hope to be, lined with small but welHcept dwellings in 
which live people who make good money and save it, 

As for "gangdom," let the visitor find it if he can* Without 
a guide, such as a knowing newspaper reporter, he can never 
identify the headquarters of this "mob" or that. Outside, the 
cafes or saloons or flats where the gangsters plot look just 
alike. The hotel that is often a rendezvous for the much-touted 
Capone and his crew has a perfectly genteel exterior. And If 
you are looking for a "beer baron" you may have to find him in 
a luxurious "co-op" on one of the boulevards. 



It Is very difficult for a chance visitor to Chicago to be 
present at one of its celebrated murders. 



Back to the towers he must go, to taste any flavor which 
he can compare with that of another American city. He must 
go back there to realize with any vividness what has happened 
on this soil of sand and clay, where, little more than a century 
ago, white men came to live for the first time. 

If he can understand that, in years when Napoleon was 
remaking an ancient Paris, these lake waves lapped a beach 
a mile farther inland, that there was only a sluggish, muddy 
river stream where now some of the tallest skyscraper peaks 
pierce the clouds, that there were only two or three log cabins, 
among thin trees, on the spot now covered by Grand Canyons 
of enormous stores, batiks, and what not he begins then to 
realize a little of what Chicago history means. 

He must also think of a century of trouble, a century of con- 
quest over the difficulties this strange city site presented, a cen- 
tury of racial jealousies, of conflict between strong men, strug- 
gles between conservatives and radicals, between Utility and 
Beauty, a hundred years and more of settling arguments on 
top of the effort to create, on a forbidding shore, a home fit to 
occupy, 

In this book, the authors have sketched, incompletely but 
with a sincere effort to describe typical events, the story of 
Chicago's century as well as what led to it. 

Chicago, to some people, means brute force ; it means ruth- 
lessness and even menace. Its "blood-and-thunder" reputation 
has girdled the earth, outstripping again and again the fame 
of its herculean business enterprise. Almost from the begin- 
ning this has been true* The city has been studied, loved, hated, 
praised and denounced out of all proportion to its statistical 

xi 



position among the cities of the world. Only in the most indif- 
ferent has it failed to awaken an ardent curiosity. 

The present volume may serve to answer, in some degree, 
a world-wide questioning. 



PAET ONE 



CHAPTER I 



S 



LOWLY the last of the glaciers shrank back from the lands 
upon which it had lain so long. The Wisconsin Drift, rear 
guard of the ice sheets that had covered much of North Amer- 
ica, was melting in the warming sun. Age by age it receded, 
and, as it went, an ocean formed on its southern edge, some- 
what above the center of the continent. Lake Chicago, the 
scientists afterwards called it, but no man was there to call 
it anything at all in. its lifetime. 

From this inland sea, the water ran off in rivers southwest 
through the Great Valley of the Mississippi into the warm 
Gulf of Mexico. Nature seemed to have decided that when 
man should come to North American midlands he should look 
to the kindly South for his trade. 

But the grinding ice was whimsical. It dredged new ditches, 
new hollows in the ground as it retreated, leaving mountains of 
rocks here, scouring flat millions of acres there, making, 
among other changes, a new bed for Lake Chicago, one into 
which the waters settled and lay waiting for men to come along 
and name Lake Michigan. More important to these men, when 
they should appear, was the parting gesture with which the 
ice gouged out a northern outlet for the great lake. As a sort 
of farewell dig into the ribs of the land the glacier raked 

3 



a stupendous ditch to the north and east at the top of the 
inland, sea, sending, thereafter, all drainage away by Lake 
Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River, 

Nature had reconsidered. The tropical seas were no longer 
in the destinies of the men who would inhabit the Northwest. 
The cold Atlantic, the harder, more restless East would dom- 
inate. 

However, as though the call of the South died hard, the 
ice sheet did a strange thing on the southwestern bank of 
Lake Michigan. Drawing narrow margins, capricious hair-lines 
on the face of the land, it left an eccentric continental divide, 
a watershed, only some eight miles from the lake's edge. Lake 
Michigan might drain into the Atlantic, but water falling 
very close to its rim would still go down to southern seas. The 
watershed was imperceptible to any eyes that could have seen 
it then, just as it was imperceptible in the time of man, an 
invisible ridge in the midst of flat marshes and damp prairie, 
yet high enough to determine the site of an immense city. 
From this great divide, the Des Plaines River ran south- 
west to the Illinois River and so to the Mississippi, while 
eastward to Lake Michigan ran the Chicago River in two 
branches that joined a mile from the beach all of these 
channels lying lazy in meadows of rushes and mud. Only a 
narrow strip of boggy land lay between the South Fork of 
the Chicago River and the Des Plaines the watershed 
strip called by the first Indians and white trappers "The 
Chicago Portage." Over it redskins carried their canoes and 
headed south by river, or north or east by lake. 

Just why they called it "Chicago'* is disputed* On the 
banks of the creek grew a weed, a sort of wild onion or garlic* 
which the red man named "Chickagou." One tribal word for 
"playful waters" was "Shecaugo," another word meaning 
"destitute" was "Chocago" and, to some redskins, the word 
"Shegahg" meant "skunk." A word that sounded like "Chi- 
cago" was also used by the Indians to describe thunder, or the 
voice of the Great Manitou or the Mississippi River- Also la the 
4 



late I700's there was an Indian chieftain named "Chicagou." 
In general the word was interpreted as applying to a bad 
smell. 

Most meanings had one thing in common, observed Edgar 
Lee Masters, one of the region's prominent literary figures in 
times to come, in one form or another they stood for 
"strength." 

The French heard the name when several of their first ex- 
plorers brought back word that New France could be served 
mightily by cutting a canal across this "Chicago portage." 
It was the gateway to the Mississippi. 

Joliet thought the job easy. La Salle, a few years later, was 
not so sure. The Des Plaines River was fickle; at high water 
the divide disappeared, canoes could go anywhere, and the 
river spilled sometimes into Lake Michigan. 

But for all the pros and cons, the great fact remained; 
when civilized beings first viewed this region, the idea of a canal 
was born, and like the theme of a symphony, the motif kept 
weaving through the centuries of a city's history* 



France bred men of steel in the time of Louis XIV. The 
empire bubbled with ambition, military, artistic and commer- 
cial. Imperial schemes gestated not only at Versailles, but in 
remote colonies like those in North America. The passion for 
finding new wealth went hand in hand with religious zeal. A 
priest was close behind the first woodland traders who appeared 
at the site of Chicago. 

Many a courewr du bois* as the backwoodsmen were called 
in French, may have traded with the Indians at this spot before 
Pfere Jacques Marquette, on his second trip over the Illinois 
water highway in the party of Louis Joliet, was forced by ill- 
ness to winter at Chicago* But their names were never written 
down and Chicago's history is considered to have begun when 
Marquette the missionary, built or occupied a shelter on the 

5 



river somewhere within the limits of the present city. Near by 
was the cabin of one Pierre Moreau, nicknamed, in bad French, 
"The Mole," a pioneer bootlegger, selling fire-water to the 
Indians and serving as agent for the tough old governor of 
New France, Count Frontenac. From "The Mole's" cabin came 
a mysterious herb doctor to help Marquette survive the bitter 
winter. With spring the missionary had gone. He would write 
down his impressions of embryonic Chicago before he died. 

The dauntless and unlucky explorer, La Salle, saw Chicago's 
command of water routes in terms of imperial conquest. It 
would be useful to Louisiana, he saw, and he had his party 
make maps and detailed descriptions. 

Father Pierre Pinet, a Jesuit missionary, liked the point well 
enough to remain there several summers, off and on, between 
,1696 and 1700 toiling in his mission to win the heathen to 
Christianity. Then he, too, passed on, and soon the influence 
of them all, Marquette, Joliet, Pinet, was gone, for the French 
spirit had waned with the death of Louis U grand motiarque* 
British soldiers occupied log forts built by the French ; British 
traders competed, with less success, against the Pierres and 
Jeans along old trade routes. King George had the country, 
by right of the Treaty of Paris, clear to the Mississippi east of 
Louisiana. Red men, fighting some on one side, some on the 
other, had slaughtered each other. Christianity had not been 
impressed upon them by Marquette's successors, the soldiers. 
Under Pontiac, the powerful chieftain, the Indians, uniting 
somewhat, wiped out pioneer settlements and battled with vary* 
ing success against the armed expeditions that followed- The 
British had triumphed, but not for long, since the colonists, 
revolting, soon broke their power and brought into being the 
United States of America. 

In so dramatic a time the Chicago portage drowsed along, 
used only by journeying redskins. With ease, the neglected 
vantage point on Lake Michigan might have been left to the 
English had it not been for the reckless expedition of George 
Rogers Clark farther south. Clark, commanding Kenteely 
6 



and Virginia revolutionists, swept, in spite of winter ice, 
through southern Indiana and Illinois to surprise and capture 
the British garrisons at Vincennes and Kaskaskia, checkmating, 
thereby, the schemes of conquest held by the British Colonel 
Hamilton at Detroit. Clark's stroke had shown that the whole 
Northwest, including the obscure Chicago portage, would be 
American. Furthermore it had given the later city of Chi- 
cago reason for naming one of its long streets "Clark" 
where later so many skyscrapers were to stand. 

Another Revolutionary soldier of equally desperate enter- 
prise, "Mad" Anthony Wayne, made it doubly certain that 
Chicago would be American, not Canadian. 

His adventure deserves a word. 

After the colonists had won their independence, Great Brit- 
ain sat back to wait for the little Republic to collapse. No 
people could make a success of hare-brained democracy, the 
British felt* Soon the naive and wild young children would be 
toppling back into the arms of the Mother Empire. Believing 
this, England blandly refused to carry out the terms of peace 
that had been written in 1796, and calmly held onto certain 
isolated army posts in the American Northwest. She would 
keep her finger on the fur trade and the Indians against the 
day when scalping knives would be shining once more. Money 
and golden promises kept the red men harassing the Amer- 
ican settlers who poured over the Allegheny Mountains onto 
the forests and plains. 

Such armies as the young republic sent first into the terri- 
tory to protect these settlers were outgeneraled by the Indians 
who fought with British muskets, and it was not until 1794 
that **Mad*' Anthony Wayne, leading a "Yankee Doodle" 
army, crushed the natives at the Battle of Fallen Timbers in 
Ohio* Through the next summer Wayne argued peace terms 
with chieftains at Greenville, Ohio, and by August of that year, 
1705, persuaded them to cede certain tracts to the United 
States* Among these pieces of property, down toward the end 
of the agreement, was listed; 

7 



"One piece of Land Six Miles Square at the mouth of the 
Chickago River emptying into the Southwest end of Lake 
Michigan where a fort formerly stood." (The refez*ence to a 
fort was an allusion to a stockade rumored to have been built 
by Indians during one of their wars a half century before,) 

Thus occurred the first real estate transfer in the history 
of the place. 

It was of international politics rather than real estate that 
"Mad Anthony" was thinking, however, as he signed the In- 
dian treaty. British eyes were on this mouth of the Chickago 
River, too. Shortly after Wayne's victory, British officers 
were asking the House of Lords to build a fort at the portage 
so that American traders might be shut off from the Missis- 
sippi trade. The Lords let the matter drop* It was all so far 
away. 

Out of the reports of these British officers there has stalked 
the first Chicagoan, Baptiste Point du Sable, whom the "red- 
coats" found living in a trader's hut along the Chicago River 
a tall frontiersman and barterer, black, either a "f reedman" 
or a fugitive slave from Kentucky. That he was intelligent, 
well-mannered and sufficiently American to have been arrested 
by the British, is well established. But he is merely a phantom 
at best, gone from Chicago before its first chapter of building 
began. 

3 

The British House of Lords, having moved too slowly to 
seize the pivotal Chicago portage, saw the young Republic 
grasp the whole Northwest more securely in 1803 when in 
the Louisiana Purchase it acquired an empire from Spain* 
All England could do was to hold onto the beaver pelts and 
the red tomahawks of the region. Canadian traders still ruled 
the markets and the Indians. 

The voyageurs were gracious as successful merchants mast 
always be far different from the land-hungry Pennayl- 
vanians and Virginians who bored their way into Indian ter~ 
8 



ritory, wresting property away from the owners and holding 
life cheap. Where the Americans too often debauched or killed 
Indian women, the Canadian traders made love to the squaws, 
marrying them readily and often. 

It was by muskets that the United States would rule its new 
domains staggering new domains that now reached the Rocky 
Mountain tops. The forts at Detroit and Mackinac were not 
sufficient. Another key citadel must be founded. 

So on an August day, in 1803, the Pottawattomie tribes- 
men of Illinois stand watching a little troop of American sol- 
diers, blue-coated, their hair in pig-tails, march Northward 
along the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. They are in the 
command of a twenty-one-year-old lieutenant, James Strode 
Swearingen, who has led them from Detroit, afoot, on a jour- 
ney lasting more than a month. As they come up to the river- 
mouth to build a fort which they will name for the Secretary 
of War, General Henry Dearborn, they see the flashing lake 
to the East, sand and scrub timber to the West, Four cabins 
stand by the river, cabins of Canadian traders, one owned by 
a certain Le Mai, successor to Du Sable, one by Ouilmette, one 
by Pettle, one belonging to John Kinzie, American, who is now 
absent. 

Lieut. Swearingen makes hasty notes : 

"The river is about 80 yards wide where the garrison is in- 
tended to be built, and from 18 feet and upwards deep, dead 
water, owing to its being stopped up at the mouth by the 
washing of sand from the lakes. The water is not fit to 
use. * . " 

A little behind this vanguard comes Captain John Whis- 
tler, commandant, whose family name will be more famous 
when his grandson James Abbott McNeill Whistler has made 
two continents aware of his delicate etchings and paintings 
and his sophisticated sarcasm- Captain Whistler's son, father 
of the artist, is rowing along the lake shallows with his father 
m advance of the ship Tracy* which follows from St. Joseph 
with more troops, artillery, provisions, women. 

9 



The fort goes up on the dead waste by the slow, muddy 
creek. All around are spongy marshes. Soldiers haul timbers 
by hand, and slowly the block-houses, the stores, the barracks 
and the stockade take form. The men grumble and quarrel. 
Why pick out a spot like this for a fort? 

But the work goes on. The tremendous lake tempers the 
winter storms that come down from what will be called Medi- 
cine Hat in the Northwest; it also checks the full blasts of 
prairie heat. 



10 



CHAPTER II 



F, 



OK nine years Fort Dearborn drowsed along, its population 
increasing little if at all, its existence enlivened by nothing 
more dramatic than the occasional arrival of an extraordi- 
narily fine load of furs, vague rumors of an Indian "scare," a 
wedding in 1804 between the commandant's daughter and the 
son of a Detroit trader, dog-fights, deer-hunts and squabbles 
between officers in the garrison. 

Dramatic forces were at work, however, to the south and 
east. In the wilderness a great man was rising Tecumseh, 
the Shawnee, vain dreamer of a future of pacifism, socialism, 
brotherly love and the Confederated Indian Tribes of America. 

Tecumseh had fought in redskin ranks against General 
Wayne, but he was no mere warrior. Wisely he analyzed his 
people's plight. They were split into tribes which could be 
fired to fratricidal jealousy by intriguing whites. They were 
commanded by chieftains who could be tricked or bribed into 
selling community property for whiskey. Liquor was under- 
mining the native shrewdness and character. So Tecumseh 
preached two things, temperance and communism. Whiskey 
and private property should both be abolished. 

For his crusade Tecumseh adroitly used his mystic brother, 
Prophet'* Tenskwautawa, which name, translated, meant 

11 



"The Open Door"; with the religious tongue of this ally to 
captivate the thousands who could not catch the logic of the 
cause, Tecumseh triumphed for a time. Tribe after tribe joined 
his plan for a socialistic confederacy. In an incredibly shoi't 
time whiskey-drinking decreased among his followers indeed 
vanished from large sections of the Northwest. 

To William Henry Harrison, the stripling governor of the 
Territory, Tecumseh brought his plan in 1810, The sale of 
land by individual tribes must cease. The Wyandots had sold 
vast sections of Ohio to the whites in 1805, the Miamis had 
ceded 2,000,000 acres to Harrison, the Piankeswaws had given 
up cheaply the territory west of the Wabash River. Such trans- 
actions must stop, said the red orator, such breaches of the 
Greenville Treaty were wrong. Killing of Indians must stop, 
too. Whites must no longer provoke tribes to fight each other. 

As Tecumseh, four hundred braves at his back, stood before 
Harrison at Vincennes, the white leader asked him to come 
into the gubernatorial cabin and sit down* 

"Houses are built for you to hold councils in ; Indians hold 
theirs in the open air. . . . The sun is my father, and the 
earth is my mother ; on her bosom I will repose," answered the 
blanketed statesman as he sat himself down upon the earth. 

Sitting, or at times standing, there in the sun, Tecumseh 
delivered the speech that has lived as his race's most devas- 
tating, yet simple, arraignment of the wealth-hunting whites: 

"Brother : You wish to prevent the Indians to do as we wish 
them, to unite and let them consider their landb as the com- 
mon property of the whole. You take tribes aside and advise 
them not to come into this measure. The reason, I tell you 
this, is you want by your distinctions of Indian tribes, in 
allotting to each a particular tract, to make them to war with 
each other. You never see an Indian endeavor to make the 
white people do so. You are continually driving the red peo- 
ple, when at last you will drive them onto the great lake, when 
they can neither stand nor work. 

"Since my residence at Tippecanoe, we have ^endeavored to 



level all distinctions, to destroy village chiefs, by whom all 
mischief Is done. It is they who sell our lands to Americans. 
Brother, this land that was sold, and the goods that were 
en for it, was only done by a few, ... in the future we 
/\are prepared to punish those who may propose to sell land. 
' If you continue to purchase them it will make war among the 
'"""different tribes and at last I do not know what will be the 
[inconsequence among the white people. Brother, I wish you 
Lwould take pity on the red people and do what I have re- 
N quested. If you will not give up the land, and do cross the 
(\ boundary of your present settlement, it will be very hard and 
produce great trouble among us. 

"How can we have confidence in the white people? 
"When Jesus Christ came upon the earth you killed Him 
and nailed Him on a cross. You thought He was dead, and 
you were mistaken. You have Shakers among you and you 
laugh and make light of their worship. 

IT*"* "Everything I have told you is the truth. The Great Spirit 
n has inspired me. n 

Jin the face of such practical applications of Christianity, 
the whites could do nothing, and matters went on as before, 
with Tecumseh traveling the midlands from the Lakes to the 
Moridas, preaching his doctrine of unity and cooling his war- 
riors against premature bloodshed. 

"You shall know when to begin war when the arm of Tecum- 
+**> seh stretches across the heavens like pale fire," he said. 

War came too soon for Tecumseh. In 1811 the United 
States and Great Britain, feeling gingerly around for each 
other's throats as they prepared for the grapple that was to 
e the next year, began recruiting allies among the red men 
some tribes joining with the Yankees, more of them with the 
redcoats, or rather with those representatives of the redcoats, 
the love-making Canadians. 

The majority of Indians in Tecumseh's dwindling Confed- 
eracy sympathized with the British, but the statesman held 
them in check, at his largest camp, Tippecanoe, Indiana, while 

13 



he went his coaxing, pleading way among the Cherokees of the 
South, rebuilding his political fences. Meanwhile, that half- 
crazy brother of his, "The Open Door,' 5 went mad with impa- 
tience and loosed Tecumseh's naked band on the white army 
which General Harrison had brought to Tippecanoe. Defeat, 
more dampening to the Indian spirit than to its arms, met 
them on Nov, 6, 1811, and when Tecumseh arrived upon the 
scene his Confederacy was completely wrecked; most of the 
tribes were independently suing for peace. In anguish the 
chieftain thought of killing "The Open Door, 5 ' then reconsid- 
ered and set gallantly to work to plead for unity once more* 

The battle of Tippecanoe had saved Fort Dearborn, for 
Tecumseh had planned to raze it, along with everything on 
his side of the Ohio River, unless the whites made good their 
broken treaties. Earlier in the year he had been among the 
Pottawattomies and Winnebagos of northern Illinois* prepar- 
ing them for the tragic uprising which must, sooner or later, 
come. 

2 

But the little fort was not saved for long. By Spring the 
War of 1812 was on, and Tecumseh himself a duly appointed 
brigadier-general in the British army, able to mass a horde 
of fighting men if not to weld them into the peaceful Confed- 
eracy of his dreams. Warriors from his allies, the Wiimebagos, 
in April massacred some men at the farm of a certain Lee* 
outside the Fort Dearborn stockade, and by August the 
friendly Pottawattomies, nearer neighbors of the fort, were 
showing signs of insolence. 

Since the American fort at Detroit was obviously doomed to 
fall into the hands of the British and Indians, the government 
ordered Commandant Heald, in charge of Fort Dearborn, to 
destroy his guns and ammunition and withdraw to Fort Wayne. 
Heald summoned the Pottawattomie chiefs to council* told 
them his plan and drew up a bargain ; he would give them the 
liquor and supplies of the fort in return for safe passage to 



Fort Wayne. They agreed, not knowing that their brothers 
were so near to the capture of Detroit. 

But Tecumseh was not to be so easily dismissed from cal- 
culation. His runners arrived outside Fort Dearborn with the 
news of how the war of liberation was going in other quar- 
ters, and the Pottawattomies flared. 

John Kinzie, the Quebec-born trader who founded the first 
Chicago dynasty, was living in his cabin near the fort, and, 
knowing the Indians as he did they made a warm friend of 
him, calling him "Silverman" for his skill in making trinkets 
for them he warned Heald not to destroy his extra arms. 
That would be to walk into danger handcuffed. Heald carried 
out orders, however, destroying his excess of firearms and pow- 
der, and, forgetting his bargain, poured the whiskey into the 
river. Red scouts, lying in the tall grass, saw their promised 
liquor go downstream, and word of Heald's treachery ran 
through the assembled tribesmen. 

At nine in the morning of August 15th, the garrison 
marched out, led by the famous Indian scout, William Wells, 
who had generously come with nine friendly Miami warriors 
to guide the troops to Fort Wayne. 

The soldier band, by some quirk of depression, played the 
Dead March as it emerged, and Captain Wells, walking in 
front, had a face blackened with powder the Indian and 
Long Knife sign of "trouble ahead." Less than fifty soldiers, 
twelve or fifteen civilians sworn in as militia, the women in 
the rear with a wagon-load of children, they marched, John 
Kinzie and his family among them, lugubrious because of ap- 
proaching peril and loss of property. 

Along what was later to be Michigan Avenue they wound, 
their escort of Pottawattomies, some on ponies, paralleling them 
inland, nearer to the sand dunes which ran a hundred yards 
from the beach, A half mile from the Fort, this escort took 
to the scrub timber, and a mile further on Indian heads began 
popping up above the dune-tops, "like turtles out of the 
water." Shots rang out* Captain W^lls began to fight, while 

15 



his Miamis made off, scolding the Pottawattomies for their fool- 
ish outbreak. Wells was soon dead, attended by the victims 
which so redoubtable a frontier battler might be expected to 
take with him to the Happy Hunting Ground. The redskin 
who killed him stopped to cut out his heart and eat it, the 
truest tribute that a savage could give* 

Confusion desperate courage puffs of musket-smoke, 
women hacking at red hands with butcher knives, "braves" 
circling the garrison, then closing, the fight hand to hand 
and scattering widely. Twenty-six soldiers, the twelve militia- 
men, Captain Wells, two women and twelve children were dead 
and many of the fifty-odd survivors wounded. The Kinzies, as 
old favorites of the redskins, were spared, a daughter, Mrs. 
Helm, being heroically saved from a frenzied warrior by 
Black Partridge, a cooler redskin an exploit which in marble 
was to commemorate the disaster in the city of later days, Kin- 
zie, refraining from fighting, remembered afterward that "a 
whole wagon-load of children was tomahawked and some of 
the women were carried off by the chiefs. And some of the 
men was tortured to death." 

Next day the fort was plundered and burned, the prisoners 
distributed, and the Pottawattomies left for their various vil- 
lages while the mangled corpses lay on the lake-front for the 
buzzards and the wolves to eat. Their bones were lying there, 
the two brass cannon were sprawling on the river bank* the 
empty houses gaping, when red-coats rode by that Winter* 

In 1816, when John Kinzie came back, the skeletons were 
half buried by the drifting sand. Soldiers, coming to rebuild 
the fort in that year, collected, coffined and buried the re- 
mains. Even then the wind and water were to bare them once 
more. John Wentworth, who was to be mayor of the city, and 
the Northwest politician of whom Abraham Lincoln would 
say, "he knows more than most men," came to the city in 188 
and afterwards said, "Among my earliest recollections was 
seeing projections of coffins from the steep banks of the lake- 
shore south of the fort above Lake Street*" 
16 



CHAPTER III 



I 



T WAS the Fourth of July, 1816. 

Tecumseh had been two years in his grave. At the Battle of 
the Thames In Canada he had felt death at hand, and had 
taken off his red brigadier's coat and put on his old feathers 
and moccasins for the fight. He wanted to die like an Indian. 

The War of 1812, into which the old empire and the young 
republic had drifted, was now over, with nothing in particu- 
lar settled, and with blackened cabins dotting many a clear- 
ing in the Northwest, many a red tribe nearer its doom. 

Still the Canadians, their canoes full of gay trinkets and 
thick pelts, their boat-songs haunting the Indian women, held 
the rich trade of the woods beyond Chicago. And as ever they 
were whispering evil things of those grasping conquistadors, 
the Yankee "Long Knives," 

Since the previous year John Kinzie had been urging the 
government to reestablish the garrison at Chicago. From the 
river towns of the mid-country, petitions had gone to Wash- 
ington asking that the region be more competently garrisoned, 
and in the summer of 1815 the thing had been decided. The 
government, convinced by the wretched experiences of the 
late war, had settled upon the necessity of erecting a line of 
forts across the Northwest. 

17 



Fort Dearborn went up again, one hundred and twelve sol- 
diers under Captain Hezekiah Bradley arriving for the task 
on that July 4 from the schooner General Wayne. Life was 
taken up where it had been cut off four years before. Now, 
perhaps, civilization seemed a little nearer. Mail was brought 
once or twice a month from the nearest post-office, Fort Wayne. 
Provisions arrived on ships from Detroit or occasionally "on 
the hoof," as herds of cattle were driven overland for the 
soldiers to butcher. 

Since Spring the American fur-traders had begun to gather 
near Fort Dearborn, and by Autumn John Kinzie reopened 
his house quite a place as places went on the frontier in pio- 
neer days, a house large enough for a big family, with a 
kitchen garden, some sort of lawn, and four ornamental trees 
in front, probably poplars. 

"The good old times" of which the frontiersmen's children 
talked so wistfully down through the nineteenth century 
lived in the Kinzie home. Kinzie himself had always been a 
great hand with the fiddle at wakes and gay parties, and m 
his reopened home children danced to his scraping, There was 
smell of venison cooking, of wild duck, trout and partridge. 
Travelers dropped in and received bed and board for the 
asking. 

In the Autumn of 1818 the Kinzies entertained a strange 
boy, Gurdon Saltonstall Hubbard, who was at sixteen one of 
the daring youngsters sent out by John Jacob A&tor, back m 
New York City, to serve the American Fur Company in its 
bold trade-war upon the older and more powerful British 
Hudson Bay Company. Success had come to Astor, and he 
reached further and ever further toward the Pacific* Out from 
his clearing-house at Mackinac went expeditious to found new 
posts, and in one of these a group of a hundred men in twelve 
bateaux which skirted Lake Michigan and doubled toward 
Chicago on the southern end was young Hubbard* As the 
party landed south of Fort Dearborn to get their bearings, 
the boy climbed a tree and looked north. 
18 



His breath almost stopped, for he was seeing his first prairie. 
Grass waved for miles, tapestried with, wild flowers. On the 
horizon were the timber-groves of Blue Island and the Des 
Plaines River. A herd of wild deer grazed contentedly near 
by and a pair of foxes played before him. White in the dW- 
tance glistened the lime-slaked walls of the fort. Climbing 
down, he reentered the canoe, and that morning he break- 
fasted with the Kinzies. 

The family circle was so normal, so homelike, that the boy, 
only a child after all, suddenly thought of his family back 
in Montreal and wept. Mrs. Kinzie dried his eyes. He said to 
her, "You remind me of my mother. This seems like home to 



me." 



Nevertheless, in three days adventure was bright f>gain, and 
the boy went from the Chicago fur-depot up the south branch 
of the river with the voyageurs, and following the traditional 
water-route, sought to pass Mud Lake, as they called the 
swamp that connected the Chicago River with the Des Plaines. 
From dawn to dark they pushed their canoes on rollers through 
the sticky morass, waist-deep, sometimes holding to the boats 
to keep from sinking over their heads. In camp it took hours 
of work to clean the bloodsucking leeches off their bodies. Their 
legs swelled with inflammation. 

Mud! 

For two score years thereafter it was Chicago's mud that 
stuck in the minds as well as on the legs of people passing 
through it. 



James Madison, President of the United States four years 
before, had foreseen the spot's strategic location, and had 
named it as the northern terminus of the ship canal which 
he asked Congress to build through the Des Plaines and Illi- 
nois Kivers so that lake traffic might sail to the Mississippi. 
But nothing had come of this. The Northwest was too far 

19 



away from Washington, D. C., just as it had been too far 
away from the British House of Lords. 

It was the Mississippi River regions that the Eastern States 
visioned as the important part of the Northwest Territory. 
While Chicago and Northern Illinois were still virgin wilder- 
ness, the Southern portion of the State was filling rapidly with 
settlers from Virginia, North Carolina, Kentucky those pio- 
neers whom Andrew Jackson called "half -horse, half-alligator*" 
Men of the South they were, for all that many of them hated 
slavery, and as they took up homesteads in lower Illinois, 
their trade, like their loyalties, ran southward. 

So little had they thought of the Great Lakes region that 
when Illinois became a separate territory in 1812, they pro- 
tested not at all when its northern boundary was run due west 
from the southern tip of Lake Michigan, leaving Fort Dear- 
born and the river-mouth in what was to become Wisconsin. 
Chicago's future then seemed to be fixed outside of Illinois. 

And there it might have remained but for the political 
shrewdness perhaps statesmanship of Nathaniel Pope, rep- 
resentative in Congress for the Territory of Illinois. Although 
Pope was Southern, up from Kentucky, he was pro-Union in 
the sectional lines that were being drawn, even then, between 
States that permitted slavery and those that forbade it. 

Since the formation of the republic North and South had 
striven for supremacy, and at last had agreed to strike a bal- 
ance of power by admitting new States to the Union in pairs, 
one "slave" State for every "free" State. 

Thus Illinois, which was begging for statehood in 1818, was 
credited to the anti-slavery forces and paired off against Mis- 
sissippi, which would be pro-slavery. But Nathaniel Pope well 
knew that in case of division between North and South, the 
State of Illinois, as things then stood, would side with the 
slave section. This was serious, for although the nation had 
not yet begun to rock to the bitter quarrels which were to end 
in the awful blood letting of the '60s, thoughtful men in 1818 
were seeing the danger of disunion on the horizon* And it was 
20 



on this fear that Pope played when he persuaded President 
James Monroe and Congress to include Chicago in the new 
State of Illinois. 

If Illinois* northern boundary were moved up some sixty 
miles Into Wisconsin, said Pope, it would capture the mouth 
of the Chicago River, a place certain to become in time the 
gateway to the canal and the Mississippi. Through this port, 
Pope contended, would come Northern and Eastern blood by 
way of the Great Lakes energetic merchants and thrifty 
farmers of the Eastern States a civilization which would 
counterbalance that of the down-state Southerners. Thus Illi- 
nois would not only become settled more rapidly, but its popu- 
lation would be ideal, a mixture of North and South; Illi- 
nois would develop, Pope seemed to think, into a sort of model 
commonwealth, bulwark against any threat of disunion which 
might arise in either national group. 

Put the Chicago River port in Illinois and the State will 
become the political keystone of the Union, Pope urged. At 
one end you will have Fort Dearborn commanding the Great 
Lakes, while at the other extreme, deep down in the South, 
you will have Cairo, watching over the junction of the Mis- 
sissippi and Ohio Rivers. Illinois will be in a position to crush 
secession North or secession South. Let Illinois contain within 
itself both ends of the proposed ship canal. Tie the Great 
Lakes to the Mississippi, upon which traffic is already enor- 
mous. One observer journeying upstream in that year counted 
six hundred and forty-three flatboats drifting downstream 
with produce for New Orleans. 

Pope's arguments told. Illinois was allowed to bite a wide 
chunk out of Wisconsin's southern section, and the new State 
came into the Union with a mud village tied to it for the sake 
of future profits and the Union, which must be preserved. 

Even with such master diplomacy smoothing the way, it 
took questionable juggling at the last minute to get Illinois 
into the sisterhood of States, for Monroe had authorized the 
admission upon one condition. ; there must be counted 40,000 



population within the borders. Here was a problem, for, count 
as they might, the politicians could find no more than 30,000 
noses in all the backwoods. United States marshals, however, 
solved the difficulty by enumerating immigrants as they came 
across the State in their creaking, lurching, covered wagons. 
Tabulators caught these travelers and their families again 
and again as they passed and the quota was made. Within 
forty years so short a span in the history of a nation both 
of Pope's visions would have become fact Chicago would be 
a great port, through which had come tens of thousands of 
Easterners to tie the State to the Union that disunion would 
threaten in 1861. The cold, hard fire of the North and East 
would tell the story; Illinois in the Civil War swung weight 
against Southern secession such as no other State could show. 

3 

Other eyes, scientific rather than political, saw possibilities 
in the shabby little groups of cabins that sat in the mud 
around Fort Dearborn. Henry Howe Schoolcraft, author and 
explorer, looking at the place in 18&0, thought it destined to 
become "a great thoroughfare for strangers, merchants and 
travelers," although it presented to his eye not more than a 
dozen huts and barely sixty souls. 

Less optimistic was the report given the national government 
in 1823 by Major Long, the surveyor who had been sent out 
to chart the proposed ship canal over the Chicago portage. 
That official set Chicago's climate down as inhospitable, its 
soil as sterile, its scenery as monotonous and uninviting* He 
saw only a few huts of bark or logs, filthy, disgusting, wholly 
without comforts, and inhabited by a "miserable race of men'* 
scarcely equal to the Indians from whom most of them seemed 
to have descended. 

Through the 3 20s the settlement was only a police station 
against the Indians. There was no telling what the redskins 
would do. Governor Cass of Michigan met them at Chicago m 



1821 and dealt with the Ottawas and Pottawattomies for their 
lands a treaty which enriched some "early Chicagoans" 
but the old racial hatreds simmered, refusing to die. Some 
tribes were satisfied with money, others drowned their woes in 
whiskey, but there were always recalcitrants, chieftains who 
remembered Tecumseh. 

The "Winnebago scare" of 1827 illustrated how fear could 
grip the whites even in a fortified community like Chicago. 
That summer redskins attacked soldiers in boats on the upper 
Mississippi, and, near Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, surprised 
and murdered a Canadian half-breed named Gagnier. 

Out of all proportion to the damage done, grew terror in the 
Northwest. Governor Cass, then in the region, heard that the 
Winnebago tribesmen were on the warpath, hastened to Prairie 
du Chien, and, falling upon the Winnebago encampment as 
he went, bluffed the chiefs into smoking a pipe of peace. 

Two days later he was at Galena, toward which on every 
trail frightened settlers were rushing with their families. 
Keeping up this record-breaking trip, he descended to the 
mouth of the Illinois (using a light birch-bark canoe with 
twelve paddlemen) and up that river to Chicago; incidentally, 
he passed one wretched night "stalled" on Mud Lake. 

There were no soldiers then in the fort, which was occupied 
by the Indian agent, Alexander Wolcott, and only a corporal's 
guard of militia could be mustered. Among these, as Cass 
hurried on northward to complete his circuit of sixteen hundred 
wilderness miles, there was despair. The "red devils" would 
attack any day, it was expected. Fortunately Gurdon Hubbard 
was there* That boy had now become a man, had won the 
friendship of the Indians, and had earned from them the title 
Pa*-ea~ma-ta-be, or "The Swift Walker." He had once walked 
seventy-five miles in a single day. As a trader there was none 
better than he* 

Now in the crisis of the "Winnebago scare" he offered to set 
out to bring up help from Danville, and he did so, riding 
swimming swollen streams, walking prodigiously, and 



returning with the Danville volunteers to find that at Chicago 
peace had been made with the Winnebagos. The march ended 
in a drinking-bout instead of a battle, men forgetting their 
fright it had been little more than that, the whole affair 
in a happy orgy. However, the news of the Winnebago troubles 
was spread over the East, where it was sufficient to discourage 
many a young man from following that national injunction, 
"Go West." 



Quite to the contrary operated the next, and last, of the 
Indian troubles, "The Black Hawk War." Black Hawk, in- 
heritor of Tecumseh's policies, objected when the Sac and Fox 
tribes, of which he was an under-chief, ceded to the whites all 
their northwestern lands east of the Mississippi River* On the 
Iowa side of the river he sat nursing his spleen as runners told 
him how the settlers were ploughing up old Indian villages 
to plant corn. In May, 1832, he paddled across the river with 
his young men, and fell upon the whites, burning, scalping 
and routing the first Illinois militiamen. But the "war" was 
soon over, for the militiamen were promptly reinforced, and 
officered by United States Army generals, and in the late 
summer were hounding Black Hawk's little army through 
southwestern Wisconsin. On the Bad Axe River, in August, 
the clouds of white pursuers made an end of the red forces and 
Black Hawk stole West, to die five years later IB his camp 
on the Des Moines River. 

The chieftain had, unwittingly, hastened the settling of those 
regions he sought to depopulate. Into northern Illinois and 
Wisconsin had come Michigan and Indiana militiamen; into 
it, too, had come United States Army detachments from the 
East, all of whom carried home entrancing stories of the beau- 
tiful country and of the black soil that had seemed so firm 
beneath their feet that Summer* Eastern newspapers, chroni- 
cling the war-events, told their readers of the future riches 
24 



that awaited emigrants to this Northwestern country. Many 
hundreds of young men, reading of the land or listening to 
soldiers tell of it, said, "It ought to be a good place to move to." 

That Chicago shared in this advertising is not a matter of 
record. Black Hawk had done little or nothing for it. As was 
to have been expected, terrorized settlers for miles around 
poured into Fort Dearborn at the first alarm and lived there, 
five or six families crowded into a single room, for days while 
the soldiers drilled outside. General Winfield Scott, famous 
Indian fighter and Congressional gold-medalist, arrived off 
the village with his "regulars" in a steamboat the first to 
reach Lower Lake Michigan. But the soldiers brought no 
glory only disease. Cholera, which had already devastated 
Europe and was causing a hundred deaths a day in New York, 
came to Chicago with Scott's men, and Fort Dearborn was 
immediately turned into a hospital. A great pit was dug at 
Lake and Wabash Avenues and into it were dumped the 
cholera victims. 

When peace arrived, the soldiers left and so did the cholera. 
The traders and settlers flocked back, and the normal popula- 
tion of one hundred souls gathered again on the marshy river- 
banks. 

But it was only the lull before the storm of migration. 

Seven years before, the Erie Canal, then as marvelous an 
achievement as a transcontinental railroad would seem in 1869, 
had been opened and made safe for boats over ninety feet in 
length. There were packets running as far west as Buffalo. 
Perhaps not all of them were at first comparable to the one 
which brought Joseph Jefferson, the boy-actor, Chicagoward 
with his father in 1838, for that vessel, as the youth recalled 
it, resembled "a Noah's ark with a flat roof," and it was 
"painted white and green and enlivened with blue window- 
blinds and a broad red stripe running from bow to stern." But 
these creeping arks brought people from Troy to Buffalo in 
comparative comfort. The remainder of the trip around the 

25 



lakes was leisurely and decent, ending in a few weeks' time 

at the port of Chicago, which was a lonely mudhole or a door 

to Paradise as one chose to view it. 

1 The Northwest's day of glory was dawning. The Indians 

were whipped, the Eastern migration was stirring. The last 

picture of the old day is a sentimental one the red man's 

farewell- 



Fittingly enough, the funeral ceremonies of Indian sov- 
ereignty take place in the town where the white man's Western 
regime was to flower Chicago. The red chieftains of the Pot- 
tawattomies have powwowed with paleface leaders and made a 
deal. They are to give up five million acres in Illinois and 
Michigan and go West to a tract of similar size across the 
Mississippi. For that they are to receive whiskey, money, and 
goods a pitiable amount subject to further reservations, quib- 
bles, and chicaneries. They are being robbed; family relation- 
ships, "pulls," ancient friendships, old grudges, are at work, 
and certain white families, already fattened upon the redskin's 
ignorance and love of liquor, are to grow fatter still on this 
last "steal." 

Around the village are encamped five thousand Indians 
braves, squaws, pappooses. They have come to say good-bye 
with all pomp and ceremony, and as they group at the Council 
House on this 18th day of August, 18S5, their men are naked 
except for breech-clouts and their skins are bright with scarlet, 
yellow, and blue paint. Their mouths are curved, by black 
and vermilion paint, into horrible grimaces as though to 
grin even at their own obsequies. They dance as though tliey 
are happy, their war-feathers flying. They promenade as if in 
triumph. Before them go the drum-beaters, thumping out the 
rhythms to which the horde steps, squats, bends, and howls* 
Slowly they weave through the village, halting in front of 
every log house to go through their convulsions. They are 
performing their ritual of war their twisting, leaping Dance 

26 



of Blood. That crimson fluid trickles down through the shining 
sweat from wounds that their owners do not feel; knives and 
tomahawks gleam recklessly. Eyes roll, mouths foam, whoops 
rise staccato and spasmodic. Bending over, the braves strike 
imaginary enemies with their clubs or cut out imaginary white 
hearts in the sod. 

They, who have let the palefaces rob them of their domains, 
are showing how terrible they are. White women, watching 
from cabin windows, hide their eyes; some of them faint. 
Even so hard-headed a newcomer as John D. Caton, afterward 
Chief Justice of Illinois, as he looks down at the orgy, thinks 
he is seeing a picture of hell itself and a carnival of condemned 
spirits. 

At length the pathetic inferno is over, the Indians have their 
stingy little price ; they go back to their wigwams, where their 
wild cries simmer steadily down as the night wears on and 
where, in the days that follow, they are packing up for the 
good-bye trip across the "Father of Waters 55 to Kansas and, 
in a few more years, to oblivion. Among them is Medore Beau- 
bien, one of the twenty-three half-breed children of "Squaw- 
man" Beaubien, Chicago notable. Medore has been a beau 
among the white belles, a business man of the village and 
member of the first town council, but in him the red blood is 
stronger than the white. 

By the end of the century, Chicago's first inhabitants will 
have disappeared the lost tribes of the Pottawattomies. 



Jean Scfttawman Beaubien, referred to above, had no more than twentj 
children, not all of whom were half-breeds. It was his brother Mark wh( 
fcad the twenty-three children, all wholly of white blood. 



CHAPTER IV 



LJ P TO the year 1833 it seemed that either Milwaukee or 
Michigan City would be as likely to be the gateway to the 
Northwest as would Chicago. Both were less muddy, larger, 
and possessed of better harbors. In 1830 Michigan City had 
over three thousand people, enormously more than Chicago 
and far better dressed. Its harbor had been improved by the 
government, its piers ran out into the lake, and vessels up to 
two hundred tons called for the farmers' grain. Chicago, in that 
year, was not even incorporated, although the commissioners 
of the Illinois and Michigan Canal had laid it out as a town in 
a survey dated August 4, 1830, and had gone so far as to name 
its principal streets State, Dearborn, Clark, La Salle, and so 
on. 

Even in 1833, when Congress began discussing Lake Michi- 
gan improvements, so close a student as Stephen A, Douglas 
thought it better to spend money for a harbor at the mouth 
of the Calumet River, fourteen miles to the South, tJm& at the 
spot where dismal Garlic Creek flowed into the lake. However, 
a young army engineer insisted that the outlet of the Chicago 
River was the logical place for the improvements, and under 
his advice $25,000 was voted to clean the mouth and erect a 
thousand-foot pier. The young engineer was Jefferson 
28 



for whose hanging Chicago would be calling within thirty 
years and less. 

On July 12, 1834, the schooner Illinois got over the sand 
bar which had been lowered by a timely river-flood, and 
Chicago's harbor-life began. 

More important to Chicago just then was the immigration 
that, pouring into the Northwest, found the village last in a 
chain of outfitting points. The East was already old. New 
York had over two hundred thousand people, and, with Irving, 
Cooper and Bryant, was "intellectual." Boston, with something 
like seventy thousand population, had Emerson and Harvard, 
the latter having seen two centuries of growth. Veterans of the 
Revolution were gray-haired. 

As the ? 30s advanced, the voices of young, scatter-brained 
sons rose in those sedate, prosperous, and Puritan families of 
New England, demanding a chance to go West. New York 
boys, seeing no future for themselves in aged Manhattan, 
wanted to go out to Chicago and look around. 

Grave good-byes were spoken. Prayers were offered. The vil- 
lages saw those crazy wanderers start out, carting as much of 
their goods as they could take; Colonial bedsteads, bookcases 
and chairs, rare boxes of mahogany or cedar, china-ware fash- 
ioned in England, spinning-wheels a treasury of household 
articles which were to be cherished for three-quarters of a 
century in lonely farmhouses of Northern Illinois, until the 
antique shops of Chicago would gather them in. 

Few immigrants into the Northwest were wealthy enough 
to make the entire journey by boat along the canal and around 
the lakes* Many men with families accomplished the entire 
trek in wagons that were drawn by horses or ozen. Young men 
unencumbered rode horseback or tramped tremendous dis- 
tances. Starting out with the few dollars they could earn, bor- 
row, or wheedle from thrifty parents, they made the trip as 
best they could* 

Silas B* Cobb, who became one of Chicago's big men, left 
Vermont and on reaching Buffalo found that his pocket had 

29 



been picked; only seven dollars left. The captain of a lake 
schooner offered to take the boy as a deck passenger if he 
would supply his own food and give the officer what money was 
left. Cobb spent three dollars on a ham, six loaves of bread 
and a bedtick filled with shavings. For the remaining four 
dollars the captain gave him a five-weeks 5 ride through fierce 
gales that drenched his bed and half froze his body. Arrived 
at last in Chicago a village still without a harbor the cap- 
tain demanded three dollars more for the passage. For three 
days, while the other passengers were taken ashore in canoes 
and boats, the youth was kept prisoner on board. At last a 
chance acquaintance loaned him the three dollars and he 
came to the muddy village. 

2 

On August 10, 1833, Chicago was incorporated as a town, 
a census showing forty-three houses and less than two hundred 
inhabitants. New buildings went up, however, in time for the 
Indians 5 "farewell" council and the boom marched steadily 
along. Immigrants jammed the meager hotels; men slept on 
the floors. On the outskirts of the village, on most nights, there 
was a ring of camp fires where the covered wagons parked* 

To care for travelers and transients was the first duty of 
Chicago, The Town. The Sauganash Tavern was the most 
popular hostelry named for an admired Indian chief known 
in English as Billy CaldwelL Mark Beaubien, one-time ferry- 
man in days before bridges, was host at the Sauganash, fran- 
tically proud of the frame lean-to which had been added to 
its log structure. Mark was a capital "mine host/* wearing, 
upon gay occasions, a big blue coat with brass buttons and 
nankeen trousers, letting the kitchen run itself, gossiping with 
the half-breed loungers, scraping his fiddle at dances ; singing 
an endless ballad about the surrender of Detroit, neglecting his 
hotel (as he had his ferry) to race his horses- Always happy- 
go-lucky and busy, Mark by different marriages became th 
30 



father of twenty-three children. His brother Jean Baptiste 
Beaubien was fur-company agent, colonel of militia and many 
other things. A score fewer were his children than Mark's 
the most famous of them being Alexander, who lived into the 
twentieth century, revered mistakenly as the first white child 
born in Chicago. 

The town's poll-lists, which had registered half of the voters 
as French Canadians or half-breed Indians in the ? &0s, now 
filled with Anglo-Saxon names. Archibald Clybourn, descended 
by a strange mix-up of marriages from a woman captured 
by the Indians during the Revolution, had opened a packing- 
plant on the north branch of the river. Philo Carpenter was 
a druggist, John Caton a lawyer, P. F. W. Peck a merchant; 
J. Bailey was postmaster and John Calhoun was an editor, 
having shipped out his printing-press from New York in 1833 
to found the Chicago Weekly Democrat. 

A gigantic young man, with a Dartmouth diploma behind 
him, John Wentworth had in 5 32 walked into town barefoot, 
so the legend runs. Forty years later he described what Chica- 
goans were like in those 5 30s : 

"We had people from almost every clime, and almost every 
opinion. We had Jews and Christians, Protestants, Catholics 
and infidels; among Protestants there were Calvinists and 
Arminians. Nearly every language was represented. Some 
people had seen much of the world, and some very little. Some 
were quite learned and some were ignorant." 

Wentworth, describing the jocular war dance which the 
townsfolk held after a wedding, observed, "The Indian war 
dance to me is much more sensible than nine-tenths of those 
which are now practiced at so many of "our fashionable parties." 

Other diversions amused the Chicagoans when they were not 
hammering together clapboard houses or farming or keeping 
shop* A debating-society raged (Jean Baptiste Beaubien, 
president) with headquarters in the fort, and long hours of 
oratory were devoted to the passionate discussion of Andrew 
Jackson's policies or of the virtues of England's Reform Law. 

31 



Checkers engaged the milder citizens. At night the very wicked 
ones would "play at cards," properly frowned upon by the 
New Englanders, who considered the queens and jacks satanic 
portraits; and tin cups, dipping into the ever-open ^ cask of 
whiskey, drove away the worries attendant upon building a 
city out of mud. At one end of town would rise shouting guf- 
faws of merrymakers while at the other the "respectables, 5 * 
bearded gentry with demure wives, would be splashing through 
the mud to prayer meeting. 

A piano arrived from the East in the middle '30s, It was a 
godsend. Ladies sat down to it and played "The Battle of 
Prague," "The Mogul," "The Bluebottle Fly," and other 
tunes of the time. But perhaps while strong men wept over 
these melodies, thinking of civilization "back East," and while 
half-breeds lounged within hearing, marveling at the miracle 
of the music-box, there would come word that wolves had been 
spotted in a grove a few miles south. Then, behind a horde of 
dogs, the town would take up the chase. Once in 1833 the 
unofficial town crier raised the populace to kill a bear, out in 
the wilds at a point where, in 1928, passengers disembarked 
daily from the Twentieth Century Limited, 

Harriet Martineau, a woman writer from lofty England, 
was surprised to receive from Chicago women, when she arrived 
in the village, a bouquet of prairie flowers. And although it 
startled her to find "a family of half-breeds setting up a car- 
riage and wearing fine jewelry," she went on to say, "There 
is some allowable pride in the place about its society* It as a 
remarkable thing to meet such an assemblage of educated, 
refined, and wealthy persons as may be found there, laving 
in small, inconvenient houses on the edge of a wild prairie/* 

Churches came to help tame the pioneers. A young French 
priest, Father St. Cyr, celebrated mass in 1888 on the river- 
bank and, before the year was out, had built a chapel* That 
same year the First Presbyterian Church was established, and 
a Baptist, a Methodist and an Episcopal church followed at 
once. 

32 



Yet stronger than all the delights, the pursuits, the solaces, 
of that day, more powerful than all other urges, loomed the 
pleasure of making money. 



3 

In the '30s the entire United States was "land mad." As 
a contemporary wrote, "The farmer forsook the plow, and 
became a speculator upon the surface of the soil. . . . The 
mechanic laid aside his tools, and resolved to grow rich with- 
out labor. The lawyer sold his books and invested the proceeds 
in lands." A fictitious prosperity grew on a swollen system 
of credit ; a snowstorm of notes of hand fell upon the country. 
Paper money stuffed the vaults. Inevitably the new community 
of Chicago shared in the insanity. 

"In our case," wrote Joseph Balestier, quoted above, "the 
inducements to speculation were particularly strong; and as 
no fixed value could be assigned to property, so no price could 
by any established standard be deemed extravagant." 

Moreover, Chicago had something to speculate with the 
Illinois and Michigan Canal. In 1827 the State of Illinois had 
been authorized by Congress to accept "each alternate section 
of land, five miles in width, on each side of the proposed canal," 
and the State, selling this land, saw a straggling procession 
of cities and towns rise along the right of way. Chicago itself 
had been laid out in 1830 three-eighths of a mile square 
and had streets marked off, although these were indistinguish- 
able in the irmd. 

Now, in the later 5 30s, "canal lands" became a speculative 
will-o'-the-wisp, "School lands" were footballs for the gamblers, 
too* Chicago, like every other town in the county, contained 
a section set aside for "educational purposes," but with unusual 
recklessness, even for a Western town, in 1833 Chicago sold 
this section worth hundreds of millions today for $38,865* 

Through 1835 and '86 the boom held its crest Land on 
Lake Street, west of State, selling for $300 in 1834, was resold 



for $60,000 two years later. Another tract knocked down for 
$62 at an auction in 1830 increased until it sold for $96,700 
in 1836. The lot on which was to arise the Tremont Hotel was 
said to have been "swapped for a pair of ponies and rebought 
for a barrel of whiskey." Col. Walter L. Newberry made 
smashing profits, founding a fortune which later went, in part, 
to establish a magnificent library. 

"Hardy pioneers," Chicago has always liked to call these 
men of the early '80s. "Sharpers of every degree; pedlars, 
grog-sellers, horse-dealers, horse-stealers . . . rogues of every 
description, white, black, brown and red . * half-breeds, 
quarter-breeds, and men of no breed at all," was the way a 
supercilious English traveler, Charles J. Latrobe, described 
them to Londoners when he had returned from his rambles in 
North America. 

"The little village was in an uproar from morning to night, 
and from night to morning; for, during the hours of darkness, 
when the housed portion of the population of Chicago strove 
to obtain repose in the crowded plank edifices of the village, 
the Indians howled, sang, wept, yelled in their various encamp- 
ments. With all this, the whites seemed to me more pagan than 
the red men . . . betting and gambling were the order of the 
day. Within the vile, two-storied barrack, which, dignified as 
usual with the title Hotel, afforded us quarter, all was in a 
state of most appalling confusion, filth and racket." 

The "land craze" had brought professional adventurers* yet 
the whole affair was of so adventurous a character that to 
strange eyes the honest men seemed no different from the 
scoundrels. Gamblers nested plentifully, not to be driven away, 
even temporarily, until a "season of prayer," held by the godly 
wing of the inhabitants in 1835, won many young men from 
the devil and sent two gamblers to jail. A town ordinance was 
passed that year assessing a $5 fine against keepers of houses 
of prostitution. 

To add to the booming fury of land speculation, the gov- 
ernment itself got into the game that same year. On Lake 
34 



Street, the business thoroughfare, it opened a land office where 
vacant property was offered at $1.25 an acre. The office was 
on a second floor over a store, and so thick were the buyers that 
the thoughtful store-keeper each morning dumped loads of 
sand onto the mud in front of the door* 



Into such a turmoil came young William B. Ogden, who had 
expected to be a big man in Eastern politics, but whose rela- 
tives, entangled in Chicago real estate, now propelled him 
Westward. One of Ogden's kinsmen had bought $100,000 
worth of Chicago land "sight unseen" and had sent the young 
man out to appraise it. As Ogden stood on State Street, look- 
ing West at the vast acreage ankle-deep in water, he shook his 
head. "You have been guilty of the grossest folly," he wrote 
back to the buyer. 

Nevertheless, he went doggedly to work platting the land, 
and when Summer had dried the prairie, he auctioned off one- 
third of the tract for the original $100,000. Watching the pur- 
chasers storm his office, he put them all down as lunatics. 
"There is no such value In the land and won't be for a genera- 
tion," he said, as he took the money East to his kinsman. 

Soon Ogden was back and learning how wrong he could be, 
for here were those lunatic buyers of his kinsman's land stag- 
gering now with riches. Convinced at last of Chicago's future 
greatness, he made the place his home, building, within a few 
years, a house that impressed Chicago as a palace, placing 
it north of the river in the center of an entire "square" of city 
land. Ogden's business was real estate, his avocations those of 
a man of leisure, and to his "mansion" came celebrities who 
passed through the city, Webster, Bryant, Emerson, Margaret 
Fuller, many others. His friend G. P, A. Healy, the portrait 
artist, declaimed Ogden to be a rival as a conversationalist of 
the three best he had ever known Louis Philippe, John 
Quincy Adams and Dr. O, A. Bronson. 

35 



What served the city better was Ogden's incessant talk of 
"Chicago's future." Seeing clearly what prosperity must come 
to a town so strategically located, Ogden urged people to buy 
its land on long terms, short terms, any terms at all. Stead- 
fastly he kept at it long after the boom of 1835-1836 had col- 
lapsed. 

In 1836 there seemed sound reason for optimism. The long- 
discussed canal project, authorized by Congress in 1827, 
(thanks to the efforts of Daniel P. Cook, Illinois Congressman 
he for whom Cook County is named) , and made more def- 
inite nine years later when the Legislature urged on by 
Gurdon Hubbard, largely decided on the Chicago River as 
the lakeward end, had now come to seem real On the Fourth 
of July the citizens in gala mood embarked on ships in the 
river and went up to Bridgeport with large delegations on 
shore paralleling their path in carriages, on horseback or 
afoot. There the Canal was dedicated, and its work inaugu- 
rated ; Chicago came home walking on thin air, 

A year later the canal itself was thin air, too, for every- 
thing had crashed, head on, into the banking-panic of 18S7, 
All balloons collapsed, especially the land bubble, and Chicago 
lots which yesterday had looked like fortunes now looked like 
the sandy swindles that they were. Money disappeared. Men 
went about with I.O.U.s for money. Commerce was conducted 
with tickets reading, "Good at our store for ten cents," "Good 
for a shave," "Good for a drink/* and so on, John Wentworth 
vouched for this, as he did for the story that a erowd of small 
boys filled a church collection-box with the "Good-for-a-clrmk** 
tickets, and gave the deacon an opportunity to cash them at 
the bar of issue. 



The first sign that the Easterners would dominate Chicago 
came on the first Tuesday in May, 1887* Two months earlier 
it had demanded and obtained a city charter from the Legisk* 
36 



ture at Vandalia, adopting the motto, "Urbs in Horto" a 
city set in a garden. 

John H. Kinzie, Whig, son of that first John Kinzie, one of 
the "old-line" families who had trafficked with the Indians and 
run the town ever since, ran for mayor against the rich young 
man, William B. Ogden. Kinzie lost two to one. 

A new spirit was on the town. The easy-living, love-making 
Canadians were going as had their friends the Indians, pushed 
on by the "restless, often reckless, Yankees." They understood 
business, these Eastern newcomers business and credit. 

The town might be "broke," but it would come through the 
-panic in far better shape than the State of Illinois. Young 
Mayor Ogden, confronted by the fact that the city bought 
thirty times as much goods as it sold, was also faced by the 
situation down-state. Illinois itself had gone bankrupt over a 
ten-million-dollar internal-improvement scheme a bubble in 
which Representative Abraham Lincoln had held devout faith. 

Mayor Ogden, himself near to bankruptcy, kept Chicago 
from following Illinois into shame. Before a town meeting he 
spoke of how forts had been saved by the pure courage of 
their garrisons and nothing more. To Chicagoans who urged a 
moratorium on all debts, Ogden replied in appeals to civic 
patriotism. 

"Above all," he cried, "do not tarnish the honor of our 
infant city !" 

His personality, plus the support of the cooler business men 
among his followers, won the day. The city issued scrip a 
thing bad enough, but better than bankruptcy. Its bankers, 
led by the hard-fighting George Smith, issued certificates 
against deposit and, as they backed them with honest vigor, 
soon had them circulating at face value. If the State's legal 
tender was worthless, Chicagoans would issue illegal tender and 
pay their bills. The plan worked, and the city's commercial 
credit was dramatized for the country at large to note. 

Climbing slowly toward the civilization of later years, 

37 



Chicago passed on to the ambitious '40s, its wings clipped but 
its organism undamaged. 

However, the memory of that chaotic deflation of ? 37 hung 
on. Rising in the Saloon Building the city's finest one eve- 
ning, a romantic speaker predicted that children then born 
would live to see Chicago with a population of 50,000. 

In answer there came from the audience a derisive shout: 

"Town lots!" 



CHAPTER V 



A, 



is THE *40s dawned, four thousand, four hundred and sev- 
enty Inhabitants sat along Garlic Creek, better called the 
Chicago River, wondering if they had been right in calling 
their town "The Garden City," or whether it was only a "mud- 
hole in the prairie," as other cities jeeringly described it, 

Maybe it was just another mushroom town after all, they 
said to themselves; maybe that thrilling rise from nothing in 
1815 to the lusty young giant of 1836 had been only a false 
promise. 

For three years now everything had stood still the popu- 
lation increasing only three hundred. Land speculators had 
fled, the seven hotels stood almost deserted. The seven churches 
none of which had steeples had dismally small attendance. 
Palsy lay on the provision-stores, hardware-stores, drug-stores 
and groceries which, in the absense of licensed saloons, sold 
whiskey. The seventeen lawyers 5 offices had little to do. The 
municipal court in the courthouse was sleepy, the jail nearly 
empty. The factories which made plows, wagons, lumber, and 
bricks for the farmers, hummed and pounded at a slower pace. 
The slaughter-houses, tanneries, and soap-and-candle works 
did just enough to preserve their reputation for filling the 
river with bad smells. Citizens who had been ruined in the 

39 



smash had gone to farming on the prairie. Pigs reveled in the 
puddles on every street. 

"The population of Chicago is said to be principally com- 
posed of dogs and loafers," sneered the newspaper at Jackson, 
Michigan. 

Cows spent the night on sidewalks. The city's three con- 
stables, who alone seemed busy, dashed about quelling fights in 
saloons and on the streets, or they scurried out to shoo pigs and 
chickens out of thoroughfares when citizens complained. Horse- 
thieves were abundant. Chicago was known as wicked. 

John Hawkins, father of the "Washingtonian" temperance 
movement, visiting Chicago, said that after having carefully 
looked the city over, he could frankly state that in all his tours 
of the United States he had never seen a town which seemed 
so like the universal grog-shop as did Chicago. 

Fires frequently swept through the flimsy buildings, once 
wiping out as many as eighteen structures at one lick. 

To escape the nauseous river-water, the town pumped its 
supply from the lake through logs bored lengthwise and strung 
together from a common cistern. When the waves were high, 
the common people drank muddy water, wealthier citizens buy- 
ing from water carts at five to ten cents a barrel, 

Nevertheless, in this doldrums which held the masses that 
spirit which was to be Chicago's genius stirred, Thirty-eight 
bags of wheat had been shipped on an East-bound boat in *38* 
One hundred and twenty-seven steamboats with $41 lesser 
vessels had called in that year. Grain was coming in from the 
Northwest; 212 bushels were shipped in 1841, and in the year 
following, 586,907! 

Exporters began to blaze the way for the wholesalers who 
would make the city great. 



If, between '37 and '41, Chicago found it difficult to keep Its 
head above water financially, it found the thing almost as hard 
40 



in reality, for the swamps and the mud hurt Chicago most of 
all. Farmers' wagons mired down in the streets and were often 
deserted. Ladies went to church in vehicles drawn by straining 
horses ; sometimes they rode in dung-carts with buffalo robes 
to sit upon. Sometimes girls and their beaux, returning from 
parties late in the evening, stuck in the morass while crossing 
streets, and had to howl for the neighbors to come pull them 
out. 

Roads leading into Chicago clutched at wagon-wheels with 
black, tenacious fingers. Only after mid-Summer and through 
early Autumn was the prairie's surface like an open palm. 
In most months, stages struggled along hub-deep, churning the 
pikes into quagmires. Passengers often chose to alight and 
wade rather than put up with the jolting, bruising lurches of 
the vehicles. Broken axles dotted the roadsides. 

Still the immigrants came, national "panic" or no national 
"panic." Nothing could stop the "horizon-hunger" which 
gnawed at the natives of the Eastern States. In 183!< there had 
been counted two hundred and fifty wagons a day streaming 
out of Buffalo on the road to Chicago and the great North- 
west, and the tide kept flowing through the following decade. 

However, these covered wagons saw in Chicago only an out- 
fitting point. Northern Illinois, Wisconsin, and the fringes of 
Iowa and Minnesota were dotted with pioneers who had gone 
through muddy Chicago swearing that they wouldn't take a 
quarter-section of it as a gift. 

At Michigan City, on the State line between Illinois and 
Indiana, immigrant wagons and Detroit stages heading West 
turned off onto Lake Michigan's beach, where if the waves 
had been up, their wheels rolled on hard sand, making the 
sixty-odd miles to Chicago in six hours. If, however, the waves 
had been quiet and the sun hot for days, the wagon-wheels sank 
in powdered sand, and the trip often took six days. In time 
travelers gave up this route and bucked the muddy road just 
inland the road that seventy-five years later was to be the 
nationally famous "Dunes Hiway." 



Chicago, the city, lay in a semicircle of bogs and marshes. 
A huge "Dismal Swamp" cut it off from the interior for 
months. Spring held late ; Summer rains melted the land. 

An English tourist, J. S. Buckingham, coming by stage 
ninety-six miles from Peru to Chicago in 1842, found that the 
trip consumed forty hours, six of them spent on the last twelve 
miles of the way. "The horses walked at the rate of two miles 
an hour," he said, "with the wheels scarcely ever less than six 
inches and oftener a foot deep in mud and water. Altogether, 
this last night was by far the most disagreeable that we have 
ever spent in journeying through the United States." 

Nature was a wet blanket on the city. By contrast it helped 
lake traffic. Foreign immigrants, having passed over three 
thousand miles of the Atlantic, chose to come the next thousand 
by water also. They disliked mud. Across the Erie Canal to 
Buffalo and then by steamer to Chicago was their path. They 
had read and heard of Chicago, the city of promise. What met 
their eyes was ramshackle, and drab. Chicago's dreadful wet- 
ness dampened their spirits and sent them on to settle in the 
more cheerful communities, along the canal at which workmen 
tinkered spasmodically. It was land that most of these Euro- 
peans wanted anyway land, not a job, even if Chicago had 
had jobs to offer. They would work on the canal until they got 
money for the proper outfitting of a farm. 

In *4& the funds for the canal gave out and work stopped. 
Lawyers and merchants in the towns that had sprung up 
along the promised waterway turned to farming now of neces- 
sity either that or they came back into Chicago* 

There they found the "panic" wearing itself out. Chicago 
was brightening. Its only civic improvement in the past four 
years might have been nothing more than a cemetery, laid out 
two miles north of town, but the city itself in *4$ was extraordl* 
narily alive. William B. Ogden, resolutely "booming" ahead* 
was refinancing the canal, showing its possibilities to London 
financiers as they walked along its proposed banks* Immigr a*- 
tion from the East swelled, By 1843 the city*s population was 
48 



7,580 ; most of its citizens were scheming how to get the trade 
of the farmers of the Northwest, Those covered-wagon men who 
passed through Chicago, scorning it as a swamp-mirage, now 
needed supplies as well as markets for their produce. 

In counties along the canal were seventy thousand settlers ; 
within a radius of sixty miles of the city lived fifty thousand 
souls. Only the mud kept them from trading lavishly with 
Chicago. As it was, the farmers grazed their hogs and cattle 
up through the marshes and down the pig-wallow streets to the 
slaughter-houses of the city. In 1844 butchers had covered the 
meat-demand of the town and were packing pork and beef 
for export. Chicago had caught a gleam of its future. 

But to get hold of the corn, wheat, oats and barley of the 
region was a different matter. For heavy grain-wagons, roads 
were impassable much of the year. Mud held the farmers back 
in the Spring, early Summer, late Fall and Winter. Only those 
hickory-muscled Hoosiers from the banks of the Wabash far 
away risked Chicago journeys the year 'round. With their 
wagons crammed with fruit and vegetables, fresh and dried, 
bells on their horses, red apples dangling on strings along the 
canvas facades, these pioneers, half-gypsy, laughed at the 
mud. Practical farmers, with their bulkier loads, could not 
follow them in any volume. 

Even if it could not capture this rich and growing trade, 
Chicago felt better just to know that it was in the center of 
a prosperous region. In ? 45 the city capered a little, instituting 
May Bay and crowning a queen. Society perked up. New 
Year's calls were made. Circuses came to town, and a few 
theatrical companies* A public building was erected. Poor 
though it was, the city had money enough to subscribe several 
thousand dollars for the relief of the Irish immigrants who 
came streaming in, eager to escape the potato-famine which 
had stricken their island home. Rush Medical College, first 
west of Cincinnati and Lexington, had gone tip in 1844. 

Garlic Creek stunk to the heavens, which now seemed not 
quite so far away. 

43 



CHAPTER VI 



X. HE ambitions of four men were converging upon Chicago 
in 1846 four men whose visions were to shape the coming 
metropolis. 

John Wentworth, eccentric politician, Gargantuan editor of 
the Chicago Democrat, job-printer capable of turning out vast 
numbers of emergency campaign-posters for Stephen A 
Douglas with his own long arms while the "Little Giant" inked 
the presses "Long John," scheming now to force the United 
States of America to turn from its faith in the all-powerful 
South and think of the limitless future of the great Northwest 
and of Chicago, destined ruler of the prairies. 

Cyrus H. McCormick, blacksmith-inventor down in Virginia, 
dreaming of Chicago as the home of his new-fangled reaper, 
which the South would not accept, but which would some day 
whirr on every Western farm, 

William B. Ogden, aforementioned, the city's wealthiest 
man, figuring on how to get the canal open and how to get a 
railroad west of Lake Michigan, 

John Stephen Wright, editor of a farm weekly, but busier 
with visions of Chicago, the paradise-to-be for realtors* 

Four men, three dying rich, one dying poor, yet all accom* 
plishing their aspirations most aa&azingly* (The poor mau 
44 



loved Chicago's success more than his own purse.) So prodi- 
giously were they laboring in 1846 that success would come to 
them in two short years. 

Within that very year Wentworth had focused America's 
attention upon Chicago as a great "convention city/' McCor- 
mick before '47 was past had made the farmers think of 
Chicago as the commercial center of the land. Ogden by '48 
would have the canal open and in addition a railroad financed, 
first step in the era which was to make Chicago Chicago. 
Wright, press-agenting the city as no city had ever been 
advertised to the world before, was booming its property mag- 
nificently, incidentally inventing the great school of "civic 
boosting" John Stephen Wright, remember the name, great 
grandfather to all the boosters and boomers, Rotarians, Ki- 
wanians, Lions and the rest who would in time become so 
striking an American phenomenon. 



2 

Long John Wentworth as Congressman from the Chicago 
district and editor of the best-known paper in the Northwest 
had that section's ear. Also he had its eye, for Wisconsin, to 
the North, hearing the big noise that was being made over 
Chicago's future, decided to kidnap him and his city away 
from Illinois. Wisconsin was aspiring to statehood and needed 
the population of Northern Illinois to make its quota, so it 
sent politicians down with offers that the section return to its 
original home. Chicago, it was recalled, had originally be- 
longed to Wisconsin, before Nathaniel Pope annexed it to 
Illinois so that the Union might be forever free against any 
possible secession by one of its sections. 

Emissaries whispered flattering bribes to Long John and to 
Ms fellow-Congressman, Joseph Hoge of Galena. "Throw your 
influence to the change and Wisconsin will elect you two as its 
first United States Senators," they said. "Also, you can pick 
Wisconsin's first governor-" Propaganda filled the newspapers. 

45 



The two Congressmen, however, would rather be Illinoisians 
than Senators, and, after deep consideration, Northern Illinois 
followed them, saying "No" to Wisconsin. 

In 1846, that same year of the attempted "theft of Chicago," 
Nathaniel Pope's foresight was dramatically recalled in still 
another field, also by Long John. 

James Polk, President of the United States, vetoed a bill 
which would have improved rivers and harbors of the West 
and Northwest. He could give it scant attention, busy as he 
was with his task of tearing Texas away from Mexico and 
adding it to the Southern "slave" States. To the "free" States 
of the North and West, the Mexican War had been distasteful, 
smacking too much of a "pro-slavery grab" and when on top 
of their injury Polk, a North Carolinian, added the insult of 
vetoing their harbor-improvement bill, political revolution 
was born. 

Of the nation's fifty-seven years, thirty-seven had been spent 
under Southern Presidents, twelve under Northern execu- 
tives and eight under that Westerner from Tennessee, Andrew 
Jackson. Now in 1846 the South would hear the voice of 
the Northwest for the first time. Long John, brash newcomer, 
was barging his way around Congress, demanding that the 
Northwest be treated not as an empty province on the fringe 
of civilization but as a great section already mighty in popu- 
lation. 

This was a new thought to the East, also to much of the 
Ohio River and the Mississippi River country* Those sections 
had expected Chicago and the Northwest to find a modest fu- 
ture by way of the South, employing the "Father of Waters*** 
The Illinois and Michigan Canal, if it was ever opened, would 
merely give St. Louis an outlet to the Great Lakes and the 
East, it was commonly said. If any Northwest town could be- 
come important, it would not be Chicago, but Galena, the rich 
lead-mining town of Illinois on the upper Mississippi, Illinois 
itself had even sent its first good road f roiB Springfield to St. 
46 



Louis. New Orleans as a trading-center was, in 1846, closer 
than Chicago to most Illinois towns. 

But Long John knew people and politics. He knew that 
Northern Illinois, which had held only one-fifth of the State's 
population in 1830, held one-half in 1846. He knew that this 
half was "Yankee," thanks to the port of Chicago. So he had 
been organizing the Northwest, playing, too, upon the wounded 
feelings of the Mississippi River folk ; Polk had snubbed them 
also. Mass-meetings were held all over the North and West 
and delegates were elected to meet in Chicago the following 
Summer, when the anti-Southern sentiment would come to a 
focus in the River and Harbor Convention. 

"The same spirit and energy that forced emancipation of the 
whole country from Great Britain will throw off the Southern 
yoke," thundered the Chicago Journal, which had been founded 
two years before, "The North and the West will look to and 
take care of their own interests henceforth. . . . The fiat has 
gone forth Southern rule is at an end." 



Wentworth's plan came to a gigantic climax on July 5, 
1847, when three thousand delegates, hailing from eighteen of 
the twenty-nine States in the Union, assembled in a huge tent 
which Chicago had erected on the public square between Wash- 
ington and Randolph Streets West of Michigan Avenue. 
Twenty thousand people, more than the total population of 
the town, were on the streets. A spectacular military parade 
opened the festivities, floats bounced along over the rough 
streets, one display being that of a ship with sails set. Bands 
blared, fire companies, clubs, societies, city officials, paraded. 
The affair was non-partisan, Northern Democrats and Whigs 
marching together first hint, perhaps, of the amalgamation 
which would weld Northerners of all political faiths into a new 
Northern party in 1856. Abraham Lincoln, who would lead 
that amalgamation 111 1860, was at the River and Harbor Con- 

47 



vention, inconspicuous, however, for anything but his height. 
Bigger in Chicago's eyes were Erastus Corning, president of 
the New York Central Railroad, Horace Greeley, whose New 
Tori; Tribune was the Bible of the Western farmers on sub- 
jects from lunar eclipses to Presidential elections, Thurlow 
Weed, Albany editor and powerful New York "boss," Tom 
Corwin, Senator from Ohio, entertainer de luxe, wit and sar- 
castic flayer of President Polk, Edward Bates, the anti-slavery 
Missourian whose speech for Western rights would captivate 
the convention crowd and make him the rival of Lincoln for the 
Republican Presidential nomination thirteen years thereafter. 

Eastern newspapers, overlooking Chicago's ramshackle as- 
pects, caught the spirit of the city's vitality. Thurlow Weed 
wrote back to his Albany Journal, "In ten years Chicago will 
be as big as Albany. On the shores of this lake is a vast country 
that will in fifty years support one hundred and twenty-five 
thousand inhabitants." 

It was sad that an affair so thrilling first of the city's 
endless conventions should bring no commensurate political 
results. James Polk and his Southern Congress paid no heed 
to the demands and resolutions of the meeting. Nothing had 
been benefited except Chicago. That muddy town of sixteen 
thousand people had been advertised to the nation as a place 
with a future. The bigwigs of the East had all remarked how 
quickly and comfortably one could get there by canal and lake ; 
they had seen a canal about to be opened, had heard of a, rail- 
road about to be built, they had seen flimsy hotels packed and 
jammed, people crowding, money changing, and most of them 
had ridden out of town a little way to look at the prairie sweep- 
ing like a sea to the horizon. 

"Deep furrows may be laid for thirty miles without striking 
a root, a pebble, or a log," wrote James Parton, the historian, 
in the august Atlantic Monthly. "The absence of all dark 
objects such as woods, roads, rocks, hills, and fences, gives the 
visitor the feeling that never before in all his life was he com- 
pletely out of doors*" 
48 



The Northwest was coming into its own, and the Eastern 
bankers were beginning to wonder if investments out that way 
might not some day be wise after all. 



While Long John was organizing the Northwestern revolt 
against the South, Cyrus H. McCormick of Virginia was in his 
smithy, packing up some of his unsuccessful farm-machinery 
inventions for removal to Chicago. At thirty-eight years of 
age old as whiskered men went in that day he had heard 
the Northwest call. Eighteen years before he had invented two 
ploughs for farmers, fighting a losing battle, however, against 
the rustic superstition that iron poisoned the soil. He had in- 
vented a grain reaper, too, one different from and more suc- 
cessful than that upon which his father had tinkered. And 
although McCormick pleaded with Virginia farmers to adopt 
it across thirteen long years, they refused. 

Suddenly in 1844 there came to the tiny factory on the farm 
orders for seven reapers orders from the West. Pioneers in 
Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa, having heard rumors of the labor- 
saving invention, would take a chance with it. McCormick 
hauled the seven machines to Richmond and sent them by boat 
around the Atlantic to New Orleans, thence by steamer up the 
Mississippi to Cincinnati, whence, by smaller boats and wagons, 
they came eventually to their purchasers. Four of the seven 
arrived too late for the harvest. 

McCormick saw clearly where his future lay. The West was 
to be the granary of the nation, and as he visited it in 1845 
he saw that the Northwest was his opportunity. There he be- 
held vast fields of wheat rattling onto the ground because there 
were not enough hands to gather it. He saw laborless farmers 
turn hogs and cattle into their standing crops. In Illinois he 
saw men, women, and children frantically cutting wheat by 
the light of the moon in order that the State's five million 
bushels might be saved before it shattered, overripe. 

49 



Since the wheat harvest rarely lasted over a week and usually 
not over four days, everything depended upon the speed with 
which it was cut. So McCormick decided to build his reaper- 
works in the heart of the wheat country, where he could deliver 
machines with rapidity. 

He looked the West over for a site. He looked at Cleveland, 
Milwaukee, Cincinnati, and St. Louis, all more prosperous 
than Chicago. Of all cities that he visited, his biographers say 
Chicago was "unquestionably the ugliest and youngest." Yet 
for all its mud and shabbiness McCormick saw that Chicago 
was the place. Here he could best assemble his materials^ his 
steel from England, his pig iron from Scotland and Pitts- 
burgh, his white ash from the forests of the Northwest, The 
boats that were at hand, and the railroads which the "boosters" 
said were sure to come, would give him distribution. The feel 
of a portentous future was in the town. 

So in '47 McCormick arrived, bag and baggage, minus 
money but full of hope. In search of help he bolted right up 
to Chicago's most prominent citizen, William B. Ogden. That 
dynamo of energy, for all that he was up to his ears in dreams 
of railroads, promptly financed the new reaper-man. The ges- 
ture was characteristic both of him and of Chicago a sample 
of the swift decisions that were to rocket the city upward with 
a display and speed unapproached elsewhere in American 
history. 

Ogden, whose real estate speculations had made him the 
town's richest man, laid down $25,000, and received a half- 
interest in the new reaper-works and McCormick was off on 
his dazzling career* With all speed the largest factory in 
Chicago was erected, and soon reapers were going by wagons 
and canal boats and steamers to the farmers. 

Not only did McCormick revolutionize farming, he revolu- 
tionized business in general The first was almost immediate* the 
second took longer ; nevertheless, the effect of its example was 
quickly felt in other Chicago industries* 

Up to the advent of McCormick, business had been con- 
50 



ducted upon the principle of "Let the buyer beware." Sellers 
got what they could for their products ; trading was a matter 
of sharp wits, haggling a necessity, often a sport. If the pur- 
chase was not what it had been cracked up to be, so much the 
worse for the buyer. 

In New York the foremost merchant, A. T. Stewart, was 
trying to break away from the practice ajid fix known prices, 
but considering the greater scope of McCormick's activities it 
must be said that out of Chicago, the wicked, boastful city, 
came the first guarantee on merchandise and the first stand- 
ardization of price. McCormick, who had never been a business 
man or a trader, only a poor, dreaming inventor, discarded 
all the rules or rather lack of rules of business. He wanted 
to sell his reapers. He had no money with which to advertise 
extensively, Every reaper must advertise its fellows. He 
thought only of getting his reaper liked. So he sold each at 
an established price $120 "take it or leave it, 55 no haggling. 
A farmer paid $30 down and $90 more in six months if he 
could make it; if not, McCormick gave him more time. Never 
did the "Reaper-King" sue a farmer for money. He knew how 
farmers dreaded lawyers and their sharp ways, and how well 
they liked a creditor who was sympathetic enough to wait for 
his money until capricious Nature had brought in good crops. 
Incredibly little money did McCormick ever lose by this plan, 
although it was ruinous, in the eyes of old-fashioned business 
men, for the inventor to borrow money to make reapers, bor- 
row more money to ship them, and in return receive so little. 

"He's holding the bag for the farmers," they said, prophesy- 
ing his speedy doom. 

But McCormick had fastened his wagon to the star of the 
Northwest* As the region filled, his factory multiplied itself. 

One farmer told another farmer of McCormick's guarantee. 
Each reaper carried with it an iron-clad guarantee to be per- 
fect, to scatter grain less than had the old cradle and scythe, 
to permit the easy raking of cut grain off its platform, and to 
mow down one and a half acres an hour more than ten men 

51 



could accomplish before. Farmers gladly gave McCormick tes- 
timonials such as, "My reaper has more than paid for itself 
in one harvest." 

These endorsements McCormick broadcast across the North- 
west. From his boyhood he had believed in advertising. Now 
he had the money with which to make good his faith. Hand- 
bills, letters, newspapers, bore his story. 

When the gold fever struck the nation in >49, sending those 
Homeric covered wagons to California, ten thousand people 
went from Illinois alone, and McCormick warned the farmers 
to buy reapers quickly ; labor would be scarce, he said, one man 
must do the work of absent hands get a reaper now. They did. 

He sent agents everywhere and risked the erection of ware- 
houses across the country. By '49 he had nineteen assembling- 
plants in the Mississippi valley and the Northwest. Farmers, 
he knew, were slow to make up their minds, and would put off 
purchasing the desired reaper until the last minute* Then it 
would be too late to obtain reapers from Chicago in time for 
the harvest. From a regional warehouse the machine could be 
rolled out at almost a moment's notice. Agents, surging every- 
where, found immigrants as ready as native Americans to try 
the reaper. They might not understand English, but they 
understood an easier way of doing work when they saw it. 

To defeat his competitors, who were many, McCormick in- 
stituted "Field Day" a sort of fair at which all makes of 
reapers vied with each other in a chosen wheat field* Crowds 
would gather. Steers or sheep would be barbecued, the reapers 
would roll out and cut their swaths to ringing cheers. Judges 
would time them, note the amount cut and how much the grain 
was tangled. Usually McCormick won. If he had not been 
sure of victory he would never have agitated the contest. For 
forty years "Field Day" was a great one for American fariBers* 
Excesses at length killed it. Farmers, in the excitement of 
making bets, drinking whiskey, and beholding such l&rge 
crowds, would stampede the reaper-drivers into foolish dis- 
plays, such as attempts to mow down groves of young saplings, 
52 



or to chain two reapers together and set them pulling in oppo- 
site directions to see which would come apart first. Agents 
would bring secretly reinforced machines to the contest for this 
purpose. "Field Day" degenerated into maudlinity and was 
abandoned. 



The Illinois and Michigan Canal, at which the River and 
Harbor delegates had looked as workmen brought it toward 
completion, was ready in April, 1848, and on the sixteenth it 
was opened with public rejoicing. Here after sixteen years of 
discouraging toil, now on, now off, the city had its channel to 
the warm Gulf of Mexico. True enough, the channel was not 
what Chicago had dreamed, but it was of immeasurable prom- 
ise, nevertheless. Originally the plan had been to cut through 
the old Chicago portage and to lower the continental divide 
sufficiently to allow steamships uninterrupted passage between 
New Orleans, Chicago, and Buffalo. This "deep cut" project 
had been abandoned, however, when State funds ran low, and 
the canal builders had been forced to content themselves with 
the "shallow cut" alternative. They had merely lowered the 
watershed strip enough to allow flat freight barges to get 
across from one lock to another and thus into ancient Garlic 
Creek where the wharves waited with their wealth. The current 
from the Des Plaines River was often insufficient to float even 
craft as shallow as these, and in such times bucket-wheel pumps 
lifted water into the canal from the Chicago River. 

There was charm and color in the realization that, now, 
the canal would bring rich Southern cargoes through the city. 
Sixteen canal boats plied on that opening day, and a week 
later the steamship General Thornton arrived from New 
Orleans with sugar for Buffalo. The sugar was at its destina- 
tion a good two weeks ahead of former running-time between 
New Orleans and Buffalo by way of New York and the Erie 
Canal. 

Now the "boosters" and the "boomers" were legion. Wild 

53 



with elation, they paid no heed to the fact that for much 
of the summer low water in the canal and the Illinois River held 
back traffic an ominous warning. That was only temporary, 
it was said, and well forgotten by Autumn, when traffic was 
immense, lumber, clothing, furniture, and hardware from the 
lakes passing through to the interior and wheat, corn, sugar, 
molasses, and coffee rushing up and on to the East, Side-wheel 
steamers were disappearing from the Great Lakes, and faster, 
bigger propeller-boats replacing them. By 1850 twenty of 
these newcomers were plying regular schedules out of Chicago- 
Swarms of schooners, brigs, side-wheelers, carried lesser car- 
goes to and fro. 

Sailors frolicked, sang and fought on the river-front and 
in the "scarlet city" that grew up along the north bank of the 
river* Farm boys and merchants from lower Illinois came to 
the town, gaped at its stir and clangor and went home to tell 
tall tales of the ships, the factories, the gamblers, and to 
whisper to their fellows tormenting descriptions of the daugh- 
ters of joy up in Chicago. 

The city grew wickeder as the canal traffic added its tran- 
sient masculines to the crowd. Young men came from the older 
settlements of the midlands as well as from the East, some 
halting in Chicago, more striking out for the canal-towns. 
Soon they were hurrying home to get married and bring their 
brides back to the new country. In 1850 the region along the 
waterway from Chicago down to the center of the State held 
1*70,000 people, a gain of 100,000 in ten years* Chicago itself 
in the decade had jumped from 4,470 to $8,620. The northern 
half of the State had grown in the same period from $09,000 
to 459,000. 

The canal, upon which $7,000,000 had been lavished across 
the years of its slow gestation, was worth all it cost, even if 
it never quite came up to expectations. Too often the rocks in 
the Illinois River would be sticking their heads up above low 
water to snag canal boats, and passenger traffic was apt to ba 
uncertain due to such delays. 
54 



Nevertheless, tremendous tonnage went through in a year's 
time. In 1851 most of the three million bushels of wheat re- 
ceived by Chicago came from the Illinois River, Tolls more 
than paid for the canal's upkeep and dividends of 12% per 
cent, were paid in its first year. 

But more exciting to the spirit of Chicago than all the 
wealth that came flowing in, was the realization that the canal 
was making St. Louis suffer. Chicago, the "Queen of the 
Lakes," was conquering St. Louis, the "Queen of the River," 
The canal, which had been expected to boom St. Louis even 
more than Chicago, was found to work in opposite manner. 
In its first year it decreased St. Louis 5 grain market 316,000 
bushels of corn and 237,000 bushels of wheat, most of this loss 
going to swell Chicago's gain. Lower Illinois turned its back 
upon its quiet old friend, the river queen, and went traipsing 
off after the lake siren. 

However, the eclipse of St. Louis was coming not so much 
from the smoke of the canal steamers heading North as from 
the clouds that had begun to roll out from different engines 
locomotives, 

6 

It will be remembered that William B. Ogden, whose smooth 
upper lip set rigidly above his firm chin-whiskers, had given 
the hopeful inventor of the reaper $25,000 in 1847. In 1849 
Ogden, already called by his admirers "the biggest all-around 
man in the Northwest," wanted his money back. McCormick 
gave it to him and $25,000 beside 100 per cent, profit in two 
years. Ogden's mind was on a greater dream railroads. 
Clearly he saw what steel fingers running westward would do 
for Chicago and for himself. Back in '36 there had been talk 
of a railroad from Galena, lead-mining town northwest on the 
Mississippi River. The panic had killed such a project before 
it could be born. Ten years later Ogden revived it, finding, 
however, Chicago united against such a plan. 

The city's merchants had siuce the '30s been absorbed in the 

55 



1 



idea of capturing the farmers' trade with the "good roads 55 
bait. A turnpike had been built across the Dismal Swamp to 
the southwest, but since it was only prairie soil graded up, it 
was worse than the surrounding marsh in wet weather. So the 
city, casting about for something new, adopted the idea which 
New York State had borrowed from peasants on the Russian 
steppes "plank roads." Boards nailed to timber made "the 
poor man's railroad." In 5 48 over 70,000 wagon-loads of pro- 
duce rolled into town over the planking, an average of two 
hundred a day. Charging 37% cents toll for a four-horse team, 
25 cents for a single team and 12% cents for a man on horse- 
back, the roads reaped wealth. By the end of the decade plank 
roads ran like spokes into Chicago as the hub; men talking 
about them as of a revolution. 

Professional teamsters developed, tough itinerants, skilled 
at crowding rivals into the mud, stealing chickens, and fright- 
ening farm girls along the way. For them and for the seasonal 
rush of farmers Chicago opened a camp on the lake shore, 
where once Fort Dearborn had stood, and where later the 
Illinois Central Railroad depot was to command the foot of 
Randolph Street. Prostitutes tempted the countrymen in the 
lantern-light. Gamblers cheated them. Pickpockets rifled them, 
Newspapers warned them to be cautious as to whom they 
shared beds with in the crowded hotels, Chicago's morals were 
bad, but its business was good. 

Merchants, therefore, fought the railroad suggestion of 
Ogden, saying, "Chicago is a retail center, dependent on the 
farmers who come to trade. If they can ship their produce on 
a railroad they won't come to town. Villages, perhaps cities, will 
spring up along the right of way and farmers will trade there, 
nearer home. Grass will grow in the streets of Chicago if rail- 
roads come/' Stagecoach^owners combined to fight the pro- 
posed steam road. 

Ogden, shrewdest of the shrewd, took Ms cause to the 

farmers. They listened to his arguments, were convinced, and 

financed the road. Farm wives took their savings from 

56 



the loose brick in the fireplace and bought Galena and Chicago 
Railroad stock on the monthly installment plan. They were 
doing it for the future of their children. Many buyers of stock 
gave up their last $2.50 of cash as a payment down on one 
share of stock. Quickly the $250,000 was promised. Bankers in 
the East, whose brains were not so wise as the hearts of the 
pioneer women of the West, sniffed at so wild a scheme as "a 
mad railroad west of Lake Michigan." Ogden, flanked by J. 
Young Scammon, another exponent of the new Chicago spirit, 
kept at his work, rattling over Northern Illinois in buggies, 
speaking at log schoolhouses, or campaigning among the 
wagon-men in the camp at the foot of Randolph Street. 

Still the small merchants of Chicago, sleeping on the door- 
sill of what was to be America's most spectacular mart of pros- 
perity, held the city's gates closed to the railroad. They de- 
feated an ordinance which would allow the terminal within 
city limits. Construction, however, went on so rapidly that by 
November 20, 1848, the first train of second-hand cars behind 
a second-hand engine ran over second-hand rails ten miles out 
to the Des Plaines River with directors aboard^ and came back 
with a load of wheat. 

Chicago had become Chicago. 

The Northwest peopled by the Northeast of the United 
States, and the sons of cold Goths and fiery Celts of Northern 
Europe, had turned to lift the city through which they had 
come on their home-hunt. Unlike so many other pioneers, they 
had not feared the railroads. Some among them had listened 
to the cry, "The railroads are undemocratic, aristocratic insti- 
tutions that will ride rough-shod over the people and grind 
them to powder," but not many had bothered with such dreads. 
Few of them repeated what older agriculturists had said, "The 
railroads will scare our cows so bad they won't give down their 
milk at night." 

Chicago's retail-business men gasped when, a week after this 
first railway inaugural, the news came down into town that 
thirty loads of wheat were waiting at the Des Plaines River 

57 



terminal shed. Eastern bankers gaped when the first year's 
report showed that the Galena and Chicago Union had earned 
$2,000 a month. They gaped more when the second year's 
figures revealed a profit of $9,000 a month. 

Farmers' wives of Illinois had a new light in their eyes and 
new promises for their children when they began receiving 
twice a year dividends of 10 per cent., 12 per cent., 16 per cent. 

The city, awake at last, opened its eyes to the road in '49 
and a depot went up. Little merchants began to change from 
retailers to wholesalers. Their chance had come to sell to the 
Northwest, instead of to Chicagoans and the farmers who came 
to town. Where they had dealt in hundreds they now saw that 
they could deal in hundreds of thousands. 

Ogden had won stupendously. By 1850 the road reached 
Elgin forty miles away and in >54< Freeport, where it tapped 
another railway, the Illinois Central, and passed over its tracks 
into Galena. 

7 

The Illinois Central was the great road, Illinois* two Sena- 
tors had fathered it, one the squat, dwarf-like Stephen A. 
Douglas, the other the solemn Sidney Breese, who went about 
in a cloud of long white hair and whiskers. For ten years 
Breese had been dallying with the idea of a railroad from 
Galena in the north to Cairo at the south. "Panics'* had inter- 
fered. Now in the end of the decade, Douglas, the Little Giant, 
changed the plan. The road should rim from Cairo to the Illi- 
nois River, then branch to Galeaa and Chicago! Douglas, 
smartest of expansionists, was a master politician, incidentally 
shrewd enough and eloquent enough to defeat upon occasion, 
in Illinois, the shrewdest politician of them all, one Lincoln* 

The Senators named this new road the Illinois Central, but 
the common people, who saw through some things, promptly 
nicknamed it the "St. Louis Cut-Off," understanding exactly 
what such a steam line would do to the Queen of the River* 
Seven hundred miles this proposed road must run* twice m long 
58 



as the longest railway then in America. With Douglas in 
Washington, the Northwest had a spokesman indeed, and in 
1851 Congress donated to Illinois 2,595,000 acres of land in 
alternate sections in the State, also a strip of ground two hun- 
dred feet wide down through its center for a right of way 
first of all railroad grants in the New World. Illinois ceded 
all land to the new company in return for a promised 7 per 
cent, of gross earnings. 

No time was wasted. Seventeen million dollars was promptly 
borrowed on the land ; materials, food, clothing, medicines, were 
collected. Laborers, thousands of them newly arrived Irishmen, 
swarmed in. Flatboats unloaded at points all along the river, 
Teams clustered. The Eastern bankers were opening their 
vaults for Western investments. 

From the East another road was creeping toward Chicago, 
the Michigan Southern, which had previously terminated at 
Elkhart, Indiana, failing in its plan to reach St. Joseph, 
Michigan. While it waited to finance its last lap, Chicago's 
growth became apparent on the horizon, and, seeing what was 
what, the road drove in this more promising direction. On 
February 20, 1852, its first train steamed into the new city 
while the fire-bells rang, cannon boomed and the citizens 
cheered their heads off. The way to the East was open and 
Chicagoans were shouting, "Merchants who used to spend 
two weeks getting to New York can now make the trip in two 
days." 

Three months later the Michigan Central came into town 
from the East, using the tracks of the Illinois Central for the 
last fourteen miles of its route. This usage precipitated the 
most tragic and comic of squabbles, for the Illinois Central 
crossed the rails of the Michigan Southern at a point where 
both companies claimed the right of way. Each road, haught- 
ily ignoring the other, shot its trains across the intersection 
without warnings or signals. The inevitable happened. Two 
stubborn trains smashed in 1853 at Grand Crossing, and 
eighteen corpses and forty maimed passengers were brought 

59 



into the city. Mobs gathered, city dignitaries spoke, and Chi- 
cago thereafter made all trains come to a full stop at inter- 
sections. 

Before the close of that same year the Chicago, Rock Island 
and Pacific had, after only a year's work, thrown down its 
track from Chicago to Quincy on the Mississippi River. In 
the nest year, 1854, the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul had 
come down to the city from the north. The short lines that 
were to form the nucleus for the Chicago and Northwestern 
were combining in Wisconsin. 

All at once, Chicago found itself the leading railroad center 
of the United States. Six railroads in six years. The news of 
it went everywhere. Immigrants came in greater droves. Young 
men streamed in faster and faster. In 1852 the city had held 
38,733 souls, and at the end of 1853 the city fathers counted 
60,662, an increase of 60 per cent. It staggered belief, and 
the curious poured in just to see the thing many of them 
remaining. 

8 

As necessary to Chicago as any of these business titans, 
Wentworth, McCormick and Ogden, was the wordy, ecstatic 
editor, John Stephen Wright, later to be forgotten by the 
city. They were the sinews, but he was the voice of the town 
the ballyhooer, the advertiser, the herald, the "man of vision.'* 

Before Wright's noisy advent, the United States had been 
ignorant of the value of super-optimism in business* Such civic 
virtues as a city owned were viewed with complacency and sat- 
isfaction. St. Louis and Cincinnati, the great cities of the West, 
were as dignified and as modest as Boston, Philadelphia, 
Charleston, or New Orleans. Chicago of the early ? 40s, stuck- 
in-the-mud, ugly, ill-smelling, needed a press agent. He ap- 
peared. 

John Stephen Wright had come to Chicago in 1832 to clerk 
in his father's log store, which catered to the one hundred and 
fifty residents of the village. "Though a mere boy,** lie ad- 
60 



mitted afterward, "I became impressed with the advantages of 
the point which was the western extremity of the great lake 
navigation, and with a certainty of its connection, by canal, 
with the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, and of its being the 
natural commercial center of a country so fertile and so easily 
tilled and so vast in extent. In the Winter of 1833 and 1834 
I induced a wealthy uncle of mine to take some purchases 
which I had made, expecting to share in the profits. He took 
them, and has made out of those and other operations, through 
me, several hundred thousand dollars, but all the benefit to 
me either directly or indirectly has been $100. He came to 
Chicago in the Spring of 1833, and the next day after his 
arrival said if I would sell his lot one of those which I had 
bought about fifteen months previously for $3,500 for 
$15,000, he would give me one hundred dollars. I sold the lot 
that day for cash, and the $100 was reckoned into my credit 
in our final settlement in 1838." 

At eighteen years of age Wright was a full-fledged "real- 
tor," writing letters of radiant forecast back East and handling 
deals with skill. By his twenty-first year he was worth over 
$200,000, having made it wholly outside of office hours at his 
f ather*$ store. At twenty-two he lost it all in the financial panic 
of 1837, and with real estate lifeless in the mud all around 
him, turned in 1840 to another pursuit publishing. Found- 
ing The Prairie Farmer, he sold it in the homes of the North- 
west, traveling across the wilderness from farm to farm tak- 
ing subscriptions, and talking interminably of the future of 
Chicago. The more he talked, through the first five years of 
his editorship, the more clearly he saw Chicago's destiny re- 
vealed to him in the heavens, and in 1845 he was in Boston, 
begging for funds with which to finance new realty ventures 
In the Western Eldorado. With Illinois bankrupt, its bonds 
worth only twenty cents on the dollar, and with Chicago fa- 
mous only for its mushroom boom and subsequent lapse into 
drab, frontier wickedness, Boston bankers thumbed Wright 
down. Unconquerable, he switched his attack, submitting a 

61 



series of twenty articles to the Boston Commercial Advertiser 
and the Evening Post. The august Boston editors printed 
Wright's hosannahs. Soon the New York Commercial Ad- 
vertiser was following suit. 

"Though no one would see the future of the West and of 
Chicago as I did, my own confidence had never been so strong," 
he said in recalling those days. "There was not the least con- 
fidence in Chicago, it having been for ten years a synonym for 
all that was wild and visionary . . . and after months of vain 
attempts, I returned home." 

Soon, however, he had hold of pieces of property here and 
there and was off on a trail that within a decade made him 
rich once more. Consecrated as he was to "boosting," he be- 
came something of a "greeter," too, meeting newcomers with 
words of welcome and optimism. Around the town he would 
lead them, talking in warm enthusiasm of Growth and Prog- 
ress and the Future, so that the stranger might forget the 
mud that sucked at his boots and the stench that attacked his 
nose. On one of these missions he encountered the man who 
was to surpass him at "boosting" William Bross, who de- 
scribed the event. 

"He (Wright) gave me a cordial welcome and a great deal 
of valuable information. On Sabbath he called and took me 
to church and embraced many opportunities to introduce me 
to Mayor Woodworth and other leading citizens, giving me 
a lesson in courtesy to strangers that I have never forgotten," 

Bross saw why the city was ridiculed over the country as 
"the slab city." 

"Stores and dwellings," he said, "were, with few exceptions, 
built in the 'balloon 9 fashion. Posts were placed in the ground 
at the corners, and at proper distances between them blocks 
were laid down singly or in cob-house fashion* On these foun- 
dations were laid and to these were spiked, standing on end, 
3x4 scantling. On these sheathboards were nailed, and weath- 
erboards on the outside of them; and lath and plaster inside 
with the roof completed the dwelling- or store. This cheap, 
62 



but for a new town, excellent mode of building, it was claimed, 
was first introduced or invented in Chicago, and I believe the 
claim to be true. Of course, fire made sad havoc with them at 
times, but the loss was comparatively small and they were 
quickly rebuilt. True, Chicago was ridiculed as a slab city; 
but if not pleasant to bear, ridicule breaks no bones." 



Considering how dismally Chicago faced Bross in '48, the 
man's immediate recognition of the city's future seems remark- 
able. Without a question he adopted Wright's rosy view of 
things, although thirty years later, when age had cooled him 
somewhat, he was more realistic, saying, "The streets [in 1848 
before the advent of plank roads] were simply thrown up as 
country roads. In the Spring for weeks at a time they would 
be impassable. I have seen empty wagons and drays stuck on 
Lake and Water Streets on every block between Wabash and 
the river. Of course, there was little or no business doing, for 
the people of the city could not get about much, and the people 
of the country could not get in to do it. As the clerks had 
nothing to do, they would exercise their wits by putting boards 
from dry-goods boxes in the holes where the last dray was 
dug out, with significant signs, like 'No Bottom Here/ 'The 
Shortest Road to China.* In fact, there was no end to the 
fun/' 

So optimistic was Bross in '48 that he opened a book-store, 
and when that was proved to have been too far ahead of its 
time, he switched quickly to publishing -a field for which he 
was born. He found a kindred soul in J. Ambrose Wight, who 
edited "Booster" Wright's Prairie Farmer and together the 
two young men started printing that paper and a little later 
took on a religious weekly, Herald of the Prairies. 

Chicago's cause became a holy one to the three men, Bross, 
Wight,, and Wright. It was all religious work, whether they 
were pouring their civic hosannahs into the farm or church 

68 



weekly. Each was an ardent churchman: Wight was a clergy- 
man and later would have a Presbyterian pastorate; Bross 
was the son of an Eastern deacon and soon would have his own 
nature hit off by the town in the nickname "Deacon." Wright 
as a precocious New York State boy he had studied Greek 
at three years of age had been raised by his mother to be a 
preacher, and had, in his teens, deserted that calling for the 
more worldly field of business. Business, however, and progress, 
he saw through the eyes of an evangelistic promoter rather 
than through the eyes of a self-seeker. 

Wright, fevered, sincere, built a schoolhouse for Chicago 
with his private funds. He wrote, spoke, and campaigned for 
the first Illinois public school law, and as much as any man 
was responsible for Chicago's free school system. In 1839 he 
had headed the Chicago Colonization Society and in *47 had 
fathered public parks. 

At his own expense he distributed six thousand copies of a 
petition which begged Congress to aid in laying a railroad 
from both the upper and lower Mississippi regions to Chicago. 
Stephen A. Douglas, toiling in Washington for the Illinois 
Central grant, saw these signed petitions pour into the capital 
by the thousands. They aided the cause mightily, he thought. 

He was the pioneer "booster" of them all, John Stephen 
Wright, making men laugh at his fantastic forecasts, going 
"smash" himself again and again in the deflations which struck 
his business, real estate. In a spasm of exuberance he once 
started building a grain-reaper to rival McCormick's, but 
either through his chronic inability to carry out his dreams or 
in the national panic which struck the country just then, he 
lost that venture, too. Unerringly he picked bargains in real 
estate that would have made him a multimillionaire, could he 
but have held them. He plunged on, orating, writing, publish- 
ing his visions of what the city must become, and even when he 
was coming to his end, a poor man, he was nevertheless crying 
the immeasurable future of Chicago, seeing it as the only true 
city of America and himself as its prophet* 
64 



CHAPTER VII 



" Bross, whose eyes were blazing with civic zeal 
under his shaggy eyebrows, had in '52 reached out for more 
powerful "booster" weapons. Joining forces with John L. 
Scripps, he had begun to publish the Democratic Press, which 
they hoped to make a "good commercial and statistical paper 
to the end that the world might be impressed with the present 
and future of Chicago," By '54 he was issuing pamphlets of 
such enthusiastic hosannahs that not only America but also 
Europe was reading them. Everybody agreed that Bross 5 beat- 
ing of the tom-toms induced tens of thousands to seek Chicago 
as a home for either themselves or their dollars. 

"Prairie breezes are our source of energy," Bross cried in 
1853. That year one in every sixty Chicagoans died, consump- 
tion killing more than any other disease, although "teething" 
ran It a close second. Two years later the city's death rate 
would be higher than that of any other city in the country. 

"Our lowness of land is an advantage," shouted John 
Stephen Wright, Bross' fellow-booster, "Chicago does not 
have to grade hills and fill valleys." 

Meanwhile streets, alleys, and vacant lots reeked with filth. 
The slops from houses were tossed into gutters for travelers to 
smell and see. Michigan Avenue was spotted with manure 

65 



heaps. Cleanings of stables were piled on the lake front to 
be washed into the water which the city drank. Cows still spent 
the nights on the sidewalks, 

"Men who paid $100 for lots in 1833 are selling them in 
1853 for $60,000 to $70,000," exulted Bross. Houses that cost 
$500 to put up were renting for $400 a year. 

Since 1833, Chicago had been letting water currents, guided 
by the pier erected in that season, eat away acres of lake front- 
age, until the waves were biting at Michigan Avenue. In 1850 
it had sold the Illinois Central its priceless land where Fort 
Dearborn had stood and where the wagoners camped. For it, 
Chicago had received $45,000. Now, in '52, it asked the Illi- 
nois Central to have some more of Chicago, giving it the whole 
late front from Randolph Street to Park Avenue in return 
for a breakwater that would save the city. Property worth in- 
credible millions was traded for a quicker realization of that 
"Manifest Destiny" of which Bross was singing. The Illinois 
Central spent $2,000,000 on the work, laid down its tracks, 
and went on its way to create the suburban service that Chi- 
cago was, no doubt justly, to call the greatest in the world. 
The city had asked the railroad to help* It couldn't refuse. 

"For fifteen years after it began its rapid increase, Chicago 
was perhaps of all prairie towns, the most repulsive to every 
human sense, 35 said James Par ton, the historian. 

"The city is seventeen years old, 5 * orated Bross in 1854, a and 
it has a hundred and fifty-nine miles of sidewalks and twenty- 
seven miles of planked streets, four miles of wharves, fifty-six 
miles of sewers, ten bridges, gas-works and street-lamps.'* Well 
might lie exult over such achievements, since both himself and 
Editor Wright had annually campaigned for better paving* 

As early as 1836, the city had tried to cover that slough 
which lay west of Michigan Avenue well past State Street a 
slough in which, the frogs sang to the city, "Better go round, 
better go round." The streets had been lowered and planks 
put down, but the boards broke under heavy hauling and 
slapped the horses in the face. "Water accumulates under the 
66 



planking, steams up through every crack of the rotting boards, 
and poisons the town," said Wright. Cholera and smallpox 
came every year. The level of the town wsfcs but two feet above 
the river. Then the streets were graded up and dressed with 
sand. Horses, wagons, and men still stuck fast. Cobble-stones 
were tried, they disappeared. 

But that same copious historian Parton saw the spirit by 
which Chicago was to pull itself out of the mud. The town 
was full of simplicity, originality, and boldness, he thought. 
"There are no men of leisure in Chicago. In all the Western 
country, the richer a man is, the harder he toils. . . . Too- 
respectable Bostonians, staid Philadelphians, self-indulgent 
New Yorkers, acquired, after living in Chicago, a vivacity of 
mind and interest in things around them, a public spirit, which 
they did not acquire at home." 

With such a population, Chicago caught hold of its own 
boot-straps and yanked recklessly. 

There was only one thing to do about the streets and that 
was to raise them. Engineers said that they must come up 
twelve feet. Twelve hundred acres must be filled. That meant, 
of course, jacking up every building in town, too. 

It was as preposterous as moving the city itself. Neverthe- 
less, the thing was begun in 1855. The river was dredged and 
at one swoop Chicago had a better channel for boats and tons 
of dirt for the fills. New houses going up were built with cellars, 
and the excavated dirt used for the elevations. It all took time, 
and for ten years the sidewalks ran on erratic levels. In front of 
one row of houses, pedestrians would walk high in the air, look- 
ing down upon carriages and teams ; in front of another they 
would be walking six feet lower. Between the various levels, 
steps went up and down. The town was a giant jack-in-the-box, 
with crowds popping up, scurrying, dropping down. The sight 
was animated, dizzy, making the city appear even more hectic 
than it was. 

EHas Colbert, the Chicago historian, recalled how "it was 
reported that when a genuine Chicagoan visited New York, 

67 



he found himself unable to walk on a level surface; he was 
obliged to turn into an adjacent building every block or so 
and run up and down a stairway for the sake of variety*" 

Newspapers and magazines over the country laughed at 
Chicago, but they wrote about it unendingly. The town was 
universally felt to be bold, wild, amazingly strong, magnetic. 

2 

In all this hurly-burly appeared a man, more dynamic than 
most, who would leave a record for gigantic achievements in 
building sleeping-cars and in sharing dark labor-troubles with 
his workmen. He came unheralded, an incoming New Yorker, 
to the Tremont House, Chicago's skyscraper, four stories high. 
The Tremont House at Lake and Clark was dejected. The 
street had risen in front of it, giving it the appearance of hav- 
ing sunk into the mud. Strangers wrote home that the big 
hotel was settling into the bottomless swamp that underlay 
Chicago. In reality, the proprietors of the Tremont House 
saw no way in which to raise it, for it was of brick. 

This New Yorker said that he could raise it, that he had 
jacked up buildings along the Erie Canal, and that he could 
lift this Chicago colossus without breaking a pane of glass or 
keeping a single guest up at night. 

"All right, go ahead," said the Tremont owners. "What's 
your name?" 

"George M. Pullman." 

Quickly Pullman had twelve hundred men around five thou- 
sand jackscrews in the basement. When the signal was given, 
each man gave four jackscrews a half turn. Gently, surely, the 
building went up inch by inch. Hotel life above went on, see- 
ing nothing, hearing nothing, feeling nothing. Out-of-town 
papers wrote about the thing as though it were a miracle* 

Another giant had come to town. 

68 



3 

In ? 54< Chicagoans were proud of the new water-works which 
had just been installed, reconciling themselves as far as pos- 
sible to the fact that dead fish came through the pipes and 
stuck in the faucets or splashed in bathtubs. Housewives might 
fret somewhat when fish, boiled into a "nauseous" chowder, 
made their hot-water reservoirs hideous, but it all meant prog- 
ress, and pioneers were accustomed to unhealthful things, any- 
way. 

That summer a building "boom" began, more violent than 
that of the '30s. Chicago's merchants were recovering from 
the hysteria of fear that had gripped them when, at the open- 
ing of the canal and the first railroads, retail trade had 
slumped* Farmers no longer came to town in former numbers. 
Direct sales crumbled. But by the middle fifties the storekeep- 
ers saw immeasurably greater profits in wholesale trade and 
began replacing residences with business property. Streets 
were jammed with houses rolling out to the suburbs. Brick 
and lumber heaped the downtown region and builders swarmed, 
Wright, "the booster," was vindicated doubly, triply. 

Subdividers splashed like beavers in the suburban swamps. 
Real estate salesmen, not yet risen to the dignity of "realtors," 
hawked Chicago lots in every Eastern city, where eager buyers 
crowded around maps of "Chicago additions," and laid out 
their savings. Much of what they bought was still under water. 
By '56 the city had expanded to eighteen square miles and its 
property, which had in '52 been valued at ten millions of 
dollars, had more than tripled in four years' time. 

"In '53 Chicago shipped over six million bushels of grain, in 
'54* nearly thirteen million, in '55 more than sixteen million, 
and in '56 over twenty-one million," rejoiced the delirious Chi- 
cagoans. The Soo canal at the north outlet of Lake Michigan 
Had been opened in '55 and with the advent of steam power on 
the Great Lakes had made Chicago a tremendous port. Since 

69 



1850 passenger steamers had been palatial. For the four-day 
trip from Buffalo $10 was charged, and for that amount a 
passenger got meals equal to those of the best hotels and music 
in addition. Cabin passengers ranged from three hundred to 
five hundred per steamer and immigrants were carried in "hun- 
dreds," not so carefully numbered as the precious bags of 
wheat. 

Yet all this glory was passing. The railroads were killing 
passenger-steamer trade of the lakes just as they were killing 
the passenger-packet trade of the canal and the Illinois River. 
Soon the lakes would see almost no boats but freighters, and 
traffic on the canal was dwindling fast. 

Loud rose the voice of the "boosters" repeating some ora- 
tor's pronunciamento, "The iron horse that sipped his morn- 
ing draught from the crystal waters of Lake Michigan can 
slake his evening thirst upon the banks of the Mississippi 
River." 

Out-of-town papers, admitting all that, admitting that Chi- 
cago was the railroad queen of the State that had built more 
railroad mileage (2,235 in all) than any other commonwealth 
of the Union, nevertheless spoke of the corruption and the 
bribery that had been employed to bring the roads through 
favored spots, and as for Chicago, that seat of Manifest Des- 
tiny, to many an outside editor it was the "Gehenna of Abom- 
inations." 

"Chicago is the Greatest Primary Grain Port in the World," 
trumpeted "Deacon" Bross in ? 55. "Chicago last year exported 
12,000,000 bushels, New York 9,000,000, Archangel, 9,000- 
000, Odessa 7,000,000. Chicago exceeded St. Louis by 50 
per cent., Milwaukee 400 per cent. 

"The world has never seen so much physical progress in so 
short a period," he cried, pointing out that in 1855 &,93& 
miles of completed track touched Chicago, ten trunk lines and 
eleven branch lines coming to the metropolis. Four years ago, 
he said, there were only ninety-five miles of track in Illinois, 
Now there are $,410. Ninety-six trains a day are entering or 
70 



leaving Chicago. These roads have been built without Chicago 
money. "All financing has come from the outside. 5 ' 

Passenger trains were averaging thirty miles an hour and 
varying no more than ten minutes from schedule. One hour 
before train time section hands cleared the track of cows. 

Even Wright, the "booster," protested against the slaugh- 
ter that was due to train wrecks. "They have killed nine peo- 
ple in ten months, and injured 100 more," he said in 1854. He 
said nothing of the cholera which killed 5.5 per cent, of the 
city's population that year. 

"Every element of prosperity and substantial greatness is 
within Chicago's grasp," Bross told the world. "She fears no 
rival, confident that her energy and enterprise, which have 
heretofore marked her progress, will secure for her a proud 
and preeminent position among her sister cities of the Union. 
She has to wait but a few short years the sure development of 
her Manifest Destiny." 

As he said it, delegates from the whole Northwest were 
heading for Chicago and the great Sabbath Convention. The 
Puritan spirit, so strange a blend of progress and intolerance, 
had begun to demand that the urge of "Manifest Destiny" lis- 
ten to the voice of God. In convention it was demanded that 
all these railroad trains quit desecrating the Sabbath. They 
must not run on the Lord's Day. Chicago listened to them and 
did nothing. But when they cried aloud that liquor drinking 
be outlawed on Sundays, Chicago listened and acted. It was 
one thing to move against the railroads and another to move 
against the Germans. 

.4 

Great groups of native-born Americans had been spoiling 
to have at the "foreigners" for years. The "first people" of 
Chicago were Puritans, who had inherited from their ancestors 
the assurance that they were justly the social and moral men- 
tors of the nation. They were orthodox Protestants by faith; 
many of the immigrants were Catholics from Ireland. They 

71 



were conservative in politics; many of the newcomers were 
"Forty-eighters" from Germany, radicals who had rebelled 
against the tyrannies which aristocracy was heaping upon 
them, and had sought freedom in America. How like the Amer- 
ican Revolutionists they were was a thing that escaped many 
of the grandsons of George Washington's ragged Continentals. 

Partly because of hereditary prejudices and partly because 
of a desire to have dramatic entertainment, which was scarce 
m pioneer America, the native-born citizens organized a 
"Know-Nothing" political party, which for a time concealed 
even its name, and always hid its purposes in the cloak of 
ritualistic secrecy. Vaguely it declared that it was out to pro- 
tect "American institutions from the insidious wiles of for- 
eigners," but in reality it was hitting at Roman Catholicism, 
thereby overlooking the far better-grounded American Xnsti- 
tutionalism of Thomas Jefferson and his Declaration of Inde- 
pendence. Into it went even liberal men, who welcomed an 
opportunity to avoid the slavery controversy which was ris- 
ing to dominate the old Democratic and newly born Republi- 
can parties. Only native Americans and those Protestants who 
had been naturalized should rule the country, the Know-Noth- 
ings said, and although Chicago's population in 5 55 was more 
than half foreign-born, the "nativistic" ticket swept the city, 
"Put none but Americans on guard/' was the slogan. 

Extending its proscriptions outside the religious boundaries, 
the new organization struck at the Chicago Germans, a ma- 
jority of whom were Protestants. The temperance crusade of 
that period had blended with Know-Nothingism and "native 
American" Mayor Levi D. Boone obeyed its orders when he 
raised the saloon-license fee from $50 to $300. This smashed 
scores of small lager-beer saloons in the highly domestic Ger- 
man and Scandinavian sections of the North Side, and a thun- 
der of growls arose. Soon German-born leaders of unques- 
tioned temperateness and respectability were speaking for 
their kind. Irish, both calm and wild, met in stormy mass- 
meetings of protest. Norse voices, like grating steel, were heard, 
72 



As the anger mounted, Mayor Boone suddenly brought out 
from obscurity the village law forbidding the sale of intoxi- 
cants on Sunday. He clapped it onto the quiet little German 
beer gardens, but failed to fix it upon native-owned bars. 
The "foreigners" rioted. Armed with shotguns, rifles, pistols, 
clubs, knives, and bricks, they came down the river, cheering 
for war. Their rights must be retrieved, even if it took blood. 
In a mob they surged to the river in two detachments, the 
first of which passed over the bridge. Before the second had 
arrived Mayor Boone ordered the bridge-tender to "swing the 
draw," and there the main body of the rioters stood, unable 
to cross, howling their disappointment. When Boone had his 
policemen in line across Clark Street, he ordered the bridge 
swung back to let the rioters come across. 

"Shoot the police !" rang the orders. "Pick out the stars." A 
rebel blew off a policeman's arm with both barrels of his shot- 
gun. Another officer killed the German. A fusillade began, clubs 
popped on heads, the fight was general, although when the 
rioters retreated only one corpse could be found on both sides. 

The mayor planted cannon around City Hall and waited. 
But the storm had passed. From the great body of native citi- 
zens came a wave of reaction against Know-Nothingism and 
prohibition. The new administration was "liberal." 



5 

To the roaring frontier city in 1855 there comes a certain 
Kentuckian with a black slouch hat on his massive head and 
a ten-year-old Yale diploma behind him in some Lexington 
attic a gusty youth of thirty, familiar with Paris and Berlin, 
leaving St. Louis now to have a look at this place called 
Chicago. The girl whom he has just married is with him, yet 
even on his honeymoon he falls in love with the city so much 
in love that all the rest of his life he will call Chicago his 
"bride." 

He walks around the streets, then says, "I think Chicago 

73 



is destined to be the greatest city on this continent. I have de- 
cided to cast my lot with it." And, like a Doge of Venice marry- 
ing the Adriatic Sea, Carter H. Harrison the First weds him- 
self to the city whose young figure he can see ripening under 
its blowsy homespun dress. 



Welcoming the Toronto Board of Trade visitors to Chicago 
in 1855, "Deacon" Bross directed their attention to the fact 
that the Great Northwest out and beyond Chicago held 700,000 
square miles, "a territory larger than twenty-three older States 
East of the Mississippi. ... It contains the largest and ricV 
est deposits of lead and copper that exist on the globe, * . . 
Where the buffalo now range in countless thousands, must, 
after all, become the greatest corn-growing sections of the 
Union. There, too, will be reared the countless herds of cattle 
and hogs, to be driven to Chicago and packed in beef and 
pork to feed the Eastern States, with an abundance to spare 
for all the nations of Europe." He quoted a certain Captain 
Hugunin, veteran lake sailor, who had said, "The great God, 
when he made the mighty West, made also the lakes and the 
mighty St. Lawrence to float its commerce to the ocean." 

Chicago, as Bross pictured it, was the place where the fu- 
ture centered. With fifty-seven hotels, eight of them first-class, 
Chicago had become a convention city. Delegates saw stone 
and brick houses, standing shoulder to shoulder with dingy 
huts and squalid shanties. They saw broad, filthy streets lined 
with shade trees. In 1856, the city had more than 84,000 
people. It had formed its Historical Society. 

"Uncle Tom's Cabin" drew unprecedented throngs. Seven 
daily newspapers, fifteen weeklies, and six monthlies were being 
published in the city. Horace Greeley, Ralph Waldo Emerson, 
Henry Ward Beeeher, Lucy Stone, the "woman's rights" agi* 
tator, and Fred Douglass, the negro Abolitionist orator, were 
heard. Rice's Theater brought the leading New York stars- 
74 



In two years, Chicago would have its first full orchestra, grand 
opera would have begun its annual "season," an art association 
would be incorporated and give exhibits. Steel-rolling mills had 
come to the North Side. 

Dr. William Mason, the Boston pianist, traveling over 
America in the 5 50s on the first pianoforte tour ever held, 
was given a grand reception after his Chicago appearance. 
Beaming upon his hosts, he asked, "Where are your married 
women?" Only girls seemed to confront him. 

The reply was, "They are here. They were girls in New 
England, but our fellows went after them, and they are all 
married now." 

Ever afterwards Mason explained Chicago's greatness and 
her energy by pointing to those "sweet New England girls." 



"In 1856, the four railroad lines running west of Chicago 
carried out 107,653 more persons than they brought back," 
said Bross in the annual report of progress which he sent out 
from Chicago to the curious world. "We have eleven trunk 
railroad lines and seventeen branches, one hundred and four 
trains arriving or departing each day. By various routes two 
hundred and fifty thousand have gone west of Chicago and 
north of Missouri this year. Three million, three hundred thou- 
sand passengers entered the city. A steamer, loaded with wheat 
at Chicago, unloaded it at Liverpool. In grain and lumber we 
surpass any city in the world." 

At the end of the next year, he was saying, "In 1857 our 
two Eastern railroad-lines brought West 94,998 more passen- 
gers than they took back, while four of our western lines car- 
ried 76>837 more people West out of Chicago than they car- 
ried back into it* Two hundred thousand more people at least 
have found homes west of Chicago." 

This in the face of the national "panic," which struck in 

75 



'57, was felt by Bross to be pretty good. The glorious city, as 
lie described it, was marching ahead, panic or no panic. 

Meanwhile, in Chicago crime was rampant. Idle men walked 
the streets, or came and went riding the railroad bumpers. 
Wages for those lucky enough to find work were fifty cents a 
day. Immigrants finding legal difficulties in getting home- 
steads turned back into the city, adding to the congestion. 
Burglaries, street hold-ups, safe-blowing, were almost a nightly 
matter. Many old and prominent commercial houses smashed. 
Distraction was in the air. The police were denounced viciously. 
"The city is at the mercy of the criminal classes," shrieked 
the Tribune. 

The city's good name must be saved. So many travelers had 
been robbed and so many stories of Chicago's crime had been 
broadcast that business was suffering. 

Long John Wentworth, mounting to the mayor's chair, de- 
cided to clean house. He looked first at the "Sands." This was 
the name given to that vice-area north of the river where the 
farm boys and the sailors got fevered pictures of Chicago, 
which they carried away with them. Cheap lodging-houses, 
rattle-trap parlors of assignation and prostitution, low saloons, 
gambling-dens, clustered there on land which nobody owned. 
For years the section had been a source of diversion to the 
amateur fire-fighters of the city. Blazes were frequent all over 
Chicago, and at the alarm, which was usually sounded by small 
boys rushing delightedly through the streets, volunteer fire- 
men swarmed out with their buckets to run with the engine. 
If the fire was in the Sands then there was sport indeed, 
sport chopping up the property of frowsy old "madames," 
sport in throwing water on the fleeing Jezebels, who had no 
recompense under the law, sport in knocking down whole build- 
ings, whether the fire demanded such a sacrifice or no- 
According to the Chicago Tribune of April 21, 1857, "a 
large number of persons, mostly strangers in the city, have 
been enticed into the dens there and robbed, and there is but 
little doubt that a number of murders have been committed by 

76 



the desperate characters who have made these dens their homes. 
The most beastly sensuality and the darkest crimes have had 
their homes in the Sands, so famous in Chicago police annals. 

"Several unsuccessful attempts had been made to break up 
the Sands, but the land upon which they stood was in liti- 
gation in the United States courts and the litigants, in view 
of the uncertainty of the law, were disinclined to take any vio- 
lent measures to eject the occupants. 

"A short time since, Hon. W. B. Ogden (still Chicago's rich- 
est citizen and now 'railroad king') purchased the interest of 
one of the litigants, and a few days since, Mr. Ogden's agents 
notified all the occupants to vacate the premises forthwith, or 
their buildings would be torn down, and at the same time, to 
avoid as much difficulty as possible, purchased the buildings 
of such of the owners as would sell them at a reasonable price. 55 

Finance, and better business, and the righteous rule of the 
strong were all playing behind the scenes on April 20th, when 
Mayor Wentworth frowned upon the Sands. Nest day he 
struck. One legend has it that he drew off most of the male 
habitues by advertising a big dog-fight on the outskirts of 
the city. At any rate, there was small resistance when a deputy 
sheriff, accompanied by thirty policemen and the real-estate 
agent of the "Railway King," bore down upon the district 
and began tearing down five of the disreputable houses. Four 
shanties soon joined these houses in ruin. As soon as the in- 
mates had lugged their pitifully scant property to the street, 
hooks and chains were sunk in the structures and teams pulled 
them down. 

A tremendous crowd of sightseers gathered and swelled as 
the news spread. At 4.30 that afternoon, fire broke out and 
six more buildings disappeared the Tribune laying the blame 
on the inmates, who had supposedly done the thing for spite. 

Out-of-town newspapers said that Chicago had done another 
thing characteristically violent and bold; the incident was 
alternately praised and condemned from one end of the coun- 
try to the other* In reality, the results were unfortunate for 

77 



Chicago, serving to scatter criminals into residence sections 
just at a time when financial depression was turning hungry 
workmen into burglars and garroters. 

Succeeding Wentworth as mayor was John C. Haines 
"Copper-stock" Haines, so-called on account of his dabblings 
on the stock market and his police were nicknamed "coppers/' 
a slang word that was soon adopted by the whole country. 

8 

With the extension of the railroads, Chicago "drummers" at 
this period appeared before the astounded eyes of the country 
merchants. The city, turning to wholesale trade, pursued new 
business relentlessly in all directions, including the mighty 
East. Merchants employed traveling salesmen whose distribu- 
tion of cigars, whispered anecdotes and big-town talk enlivened 
the rustic scene. Small-town girls were warned to beware of 
them, just as they were told to yield nothing to the smart 
brakemen who swung off and on the railroad cars so dashingly. 
The West awakened to the fact that Chicago, not New York 
or St. Louis or Cincinnati, was henceforth the center of its 
trade. 

Even when the national panic of '57 cast the country into 
despondency more spectacular than that of '37 or '47, Chicago 
seemed to suffer less than Eastern cities. True enough, twenty 
thousand of its workers faced starvation, while its warehouses 
were packed with produce that merely waited for higher prices ; 
true it was that 117 out of its 1,350 business establishments 
failed, but Chicago's business men stood close together, and 
their "drummers," although a little brash and far less numer- 
ous, kept plying the midlands and the great Northwest. With 
the cities crippled, the "drummers" concentrated on the farm- 
ers and their village merchants, thus winning to Chicago's 
markets many who had previously looked to New York* 

Fifty-six churches and eighty ballrooms were open. In the 
latter, bands played from morning to night, waltzing con- 
78 



tinuing without intermission. Two theaters displayed seduc- 
tive women in "tights" and "very short garments." Saloons 
closed the front door and drew the window-shades on Sunday, 
but kept the side door open and busy. Dogs roamed the streets 
as they did a generation before, biting many people. Newspa- 
pers said hydrophobia was too frequent. Smallpox still stalked, 
and the cholera came and went. 

Clark Street was paved from Lake to Polk with wood blocks 
in ? 59. In that year the horsecars appeared, running on State 
Street south to the city limits, on Madison and Randolph west 
nearly to the city's edge, on North Clark from the river to 
the boundary, also on Larrabee and Clybourne Avenues. 

Yet the Chicago Weekly Democrat was asking, "Why do so 
many children die in Chicago?" adding that "nine out of every 
ten quarts of milk come from cows fed on whiskey slops, with 
their bodies covered with sores and tails all eaten off." 

In 1860 Chicago shipped 31,108,759 bushels of grain; prop- 
erty had increased seventeen per cent, in four years, and stood 
at $37,053,512. 

A correspondent of the London Times, reporting the Amer- 
ican tour of the Prince of Wales that year, described Chicago 
as "an extraordinary melange of the Broadway of New York 
and little shanties, of Parisian buildings mixed some way with 
backwoods life." 

Charles Dudley Warner, deserting his lawyer's desk in Chi- 
cago that year for the East and authorship, carried with him 
a parting impression of "one of the shabbiest and most un- 
attractive of cities." He remembered that "its streets were mud 
sloughs, its sidewalks a series of more or less rotten planks. 
Half the town was in process of elevation above the tadpole 
level and a considerable part on wheels a moving house being 
about the only wheeled vehicle that could get around with any 
comfort to the passengers." 



79 



9 

When the distant world thought of Chicago, as it did so 
often in I860, it thought of crime, filth, outlandish indifference 
to culture, yet it thought more about Chicago's prodigious 
growth, and its incredible handling of Western commerce. 
British, as well as Eastern, newspapers were reprinting Bross' 
statistics and civic hallelujahs with exclamations of wonder. 
St. Louis and Cincinnati were still ahead sixty thousand each 
in population and were commercial giants, too. However, the 
world talked not of them, but of Chicago. They had had no 
"boosters" of Bross* genius. 

The town might be bold and bad, but it was rich, even con- 
sidering the panic, and it was thrilling ! 

Arrogant it was, already sneering at its older rivals of the 
West, as when the Chicago Times boasted, "Chicago is the half- 
way house on the great commercial thoroughfare across the 
continent. St. Louis is a way station on a side track. 55 But with 
this "blowing," as "boosting" was called in those days, went 
so much accomplishment that Eastern capitalists poured in 
the money with which the town's amazing railroad and in- 
dustrial progress was achieved. 

As Chicago came to the portcullis of the Civil War, it was 
apparent that the "boosters" had triumphed amazingly. Over 
in England, Richard Cobden would be reflecting Bross propa- 
ganda a little later when he would say to Goldwin Smith, as 
that Oxford professor set out across the Atlantic, "See two 
things in America, if nothing else Niagara and Chicago*" 



80 



CHAPTER VIII 



I 



T is the morning of May 16, 1860. 

Chicago, which has had its first convention thirteen years 
before at the River and Harbor meeting, is now to have the 
first of a spectacular series of national political conventions. 

To house the assemblage of the new Republican party that 
will nominate its candidate for the most portentous election in 
the republic's history, Chicago has erected a huge, ramshackle 
affair on Lake Street, where the old Sauganash Hotel once 
stood, a wooden shed, the "Great Wigwam," holding, it is esti- 
mated, from 10,000 to 20,000 people, so reckless are the statis- 
ticians. 

Chicago is excited over something more than the mere im- 
mensity of the throng ; it is afire with zeal for the Illinois can- 
didate, Abraham Lincoln. For days the common people of the 
Northwest have been streaming in on the railroads and plank 
roads. They too are whooping it up for the "Rail-Splitter," 
friend of the pioneer, the worker, and the poor man. Newspaper 
men think there are 4*0,000 of them in town. Mobs cheer around 
the Tremont House, where the Lincoln men cluster about the 
rugged David Davis, pioneer judge in Lincoln's circuit-riding 
days. 

The spirit of the Northwest grips the town, declaring that 

81 



the Republican party shall not be so priggish as the defunct 
Whigs, nor so Puritan and narrow as the Abolitionists. It must 
be a thing of the West of the common people. Straight whis- 
key, the drink of the pioneer, flows freely. Champagne suppers 
are given delegates who are to go away with everlasting dreams 
of that fiery, patrician delicacy. 

Over at the Richmond Hotel, on Michigan and South Water 
Street, is the headquarters of the Seward men William H. 
Seward, cultured, eloquent New Yorker, whom "thinking peo- 
ple" agree is obviously the best man to nominate. The Seward 
crowd has money, organization, brass bands, flags, and East- 
ern manners. 

The Lincoln managers are rougher in dress, more given to 
chewing tobacco ; their finances are low, but they have brains 
of superior cunning. 

While the Seward delegation with its followers parades the 
streets, cheering and singing to impress their candidate's dis- 
tinctions upon the people, Judge Davis and his backwoods 
politicians are packing the Wigwam with Lincoln partisans. 
Lank farmers are taking all available seats in the convention 
hall. They have been told to save their breath for the moment 
when Lincoln shall be nominated. On the roof Illinois men are 
mounting a cannon. On top of the Tremont Hotel, across town, 
they are mounting another. Odds in the convention are against 
them, but they are sure they will win. 

Up to the doors come the Seward paraders, their bands 
blaring. They cannot get in. At length the accredited dele- 
gates are squeezed through to their places, but only a hand- 
ful of the "workers/ 5 who have come West to stampede the 
convention for their candidate, can find standing room, 

William Evarts, the famous New York lawyer, nominates 
Seward in classic prose. The New York delegates shout and 
are joined by most Eastern delegates. But without the claque 
that cools its heels in the throng outside, the demonstration is 
disappointing. 

82 



Then comes to the platform Norman B. Judd, the Chicago 
lawyer, sharp, vigorous, practical, and when he has nominated 
Abraham Lincoln, the Wigwam shakes to prairie yells, split- 
ting thunder as against the pistol "pop" of the Seward ac- 
claim. Indiana seconds the name of Lincoln. A moment later 
the Ohio delegation splits, and a faction sends up a speaker to 
join Illinois and Indiana in proposing Lincoln. The yells dwarf 
those that have gone before. Governor Henry S. Lane of In- 
diana climbs up on the stand and does a comic, capering dance 
with hat and cane. 

"It wasn't a shout," one observer remembered later, "it was 
worse than a shout. It was an unbridled shriek such as I never 
heard before or since. It was almost unearthly. It made the 
Wigwam quiver. It made a cold sweat come out on the brows 
of the members of the New York delegation," 

At length the noise subsides. Other States put forth their 
favorite sons, Cameron, Bates, Dayton, Chase. The fight is 
between Seward and Lincoln, the East and the West. 

On the first ballot Seward has ITS 1 /^, Lincoln 10#; neces- 
sary to nominate $33. Lincoln's managers, deciding to dis- 
obey their candidate's express order that they keep his hands 
free of pre-nomination promises, offer Pennsylvania a place in 
the Cabinet if it will swing to Lincoln. Pennsylvania comes 
over. 

The clerk reads the third ballot Lincoln 331%, one and 
one-half votes from the goal. Ohio rises to change its vote, tak- 
ing four away from Chase and giving them to Lincoln. 

A man on the roof bellows to the street crowds, "Abe Lin- 
coln is nominated !" and the cannon on the roof fires, making 
the Wigwam rattle above the din of yelling Westerners. 

The cannon on top of the Tremont Hotel takes up the sa- 
lute and repeats it one hundred times, while Chicago turns it- 
self upside down with rapture. The telegraph shoots the word 
to the North and the South. In the East, radical anti-slavery 
men shake their heads, thinking that this man Lincoln is not 

83 



the Republican party shall not be so priggish as the defunct 
Whigs, nor so Puritan and narrow as the Abolitionists. It must 
be a thing of the West of the common people. Straight whis- 
key, the drink of the pioneer, flows freely. Champagne suppers 
are given delegates who are to go away with everlasting dreams 
of that fiery, patrician delicacy. 

Over at the Richmond Hotel, on Michigan and South Water 
Street, is the headquarters of the Seward men William H. 
Seward, cultured, eloquent New Yorker, whom "thinking peo- 
ple 5 ' agree is obviously the best man to nominate. The Seward 
crowd has money, organization, brass bands, flags, and East- 
ern manners. 

The Lincoln managers are rougher in dress, more given to 
chewing tobacco ; their finances are low, but they have brains 
of superior cunning. 

While the Seward delegation with its followers parades the 
streets, cheering and singing to impress their candidate's dis- 
tinctions upon the people, Judge Davis and his backwoods 
politicians are packing the Wigwam with Lincoln partisans. 
Lank farmers are taking all available seats in the convention 
hall. They have been told to save their breath for the moment 
when Lincoln shall be nominated. On the roof Illinois men are 
mounting a cannon. On top of the Tremont Hotel, across town, 
they are mounting another. Odds in the convention are against 
them, but they are sure they will win. 

Up to the doors come the Seward paraders, their bands 
blaring. They cannot get in. At length the accredited dele- 
gates are squeezed through to their places, but only a hand- 
ful of the "workers," who have come West to stampede the 
convention for their candidate, can find standing room. 

William Evarts, the famous New York lawyer, nominates 
Seward in classic prose. The New York delegates shout and 
are joined by most Eastern delegates. But without the claque 
that cools its heels in the throng outside, the demonstration is 
disappointing. 

82 



Then comes to the platform Norman B. Judd, the Chicago 
lawyer, sharp, vigorous, practical, and when he has nominated 
Abraham Lincoln, the Wigwam shakes to prairie yells, split- 
ting thunder as against the pistol "pop" of the Seward ac- 
claim. Indiana seconds the name of Lincoln. A moment later 
the Ohio delegation splits, and a faction sends up a speaker to 
join Illinois and Indiana in proposing Lincoln. The yells dwarf 
those that have gone before. Governor Henry S. Lane of In- 
diana climbs up on the stand and does a comic, capering dance 
with hat and cane. 

"It wasn't a shout," one observer remembered later, "it was 
worse than a shout. It was an unbridled shriek such as I never 
heard before or since. It was almost unearthly. It made the 
Wigwam quiver. It made a cold sweat come out on the brows 
of the members of the New York delegation." 

At length the noise subsides. Other States put forth their 
favorite sons, Cameron, Bates, Dayton, Chase. The fight is 
between Seward and Lincoln, the East and the West. 

On the first ballot Seward has 173%, Lincoln 102; neces- 
sary to nominate 233. Lincoln's managers, deciding to dis- 
obey their candidate's express order that they keep his hands 
free of pre-nomination promises, offer Pennsylvania a place in 
the Cabinet if it will swing to Lincoln. Pennsylvania comes 
over. 

The clerk reads the third ballot Lincoln 231%, one and 
one-half votes from the goal. Ohio rises to change its vote, tak- 
ing four away from Chase and giving them to Lincoln. 

A man on the roof bellows to the street crowds, "Abe Lin- 
coln is nominated !" and the cannon on the roof fires, making 
the Wigwam rattle above the din of yelling Westerners. 

The cannon on top of the Tremont Hotel takes up the sa- 
lute and repeats it one hundred times, while Chicago turns it- 
self upside down with rapture. The telegraph shoots the word 
to the North and the South. In the East, radical anti-slavery 
men shake their heads, thinking that this man Lincoln is not 

83 



going to be stern enough with the Southerners. "He is too 
weak, too uncouth, too simple-minded. He doesn't see the wick- 
edness of the slaveholders. They'll outwit him." 

In the West and Northwest the people are saying, "Abe Lin- 
coln hates slavery. He sees that it's morally wrong, but he isn't 
going to persecute the South on that account. The South isn't 
all to blame, Abe Lincoln won't free the slaves, as Seward 
might, and provoke war. All he'll do will be to preserve the 
Union and that's what we want." 

Down South the people make ready to follow their fire- 
brand politicians out of the Union. They have been told by 
their leaders that Lincoln, the "gorilla," will trample South- 
ern rights under foot, take the slaves away, confiscate prop- 
erty, loose the Northern rabble of "nigger lovers" to rule the 
proud old aristocracy of the South. Secession is the only an- 
swer as they see it. 



It is Chicago in November, 1860. 

Down the muddy streets come the "Wide Awakes," smartly 
drilled marching men young men in glazed fatigue-caps, 
capes of oilcloth, shining in the light of the gasoline torches 
that they carry. Behind them come other companies, simi- 
larly uniformed, but carrying long, thin fence-rails with lan- 
terns dangling from the ends and bearing portraits of their 
Rail-Splitter candidate. 

The Wide Awakes are Chicago's contribution to the Lincoln 
campaign. The whole North copies the idea a half-million 
youths have joined the semi-military bodies and travel to all 
the rallies for miles around their homes. 

Six months will pass, and most of these same young men 
will have changed the oilcloth uniforms to army blue, and in 
place of the torches and thin fence-rails they will be bearing 
Union muskets. 

Now in November Chicago has turned its back on "Steve" 
Douglas, whom it loves in spite of his heresies. It cannot vote 
84 



for him and his Northern Democratic party, which is for com- 
promising with the South. The slave-barons have gone too far. 
They must be curbed* Lincoln will hold them in check without, 
it is hoped, provoking them to war. Besides, "Steve" hasn't a 
chance. The Southern Democrats have broken away from him 
because he is too Northern. They will vote for Breckenridge on 
another Democratic ticket, one that clamors defiantly for 
Southern rights. 

At the polls Chicago is to go for Lincoln by almost 5,000 
majority, Illinois by 11,646. Nathaniel Pope's old dream has 
come true. Chicago has held the State to the North, although 
Mr. Lincoln, who will preserve the Union, is himself one of 
those Southern immigrants who have come up across the Ohio 
on that migration which Pope sought to offset when he kid- 
naped Chicago for Illinois. 



85 



CHAPTER, IX 



F 

JL c 



ORT SUMTER'S guns on April 13, 1861, announced disunion 
to the republic. There was no question as to how the native- 
born population of Chicago and northern Illinois would take 
the news. Yankee blood flung out the flag at the first echoes 
of those cannon down in South Carolina. 

Where the city's fifty thousand foreign-born would stand 
was a different matter. Would they risk their necks at the call 
of the Republicans, one great wing of whom had told all 
"aliens" that they were unfit to hold office in city, state, and 
nation? 

From the North Side came a reassuring answer. The Ger- 
mans, the Jews, themselves German, the Scandinavians, and 
the French overlooked past wrongs and for the sake of the 
anti-slavery cause supported the Union. 

Anxious eyes turned to the South Side, where lived the Irish* 
There the rub would come. As a unit the Irish had opposed the 
Abolitionists and all who planned to set the negro free. From 
the day that the average Irish immigrant landed in the New 
World he took this stand* He had fled poverty and starvation 
at home, and arriving in America without funds and without 
education, it was necessary that he work with Hs hands* Along 
the rivers this put him into competition with slave labor* Natu- 
86 



rally he became anxious to preserve race distinctions, and even 
after he had risen to boss other laborers, as he usually did 
within a remarkably short space of time, he held to the no- 
tion that slavery was the just thing for the colored man. This 
brought him, with his genius for politics, into the Democratic 
party, which would leave slavery alone. Furthermore that 
party, under the broadly human leadership of the Protestant 
Stephen A. Douglas, had welcomed the Irish Catholic new- 
comers into its ranks, while the Whigs, priggishly vain of the 
"old American stock," repelled them. 

Then when the Know-Nothings, preaching racial and reli- 
gious hatreds, joined with the Abolitionists in the newly form- 
ing Republican party, an Irishman was doubly a Democrat. 
It bound him to that party with bonds of rage when he heard 
Know-Nothings say, "The Roman Catholics are all Democrats 
because the Pope has ordered them to support the Southern 
slaveholders." 

Furthermore, any Chicago Irishman was living in the midst 
of unusual Abolitionist sentiment. Since the ? 40s Chicago had 
been called a "nigger-loving" town by Southerners. No other 
city, unless it be Philadelphia, was so kind to the colored mai^; 
In it terminated many lines on the "Underground Railroad," 
that semi-secret chain of Abolitionists who spirited runaway 
slaves from the Ohio River up through the midlands from 
house to house until they reached Chicago. Consignments of 
as many as fifteen and twenty fugitives went through the city 
at a time, boarding the lake boats, which took them to the 
safety of Canada. United States marshals trying to recapture 
this Southern property were mobbed by Chicago citizens while 
the police laughed. No slave was ever taken back once he 
reached the city. Freed negroes there were 1,500 in Chicago 
by 1860 openly menaced the Federal officers. In their debat- 
ing and literary societies the Chicago freedmen openly de- 
nounced the Fugitive Slave Law, which obligated citizens to 
help slave-owners recover their runaway chattels. 



Even "Steve" Douglas, whom Chicago loved and who was a 
true friend of the city, sneered at it as "Abolitionist Chicago." 
In the late summer of 1854, Douglas clashed with this spirit 
when he attempted to explain to the city his reasons for hav- 
ing introduced into the United States Senate the hated Kansas- 
Nebraska Bill. The Senator, anxious for Southern votes in his 
Presidential race, which was to come four years hence, had 
broken the old agreement which said that new States carved 
out of the Northwest should proscribe slavery. "Let the peo- 
ple rule," was the position of Douglas. "If they want slavery, 
let them have it." To the anti-slavery North this act seemed 
deepest treachery, and Douglas came back to Chicago from 
Washington by the light of his own burning effigies, as he de- 
scribed it. 

In North Market Hall, on Michigan near Clark, he ap- 
peared. Since six o'clock the church bells had tolled in pro- 
test against him. Flags all over town were at half-mast* What- 
ever applause there was to meet him was drowned in the hisses, 
groans, catcalls and boos of his enemies. The Irish, battling for 
him, were overwhelmed. Douglas squared his shoulders in the 
face of the tornado, shook his fist at it, and shouted that he'd 
stay till morning. 

"We won't go home until morning," answered the mob, sing- 
ing derisively. 

Both Douglas and the mob kept their word. After midnight 
he gave up, roaring: 

"It is now Sunday morning I'll go to church and you may 



GO TO HELL." 



Only his perfect fearlessness kept the crowd from killing 
him, cool observers thought. If the Irish needed nothing else 
to make them idolize Douglas, his actions that night were 
enough. They voted almost solidly for him and against Lin- 
coln in 1860, believing that the Republicans were bent on free* 
88 



ing the negro and proscribing opportunity for the "foreign 
born." 

Now in the Spring of 1861 Lincoln was calling upon them 
to fight for the Union which he represented. It warmed "native- 
born" hearts perhaps made them blush a little for the past 
to read the poster that, on April 20, spoke the Irish answer: 

"RALLY! All Irishmen in favor of forming a regiment of 
Irish Volunteers to sustain the Government of the United 
States, in and through the present war, will rally at North 
Market Hall, this evening, April 20th. Come all! For the 
honor of the Old Land, Rally ! Rally ! for the defense of the 
New." 

It was signed by James A. Mulligan, Alderman Comiskey 
and a dozen others, including "Mike" McDonald, the gambler. 
In two hours three hundred and twenty-five men, many of them 
veterans of European wars, had signed, and a week after the 
first news had come "The Irish Brigade," with Mulligan as 
colonel, was waiting in green shirts, fuming because the Illi- 
nois quota had already been filled. 

By April 25th, the Irish as a bloc were pro-war, for their 
idol, "Steve" Douglas, had come home from Washington to 
whip his followers into Lincoln's line. "No one can be a true 
Democrat without being a patriot," Douglas declared, assail- 
ing secession with all his unmatched eloquence. 

The Little Giant had laid aside all thoughts of self and of 
his ancient rivalry with Lincoln. Like any soldier, he began 
fighting, forgetful of his career, his former power, his disap- 
pointment at losing the Presidency. Not long did he spend his 
energy on Chicago Democrats ; they were already loyal. Doug- 
las* problem lay in southern Illinois, where the sons of Vir- 
ginia pioneers were declaring for the South in open mass- 
meetings. Williamson County had declared itself for the split- 
ting of Illinois. "Egypt" would attach itself to the Confed- 
eracy. Congressman John A. Logan, whose father had come 
from the "ould sod," had stirred Franklin County with a 

89 



speech in which he compared the Southern seceders with the 
Revolutionary heroes of 1776- 

Logan's law partner, William H. Green, had announced 
that the people of southern Illinois "would stand like a wall 
of fire against any attempt to invade the North/' but that "if 
the North marches upon the South, her forces will be met 
upon the prairie and made to walk over dead bodies of the 
men who will meet them." Ex-Governor John Reynolds was 
telling the Egyptians that "before God and man, the revolu- 
tion in the South is the greatest demonstration of human great- 
ness and grandeur that was ever performed on the globe/' 

Douglas met such sentiment head on. To the State Legis- 
lature and to crowds over the State he spoke as he had never 
spoken before, arguing, pleading for loyalty. Illinois, for all 
that it had voted him down four months earlier, loved him 
better than any man of that day, and under his spell those 
who had once been Kentuckians, Virginians, or North Caro- 
linians stood for the Union. 

Tragically for Lincoln, his old rival Douglas, now a sup- 
porter, wore himself out in this feverish speaking-campaign, 
and by June was dead, his life given for the Union cause as 
truly as those of the soldiers who fell before secession bullets 
himself a greater loss to the North than the battle of Bull Run. 

But he had done enough to hold southern Illinois in the 
Union. His friend Logan "Dirty Work" Logan, as the Re- 
publicans had called him for the unscrupulous work against 
Lincoln in the campaign of 1860 was joining the Union army 
even as Douglas died. He soon would be the chief volunteer 
soldier of the North, and a major-general Massac County, 
where William Green had said the citizens would fight North- 
ern armies, had begun to overcrowd its Union quotas. In the 
nest four years it would put four-fifths of its voters in bltie 
uniforms. The Cairo region, hotbed of secession sympathy, had 
sent companies to join the South, it was true, but it had sent 
many more to join the North, and would by the end of the 
90 



conflict have furnished more fighters to the Union army per 
quota than had "Abolitionist Chicago." 

3 

Three weeks after the first drums rolled, Chicago had en- 
listed thirty-eight companies, 3,500 men in all. Its banks had 
offered Governor Yates a half -million dollars. Its soldiers were 
spiriting guns and ammunition by night out of the beleaguered 
government arsenal at St. Louis. Its crack militia company, 
Ellsworth's Zouaves, was making ready, although its organ- 
izer, Elmer E. Ellsworth, had gone East to lead a similar body 
South, and had fallen hauling down the "rebel" flag at Alex- 
andria, Virginia, first man to die in the Civil War. 

By July, Illinois had enrolled four times as many troops as 
could be accepted, and by September, The Irish Brigade had 
set Chicago cheering with its exploits at Lexington, Missouri. 

Sixty acres at 34th and Cottage Grove, opposite the grounds 
of the first University of Chicago, which had also been a part 
of the Douglas estate, were opened as a camp in September, 
and as Camp Douglas it remained until the end of the war, 
used both as a training-ground and as a prison for the cap- 
tured Confederates, of whom as many as ten thousand were 
often confined between its thin stockade of one-inch boards. 

In October, forty-three regiments were in service, more than 
New York State could boast. Thousands of youngsters from 
Illinois and Chicago, impatient at delay, had joined Wiscon- 
sin, Michigan, Missouri, or Indiana regiments in order to get 
to the front. The State had, in that month, seventy-three thou- 
sand men under arms. All classes, all creeds, were represented. 
The Jews of Chicago in 1862 raised and armed a company. 

Four years later, when the war was done and the provost 
marshal was checking up on his statistics, it was found that 
Illinois had sent 231,488 men into the Northern army, a show- 
ing that was, on the basis of population, far above that of any 

91 



other State. Only a handful of men in a few townships had 
been drafted, and that was an act savagely attacked at the 
time as a clumsy mistake on the part of the provost marshal, 
who had ignored the fact that the State was then well above 
its quota. 

Chicago had sent fifteen thousand men out of a population 
that numbered one hundred thousand in 1861 and one hun- 
dred and seventy thousand in 1865. Of these fifty-eight were 
conscripts. During the war Chicago had introduced the sani- 
tary fairs, most effective of all civilian devices for raising funds 
with which to aid sick and wounded soldiers. Its two fairs, the 
first in '63 and the second in '65, collected something like a half 
million dollars, while those of other cities, held in imitation, 
swelled the total of Union relief to five million. 

4 

The city which had stood still in numbers since the panic of 
'57 reeled, like all other American cities, under the impact of 
that first year of war. Then in '62 it held 138,186 people, 
and by '64 it had climbed to a total of 169,353, More signifi- 
cant was its export of grain, which in 1859 had been 16V 
000,000 bushels and which had risen in 1860 to 31,000,000. 
In that first year of war, the figure soared to 50,000,000 bush- 
els and in '62 to 65,4*00,000. 

Cyrus McCormick, the Chicago Reaper-King, was respon- 
sible for that. 

As the war began, it found the prairies full of wheat and 
McCormick reapers. His Chicago factory hummed. And as 
the war progressed, drawing off every third man for the army, 
wheat production went up instead of down European econo* 
mists saying that the thing couldn't be true. They did not 
yet appreciate the reaper. If the negroes did the work behind 
the lines for the Confederates, the reaper did it for the Yan- 
kees. The duel between the wheat States and the cotton States 
was on, with the North using the invention of a Virginian and 
92 



the South using the invention of a Northerner Eli Whitney 
of New England having supplied the cotton gin for the "Cot- 
ton Kingdom." 

Stanton, Lincoln's Secretary of War, said in 1861 r "With- 
out McCormick's invention, I feel the North could not win and 
that the Union would be dismembered." 

With cotton disappearing from the markets, Eastern capi- 
tal turned to the West, where the new giants, wheat, corn, and 
hogs, were provisioning the army and where new myriads of 
workers in factories turned out sinews of war. Money had all 
but collapsed in the West, owing to the ruin of Southern se- 
curities, which had been widely held there. Chicago bankers, 
those who weathered the storm, plunged into the new fields and 
with the establishment of a government purchasing agency 
there waxed fat. Factories multiplied. The city was safe 
from invasion and yet close, by means of the railroads, to the 
whole front. People in Missouri, Kentucky, lower Indiana, 
Illinois and Ohio, dreading the cavalry raids that threatened, 
made their investments in Chicago. 

Taking a hint from McCormick's triumph, Chicago manu- 
facturers began making other kinds of farm implements, which 
the short-handed prairie farmers bought avidly. Speculation 
kept the town in a turmoil that often threatened to overshadow 
the war. Fortunes were made. Men who had walked to work 
in 1860 drove about town in fine carriages in '63. Canadians 
streamed down into the city to get the war wages. 

The four-year war added over seventy per cent, to the city's 
population and over ninety per cent, to its property values. 
Taxes rose almost four hundred per cent. 

More dramatic to the life of Chicago than any battles on the 
distant front was the fact that in the winter of 1862-1863 the 
city became "hog-butcher of the world," as its chief poet of the 
following century would sing. Nine hundred thousand hogs 
were packed in three months one-third of all those killed in 
the West, and a number that dwarfed anything like it on earth. 
Cincinnati was "Porkopolis" no longer. Where in '60 Chicago 

93 



killed but half as many hogs as "The Queen City," it had, 
in the winter of ? 63- 5 64, killed almost three times as many. 

With that promptness in cooperation which made other cit- 
ies look on with envy, Chicago business men in 1863 and '64 
held conclaves to better the packing-situation. Up to then 
each packer had bought his hogs and cattle from independent 
yards, widely scattered. Prices had been hectic. Trade might 
swamp one yard while another was empty. The railroad men 
lost profits in switching carloads of animals here and there. 
Eastern roads, groaning with the packed meat that would sup- 
ply the seaboard and Europe, wanted organization at the 
source. 

So in 1864 the Union Stock Yards were laid out on paper 
and the capital stock, one million dollars, was immediately sub- 
scribed, the nine railroads terminating in the city taking 
$925,000 worth. Out beyond the southwestern limits of the city, 
four miles from the downtown section, the Yards were begun 
on a square mile of land whose level was two feet below the 
river. 

Chicago would lay down a better city for hogs and cattle 
than for humans. Thirty-one miles of sewers turned the quag- 
mire into land hard and dry. Seven miles of streets and alleys 
were laid in wood blocks for the hoofs of the animals three 
hundred and forty-five acres turned into a town* methodical, 
convenient, sanitary. 

When it was opened on Christmas Day, 1865, it was large 
enough to accommodate 75,000 hogs, 21,000 cattle, 22,000 
sheep, 200 horses, all together 118,200 anirf&ls. Three miles 
of troughs brought clear artesian water from a well a thou- 
sand feet deep for the herds there, while back in the city people 
drank lake water which the Chicago Tribume was to describe as 
a "nuisance that has made Chicago scarcely endurable* * * * 
There is no room to doubt that a large proportion of diseases 
of the alimentary canal, which figure so largely in the death 
rate of this city, are due to the use of the nasty staff, for being 
poisoned with which the people of Chicago pay such heavy 
94 



water rates. Longer poisoning with the filthy slush, miscalled 
water, is not only unnecessary, but sinful." 

One thousand men at a time worked on the nine railways as 
they came into the yards, each road owning a thousand feet of 
platform, onto which, by double chutes, both top and bottom 
tiers of hog cars could simultaneously unload. 

Back in the city the depots for Chicago and the traveling 
world were already outgrown. 

The new-rich appeared on the scene. Fat with war profits, 
manufacturers and merchants began to build mansions in the 
suburbs. In *63 the city spread out to a new area of twenty- 
four square miles. In ? 64< not less than six thousand buildings, 
costing $4,700,000, went up a slight increase over the figures 
of the year before. Public buildings were erected* The built- 
over area of the city doubled in the two years. 

In 1860 only five streets could boast of buildings as far out 
from town as two and a half miles. Clark and State, running 
north and south, had them, so did Madison, Randolph and 
Lake to the west, but outside of these scattering houses, noth- 
ing ventured further than a mile and a half from the Court 
House. By 1865 the city had well settled eighteen square 
miles, and occupied all streets to a distance of three miles from 
the center along the five main streets much further. 

Chicagoans could afford stone fronts now; iron office build- 
ings appeared. Stone sidewalks were laid downtown. The 
banks established their first clearing-house in ? 65. The Cham- 
ber of Commerce building went up at Washington and La- 
Salle, and the Board of Trade with its fourteen hundred mem- 
bers was housed there. Grain shipments in 5 66 stood at over 
sixty-six million bushels, more than twice the figure for 1860. 

The city, rich at last, increased its sewer mileage to seventy- 
five. The sewers both helped and hurt. They emptied into 
the river and the river emptied into the lake. As from old 
days, Garlic Creek had a terrific odor. Factories and docks 
multiplied along the banks, and up until the opening of the 
Stock Yards, the slaughter-houses grouped there, stifling the; 

95 



various sections of the city according as the wind chose to blow. 
The shallows in front of the city were contaminated by the 
horrible waters of the river, while only six hundred feet from 
shore stood the crib through whose wooden inlet the city had 
pumped drinking water since 1853. Disease was so common 
that in 1862 the position of health officer was created and a 
policeman appointed to fill the job. 

"At times the stench in dwellings from the fearful water 
was intolerable," wrote two editors of the Tribune, as they 
later recalled the '60s. "It was not only black, with a shocking 
odor, it was greasy to the touch." 

Vainly the city had been trying to solve its drainage prob- 
lem by use of the canal pumps at Bridgeport. It was thought 
that the machinery which lifted Chicago River water into the 
Illinois and Michigan Canal could be made to pump fast 
enough to create a backward current in the river. Then the 
stream could cleanse itself. But the pumps, suck and cough 
as they would, could never quite keep ahead of the fresh 
floods of refuse which the city growing so rapidly dumped 
into the river. Less than a year after the new drainage "solu- 
tion" had been reached, Garlic Creek was foul enough to be 
blamed for an epidemic of erysipelas that gripped the town. 

On March 18, 1864, ground was broken for a venture which 
Chicago was to proclaim as another one of the wonders of the 
world the lake tunnel. Out into the lake a tunnel five feet 
square was laid from the foot of Chicago Avenue, twenty-six 
feet under the surface and sloping downward and outward for 
a distance of two miles. Nineteen months later a monster crib 
was there anchored and attached. To stand the lake storms 
this crib was weighted down with 4,500 tons of stone* Mule 
cars brought excavated material through the tunnel back to 
shore and returned with brick and cement. Scows plied to and 
from the crib. Engineers across the world wondered about the 
thing. Newspapers stormed because It took so long, The 
death rate in the city was shameful. 

Not until March, 1867, was it ready. Then, after civic cere* 
96 



monies, the pumps were set to work sending pure water, at 
last, through the one hundred and fifty-four miles of pipe 
which the city had waiting. Chicago showed its gratitude by 
using three million gallons more a day than it had under the 
old system, giving rise to the suspicion that its bathing must 
have been somewhat curtailed in the past. 



As the war period came to an end, Chicago's "boosters' 5 were 
louder than ever. They were too numerous to need Bross' pio- 
neering spirit, as they trumpeted their city's supremacies into 
the ears of a world which already knew and talked of Chicago's 
unbelievable progress during the years of destruction and 
wastage. 

In crime, that other item of its world-fame, the city had 
gained in equal measure. More than ever it was the wickedest 
place in the world to speakers and writers from other cities. 
Quite likely they were correct, for the war had brought in 
"bad men" from all over the West thugs, vagrants, sluggers, 
yeggs, pickpockets, confidence men attracted to the city by 
the tales of riches and of bounties for army recruits. Cook 
County, which Chicago dominated, was paying $300 to men 
who would enlist, help fill the quota, and thus prevent the ne- 
cessity of conscription, and by '64 the figure was raised to 
$400. "Bounty-brokers" and "bounty- jumpers" became com- 
mon. The former were dealers in flesh, who took commissions 
for placing men where they would command the highest cash 
return, and the latter were professionals who made it a prac- 
tice to desert shortly after having accepted the bounty, in 
order to return and repeat the process under another name in 
another regiment. 

The railroads centered criminals in Chicago. Around Roger 
Plant's resort at Wells and Monroe Streets, poetically called 
"Under the Willow," they nested with prostitutes. Every 
window-shade of Roger's establishment bore the legend in gilt 

97 



letters "Why Not? 55 Andy Routzang's saloon on Clark near 
Van Buren kept the police in a frenzy. The river was lined 
with "as desperate a class of men as ever disgraced a city," the 
police maintained. 

In "Conley's Patch," a group of shanties at Adams and 
Franklin Streets, flourished the "Bengal Tigeress," a gigantic 
procuress who catered to sailors. So powerful was she that it 
required four or five policemen to drag her to the station. No 
patrol wagons existed, a handicap which forced policemen to 
commandeer any sort of vehicle at hand for the transportation 
pf drunken or unconscious prisoners. One Lieutenant Beadell 
acquired fame by bringing Jimmy Kilf oil, notorious criminal, 
downtown two miles in a wheelbarrow. 

The central section of the city was alive with street-walkers, 
whom the slang of the times named "chippies." The Tribune 
estimated their number at two thousand. Many of them kept 
their parlors on the fourth floors of the office buildings which 
had risen so thickly. Since there were no elevators, these upper 
floors were too high for business customers to reach by stair- 
ways, and were rented to the ladies of leisure. Policemen let 
street solicitations go on without disapproval "Waterford 
Jack," eminent adventuress, was best known of her land. 

Lou Harper's establishment at 219 Monroe Street was the 
city's most splendid "parlor-house," and because it discarded 
the traditional red window-curtains and gigantic house-numer- 
als of its kind, it was popular with those young men who set 
the fashion in the half -world* Its sole advertisement was the 
neat letters "Miss Lou Harper." 

It was in this palace of sin that Carrie Watson, who was to 
become a notorious "madame," had her Chicago beginnings* 
Carrie had come from Buffalo to be one of Lou Harper's girls, 
and soon attracted the favor of Al Smith, the proprietor of the 
gambling house at 91 Clark Street. With APs funds, Carrie 
established the gaudy brothel at 441 Clark Street that was 
famous clear up to the World's Fair in *9S* 

South of Van Buren were other elegant bawdy-houses, 
98 



among them at Clark and Polk that of Lizzie Allen, who was 
to hold forth past the turn of the century, second only in 
transcontinental notoriety to that of the Everleigh Sisters, 
Minnie and Ada. 

With the "red light" district so close to the business section 
of the city, and with cheap boarding-houses full of young 
bachelor clerks and workmen standing within or close to the 
downtown center, Chicago's sins were apparent to all travelers. 
Few visitors could escape the sight of "Gamblers Row" on Ran- 
dolph Street between State and Clark, and along Clark to 
Monroe. Prank Connelly's "Senate" was the show place of the 
district, while out toward the river were scores of lower dens. 
Keno was the game and so popular was it that at times crowds 
blocked the streets outside the halls. 

When the street-lamps were lit and the downtown section 
blazing, the gamblers, picturesque dogs in the main, from the 
Mississippi River boats, were the city's most conspicuous 
figures. Farm boys who had poured into the city to work. 
Eastern youths who had come to the magnetic new city, gaped 
at them admiringly and copied their clothes and manners. 

The war had driven this gentry from the steamboats, where 
they had thrived so long, and Chicago, booming sensationally, 
had attracted them. Southern they were, and feeling their 
power, hesitated not at all to talk "rebel talk" in the saloons 
and first-floor gambling-houses. Indeed, it was said that of all 
the resorts for men-about-town the Tremont House was almost 
the sole spot where unadulterated Union talk could be heard. 

Amusements were few, athletic sports non-existent the men 
outnumbered the women hopelessly. What was there for 
Chicago, so full of money, to do of evenings but gamble? 
Wages in the latter half of the war period were high. Soldiers 
delirious with the joy of escape kept pouring into town as their 
varying terms of enlistment closed, to spend their pay in one 
fling before reenlisting or going home to the farm. The police 
grafted liberally. Raids were occasional, drastic, and soon for- 
gotten, 

99 



"War widows" were plentiful. That nickname was applied 
to erring wives of absent soldiers as well as to the women who, 
at their husbands' deaths in camp or battle, turned to the 
easiest road of self-support. 

Among the prostitutes the gamblers were kings to be fought 
for. The black-legs, as the gamesters were called, were notori- 
ously generous, maintaining their mistresses in fine quarters 
at Lou Harper's, Lizzie Watson's, Nellie Costello's or other 
parlor-houses. They delighted to ride about town in grand 
victorias, their strumpets beside them. 

With money, liquor, and women all so free to hand, fights 
were common among the gamblers. That stretch on Randolph 
between Clark and State was known as "Hair-trigger Block," 
as a result of its many shootings. In this block occurred, at the 
war's end, a killing which pointed up Chicago's ill fame from 
the Atlantic to the Rockies. 

Horse-racing had sprung up and with it, George Trussell, 
former bookkeeper in a Chicago bank, had risen to prominence. 
As half-owner of Dexter, the nation's greatest race-horse of 
that day Dexter who had gone a mile in "two-eighteen" with 
Budd Doble up Trussell was national news. The country, in 
its reaction from war horrors, was frivolous, and across it, in 
September 1866, eyes scanned the papers eagerly to see the 
results of the races between Dexter, General Butler, Medoc, 
Cooley, and George M. Patchen, Jr., at the recently opened 
Chicago Driving Park. 

Around the track and paddock clustered the racing-men, 
gamblers, "sports," and their lights-of-love, the latter a gay 
spectacle in their multi-colored dresses and spread of parasols* 
With them mingled many of Chicago's first business men. 
Trussell, silent, hawk-faced, slim, and military of bearing, was 
the social lion of the day, but his familiar consort, Mollie, who 
was or was not his wife, was not with him* They had quarrelled, 
Trussell had wearied of her. 

Ten years before, Mollie, after having been seduced In 
Columbus, Ohio, had come to Chicago as a chambermaid. Not 
100 



long did she cling to a broom, however, for her gayety and 
figure made her a favorite with the fast young men of the town. 
She had a child, whom she soon put in school at South Bend, 
Indiana, where, so the newspapers had it, the youngster grew 
up in ignorance of its mother's profession. Before long Mollie 
had become attached to George Trussell, the romantic dream 
of a prostitute's heart. In 5 64< she branched out as a "madame" 
of a parlor-house on Fourth Avenue, and was so occupied when 
Trussell made his attempt to forsake her. 

On the night after the grand opening of the Driving Park 
track, Mollie, perhaps especially jealous of Trussell's enthu- 
siasm for Dexter, put on "a gorgeous white moire dress, 55 as 
the newspapers described it, and went down Gambler's Row 
looking for her man. In a saloon she found him. He pushed 
her toward the door, where she twisted out of his grasp, and, 
drawing a pistol, shot him, after which she fell upon his body, 
shrieking, "Oh, my George, my George! He is dead!" 

It was a glamorous tragedy for the whole country to read, 
and to fasten onto that wicked city, Chicago, and an early 
sign of the chivalry of Cook County juries when Mollie went 
free. 

Scarcely less famous was the murder at the Chicago Driving 
Park two weeks after Trussell's death. General Butler with 
Driver McKeaver in the sulky behind, was racing Cooley, 
whose reins were held by Riley famous horses and crack 
horsemen. Three heats they went to a tie. A fourth was run, 
even though twilight hid them from the judges' stand as they 
went round the back course. As they thundered out of the 
darkness toward the wire, it was seen that General Butler's 
driver was missing. McKeaver was found on the far stretch, his 
skull crushed by a stone. All bets were declared off and the 
coroner's jury found that the thing had been done by "persons 
unknown. 55 



101 



Numerous as they were, the Southern gamblers were not 
enough to give Chicago anything more than a superficial 
appearance of sympathizing with the Confederacy. Deeper 
into the body of the city ran the disaffection of the majority 
of the Irish and other inheritors of the Douglas tradition, 

Lincoln himself alienated them in the Fall of 1862 with his 
Emancipation Proclamation, which freed the slaves in Con- 
federate States. They felt that the President had got them 
to fight for the Union and then, when once they were committed 
to the cause, had switched war aims, making them fight for 
the liberation of the negro. 

When news of a Confederate victory was announced, Archer 
Road, where their chief colony lay, would celebrate. In the 
Bridgeport region, where they clustered, they found an outlet 
for their feelings in chasing any unwary colored man who 
unluckily passed at such a time. Nevertheless, many, perhaps 
a majority, grimly held to the Union in spite of a feeling 
that Lincoln had "duped" them. Their men in the field still 
carried on. 

News of a Union victory, coming all too seldom in those first 
years of war, set the North Side alight with torches and re- 
. sounding with bells as the Germans voiced their elation, while 
from the South Side, where the Irish dwelt, there was silence 
upon all such occasions. During 1863, Chicago lay within the 
jurisdiction of General Ambrose E. Burnside, famous for his 
sideburns, for his inventions in firearms, his nobility of char- 
acter, and his military mistakes. Maddened by anti-war senti- 
ments of the Times, he ordered it suppressed, and soldiers 
from Camp Douglas out at 34th and Cottage Grove marched 
downtown on June 1, 1863, and seized the plant. Imme- 
diately two mobs gathered, one of "Copperheads," as anti-war 
Democrats were called, the other of uncompromising Union 
men. The former was all for marching against the pro-war 



Tribune and dismantling it in retaliation. The latter was for 
breaking "pro-Southern" heads. 

Twenty thousand people were on the street, it was estimated, 
that night when the Copperheads made speeches on the Court 
House Square. In the Court room of Judge Van H. Higgins, 
conservative leaders of both parties were meeting. The Judge 
was a stockholder in the Tribune, and didn't want it burned 
down. The police, under a Democratic administration, were 
with the Copperheads. Judge Higgins, Lyman Trumbull, Con- 
gressman Isaac N. Arnold, representing the Republicans, par- 
leyed with William B. Ogden, S. S. Hayes, A. W. Arrington, 
and M. F. Tuley of the Democrats, and telegraphed resolu- 
tions to the President asking him to revoke Burnside's order. 
The spirit of the town was against any suppression of free 
speech. 

While they awaited Lincoln's answer, the Republican mob 
rejoiced to hear that Colonel Jennison, Western desperado and 
lieutenant of John Brown in the days of "bleeding Kansas," 
would defend the Tribune plant. Jennison, dressed like a cow- 
boy, was a familiar man about town, and reputedly a willing 
killer. The tale ran through the town that Jennison had put 
armed men in all the lofts around the Tribune and that at a 
signal from that plant, where he was stationed, Clark Street 
would be carpeted with Copperhead corpses. 

At news of Jennison's preparations, confidence, even arro- 
gance, swept thousands of Republicans into a mass-meeting, in 
which they denounced their leaders for having asked Lincoln 
to withdraw the ban against the Times. "You're a traitor," 
they howled at Senator Trumbull. "We want Jennison. Jen- 
nison's the man for us." But on June 4th, Lincoln's order came 
rescinding Burnside's edict and the crisis was over. Union 
victories at Vicksburg and Gettysburg within a month carried 
immense numbers of the Copperheads over into the pro-war 
camp. 

Not until August, 1864, did Chicago tremble again for its 
safety. 

103 



At that time the Democratic National Convention brought 
an immense body of anti-war Northerners to the city. Val- 
landingham of Ohio, but lately exiled from the North for his 
attacks upon Lincoln, was the center of enthusiastic Democ- 
racy. At the Sherman House, where he put up, crowds pressed 
to see him, anxious to commend his stand against a continua- 
tion of the bloody, "useless" war. Two years before, the Demo- 
crats had made tremendous gains in the "off-year" elections. 
Now, from the eagerness with which the people, weary of the 
indecisive struggle, seemed to be welcoming the campaign for 
peace, it seemed that Lincoln was doomed to be defeated for 
reelection that Fall. 

Long John Wentworth, originally a Democrat but since 
1860 a Union Republican, stepped into the breach so far as 
Chicago was concerned. He challenged Vallandingham to a 
debate on the Court House Square, and worsted him pro- 
digiously. The local tide was turned, but the Union men were 
still worried, for a fearsome rumor was over the town. It 
said, "The Sons of Liberty are rising." This dread organiza- 
tion was a secret society of anti-war Democrats that had 
grown out of a similar but smaller lodge, the Knights of the 
Golden Circle. Into it, across the North, had gone Copper- 
heads, Southern sympathizer riff-raff, and solid citizens alike* 
Many patriotic men had joined it from no other reason than 
to have some moral force against the petty tyrannies that the 
super-patriots of the Republican party were forcing on their 
enemies. The Republican citizens, through their secret organi- 
zation of Union Leagues, were often overbearing toward their 
political enemies and so strengthened the Sons of Liberty. 

Aid and comfort to "draft-dodgers," to escaping Confed- 
erate prisoners, and to anti-war propagandists came out of 
enough Copperhead lodges to create a gigantic "scare" now 
and then in the North. The Chicago chapter was supposed to 
hold desperate cabals in the dead of night at its clubrooms on 
the top floor of the McCormick Block at Dearborn and Ran- 
104 



dolph Streets. And when the city was full of Democrats in 
August, 1864, a horrible plot was scented in that loft. 

United States Government detectives spread the word that 
at the height of the convention fervor, thousands of Sons of 
Liberty, armed to the teeth, would set free the eight thousand 
Confederate prisoners who cooled their heels at Camp Douglas. 
Then, joining forces with this Southern army, they would raid 
the banks, burn the town, and march down through Illinois, 
merging with other Sons of Liberty until with so great an 
army they could force the North to capitulate and declare the 
war at an end. 

To Chicagoans this fantastic tale seemed likely enough, for 
Camp Douglas had been a worry to them ever since "Rebel" 
captives had been brought there early in 1861. The prisoners 
were always working their way out of the wooden stockade in 
ones, twos, threes, or more, and although few got out of town, 
they were a reminder that some day a giant jail-delivery might 
be effected. Now in August, '64, only 736 Union soldiers, and 
they members of the Veterans' Reserve Corps, older men, were 
guarding 8,350 prisoners. Considering how the town had con- 
tributed food and clothing to the shivering captives in the 
early part of the war, it felt outraged at the danger of an 
uprising. 

The story of the conspiracy as they listened to it was de- 
tailed. Jacob Thompson, Confederate agent in Canada, had 
sent bold desperados into town with bags of gold. "General" 
Charles Walsh, head of the Chicago Sons of Liberty, was 
handling the collection of firearms. 

Wildly Chicago telegraphed the Government for protection 
and, while the Democratic Convention indulged itself in abuse 
of Lincoln, calls for peace, and a general clamor for the res- 
toration of civil liberties, the 109th Pennsylvania Infantry, 
less than a thousand strong, marched in and sat down on 
Camp Douglas to await the fun. 

Nothing happened. The convention, after all its fevered 

105 



talk, ignored Vallandingham and nominated for President 
George B. McClellan, the Union general, who it knew would 
repudiate its plank calling for peace. 

Detectives arrested a half-dozen leaders of the Sons of Lib- 
erty, including "General" Walsh, and some Kentucky members 
of General Morgan's raider-band. In January at Cincinnati 
they were convicted of conspiracy, but were released when 
Spring brought the collapse of the Confederacy. In time 
Chicago felt a little sheepish at having been frightened by the 
childish hocus-pocus of the Sons of Liberty. 



106 



CHAPTER X 



W, 



HEN the war was done, Chicago looked at itself in delight 
and amazement. Then it peered across the prairies at its old 
rivals, Cincinnati and St. Louis, and let out a whoop of ela- 
tion. In the hurlyburly of the last four years it had passed 
the former in population and was now hard on the heels of 
the latter. The Queen City was down and the River Queen 
was weakening. Hail to the Queen of the Lakes. 

It was St. Louis that Chicago was after. The two cities hated 
each other, always had, always would. Chicago felt that, in 
spite of the Germans who had held northern Missouri to the 
Union, St. Louis was Southern, and Chicago, seeing how 
ephemeral had been its own anti-war spoutings, knew itself to 
be Yankee. 

St. Louis, wealthy and contented, had rested on its oars while 
Chicago had promoted capital with which to forge onward. 
When St. Louis sneered at Chicago for having contributed no 
money to the building of its railroads, Chicago answered that 
it didn't have to, that it was so wonderful that Eastern bankers 
were glad to invest in its future. 

As a matter of fact, Chicago, so poor in cash, had been 
forced to seek outside help. Ugly and dirty, it had been com- 
pelled to fight desperately to be noticed. Its very deficiencies 

107 



had made it all the more eager to realize its destiny as center 
of the Northwest. 

As early as 1861 the St. Louis newspapers were warning 
their readers that Chicago was taking from it each year 
200,000 barrels of flour, 400,000 bushels of wheat, and 17,000 
barrels of whiskey. 

The Chicago and Alton Railroad, which had connected the 
two cities in '54, had in the last of the decade, by additional 
spurs, gone far South, tapping the rich agricultural region 
between Jacksonville and Monticello for Chicago's benefit. The 
lake city drew trade from within fifty miles of the river city, 
paying higher prices for produce and charging less for goods 
bought in return. All around and past St. Louis into the West 
went roads that fed Chicago's markets. Iowa, Kansas, and 
eventually Nebraska sent their products to the Chicago roads, 
notably the Burlington and Rock Island. 

St. Louis newspapers alternately berated both cities, itself 
for sloth and Chicago for grasping egotism. Henry Cobb, a 
St. Louis booster, writing to the Missouri Republican on 
November 26, 1867, called his city the Samson of the com- 
mercial realm from Allegheny to the Rocky Mountains, a 
strong man fallen a sleepy victim to the artful Delilah, 
Chicago. 

"Chicago, the tool of the Philistines in the East who were 
jealous of the strength of St. Louis," he wrote, "Chicago, the 
Delilah, has been furnished with money by the lords of Eastern 
capital for shaving St. Louis of his strength, in cutting off 
by means of iron railways the trade on his rivers, 

"Not only is the trade of the upper Mississippi River, from 
St. Paul to Hannibal in Missouri, cut off from St. Louis by 
Chicago, but also the trade of the Missouri River from St. 
Joseph to Omaha, and even the Rocky Mountains ; not only is 
the trade of the Lower Mississippi, in winter cut off by the 
same hand, using the Illinois Central Railway, but even the 
trade of the Ohio River at Pittsburgh is this day being clipped 
108 



by the Fort Wayne and Chicago Railway (part of the Penn- 
sylvania Railroad system). 55 

Bitter humiliation it was for St. Louis to find the iron for 
Missouri railroads diverted from more direct routes to one by 
way of Chicago. 

"The Chicago capitalists," said Cobb, "are bridging the 
Mississippi River at Quincy, and even the Missouri River at 
Kansas City, and propose to draw off the trade not only of 
our Missouri Pacific Road, but also of the Southwest, even 
daringly striking at the center of our State through Boone- 
ville and Sedalia." 



Answering St. Louis point by point with patronizing con- 
fidence, John Stephen Wright crowed loudly in newspapers 
and in pamphlets with which he heralded the virtues of Chicago 
real estate. When St. Louis said that the Civil War had para- 
lyzed her Mississippi River trade, Wright produced clippings 
from her newspapers showing that she admitted, before the 
war that her supremacy would disappear unless she fought 
for the Northwest trade, which Chicago's railroads were gob- 
bling up. When St. Louis declared that the Rocky Mountain 
trade must eventually come to her, Wright flaunted forth 
quotations from the newspapers of those regions showing that 
commerce was flowing to Chicago by way of the Northwestern 
Railroad, which had been expanding rapidly since William 
B. Ogden had formed it from many smaller lines in 1864. 

The completion of the Union Pacific railroad made the 
defeat of St. Louis certain. Linking the east and west coasts, 
the new line routed transcontinental travelers and shippers 
through Chicago and Omaha. 

Proudly Wright recopied and broadcasted what the Atchison 
(Kansas) Free Press said about the battle of the cities: 

"There was a time when St. Louis was the center of all the 
trade of the West ; that was when nearly everything depended 
upon the trade in furs. Its merchants were staid, substantial 

109 



men. The current of their business flowed on as smoothly as 
the placid waters upon which all their commerce floated. The 
nervous, far-sighted, often reckless Yankee was not there. 

"Chicago had not begun to spring up until long after St. 
Louis had become opulent in her quiet wealth and ease. But 
at length shrewd and active merchants set their stakes at 
Chicago. At first they bought grain by the wagon-load and 
sent it in schooners down the lakes. Then they commenced the 
construction of railroads. ... St. Louis merchants clung to 
the f ogeyism and the faith of their correspondents away down 
the Mississippi. Chicago merchants comprehended the most 
progressive ideas of modern commerce ; and they sent out their 
iron rails, and erected their towering castles for the reception 
of all the grain of the Northwest. Chicago railways cut St. 
Louis off on the East, away down to Cairo, long ago ; cut off 
the State of Missouri to the Missouri River, long ago, and 
penetrated to the heart of Iowa and cut across Wisconsin to 
Minnesota. Now they reach across Kansas by two lines one 
by the way of Cameron, Kansas City, and the Eastern Divi- 
sion, Pacific; the other by the Central branch, Pacific, from 
Atchison. They cross Nebraska by the Pacific Trunk to the 
Rocky Mountains. They reach the Territory of Dacotah at 
Sioux City. 

"Chicago has kept her exchange-accounts even. The grain- 
merchant gets a bill of exchange. This is transferred to the 
Chicago dry-goods and grocery merchant. To every point from 
whence comes grain to the Chicago market, Chicago dry-goods 
and grocery merchants send bills of goods. Every Northwest- 
ern town is visited by the Chicago merchants and orders are 
solicited. Shipping arrangements are complete, transfers, if 
any, are made with the utmost facility* The unceasing enter- 
prise, the unfailing energy, of the Chicago merchant is wanting 
among the merchants of St. Louis." 

Kansas swarmed with Chicago "drummers," who crowded 
out salesmen from other cities, so the Kansas papers said. 
St. Louis raged at the Chicagoans as "blowhards/* Saliixa, 
110 



Kansas, said that everything its farmers bought, wagons, 
reapers, mowers, threshers, shovels, spades, hoes, cooking- 
stoves bore the stamp of a Chicago manufacturer or whole- 
saler, "All the active business men here hail from Chicago," 
it reported. 

The Missouri Republican, analyzing Chicago's gains in 5 67, 
asked its readers : "Have these people greater enterprise than 
ours ? They do not appear to have greater industry or greater 
economy ; they haven't greater natural advantages or acquired 
capital, yet wherever anything is to be done for the good of 
Chicago, somebody is found to do it ; whether to build a rail- 
road or an elevator, or a cattle-pen, or a bridge, or to prevent 
others building them for the advantage of some other place, 
there Chicago is, to do or to hinder the doing, as may be her 
interest. Keen, sharp-sighted and long-sighted, quick and bold 
to the verge of audacity, persistent and, the censorious say, 
unscrupulous, they rush on, rejecting doubts and conquering 
difficulties, to triumphant success and prosperity. Even just 
now, here in our midst, she is thought to have emissaries, and 
they of her most wily, seeking her advancement by hindering 
our progress," 

Citizens of Illinois, according to the Jacksonville (Illinois) 
Journal were given to wild boastings about the greatness of 
Chicago when on trips outside the State, yet when they had 
returned home, they invariably fell to abusing the city, cursing 
it for the "many scamps and rascals hailing from there, who 
go through the country cheating people." Chicago, this news- 
paper observed, was not given to investing its money in sav- 
ings-banks, but in new enterprises. 

In 1868 the Missouri Republican was charging that a 
$3,000,000 fire in Chicago was criminal, "selling out to the fire- 
insurance companies." That year the tonnage on the Mis- 
sissippi River was 1,086,320, while Chicago's lake-traffic was 
2,588,570 tons ; Chicago led St. Louis in wool-receipts by 400 
per cent, and in grain alniost as much. 

"Chicago's superiority in shoes and boots was demonstrated 

111 



during the war," said the lake "boosters/' pointing out that 
in 1867 the city had three thousand workers in that trade. 
Chicago was turning out one farm-wagon for every seven 
minutes in a working day. Melodeons and pianos were made 
on a large scale. A watch-company at Elgin was announcing 
that soon it would produce fifty watches a day. Over 600,- 
000,000 feet of lumber had been sold in the city in 1866. 
Ready-made houses, churches, court houses, hen-houses, were 
shipped widely. Chicago's streets were as crowded as New 
York's, it was said, and nothing exhibited in the Eastern me- 
tropolis was missing from Chicago's show-windows. In the 
whole city there was not one tenement house. Workmen owned 
or rented houses. Commercial colleges were clogged with stu- 
dents, and the city's business offices were glutted with "white 
collar" men who couldn't find jobs. This was the city's only 
idle class. "In all the Western country," a proverb ran, "the 
richer a man is, the harder he toils." 

Parton the historian thought that Chicago ladies giggled 
less than New York ladies during musicals, but that Chica- 
goans, as a rule, prepared meals badly and bolted their food. 
"Chicago has the pick of the best food and nothing remains 
but to learn how to cook it," he observed, noting how the rail- 
roads cascaded supplies in upon the town. 

Amusements, so meager during the war, flourished in the 
joyous reaction. Baseball, capturing the nation, made Chicago 
the scene of a gigantic tournament in 1865, fifty-four clubs 
competing. Opera in English was given at the Academy of 
Music, and in '68 there were, all told, sixteen weeks of grand 
opera. Literary magazines rose and fell. 

When one of the city's many schemes for turning the canal 
into a passageway for large ships went wrong, St, Louis 
crowed in its Missouri Democrat of May 1, 1868: 

"Chicago, that Babylon of houses that fall down, located 
on a flat along that lake-shore, which was to become the one 
and only great commercial city of This World, if not of an- 
other as well, and the iron arms of which were stretched out 



in all directions, reaching after trade to support its fast horses, 
faster men, falling houses, and fallen women, has at this 
present moment a touch of the 'blues.' Chicago is unhappy. 
Neither fast horses nor any other fast creature has power to 
charm away the melancholy which overshadows with its dark 
wings the depressed spirit of the Chicago merchant." 

St. Louis was sending grain down the Mississippi River for 
England, and thought it saw itself as Chicago's master in this 
field. 

"Beware, Chica-geese !", jeered the Democrat. "That river 
dries up in summer. It freezes up in winter. Your canal will 
be of no use to you, for it will send all your dealers to St. Louis 
to buy iron and goods of foreign manufacture, imported di- 
rectly by river. . . . Those houses of yours are built of re- 
markably slender splinters, philosophers of the lake school!" 

The hoped-for rivalry did not develop, however, and soon 
St. Louis was turning to an ambition that, though equally 
fruitless, was more logical, resolving, through its Common 
Council, to have itself, instead of Washington, made the capital 
of the nation. 

3 

"I wish I could go to America if only to see that Chicago," 
said Bismarck in 1870 to the American hero, General Sheridan, 
who was visiting with the German army as it riddled the French 
forces of the second Napoleon. Queen Victoria and Carlyle 
were also reported in Chicago to have expressed similar desires. 

It was a sight for wondering eyes, indeed, this boom-city, 
as it flowered in 1871. Stores, hotels, theaters, crowded between 
State, Adams and the river, an area three-quarters of a mile 
square, with property valued at $1,000 a front-foot. Outside 
this district, the city sprawled in alternating pastures and 
rows of houses north to Fullerton, west to Crawford and south 
to Thirty-ninth Street. From the Court House, business blocks 
ran fairly solid two miles in the three directions. 

A mile north along the lake on the "Kinzie addition" lived 

113 



the first families in "all the graciousness and repose of an old 
aristocracy/ 5 as the London Daily News put it. Crowding onto 
Michigan Avenue south by the lake-shore were rising the homes 
of the "new rich" living, with some of the more ancient families 
to encourage them, "in princely structures of marble, that vied, 
both in architectural beauty and internal adornment, with the 
most ornate edifices of Europe." Hyde Park to the south, 
Lakeview to the north, were the most aristocratic suburbs. 

West of LaSalle lived the workers, among the clanging 
machine-shops and foundries, in a district that was spreading 
north and south swiftly. 

- Magnificent, for the times, were the hotels, the office-build- 
ings, the huge retail stores notably the Potter Palmer struc- 
ture at State and Washington, which Field, and Leiter were 
renting at $1,000 a week, the city calling it the "most splendid 
commercial structure of the world." Twenty-five big young 
banks, theaters Crosby's Opera House with 2,500 seats, and 
bridges, twenty-seven of which now spanned the river, with 
200,000 people crossing a day. 

"The golden-crowned, glorious Chicago, the Queen of the 
North and the West," sang Will Carleton, better known for 
his "Over the Hill to the Poorhouse." 

The seventeen grain-elevators, holding 6,500,000 bushels, 
were a crown, true enough, for the whole Northwest, linking 
the railroads with the ships that came to the fourteen miles of 
river-wharves. All along the river stood the coalyards, the 
gigantic warehouses, wholesale storage-buildings, distilleries, 
flour mills, while beyond, planing-mills droned and factories 
clanged. Produce and materials received in the city during 
1870 had been worth more than $260,000,000. 

More important to Chicago's reputation for daring- and 
originality was its success in making the Chicago River run 
backward. The city slapped its thighs and bragged that it 
had made Nature reverse herself. Who but a Chicagoan would 
think of making water run uphill? 

In reality the city was only putting on a brave face to hide 



its disappointment over an ironic situation. For the great feat 
had not been accomplished in the name of commercial conquest 
so much as of sanitation. The city had outgrown the system 
by which its sewage was pumped up into the canal, and, in 
'67, work was begun on the old "deep cut" plan by which the 
continental divide was to be lowered so that Garlic Creek might 
have a gravity flow through the canal to the Illinois River. On 
July 18, 1871, the new channel was opened, and Lake Michi- 
gan, after all, sent waters into the warm Gulf of Mexico, but 
with a traffic how different from that which men across two 
centuries had visioned. Instead of the phantom ships of the 
sea, which men, since Joliet, had watched sailing down the 
dream route to the South, there now went only sewage. 

"In every sphere of exertion these Western men improve 
upon Eastern models and methods," wrote James Parton in 
describing the event. The "improvement," however, was ques- 
tionable, for the lake, at times, was too low to flush the city's 
refuse down the canal. Also, to complicate matters, William B. 
Ogden and John Wentworth dug a ditch through their swamp 
acreage near the mouth of the canal, and loosed torrents which 
frequently choked the waterway, forcing the Chicago River 
to stand motionless and odorous. So, after a few months, the 
city turned again back to the pumps and for twenty years the 
hybrid system of drainage went on, sometimes by gravity, 
sometimes by force. 

Overshadowing the river now, as they had already over- 
shadowed the canal, were the railroads two union depots 
standing in the city. Six bridges over the river had been built 
by the railroads. From the North, as far as Lake Superior 
mines, came the Chicago and Northwestern and the Chicago, 
Milwaukee and St. Paul. From the West, over the old Galena 
and Chicago Union right of way, came the Iowa division of the 
Northwestern tapping the Great Pacific, and thus strange 
commerce from China and Japan. 

A little to the south came in the Rock Island and Pacific, 
bringing Pacific trade, too, by way of Council Bluffs. In from 

115 



the Southwest ran the Burlington and Quincy, with Denver 
ores, Texas steers, Missouri mules. Up from the South came the 
Illinois Central, with the trade of the Red River and limitless 
Mississippi River valleys. From the East four roads came 
disputing, the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis, the Pitts- 
burgh and Fort Wayne, the Lake Shore, once the Michigan 
Southern, and the Michigan Central. Another, the Grand 
Trunk, in '71 was nearly completed to Port Huron. Thirteen 
trunk lines the city counted, with 10,000 miles of track con- 
tributing. 

4 

In Chicago, this dramatic year, was a little factory destined 
to fatten Chicago and its railroads beyond estimate, the shop 
where George M. Pullman was making "palace cars." He was 
that same George M. Pullman who had come on from New 
York in ? 57 to raise Chicago's big buildings. Coming West he 
had lain awake on the train between Buffalo and Westfield, 
finding it impossible to sleep in the narrow pigeonhole which, 
in that time, passed for a berth. Some day he would better 
that, and when he had his house-raising done in Chicago, he set 
to work. From the Chicago and Alton he got two old cars in 
1858, and on these he experimented, introducing the upper 
berth. Being originally a cabinet-maker, he finally produced 
in 1864 a $20,000 model car, "The Pioneer," that was hand- 
somely finished, elaborately frescoed, upholstered, carpeted 
and comfortable. Passengers could hope now for at least some 
sleep. By 1867, when the Pullman Palace Car Company was 
incorporated, the sleepers had been adopted by Western rail- 
roads, the New York Central following suit. Dining-cars were 
added the following year, and in ? 69 de luxe trains traveled 
from Chicago to San Francisco. 

Transportation around the city itself, as well as in and out 

of it, was as good as horsecars could make it. William Ogden 

had tunneled under the river at Washington Street to let 

traffic escape the horrors of "bridging." Arrogant lake-traffic 

116 



kept the pivot bridges open much of the time, the people 
standing in dense throngs at the open street-ends waiting, 
choking in freighter-smoke, and cursing. For appointments 
across the river, to be sure of arriving on time, people had to 
start an hour early. 

Crowds on all the streets 306,605 people in the whole city, 
half of them foreign-born, some 25,000 of them German, almost 
as many Irish a church-going population of 150,000 a Sun- 
day 27,023 children in school. Of the 156 churches, 25 were 
Catholic, 21 Methodist, 20 Baptist, 19 Presbyterian, 5 Jewish, 
the rest of scattering denominations. 

Parks north, west, and south occupied 36 square miles, and 
with connecting boulevards were regarded, as they were later, 
as "the finest in the world." 

The University of Chicago, built on land given by Stephen 
A. Douglas out near 34th and Cottage Grove, had "the largest 
and best refracting-telescope in the world." The Academy of 
Science and the Historical Society were the only fireproof 
structures in the city. There was no public library in 1871. 
The downtown section bristled with hotels. Conventions jammed 
them. Theodore Thomas had begun to play symphonic music. 
McVicker's Theatre had been rebuilt, and Crosby's Opera 
House remodeled in grandiose splendor. Its lobbies were heavy 
with art. The Academy of Design displayed over 300 paint- 
ings by American artists, among them Rothermel's famous 
"Battle of Gettysburg." 

Chicago, which the world in 1870 more than ever called "the 
wickedest on earth," said that Cicero, a town on its western 
limits, was the wickedest spot in Cook County, a denunciation 
which Chicago would repeat often enough in the 1920s when 
its own gunmen, anxious to escape the jurisdiction of its po- 
lice, maintained elaborate hangouts in this same Cicero, terror- 
izing the law-abiding citizens of that town. "A more lawless, 
uncivilized, uncontrollable settlement does not exist in the 
whole country," so the Tribune described it. "The greater por- 
tion of it is peopled with a set of riotous, untamable, half- 

117 



savage rowdies." Its hoodlums burned the houses of respectable 
citizens who objected to their infernal din, and murders among 
them were frequent. 

On February 25, 1870, there occurred a horsewhipping that 
gave the city national notoriety as a wild town. Lydia Thomp- 
son, audacious burlesque actress of "Black Crook" fame, 
clashed with Wilbur F. Storey, harsh and able editor of the 
Chicago Times Storey who is reputed to have said that a 
newspaper's duty was to print the news and raise hell. Lydia 
had brought her scandalizing company of "Blondes" to Cros- 
by's Opera House, where their bpre bosoms and hips, out- 
lined in tights, stirred the wrath of the Puritans. Storey's 
Times began by accusing the girls of "capering lasciviously 
and uttering gross indecencies" and concluded by urging Miss 
Thompson, as little better than a strumpet, to leave town. The 
fiery actress waylaid Storey outside his home on Wabash Ave- 
nue and whipped him briskly. 

On Dearborn Street, "Newspaper Row," loomed the four- 
story skyscraper of the Tribune, which had been founded in 
'47. It introduced the first telegraphic news-service to the city 
in '49 and consolidated with Deacon Bross' Democratic Press 
in '55, with Joseph Medill as one of its four managers. The 
Journal, the Evening Post, the Republican, the Evening Mail, 
the Staats-Zeitung and the Volks Zeitung were the other 
papers, aggregating 78,500 copies daily and sending weekly 
and tri-weekly editions to the surrounding States. 

Merchant princes, railroad kings, gamblers, prostitutes, 
toilers, art-collectors not many, but a few Theodore 
Thomas and his orchestra, musicians, actors, more bookstores 
in proportion to population than in any other American city 
so it was claimed. 

"The rich and voluptuous city, 
The beauty-thronged, mansion-decked city, 
Gay Queen of the North and the West/' 

rhapsodized Will Carleton. 
118 



Elias Colbert, the historian, thought the city had become 
"another Pompeii in luxury, if not in licentiousness. " Property 
was valued at $620,000,000. 

The Tribune, noting six or seven new manufacturing-enter- 
prises arriving to furnish jobs for two thousand new workers, 
noting the five new railroads looking for a way into the city, 
and the subdividers 5 mad way with suburban buyers, declared 
in warning irony, "Everybody seems to be swelled up with big 
schemes." 

Sharper irony lay in its declaration of September 10, 1871, 
that the city held "miles of fire-traps, pleasing to the eye, look- 
ing substantial, but all sham and shingles. Walls have been run 
up a hundred feet high and but a single brick in thickness." 

Pompous, flimsy cornices of wood or iron painted to look 
like stone hung dangerously over the streets, frequently fall- 
ing. Most of the showy marble fronts were thin, weak walls. 

Among and behind the hastily built commercial palaces were 
rotting shanties where the poor and the criminal roosted. 
Flimsy boarding-houses and hovels shouldered "magnificent 
retail emporiums 55 and fashionable homes. South of Monroe 
Street from lake to river were the ramshackle houses and rook- 
eries of the underworld. There was no fire-law observed. Land- 
lords, through bribery and political power, kept fire-traps in 
the heart of the city. Anything was forgiven if it made money. 
Prosperity and progress ruled. 

Westward were acres of frame houses, barns and cowsheds. 
Chicago was a pine town. Lumber had been cheap and plenti- 
ful, and it was quickly turned into a profit-making house or 
store. The city had 60,000 buildings, of which 40,000 were 
wholly of wood, only a handful of the remainder were fire- 
proof. Roofs were made of felt and tar, or of shingles. 

"Chicago is a city of everlasting pine, shingles, shams, 
veneers, stucco, and putty," repeated the Tribune. 

Fires were frequent, but dismissed readily in the pioneer 
way, They were to be expected. Insurance would always come 
within a few dollars of replacing a building. Chicago's mind 

119 



was on conquest, not conservation. It was now, more than ever, 
"the booster city." 

5 

Of those five original men of vision, Ogden, Wentworth, Mc- 
Cormick, Bross, and Wright, all in '71 have been made to 
seem conservative by the rush of events. Their optimism has 
not been strong enough. Their prophecies have been so quickly 
outdone. Their dreams of what might be are dull compared 
to what has happened. 

Ogden is "railroad king," still the city's most prominent 
man, but smaller now in the crush of new builders. Long John 
Wentworth has been out of Congress since '67; it has been 
fourteen years since he was mayor that one wild year when 
he served Ogden and perhaps the city so well in despoiling 
the underworld. Now he sits on boards of directors, thinks up 
reminiscences of the old days, gets ready to give bequests to 
colleges, and looks at property, of which he owns more than 
any man in Chicago. Few men in the history of the world 
have seen what he has seen log huts in the mud changing to 
a metropolis, trappers giving way to millionaires, canoes to 
railroads. As he stares at the huge railroad station on the 
lake-front, he remembers the Fort Dearborn soldiers' coffins 
sticking out of the sand banks there. 

McCormick has shown his reaper before crowned heads of 
Europe and now makes and sells 10,000 a year. Much of his 
profits have been spent in the close, hard patent-litigation for 
which he is nationally known. The public does not know this, 
and seeing that he is a millionaire assumes thai he has ground 
vast wealth out of the poor farmer. In reality, McCormick had 
made his money in real estate. The people call him a hard, 
ruthless man, forgetting what his reaper has done to save the 
Union. Labor troubles are ahead of McCormick bad ones. 

"Deacon" Bross has been Lieutenant-Governor of Illinois 
from J 65 to '69 and, throughout the decade, too busy with 
Abolition and war work to issue his rousing broadsides as of 
120 



old. Nevertheless he has found time to carry out John Stephen 
Wright's teachings in another line. For ten years he has been 
the city's "greeter," doing to others what Wright did to him in 
1848. Whenever a visitor of distinction comes to Chicago it is 
the hearty voice and proud finger of the Deacon that point 
out the glories of the city. When he toots the civic horn visitors 
hear stirring music. 

John Stephen Wright, whose reaper has served him dif- 
ferently than McCormick's has served him, is in ? 71 "boosting 5 * 
ahead as though both Chicago real estate and business had 
not wrecked him. He still has St. Louis by the nose, and cries 
the "Manifest Destiny" of front-footage in the Garden City. 
He will keep on so to the end a man in love with a town. 
But his great days are done. 

The pioneers have all seen their best days all but Bross. 

The Deacon has one last and most thunderous broadside 
of "booster" shot in his locker. He will let the world have it 
in the days after the great fire, which is now at hand. 



CHAPTER XI 



I 



T was Sunday night in the home of Patrick O'Leary, and the 
small frame dwelling at 137 De Koven Street held music. 
O'Leary, his wife, and five children were in bed, but the two 
front rooms were rented to Patrick McLaughlin, the fiddler, 
who with his family and friends was entertaining his wife's 
"greenhorn' 5 cousin, newly arrived from Ireland. During the 
evening one or another of the five young male guests went out 
for a half -gallon of beer. Otherwise nobody left the house 
so the McLaughlins always said. 

"Before God," said Catherine McLaughlin when called to 
testify about the evening's events, "I didn't cook a thing. We 
didn't eat anything and I didn't cook anything. Nobody went 
out to get milk for punch. I never had such a thing in my 
life." 

There was mystery about that milk a little later, when the 
whole city of Chicago, the whole country of the United States 
of America and much of Europe was asking who had milked 
Mrs. O'Leary's cow. Many legends of the famous animal have 
lived in Chicago's history. % 

One story in the Neighborhood was that the McLaughlins, 
along between eight and nine o'clock that evening, decided to 
have either a milk punch or an oyster stew, and that some 
18* 



member of the party had visited tlte^ow^EicETthe O'Leary's 
stabled in a shed at the rear. 

Another rumor was that Mrs. O'Leary herself had risen 
from bed to get the milk. This she denied, saying that she 
hadn't gone near the animal after giving it its regular five- 
o'clock milking that afternoon. She and her husband and chil- 
dren were in bed, she declared, and resting in peace, when their 
neighbor from over the way, Daniel Sullivan, the drayman, 
came knocking at the door to say that their barn was afire. 
All Pat O'Leary knew, in addition to what his wife had said, 
was that if they had called him earlier he could have saved the 
cow. 

All Daniel Sullivan could say was that at 9.25 he had 
seen fire in O'Leary's barn and had cried the alarm as loud 
as he could, which was very loud indeed, since God had given 
him strong lungs. He had rushed for the stable to save the 
cow, but his wooden leg had caught between two loose boards 
and he had barely escaped with his life and a calf whose hair 
was on fire. 

That was about the sum total of what the official investiga- 
tion discovered concerning the ill-timed milking of Mrs. 
O'Leary's animal, and to this day it is not certain that anybody 
gave the famous bovine a second milking that evening. A 
broken lamp was found among the ashes of the stable a couple 
of days later, and gave rise to the legend that the cow, either 
resenting the lateness of the milker's intrusion or her or his 
sharp finger-nails, had kicked over the lamp and started the 
Great Chicago Fire. 



Little time anybody had for hunting clues or fixin 
bilities that night of Sunday, October 8 ? 1871. By ten o'clock 
the fire had spread from O'Leary's across? the West Side in two 
swaths so far and wide that all the engine^ in town were clang- 
ing on the streets, and the court-house bdl, in the downtown 
section, was booming wildly, unceasingly. 



Many things had operated to give the flames such headway 
in so short a time. The neighborhood of its origin was of pine 
shanties. The watchman on the City Hall tower had misjudged 
its location and had called for a fire-company a mile and a 
half out of the way, thus causing ruinous delay. A terrific 
southwest wind was blowing. Furthermore, the fire-companies 
had been exhausted by a $750,000 fire on the West Side the 
day before, and many of their workers, following the custom of 
American firemen in that time, had celebrated the defeat of the 
earlier blaze by getting drunk. All Summer Chicago's firemen 
had been going day and night thirty fires between the last 
day of September and the 5th of October and they needed 
relaxation. 

Fires had been bad that Summer across the whole West and 
Northwest. The worst drought in history was on the land. 
The leaves had fallen in July. Only an inch of rain had come 
down between July and October. Rivers had turned to gulches 
of dust ; live stock died around dry mudholes from Minnesota 
to Texas. Locomotive sparks set the prairies blazing. Forest 
fires ate down to the edge of the plains and touched off the 
tinder-grass. Train-crews came into Chicago with eyebrows 
singed. 

Still, Chicago, the city of "shams and shingles," sitting 
on a powder-box, had thought that it would never burn. Fires 
might devastate little neighborhoods, but not the great city. 

So on the night of October 8th it listened to the fire-bells 
and said, "Oh, it's just another fire on the West Side." 

But before ten o'clock had struck, all Chicago was on the 
streets, heading for the river, for the sight was out of the 
ordinary. Flames miles wide and a hundred feet high were 
lashing their way downtown on the southern gale that kept 
starting little fires blocks ahead of the inferno. By 10.20 blaz- 
ing brands were falling on roofs of the big stores north of the 
river, and clerks and bystanders were dancing upon them like 
red Indians. Owners of downtown buildings began throwing 
water on roofs and walls. 



Even then, the crowds felt sure that the flames would die 
when they struck the blackened area four blocks wide that 
had been left vacant by the fire of the night before. But with 
the force of a hundred and fifty acres of burning houses and 
factories behind it, the blaze jumped the cinder-path at a 
bound, licked up the grain-elevators by the Chicago River, 
and fell upon the Union Station. 

From the West Side crowds now poured into the downtown 
section, jamming the bridges and threatening the tunnel with 
panic. Two fire engines had been surrendered to the flames. 
Sailors threw water on their ships in the river, tugs hauled 
manfully at vessels in the confusion, cries rose at times higher 
than the thunder of the fire itself. 

The river would stop it! Chicago expected nothing else. 

But at twelve o'clock a blazing board rode the wind over 
the river and settled on a shanty-roof at Adams and Franklin, 
one third of a mile from any burning building. As if it were 
shavings, the shanty disappeared, and its neighboring hovels 
as well. Flames now swept northeast across the business section 
while, in little sorties, streams of fire raced ahead of the con- 
flagration, darting up alleys "as though through a field of 
straw." Parmelee's $80,000 stables lit up Franklin and 
Jackson as though they had been soaked in gasoline. Conley's 
"Patch," that home of sin, was gone in what seemed but a 
second, its wretched women and children fleeing, tripping, 
screaming, smothering, some of them dying, its prostitutes rac- 
ing like mad, many of them in their shifts, its desperate men 
helping their families and women or breaking for the rich 
harvests of loot that lay ahead. 

Back over the West Side bridges came the fire-engines, 
frantic to save the more valuable property of the business 
section. Ruthlessly they crushed through masses of fugitives. 
The gas-works blew up with a sound like the crack of doom. 
In moments when the wind whiffed the fire back for a second, 
the court-house bell could be heard at its hopeless clangor. 



125 



3 

Mayor Roswell B. Mason dashed for the City Hall and 
began to dictate telegrams begging help from neighboring 
cities. La Salle's "fireproof" buildings began to pop and crack 
in the awful heat, cornices fell, false facades peeled off, roofs 
of tar-and-felt broke into flame. Among the lodging-houses 
that filled the upper floors of many business structures, women 
threw children down to the firemen, sometimes falling back 
into the flames. Expressmen, anybody who owned a horse 
there were immense numbers of the animals in the city dashed 
about threatened districts demanding exorbitant sums of cash 
$25, $50, $100 to rescue household property or a mer- 
chant's trunk of papers. 

At 1 P.M. the court house was afire and three hundred and 
fifty prisoners were loosed from jail. With elation they fell 
upon, a jewelry-store and looted it. 

From north of the river, where the flames now seemed certain 
to come, people, stopping in their flight, could count over one 
hundred large downtown buildings blazing at once. The average 
structure of stone, iron, and brick lasted five minutes. 

Great blankets of flame, detached from any particular con- 
flagration, swept across the sky. Except around the mountains 
of coal by the river, there seemed to be little smoke, observers 
thought. One theory was that the flames consumed it. Walls 
thudded to the ground. Every street was a blow-pipe. Iron 
columns melted like butter. Everything was consumed. No 
piece of wood, however charred, was to be found in the wake 
of the fire. Iron, bronze, gold, silver, brass, turned to puddles, 
but wood, far down in foundations, disappeared utterly. Car- 
wheels were destroyed, many safes consumed. Several hundred 
tons of pig iron, standing two hundred and fifty feet from any 
building or inflammable* material, melted into one liquid mass. 
Gas seemed to form ahead of the flames and to fill the build- 
ings, so that deafening explosions took place when the fire 
reached them. The pier out into the lake blazed. Two miles 
126 



from shore, the crib-tender, almost stifling from the heat- 
waves, barely saved his wooden pumping-shed by incessant 
dousings of water. 

The wind from Chicago was so hot the next afternoon at 
Holland, Michigan, a hundred miles away across the great cool 
lake, that men had to lie down behind ditches and hedges to 
let the scorching blasts go by. 

The hoodlums whose dens had been burned, the vagrants and 
unfortunates who had nothing to lose, the criminals who saw 
chance for gain, all swarmed upon shops and stores, taking 
what they wanted. To their number were added weaklings who 
went mad with horror and otherwise staid citizens who got 
drunk in desperation. Saloons kept open ahead of the fire, 
scooping in silver until the flames were overhead. 

"The rogues smashed windows reckless of the severe wounds 
inflicted on their naked hands," said one observer, "and with 
bloody fingers rifled impartially till, shelf, and cellar, fighting 
viciously for the spoils. Women, hollow-eyed and brazen-faced, 
moved here and there stealing, scolding shrilly, and laughing 
with one another at some particularly 'splendid' gush of flame 
or 'beautiful 3 falling-in of a roof." 

Alexander Frear, a New York alderman, caught in the holo- 
caust, remembered what he saw Wabash Avenue choked with 
crowds and bundles, "valuable oil paintings, books, pets, 
musical instruments, toys, mirrors, and bedding were trampled 
under foot. Goods from stores had been hauled out and had 
taken fire, and the crowd, breaking into a liquor-establishment, 
was yelling with the fury of demons. A fellow standing on a 
piano declared that the fire was the friend of the poor man. 
... In this chaos were hundreds of children, wailing and cry- 
ing for their parents. One little girl in particular I saw, whose 
golden hair was loose down her back and caught fire. She ran 
screaming past me and somebody threw a glass of liquor upon 
her, which flared up and covered her with a blue flame." 

On Lake Street, Frear saw a man loading a truck with loot 
from Shay's "magnificent dry-goods store." 

127 



"Some one with a revolver shouted to him not to drive away 
or he would fire, to which he replied, Tire and be damned/ 
and the man put his pistol in his pocket again. I saw a raga- 
muffin on the Clark Street bridge, who had been killed by a 
marble slab thrown from a window, with white gloves upon his 

hands." 

Bundles on the heads of fleeing women were often blazing. 
Little children, sometimes alone, sometimes hand in hand with 
others for company, wandered sobbing while mothers, in dis- 
traction, rushed in and out of danger calling for them. 

Everybody seemed to be yelling at the top of his or her voice. 
Frear saw people pushed off bridges into the river to drown, 
while boat-crews fought to keep crowds from clambering onto 
their decks. 

Rough-looking men carried strange women and children to 
safety and went back into danger for more. The police saved 
lives everywhere, firemen dashed into the flames and carried 
out unconscious persons. Horses broke out of stables or away 
from drivers and tore frenziedly through the streets. Their 
screams as they perished in glowing stables ripped through the 
steady din. Rats, smoked out from their burrows under houses 
and wooden sidewalks, died squealing under foot on the main 
streets. 

So tremendous was the wind that firemen, facing it, could 
get water no more than ten feet past the nozzles of their 
hose. Streams would not carry above second stories. Fire-engine 
after fire-engine was caught by the flames. Companies were 
separated from their officers. The department was gone. 

4 

In the small hours of the night the flames jumped the river 
to the north and went through that section of 75,000 people 
as fast as a man could run. Wooden headstones were burned in 
the graveyard, stone vaults cracked open, exposing skeletons* 

The distraught citizenry ran ahead of the fire, edging east- 
128 



ward, when it could, toward the lake-front, the cemetery, and 
Lincoln Park. Women's dresses flamed. Sick people, borne on 
mattresses, stretchers, and in chairs, were knocked to the 
ground and trampled. Some fugitives, blind with fear, ran into 
blazing alleys and perished. Old people went under in the 
frantic crowds of the streets. Housewives, rushing back into 
their homes for some last cherished possession, were burned 
alive. The Chicago Historical went, taking with it city records 
of incalculable value, and the original draft of the Emancipa- 
tion Proclamation, which Abraham Lincoln had given to the 
Sanitary Fair in Civil War days. 

On the lake-front thousands took refuge far from any build- 
ing that might burn. But here the heat and the snowstorm of 
embers were torturing. Men buried their wives and children 
in the sand, with a hole for air, splashed water onto the sand- 
blanket, then dashed into the water to stand chin-deep, breath- 
ing through handkerchiefs. Babies and weaklings here and 
there were smothered in the heat. The city water-works fell, 
robbing the fire-fighters of their last ammunition. 

Meanwhile the flames worked eastward through the business 
section. Field and Leiter's store, for all that its employees had 
hoped to save it by pouring water down its marble front, went 
with a roar. Newspaper Row fell, cheating the Tribune's re- 
porters and compositors out of the edition that they had almost 
ready for the street. 

In the phantasmagoria men rushed about screaming, 
"Where is General Sheridan? Why don't he do something?" 

"Phil" Sheridan, fresh from the full fame of his Civil War 
exploits, was in Chicago commanding that section of the War 
Department. He must be in town somewhere. He had ridden 
twenty miles to save the Union army at Winchester ; why didn't 
he save Chicago ? 

Sheridan was working with the tools he knew gunpowder. 
Securing a supply, he fell to blowing up buildings in the path 
of the fire, and the first blasts as he swung into work at Har- 
rison and Congress sent a belated wave of confidence over those 

189 



Chicagoans who thought that part of the downtown^ section 
might yet be saved. Gunpowder was as useless as anything else, 
as it turned out, for the flames whisked across the vacant spots 
without a pause. 

All day Monday the fire kept to its wind-driven task of 
finishing the business section and the North Side, and by night 
only two structures stood in the first section and only four in 
the last. 

On the Sands, by the river, where Long John Wentworth 
had cleared another tract of Ogden's land for him in 1857, 
were now penned thousands of rich and poor, squatting among 
their bundles, trying to breathe in the suffocating heat, edging 
out from tinder the hoofs of herds of horses which had been 
led to this empty spot by their owners. It was estimated that" 
some 30,000 persons were cowering among the smouldering 
headstones in the cemetery by Lincoln Park. 



Dimly, on Tuesday, the ruined city looked at itself. Three 
and one-half square miles of its area had been blackened; 
98,500 people had been burned out of their homes; 17,450 
buildings had been destroyed; $300,000,000 worth of property 
had been turned into vapor. In the business section everything 
was gone between lake and river north of a line from Congress 
Street to Wells and Polk; 3,650 buildings, including 1,600 
stores, 28 hotels, 60 manufacturing establishments, and no one 
knew how many shanties had been burned. The loss of the 
hovels and the upstairs lodging-houses over the "mercantile 
palaces" had thrown 21,800 downtown residents out of home. 
Within the city limits on the North Side were 2,533 acres, over 
1,450 of them now ashes 13,300 of the 13,800 buildings in 
ruins. On the West Side 500 buildings had been consumed, 
2,250 people had been burned out. 

Of the dead, 250 were counted. Authorities agreed that the 
total number must be far higher, since the flames had struck 
130 



like lightning into the hovels where vagrants and night-birds 
hid. John McDevitt, billiard champion, had wandered, tipsy, 
into the flames. Henry J. Ullman, a banker, had returned 
once too often to snatch currency from his safe, and failed to 
reappear. 

Of the 341 fire-insurance companies hit by the catastrophe, 
57 suspended business, knocked out by losses. Chicago, trying 
to collect on $88,634,022 in policies, never realized more than 
half of the amount. 

On Tuesday sightseers poured into town, among them hun- 
dreds of criminals from neighboring cities, avid for pillage. 
Past them, as they came in, went droves of ruined men and 
their families, going out. Back East went many a business man 
.who had been drawn to Chicago by its prosperity, and who now 
was through with a place that collapsed so quickly. 

But among the emigrants was one man whose eyes burned 
as keenly under their shaggy brows as ever they had flashed 
in the boom-days of the city Deacon Bross, bearing on his 
shoulders the symbol of Chicago's hope the old "booster," 
heading for the money marts of the East to get cash and to 
cry "Chicago Resurgendam" to the world. 

His home was gone, his fortune, too, in the Tribune's de- 
struction, his family, like the rest of the populace, at the mercy 
of "cutthroats and vagabonds who had flocked in like vultures 
from every point of the compass," as he described the situation, 
but the Deacon could not stay. He was off to refinance his 
paper and the city. His heart was booming like a big bass 
drum under the thumpings of his gospel "Chicago and Mani- 
fest Destiny." 

Like Fort Dearborn, the Garden City was burned, the Queen 
of the Lakes consumed, but as Bross, arriving in New York, 
pictured the situation to the newspaper reporters and Cham- 
ber-of-Commerce crowds, there was no opportunity in the 
whole world quite so tempting that minute to a smart capitalist 
as an investment in Chicago. 

131 



CHAPTER XII 



I Jnw>r Wabash Avenue, the morning after the great fire, 
strolled John Stephen Wright, who, by all human expecta- 
tion, should have been at some friend's home, prostrate with 
grief. 

But here he came walking among the ashes as he had once 
walked through the mud, looking not so much at the shambles 
about him as at the dream-city that forever floated before him. 
Chicago had always been an enchanting mirage to him. When- 
ever the city had caught up to him, his imagination had already 
pushed on to vision new glories for the future. 
"* This morning he was still himself, undaunted, untouched 
by the calamity, as Chicago quickly discovered. At the corner 
of Wabash and Congress, he came upon the publisher of his 
"booster" books, D. H. Horton, sitting in dejection upon a 
dray. Horton was ruined, and in bitter sarcasm he asked, 
"Well, Wright, what do you think NOW of the future of 
Chicago?" 

Serenely, tolerantly the old prophet answered, "I will tell 
you what it is. Chicago will have more men, more money, more 
business, within five years than she would have had without 
the fire." 

And with that he passed on through the wreckage like an 
132 



evangelist who sings in his heart hymns to the beautiful city 
of God. 

When word of his forecast had spread widely through the 
town, men laughed bitterly, saying that Wright had always 
been crazy, but never so crazy as now. Technically they were 
correct, for the old man's mind had begun to go. Within a 
few months he was to be locked up in a Pennsylvania insane 
asylum, and within three years the city's biggest men were to 
be carrying him to a Chicago graveyard while his disciple 
Bross declared, "He lived a generation ahead of his time." 

2 

The fire, which in the minds of many had ruined Chicago for- 
ever, proved in the end to have advertised the city's prowess 
most amazingly. 

For weeks months afterward, everybody talked about 
Chicago and as the magnitude of the disaster dawned upon the 
nation, it was perceived how enormous the city had been. Read- 
ing the statistics of loss, America was impressively informed of 
what incredible amounts of business Chicago had handled. 
People who had only dimly realized the sudden rise of the city 
now appreciated how it had come to dominate the great North- 
west, and how, when it was rebuilt, it would do the thing all 
over again. 

Chicago's fire was one of the great events of the nineteenth 
century. Scores of books and pamphlets were written about it. 
Lecturers with magic-lantern slides, showing the city before 
and after the fire, for years reaped a harvest from curious 
rustics. Peasants in Central Europe, in China, all over the 
world, heard of the disaster. Foreign countries, in the weeks 
immediately following the news, gave $600,000 to relieve the 
sufferers. 

Among the armies of sightseers who streamed into town to 
gaze at the ruins were midwestern village storekeepers destined 
to resolve, before leaving, that Chicago wholesalers, rather 

133 



than New York merchants, should have their trade thereafter. 
Among the telegrams of sympathy, grief, and condolence were 
offers from Eastern firms of unlimited credit to Chicago busi- 
ness men. New stocks of goods for the local merchants rolled 
into the city, just behind the tons of food and clothing that 
were given. Those "restless, often reckless, Yankees" of Chicago 
had in the past appalled the Southern civilization of the Mis- 
sissippi River Valley with their drive and brashness, yet they 
had begot confidence in their ability to pay. They might be 
coarse and "slick," but their credit was good. 

"None of Chicago's rich men are rich by inheritance," was 
said at the time, implying that what the city's business men 
had lost in the fire was, after all, only an incident in the career 
of self-made men to whom ups and downs were an old story. 
Ten days after the fire almost all the Chicago banks, in one 
makeshift building or another, were paying all demands in full. 

Sympathy was as practical as it was immediate. The nation 
not only succored Chicago, it set it up in business again. 
By Tuesday morning fifty carloads of food and clothing ar- 
rived thirty-two hours after the outbreak of the fire. The 
railroads, who owed Chicago a debt of gratitude, hauled sup- 
plies free. The telegraph-companies carried without charge 
pledges of money and requests for help. Milwaukee, forgetting 
its old rivalry, had put three fire-engines into the fight on 
Monday, and followed with carloads of provisions. By Monday 
night St. Louis, all jealousy laid aside, had a train of supplies 
on the way and eighty tons more waiting at the depot. In a 
few days it had given Chicago $500,000. Cincinnati had raised 
$160,000 by Monday's sunset. When mid-November had come, 
$2,500,000 had been contributed by America and Europe. All 
told, Chicago received $4,820,148.16, over $900,000 of it from 
foreign donors. 

Poems galore, poems noble, comic, sincere, extravagant, 

were written about the stricken city. Clergymen made it the 

subject of sermons for months, some saying that the heart of 

humanity was bleeding, some that the fire had been God's way 

134 



of punishing the sins of the world, many declaring that God 
had destroyed the wicked city even as He had laid the righteous 
torch at the gates of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Rev. Gran- 
ville Moody, Cincinnati Methodist, attributed the calamity to 
the fact that Chicago had recently given a majority vote 
against the closure of the saloons on the Sabbath. 

"It is retributive judgment on a city that has shown such 
devotion in its worship of the Golden Calf," he preached, going 
on to link Chicago to Babylon, to Tyre, to Pompeii, and to 
Sodom and Gomorrah. 

Memories of "Abolitionist Chicago" came to light in the 
editorial view of the calamity as voiced by the Rushville (In- 
diana) Democrat, Copperhead organ. God had stricken the 
Northern city to avenge the "wanton" destruction which the 
Union armies had visited upon the South during the Civil War, 
so said the Hoosier village editor. When those twin monsters, 
Sherman and Sheridan, had laid waste Georgia and Virginia, 
Chicago, like the rest of the North, had exulted. 

"The property destroyed in the South is estimated at over 
one thousand millions," said the Indiana newspaper. "Chicago 
has lost perhaps three hundred million dollars by the fire. The 
fire in Chicago was the result of accident. The destruction of 
property in the South was done purposely, by Northern sol- 
diers, and compares exactly with the acts of the Goths and 
Vandals. But we are living under a higher civilization. Chicago 
did her full share in the destruction of the South. God adjusts 
balances. Maybe with Chicago the books are now squared." 

Down in New Orleans, the voice of the Mississippi River 
spoke its ancient grudge against the lake metropolis, an editor 
declaring : 

"Despite the remarkable boldness and dash manifested by 
Chicago in her outward evidences of prosperity, it was all seen 
through a glamor of unsubstantiality. The rampant spirit of 
speculation haunted all her operations. The growth of St. 
Louis, on the other hand, though slower, was more sure and 
solid. Gradually the trade of Chicago was being diverted 

135 



toward the nearer, the more accessible and larger market. This 
was the condition of affairs when the fire-fiend came to sweep 
the Lake City with his besom of destruction, inflicting a blow 
from which she will scarcely recover in the present genera- 
tion. ... _ _ ,. 

"Chicago will never be the Carthage of old. Its prestige 
has passed away like that of a man who turns the downward 
hill of life; its glory will be of the past, not of the present; 
while its hopes, once so bright and cloudless, will be to the 
end marred and blackened by the smoke of its fiery fate.^ 

Such provincial gloatings, however, were rare. St. Louis 
itself joined in the general prophecy, made by newspapers from 
the London Times to the smallest rural weekly of the prairies, 
that Chicago would quickly regain her former glory. England, 
in particular, was confident of the city's ability to recover. 
British eyes had been focused on Chicago by Richard Cobden, 
the statesman and political economist, whose imagination, years 
before, had been kindled by the city's rise. "English school- 
boys," he had protested, "are taught all about a trumpery 
Attic stream called the Ilissus, but nothing of Chicago." 

Deacon Bross' propaganda had been particularly effective 
in England, glorifying as it did Chicago's friendship for 
Canada, the city's destined use of the St. Lawrence River, and 
wanner relations between the British steamers and the Chicago 
grain-merchants. 

This spirit spoke when news of Chicago's calamity reached 
England. At the suggestion of Thomas Hughes, author of 
Tom Brown at Rugby, the most distinguished British au- 
thors gave books to launch a public library in the wrecked 
city. Following the example of Tennyson, Browning, Darwin, 
Kingsley, and other renowned Victorians, including the Queen 
herself, the English public sent more than 8,000 volumes, which 
the city used, in May, 1873, as a nucleus for its first public 
library. 

The Deacon's horn-blowing after the fire was directly effec- 
tive upon public sentiment in the Eastern cities of the United 
136 



States, as well. It will be remembered that he struck off for the 
Atlantic seaboard while the city was still smoking. Arriving in 
New York as the first eye-witness of the catastrophe, he was 
front-page news for days. Reporters swarmed about him and, 
master publicist that he was, he gave them a story of the fire 
that is perhaps the most vivid thing of the kind on record. 
But every other sentence of his tale was a toot on the 
"booster" horn, a promise of the city's rebirth. Bross seized 
the opportunity to make hay while the sun of attention shone 
upon him. 

"Go to Chicago now," was his message. "Young men, hurry 
there ! Old men, send your sons ! You will never again have such 
a chance to make money." 

Invited to address the New York Chamber of Commerce, 
Bross poured into the ears of the capitalists not so much a 
plea for help as a clarion call for them to invest quickly in 
Chicago industry and grow rich. 

"Thousands anxious to locate in this focus of Western com- 
merce have been deterred from doing so for the reason that the 
business in each department had become concentrated in com- 
paratively few hands. There has not been for the last twenty 
years so good a time for men of capital to start business in 
Chicago as now. With few exceptions all can now start even 
in the race for fame and fortune. The fire has leveled nearly 
all distinctions. 

"Now, therefore, is the time to strike. A delay of a year or 
two will give an immense advantage to those who start at 
once. ... A couple of months, at most, are all that is needed 
to start business with the best prospects of success. Farmers, 
merchants, and capitalists of the East who have sons whom 
they wish to put in as partners with men of integrity and 
business knowledge will find no opportunity like the one which 
Chicago offers today. 

"I tell you," he cried, "within five years Chicago's business 
houses will be rebuilt, and by the year 1900 the new Chicago 
will boast a population of a million souls. You ask me why? 

137 



Because I know the Northwest and the vast resources of its 
broad acres. I know that the location of Chicago makes her 
the center of this wealthy region and the market for all its 
products. What Chicago has been in the past, she must become 
in the future and a hundredfold more. She has only to wait 
a few short years for the sure development of her 'manifest 

destiny.' " 

Back in Chicago, Joseph Medill, copartner of Bross in the 
Tribune, had scrambled among the ruins, reassembled his staff 
of reporters and printers, leased a job-printing plant out of 
the fire-zone and on Wednesday, two days after the fire, was 
screaming in an editorial : 

"CHEER UP 

"In the midst of a calamity without parallel in the 
world's history, looking upon the ashes of thirty 
years' accumulations, the people of this once beau- 
tiful city have resolved that CHICAGO SHAM- RISE 

AGAIN." 

A Chicago realtor, W. D. Kerf oot, had put up a temporary 
shack among the hot ashes, declaring that he was back in trade 
with "all gone but wife, children and energy." 



By November 18, a week after the fire, 5,497 temporary 
structures were up and within five weeks from that date, over 
200 imposing permanent buildings were rising. In the next 
twelve months over 100,000 carpenters, teamsters, masons, 
hod-carriers, workmen of all sorts, were busy on 10,000 new- 
structures. The city that had spent years on jack-screws now 
lived in a forest of derricks. 

Fire-laws, building-regulations, were stricter. False fronts 
were condemned. Houses were narrower and taller* Estates 
138 



of first families were split up into slimmer lots. Business 
blocks were excessively heavy with stone and mortar. Joseph 
Medill was elected mayor on a "fireproof" ticket. Railroads 
erected larger and finer depots. 

The Northwest which, by the middle '70s, had tripled its 
population since 1857, built more than half as many miles of 
railway in 1872 alone as it had built in the ten years preced- 
ing. Over the rails there came to Chicago in 1873 fifty per 
cent, more grain than had come in 1869. 

The Union Stockyards had come through the fire unharmed, 
and to them in ? 72 rolled almost twice as many hogs as had 
been received in 1870. By 1878 the figure had again doubled, 
and by 1881 had mounted to over 5,000,000 hogs per annum. 
And with this gain went, concurrently, Chicago's invitation to 
the world to witness the exquisite manner in which the hog- 
butchering for the nation was performed. An apotheosis to 
Chicago's genius in packing, made by S. B. Ruggles, the New 
York orator-politician, was regarded by Chicagoans as a thing 
that everybody ought to know by heart: 

"The manifest destiny and high office of this splendid gran- 
ary [the Northwest], of which Chicago is the brilliant center, 
stands out as plain as the sun in heaven. It is unmistakably 
marked by the finger of God on these widespread lands and 
waters that it is to be our special duty to feed not only our- 
selves of this New World alone, but that venerable moss-backed 
fatherland, to carry abundant food and with it the means of 
higher civilization and refinement, and that too in the truest 
Christian spirit, to the overcrowded but under-fed European 
Christendom to which we owe our common origin. . . . 

"Let us talk of the glorious West as a gigantic hog-pen. 
The hog eats the corn and Europe eats the hog. Corn thus 
becomes incarnate, for what is a hog but 15 or 20 bushels 
of corn on four legs? . . . 

"Heretofore the quadruped has passed after death into 
brine, obedient to the traditions of New England, where a 
pork-barrel in every family is a sacred institution. But Eu- 

139 



rope did not relish and would not eat the hog in brine, so 
that a great hog-reformation is now in vigorous process 
through these interior States in packing the animal not in 
brine, nor in a barrel, but in dry salt in a light, cheap wooden 
bos. In that shape Europe has recently consented largely 
to eat him." 

It was the hogs, the cattle, the wheat, and the corn pour- 
ing into Chicago after the fire that saved the city's honor in 
the financial panic that clapped down upon the nation in 1873. 

Many reasons have been given by economists for this dis- 
astrous depression. The country had not yet recovered from 
the wholesale destruction of property during the Civil War. 
Business all over the land had been dealt two terrific blows 
in 1871, when large sections of both Chicago and Boston had 
burned. Moreover, the United States had been on a railroad- 
building spree since 1869, building over 24,000 miles by 1872. 
Money for these new roads had grown scarce when European 
investors tightened their purse-strings in the foreign depres- 
sion of 1873, and American capitalists, straining their credit 
to float new bond-issues, plunged ahead into a panic of their 
own. On September 8, 1873, Jay Cooke and Company, sup- 
posedly most solid of all New York's bankers, closed its doors, 
and the New York Stock Exchange went wild with cas- 
cading prices. The public withdrew tons of greenbacks from 
circulation and hoarded them. Industry was paralyzed. Wall 
Street, quickly followed by Boston and Philadelphia, stopped 
cashing large checks and merely certified them as "good 
through clearing houses," which meant that the banks were 
pooling their resources as an expedient to carry them through. 

But out in Chicago, the bankers, although hard hit, went 
on handing out cash for checks, declaring that the New York 
use of clearing-house certificates was "in a way, suspension 
of payment." 

As William B. Ogden long ago had persuaded the city to 
save its honor in panic-time, so in 1873 Lyman J. Gage, George 
Schneider, and C. B. Blair stiffened the resolution of their 
140 



fellow bankers to keep on paying cash. Chicago weathered the 
depression which lasted until 1879 better than did any 
other large city. 

This was not all a matter of heroism. It was considerably 
a matter, as has been said, of hogs and grain. Where East- 
ern cities were helpless, unable to sell their industrial bonds 
and mortgages, Chicago's livestock and grain could always 
command a market, even if a declining one. People still had 
to eat. Europe bought heavily. Money still flowed in to the 
"Phoenix City" as Henry Ward Beecher had nicknamed it 
from the pulpit. 

Even in the curtailment of receipts due to the panic, Deacon 
Bross found cause for joyful blasts upon his battle-horn. To 
him the bad news was good news, since it showed that Chicago's 
loss was far less than that of St. Louis. 

"There has been in 1875 a decline of 1,222,300 hogs raised 
in Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois," he said, "yet Chi- 
cago's receipts have dwindled only 189,089 for the year. And 
this decline of less than 30 per cent, compares favorably with 
the 60 per cent, which St. Louis has lost. Chicago has gained 
over 75,000 cattle in the face of the depression during 1875, 
while St. Louis has lost 24,000." 

In that year the Queen of the Lakes handled almost three 
times as many cattle as did the River Queen. But neither the 
Deacon nor his fellow boosters wasted much breath on St. 
Louis any more. In its quick rebuilding after the fire, Chicago 
had at last passed the Mississippi River metropolis in popula- 
tion. It was New York upon which Chicago now turned its 
guns. Chicago might still be only fourth in size among Amer- 
ican cities New York, Philadelphia, and Brooklyn still out- 
classing it, but it seemed to be giving Philadelphia and Brook- 
lyn no thought. Brooklyn was obviously drifting into New 
York's limits, and although it would be late in the '80s before 
Chicago would pass Philadelphia as the second city, there was 
an evident feeling in the lake metropolis that the Quaker City 
was no bona-fide rival. New York was its business adversary. 

141 



Bross had sounded this antagonism as far back as the Spring 
of 1871, when he was calling upon Canada to trade with his 
city instead of with New York. Chicago, in '71, was campaign- 
ing for a deeper waterway down the St. Lawrence to the sea 
a dream, like that of the ship canal to the Mississippi, which 
was to haunt the city's "boosters" and "boomers" for two gen- 
erations thereafter. 

"What the West wants are the cheapest and the largest pos- 
sible outlets to the ocean," said the Deacon. "She cares not a 
rush for New York," 

With all the fervor of a clergyman lambasting the devil, 
Bross denounced New York for harboring such scoundrels as 
Commodore Vanderbilt, "who waters the stock of his railway 
two or three times," Jim Fisk and Jay Gould the railway-stock 
gamblers so typical, thought Bross, of the city whose ways 
were dark and whose tricks were villainous. 

"What if our trade builds up Toronto and makes another 
New York of Montreal or Quebec, always we trust beating the 
rascality of Wall Street? Canada and the Northwestern States 
of America have a common and an absorbing interest in all 
that can elevate and ennoble our common humanity." 

To Europeans in 1875 he was sending propaganda urging 
them to ship goods "direct to Chicago, where customs duties 
can be paid and where they will be free from the exactions of 
New York sharpers. The difference in rents and modes of 
doing business here more than balance the cost of freight from 
the seaboard and hence goods are sold as cheap or cheaper 
here than they are in New York." 

"No country merchant in the North, nor in the Southwest," 
he told America, "need now go to New York." 

Later on, a mayor of Chicago was to be world-known for 
his slogan, "Throw away your hammer and get a horru" He 
was only carrying on Deacon Bross, whether he knew it or not. 

There were horn-blowers for the city in other quarters as 
well in 1875. Scribner's Monthly in September of that year 
waxed eloquent over the place in. such words as "Chicago ! The 
142 



name has a strange fascination for the American people. The 
name is familiar in the remotest villages of all parts of Eu- 
rope. It is the best advertised city in the country. . . . The 
wickedness and the piety of Chicago are in their way mar- 
velous." 

Those who owned hammers might have said in the "70s that 
Chicago was still infamous, over the nation, as the "wicked 
city," and that its population in the decade had not kept pace 
with its incredible past. Where its people had increased 264 
per cent, between 1850 and 1860, and 173 per cent, from 1860 
to 1870, they had waxed only 68 per cent, between 1870 and 
1880. 

The horn-blowers could have replied that in the decade the 
city's wholesale trade had gained steadily and that, consider- 
ing the fire and the panic, Chicago was really more amazing 
than ever. It had added clubs and societies to its social struc- 
ture. In the previous decade it had founded its first two clubs, 
the Chicago and the Standard, the first, a Gentile organiza- 
tion, on March 25, 1869, the latter a Jewish club, ten days 
later. By '73 the Fortnightly was founded, by '75 the Chi- 
cago Literary Club, by '79 the Union League, a Republican 
society, and by '80 the Iroquois, a Democratic political body. 
It owned the largest chapter in the Grand Army of the Re- 
public, the George H. Thomas Post. From the ashes of the 
old Academy of Design it formed in 1879 the Art Institute, 
and began the collection of works of art, its millionaires giving 
generously. 

4 

In one regard Chicago was patronizing the older East. Like 
a lusty youth who woos a senile parent away from certain an- 
cient dietetic superstitions, Chicago approached the task of 
educating the Atlantic seaboard to eat Western-dressed beef. 
Easterners, accustomed to local butcher-shops, would have 
none of the first carloads of Chicago beef that came in over 
the Winter railroad tracks. Chicago's killers of hogs and cattle 

143 



had developed the refrigerator-car, too, before the decade was 
done, and by main strength broken down the Eastern preju- 
dice. Armour and Swift had both come to Chicago in the same 
year, 1875. 

P. D. Armour had come West in 1851, a boy of nineteen 
headed for the goldfields of California. From a lake schooner, 
this Stockbridge, Massachusetts, Yankee had landed at Mil- 
waukee to take an overland wagon-train. As he went, the mem- 
ory of the Wisconsin port stayed with him, telling him that 
there he might well settle down some day. In 1862 he was 
back, settling down as a partner of John Plankington, the 
produce and commission man. One of his brothers, Joseph F., 
he placed in charge of the Chicago branch, and by 1867 
Armour and Company had been founded and were packing 
hogs in the Illinois city. When Joseph fell sick in 1875, P. D. 
Armour moved down from Milwaukee to the wild town whose 
business men were as famous at taking chances as were its un- 
derworld gamblers. 

Armour was a "packer" in the true sense of the term long 
before the word was used to describe anybody who killed stock 
and shipped meat. In Winter Armour and Company slaugh- 
tered, pickled, cured, and smoked hog-meat, shipping their 
preparations all over the world. Salt pork, smoked sausage, 
smoked tongue, corned beef, hams, and bacon were their spe- 
cialties* 

Fresh beef was not at first Armour's concern. That trade 
was dominated by a German Jew, more of a pioneer than most 
of the "native Americans" who preserved the prejudices of 
Know-Nothingism under the now suaver masks of culture and 
trade. 

"Little Nels" Morris, born in the Black Forest of Germany 
in 1839, had reached America at twelve years of age and Chi- 
cago at fifteen. He Had gone to work in the old Sherman stock- 
yards, precursor of the great Union Stockyards, and having 
no funds, nibbled around the edge of the trade buying hogs 
and steers whose legs had been broken in crowded shipments. 
144 



These, good for quick butchering, he sold to meat-shops, and 
soon he had funds for larger operations. More valuable than 
funds, Nelson Morris had the best cattle-buyer's eye in the 
history of the Chicago livestock trade, and by 1875 he was a 
rich man with an organization that dwarfed all others in fur- 
nishing fresh beef to the city. 

Powerful concerns, then, headed the trade in 1875, Armour 
and Company, Morris and Company, and Libby, McNeill and 
Libby, who had been packing since 1868 enough to have 
frightened off any new competitors with less boldness than 
that which led West a certain butcher's boy from West Sand- 
wich, Massachusetts. 

Gustavus F. Swift, born, like Morris, in 1839, had pro- 
gressed from butcher's helper to slaughter-house operator in 
New England and had, in his middle thirties, brought his fam- 
ily to Chicago to be nearer the cattle supply. He had come 
to buy steers in the Union Stockyards, where the Texas long- 
horns arrived by the trainload, escorted by sombreroed plains- 
men in chaps and thin, high heels, and where genuine cowboys 
punched animals through chutes or roped runaways to the 
tune of their own strange yipping and ki-yiing. 

Swift, whom his son Louis F. called the "Yankee of the 
Yards," saw a better way to make money than to ship live 
steers. Instead of paying freight eastward on a whole steer, 
why not merely pay on the edible portions ? So he began slaugh- 
tering cattle and shipped the dressed meat to New England 
in the Wintertime. Where a live steer had weighed 1,000 
pounds, its trimmed carcass weighed but 600. Naturally Swift 
got rich, although it took him years to convince the conserva- 
tive Easterners that Western beef was all the better for hav- 
ing hung and cooled for several days. In order to get his beef 
into the New England homes, he sliced prices ruthlessly, tak- 
ing losses with bold finality. Time and again he verged on fail- 
ure, but with something of the same persuasive genius that 
had made William B. Ogden, George M. Pullman, Cyrus H. 
McCormick, and other Chicagoans giants in their fields, Swift 

145 



labored with Eastern butchers until he had won them and, with 
them, the housewives. 

Through 1878 and '79 he worked on the refrigerator-car, 
which would permit Chicago to export fresh meat the year 
around. Many inventors competed with designs, and as the 
decade ended both Swift and Armour had their own fleets of 
these revolutionary cars carrying supplies to all sections of 
the country out of season as well as in. 

Both men were busy, too, eliminating waste, finding uses for 
those parts of the cows and hogs and sheep that had been 
theretofore useless. They developed glue, fertilizer, soap, knife- 
handles, a thousand and one by-products, to swell their in- 
comes. They had begun the record for incredible efficiency 
which was to culminate in the universally known jest, "The 
Chicago packers use every part of a hog but his squeal." That 
boast, in legend at least, is credited to Swift, and may well 
have been true, since Chicagoans used to see him, dressed often 
in his frock coat, prying around the outlet of his packing-house 
sewers on Bubbly Creek, looking for traces of grease on the 
water. If he caught a sign of fat going to waste, some superin- 
tendent of his caught the very devil before sundown. Small 
wonder, with such an energy at its head, that Swift and Com- 
pany should in time rank as a business Titan. 

The packers were something indeed for the horn-blowers 
of Chicago to "boost'* as the '70s ended. They were launched 
on a career that was to run through dark scandals, threats 
of combination that would make public opinion shiver, govern- 
ment regulation, and both political and literary "exposes." 
But it was to be a career of stupendous achievement, and sight- 
seers by the million would come to Chicago asking first of all 
to be shown how the packers worked their miracles in the Union 
Stockyards. 

That circus-like fame of the "Yards" was to come in the 
two decades that followed; at the close of the '70s Chicago was 
more famous as the place where the bloody "Railroad Riots" 
of the nation had reached their crest, 
146 



CHAPTER XIII 



M 



.TTCH of the strong, hard metal which immigration had 
poured into Chicago's pot had melted with exceeding slowness. 
Nor could it be said that the native American stock, still in- 
sisting upon predominance, stirred the mixture with care. The 
old Know-Nothing prejudices smouldered under the surface. 
Reformers still hampered the Germans in the free enjoyment 
of their Sunday beer, and in 1873 hounded Mayor Joseph 
Medill into closing the saloons on the Sabbath. 

The Germans spoke out loudly in protest. Many of them 
had been residents of America for a generation and more, men 
who had fought for the Union flag, and who resented it when 
the reformers said, "The foreigners want to dictate to us and 
force their lower standards upon our civilization." 

The Puritan spirit organized the Law and Order League, 
and every Sunday shut up the famous Exposition Hall, where 
a permanent exhibit of machinery, fabrics, educational dis- 
plays from all over the world, stood among amusement booths. 
Wealth, the Protestant churches, and the Yankee aristocracy 
backed the Sunday closing, a situation which prompted spokes- 
men of the masses to declare, "We are not against the arrest 
of Sunday-drunks, but we are against the dictation of men 
who go to church on Sundays with long faces and then go 

147 



to the Board of Trade on Monday to swindle their colleagues 
out of many bushels of grain." 

A. C. Hesing, German newspaper editor, stout old battler 
for "the people" and one of Ulysses S. Grant's political wheel- 
horses, stirred the Germans, the Irish, and the native "liberals" 
as he assailed the Law and Order League. 

"They give you no cheap concerts and lectures to educate 
you," he thundered. "They will not even let you go to the Ex- 
position on the day when you can dress up and appear like 
them, but they go whenever they please and make you and their 
clerks do their work. They go there and look at the machinery 
and furniture and fabrics you have made at wages of a dollar 
and a half a day. I ask Dr. Kittridge and Dr. Fowler [two re- 
former-clergymen], who preach morality and try to crowd 
their words down your throats, to lay their hands on then- 
hearts and answer if it is right for them to rob the poor of their 
privileges. 

"I ask them what harm there is, after you have been work- 
ing hard in a dirty, dusty shop all week, for you to go to Lin- 
coln Park on Sunday with your wives and babies to breathe a 
little of the fresh air the Lord they pray to made? I ask them 
what harm it would be for you to hear a little music there as 
they hear it in their churches ? I ask them what harm there is 
if, when you return, you take a glass of lager or wine to re- 
fresh you? You are a pack of slaves if you suffer laws that 
prohibit this." 

Organizing the People's Party, the liberals swept the fall 
elections of 1873, and in the mayor's seat put Harvey D- Col- 
vin, certain to let the people have beer on their day of leisure. 

But the Sunday-closing forces were not done. Defeated at 
the polls, they turned to evangelism. Out of Ohio in the Spring 
of 1874 came "the praying women" crusaders of pious soul 
who marched, overwrought, into saloons, knelt in the sawdust 
praying for God to lead the bartender to repentance. They 
pleaded with embarrassed patrons of the saloons, wept and 
148 



sang, not yet ready to fall upon the barrels and bottles with 
the axes of Carrie Nation and her fanatic followers. 

In Chicago the dean of women at Northwestern University 
resigned her post that year to become head of the Illinois 
Women's Christian Temperance Union, and to go about charm- 
ing audiences with her religious eloquence. She was Frances E. 
Willard, who in 1883 would form the W.C.T.U. and organ- 
ize the women of America for the Prohibition that was destined 
to arrive. 

"The praying women" of '74 got nowhere in Chicago. The 
temper of the town was against them, although they did drive 
on City Hall one March morning, singing and praying, hun- 
dreds strong, with a scattering of male clergymen on the 
fringes of their phalanx. Both the Mayor and the Council re- 
fused to obey their command that the saloons be closed on 
Sunday, and they left amid the witticisms of street-mobs. 



The temperance agitation was only part of the unrest that 
was in the air. Another panic was on the city and nation. The 
workingmen of the German, Irish, Scandinavian, Bohemian, 
Slavonic, and French groups half the town still foreign-born 
or children of foreign-born all stirred as their pay shrunk 
or their jobs disappeared altogether. To the leadership of many 
dissatisfied groups stepped educated Germans, "radicals," as 
the "nativists" called them, intellectuals and philosophical real- 
ists who understood well the Communist Manifesto which Karl 
Marx had issued in 1848. That they should take issue sooner 
or later with the Yankee rulers of Chicago's industrial and 
social life was inevitable. They differed with Puritans on reli- 
gion, for while both were Protestant by blood, the German 
radical faction had long ago dismissed orthodoxy and the fun- 
damentalists' idea of Jehovah. They laughed to see native 
iconoclasts like Robert J. Ingersoll, down in Peoria, assailing 
the Puritan clergymen. They were more interested in better- 

149 



ing the lot of man on this earth than in considering the prob- 
lems of the hereafter. 

Labor unions had taken timid root in Chicago m 1850 with 
the organization of the printers' union, but the German phi- 
losophers had not embraced the cause until 1869. The Civil 
War, in which they were absorbed battling for the freedom 
of the negro slave prevented an earlier enlistment. Then, as 
they took up the idea of Socialism in America, the fire of 5 71 
interrupted, and it was not until the hard times of '73 had 
descended that they got whole-heartedly into the cause. 

With the panic came unemployment to tens of thousands of 
workmen who had poured in to help rebuild the Phoenix City. 
Six months before the fire, carpenters, bricklayers, stone- 
masons, drew from $7.50 to $10.00 a day. Three years later 
they were lucky if they got work at the prevailing prices of 
a fourth of that. Educated, well-bred "tramps" were as com- 
mon as ordinary hobos. Of the 25,000 arrests made by the po- 
lice in 1874, the bulk were jobless tradesmen and laborers. 
Squads of police stood at Chicago depots turning the vagrants 
and job-hunters away from the city. The lumber-shovers, down 
to 75 cents and a dollar a day, and living in one-room hovels 
of thin clapboards, struck when their wages were threatened 
with further reduction. Hordes of starving "scabs" rushed for 
their jobs, and the laborers abandoned the strike suddenly. 
Walk-outs in other lines failed as quickly. The unemployed 
paraded under signs "Bread or Blood." Jobless sons of Yan- 
kee pioneers forgot their ancient distrust of "f oreigners" and 
began to mingle with the idle Germans, Scandinavians, Irish, 
as they all listened to the doctrine of Karl Marx. Dissent and 
protest became national, many socialistic groups fusing in 
July ? 76, into the Workingmen's Party of the United States. 
The Chicago section was strong enough to put forward an 
aldermanic candidate luckless but brilliant in the Spring 
of 1877. 

He was Albert R. Parsons, who had come to Chicago shortly 
before with his Spanish-Indian wife. Born in Alabama^ he had 
150 



entered the Confederate army at thirteen, had served through- 
out the war, and in '65 had gone to Texas to run a newspaper. 
In his Waco weekly he had begun to fight for the negro's 
rights, calling upon the South to make the f reedman a citizen 
and a voter. Naturally the South moved Parsons along out of 
town, and in '73 he reached Chicago with his wife, joining the 
Typographical Union and going to work as a typesetter for 
the Times. While his hands composed columns that denounced 
the workingmen as robbers because they demanded higher 
wages, his mind boiled with anger, and, before long, he was 
active in the party of protest. So eloquent was he that he 
speedily overcame the distrust with which the foreign-born 
members regarded the English-speaking members of the Work- 
ingmen's Party. The Germans whispered among themselves 
that the "damned Yankees needed watching," but Parsons in 
'77 won them, and although defeated for alderman as their 
candidate, was famous as a "moral victor. 5 ' 

When the railroad riots of that year were raging, Parsons 
was addressing thousands of idolizing strikers. 

On July 17th, Chicago newspapers began describing the 
battles between striking locomotive-firemen and the police in 
Baltimore. The trouble spread to Pittsburgh, where the mi- 
litia fired into the strikers and were chased into roundhouses 
while $10,000,000 worth of railroad property was destroyed. 
The trouble spread to Philadelphia, Wheeling, Cincinnati, and 
St. Louis. 

Chicago shivered. 

3 

Almost hourly the city read of the epidemic's approach. A 
little evening newspaper, only eighteen months old, the Daily 
News was tossing "extras" into the excited streets. Its circula- 
tion of some 20,000 a day doubled in a day's time, then trebled 
and more, as its hard-driving editor, Melville E. Stone, later 
general manager of the Associated Press, sent squads of re- 
porters through the city to note the workingmen. Back in the 

151 



business office of the Daily News sat the owner, always calm, 
always cool, Victor F. Lawson. Stone and he had established 
their penny-newspaper by Herculean importations of copper 
cents into a town which had recognized nothing smaller than a 
nickel. Persuading merchants to advertise 99-cent bargains, 
they arranged it so that buyers had a penny left over and 
nothing but the Dally News to buy with it. Now thousands of 
idle men bought the Daily News because it was within their 
means. Other thousands bought it because it "covered" the na- 
tional strike with fresh editions in rapid succession. 

Chicago's "big 55 men, an imposing array of merchants, 
bankers, and business men, headed by Levi Z. Leiter, walked 
in upon the Daily News on Monday, July 23d, demanding that 
it suspend for the time being. They felt that it should be ob- 
vious to anybody that the strike was a premeditated plot of 
anarchists to cripple industry and society all over the nation. 
These extras, they said, were inflaming the masses. The paper 
must stop. 

Stone and Lawson refused. Their paper was "made." 

Mass-meetings, peaceable enough, were held that night. The 
Michigan Central switchmen struck against threats that their 
pay, already cut from $65 to $55 a month, was to get another 
slash. On Tuesday morning all the railroads, the pride of 
Chicago, were paralyzed, the police rushing and running 
the patrol-wagon had not yet been invented halting now and 
then to pour blood out of their shoes. 

Mayor Monroe Heath, prodded by business men, sent for 
Albert R. Parsons and told him to quit addressing the strikers, 
to go back to Texas, for "those Board of Trade men would 
as leave hang you to a lamppost as not." Parsons refused to 
quit Chicago, indeed seemed amazed that the Mayor should 
not understand that this was only a pacific strike for a living 
wage* not an armed revolution. He was thrown out by His 
Honor, branded in the newspapers as "leader of the Com- 
mune," and walked, unrecognized, about town pondering upon 
the violence of the capitalists. That night neither he nor any 
152 



one else had a chance to address the three thousand workers 
who assembled, for the police scattered the waiting crowd 
with clubs and blank cartridges. 

Hurriedly Parsons and his comrades in the Workingmen's 
Party tried to direct the strike, which, they always insisted, 
was not of their fomentation. By circulars they sought to hold 
down violence and to solidify sentiment behind demands for 
an eight-hour working day and a 20 per cent, raise in wages. 
But they could not ride the storm. 

On Wednesday blood splashed on the "Black Road" which 
ran along Blue Island Avenue up to the great McCormick 
Reaper-works. Policemen had fought with strikers who, a thou- 
sand strong, stood howling at the "scabs." The lumbermen, 
the tailors of the North Side, the workers generally, were out. 
Twenty thousand men, police and citizens, were under arms. 
Squads of householders shouldered rifles and patrolled the resi- 
dence districts, fifty different mobs were chasing militiamen and 
volunteer "specials." Saloons were closed. J. V. Farwell and 
Field and Leiter gave their dray-horses to transport the police. 
Citizens brought rifles and horses to City Hall. On Randolph 
Street Bridge the police fought with a mob. At the Chicago, 
Burlington & Quincy roundhouse on West 16th, locomotives 
were destroyed and volleys fired. A pitched battle was fought 
at the viaduct between Halsted and Archer Avenues. Terror 
had the business men by the throat, and at a meeting on Thurs- 
day in the famous Moody and Sankey Tabernacle on Monroe 
between Franklin and Market, they demanded 5,000 addi- 
tional militiamen to put down "the ragged commune wretches." 

Carter Harrison, home from Washington where he was serv- 
ing a second term as Congressman, defeated the plan for a 
military "rescue." 

"Trust the police," he said. "The people of Chicago are in- 
dustrious, the laborers are workingmen of the truest stamp, 
and today there is the remarkable phenomenon exhibited of 
a city of 500,000 men, women and children a city composed 
of industrious workingmen controlled by a mob of two or 

153 



three hundred idlers and ragamuffins. It is not laboring people 
who are making the strike. A few laboring men commenced it, 
but it is the idlers, thieves, and ruffians who are carrying it on. 
We have stopped the railroads, and what can Chicago do with- 
out the railroads?" 

The Workingmen's Party kept urging its members to be 
peaceable, though firm. "The grand principles of Humanity 
and Popular Sovereignty need no violence to sustain them." 

Scores among the "upper classes" left town, and fright 
swept everywhere until two companies of United States regu- 
lars, still dusty from Indian campaigns in the Northwest, ar- 
rived on Thursday afternoon and marched through the streets 
with Lieut.-Col. Frederick Dent Grant, son of the illustrious 
Ulysses, at their head. The strike was broken. That day the 
Daily News attempted to explain the trouble: 

"For years the railroads of this country have been wholly 
run outside of the United States Constitution. . . They have 
charged what they pleased for fare and freights. They cor- 
rupted the State and city legislatures. They corrupted Con- 
gress, employing for that purpose a lobby that dispensed bribes 
to the amount of millions and millions. . . . Their managers 
have been plundering the roads and speculating upon their 
securities to their own enrichment. Finally, having found noth- 
ing more to get out of the stockholders or bondholders, they 
have commenced raiding not only upon the general public but 
their own employees. 

"The people have no sympathy with the rioters, but they 
have as little for the Vanderbilts, the Jay Goulds, and the Jim 
Fisks who have been running the property until they have 
ruined one of the most expensive and finest the world had ever 
known. Every child in the United States over the age of ten 
knows this. 

"The frightful evils we now endure were brought upon us 
by a course of legislation in the interest of capital and against 
industry," said the News a day or two later. "It is simply non- 
sense to say that there are not two sides to the question." 
154 



Such sentiments appealed to the average citizen of Chi- 
cago when, fear gone, he had time to think* All of the three 
hundred rioters who had been arrested were let go in the gen- 
eral feeling of relief. No policemen had been killed. Of the 
twenty to thirty-five persons dead, some were strikers, many 
were hoodlums. On Friday the strikers were back at work, the 
Board of Trade open again, the city, as from that moment, 
regaining prosperity. Good times were returning. The terror 
could never happen again, people said. 



But within nine years something worse had terrorized Chi- 
cago dynamite! The first bomb had been thrown. 

After the strike of '77 socialism gained dizzily, then waned 
as its leaders despaired of relief through political measures. 
Anarchism, more radical in its methods of winning better edu- 
cation, freer opportunity, and higher wages for workers, sup- 
planted it, and in Chicago anarchism was stronger than in any 
other city. True enough, it had no more than 3,000 members, 
a ridiculous number among the 850,000 Chicagoans, but it 
had the gifted Parsons and such able publicists as August 
Spies and Michael Schwab of the German paper Arbeit er 
Zeitung, Samuel Fielden, once an English weaver, later a Meth- 
odist lay preacher and teamster, Oscar Neebe, organizer of 
the beer-wagon drivers, Adolph Fischer, a typesetter, George 
Engel, a toy-maker, and Louis Lingg, a fantastic organizer 
for the Brotherhood of Carpenters. 

For- all their zeal their meetings on the lake-front were at- 
tended by crowds of less than fifty, and their newspapers were 
wretchedly edited, "obscure little sheets with scarcely any cir- 
culation." 

They talked vaguely of revolution, spoke of dynamite as a 
symbol of the people's rights, mooned dreamily over the words 
"Humanity," "Human Rights," "Human Progress." Now and 
then one of their number would discuss dynamite with a re- 

155 



porter from the Tribune or Times or Daily News and gain 
publicity for the "cause" in the resulting sensation which was 
made of the "menace." In private, it is creditably said, they 
laughed at the public excitement over bombs, knowing how 
few if any of them had ever seen one of the dread missiles. 

Just as the "anarchist" scare was about to perish, much as 
the "bolshevist" phantom was due to fade in America some 
forty years later, another of those national panics began, last- 
ing from '84 to >86 and throwing armies of workmen out ^of 
their jobs. The Federation of Trades Unions countered with 
demands for the eight-hour day. 

As in 1877, trouble began on the Black Road. The McCor- 
mick plant, having cut workers' pay again, saw strikers jeer 
at "scabs" along this somber cinder-path. This time the man- 
agers would not rely wholly upon the police. From the head- 
quarters of the Pinkerton Detective Agency they hired opera- 
tives to guard the plant and its non-union laborers. 



Allan Pinkerton, who had died the year before, had come 
a long, ironic way after his arrival in Chicago in 1842. As a 
youth in Scotland, he had been for the workingman and human 
rights, even joining the Chartists, those headlong political re- 
formers who in 1838 advocated the use of arms in winning 
universal suffrage, equal representation, better political con- 
ditions for the masses a program known as the People's 
Charter. The British Isles knew them as "physical force men" 
and prosecuted them relentlessly, with the result that many, 
including young Pinkerton, fled to America to escape im- 
prisonment. 

In Chicago the boy became deputy sheriff of Cook County, 
then in 1850 the first detective of the little city. That same 
year he established Pinkerton's Detective Agency, largely for 
work on the "underground railroad." The passion for liberty 
still dominated him, and into "Abolitionist" Chicago he and 

156 



his men brought hundreds of runaway slaves, speeding them to 
the safety of Canada. "John Brown/* he once told his son, "is 
a greater man than Napoleon and just as great as George 
Washington." 

By 1860 he had added a corps of night-watchmen to guard 
business houses, an enterprise so successful that before the 
outbreak of the Civil War he had offices of both his detective 
agency and his "preventative watch" in several other cities. 
Soon he was guarding the United States mail for the Chicago 
district and in 1860 was in charge of the person of Abraham 
Lincoln as the Springfield lawyer went East for his Presidential 
inauguration. By Lincoln he was assigned in 1861 to organize 
the United States Secret Service and throughout the war 
served in the tempestuous duties of such a post. 

Now, in 1885, the whirligig of existence had shifted the 
name of Pinkerton from "left" to "right." No longer would 
it be associated with movements that set human rights above 
property rights, and as the massed detectives marched out 
to serve the established order of things in Chicago's labor 
strife, they were commanded by William Pinkerton, that boy 
who had been told by his father to think upon the greatness 
of John Brown of Osawatomie. 

The "Pinkertons" whom the employers brought to the Black 
Road were hated by the strikers more viciously than were the 
"scabs" themselves, and soon the detectives were exchanging 
blows and shots with the workingmen. As the skirmishes became 
known, the idea of a general strike grew among Chicago's 
laborers, and swept on even after the McCormick plant had 
settled the strike, giving employees a 15 per cent, salary in- 
crease. On the night of April 28, a mob gathered at the foot 
of La Salle Street to howl at the city's leading financiers, who 
had gathered in the new Board of Trade building for its in- 
augural banquet. 

Parsons and other radical leaders, arrayed now in the In- 
ternational Working People's Party, addressed a street-throng 
that bore red and black flags red for the common blood of hu- 

157 



inanity, black for starvation. Parsons said they would march 
on the "Board of Thieves" singing the Marseillaise. Fielden 
denounced the Board of Trade men for toasting their $2,000,- 
000 Temple of Usury while 2,500,000 men were jobless in the 

nation. 

"How long will you sit down to 15-cent meals when those 
fellows inside are sitting down to a banquet at $20 a plate?" 

he shouted. , . 

Parsons derided Bishop Cheney, the prelate, for baptizing 
the cornerstone of this Temple of Mammon, adding, "What a 
truthful follower that man must be of the tramp Nazarene, 
Jesus, who scourged the thieves from the Board of Trade of 

Jerusalem!" 

Armed police were massed before the new building when the 
singing paraders arrived, and they shooed the mob away an 
incident, on the whole, merely frothy and harmless, yet loom- 
ing large a little later when Parsons, Fielden, Spies, and others 
were on trial for their lives. 

Over the city rules the man who had taken Chicago for his 
"bride," Carter H. Harrison, entering now, in '85, on his 
fourth consecutive term as mayor. He has grown rich in real 
estate, loves silk underwear, and owns the town's aristocrats 
as Hs personal friends ; yet he champions the proletariat, loves 
the common people, and is adored by them. He is for progress, 
for union labor and a wide-open town. Even his enemies, the 
conservative newspapers and the Protestant clergy, admit that 
he is honest and that the city's integrity owes much to him. 
Reformers who share United States Senator John A. Logan's 
opinion that Harrison has made Chicago known as a Gomor- 
rah concede that "our Carter" has been good for business. 
Every day on the streets, people cheer the 225-pound mayor 
as he thunders by on his galloping horse, his slouch hat and 
big beard rakish in the Chicago winds. The masses love his 
hot, witty head, his habit of listening to their woes, his private 
and eternal ambition to catch a burglar some night in his man- 
sion and kill him. Harrison lets the saloons stay open and 
158 



believes that gambling and prostitution are ancient, unkill- 
able sins. He is Chicago. "The young city is not only vigor- 
ous but she laves her beautiful limbs daily in Lake Michigan 
and comes out clean and pure every morning," he trumpets. 
Never will he allow troops to be brought in to shoot down strik- 
ing workingmen. Freedom is his creed. His "bride" can talk 
all she wants. 

6 

Through that Summer of 1885 minor strikes kept uttering 
warnings of serious trouble ahead. Street-car employees walked 
out, declaring that the company had violated their rights* The 
public supported them Mayor Harrison declaring that nine 
out of every ten citizens were with the strikers. The men even- 
tually forced the street-car company to surrender, but not 
before "idlers and roughs" had rioted for several days. Juries 
promptly freed prisoners brought in by the police and on 
the surface the thing seemed to blow over. But more people 
than ever were getting it into their heads that behind these 
simple workingmen was lurking something vast, demoniac, and 
murderous. 

By the following February the McCormick works had de- 
clared for the "open shop," and "scabs" were being beaten on 
the Black Road once more, the Pinkertons and police hurrying. 

Parsons and his comrades now abandoned their initial dis- 
trust of the eight-hour-day crusade and threw themselves be- 
hind it. Five hundred tailor-girls, Bohemian, Polish, Hun- 
garian, paraded under red flags. Six men died under volleys 
of police-fire outside the McCormick works. August Spies, 
whom the bullets had interrupted as he addressed some 
5,000 Slavs on the Black Road, dashed to the Arbeiter Zevtung 
office and tossed off a proclamation, "Revenge," sending it in 
German and English over town by a horseback rider. It read : 

"Your masters sent out their bloodhounds the police. They 
killed six of your brothers at McCormick's this afternoon. 
They killed the poor wretches because they, like you, had the 

159 



courage to disobey the supreme will of your bosses. ... If 
you are men, destroy the hideous monster that seeks to destroy 
you. To arms ! We call you to arms !" 

Next day Schwab raged in the Arbeiter Ztitung, "In pal- 
aces they fill goblets with costly wine and pledge the health of 
the bloody banditti of Order. Dry your tears, ye poor and suf- 
fering. Take heart, ye braves. Rise in your might and level the 
existing robber rule in the dust." 

A great mass-meeting was called for 7.30 the next evening, 
May 4th, in the Haymarket, Randolph Street, between Des- 
plaines and Halsted. 

Mayor Harrison and the police kept hands off, but watched 
carefully from the Desplaines Street station, the resolute 
mayor himself going out to mingle with the crowds that lis- 
tened to Spies and Parsons. Standing in the throng, he kept 
striking match after match to relight his cigar. A friend asked 
him to stop it, lest he draw violence to himself. "I want the 
people to know their mayor is here," he replied. After a time 
Harrison went back to the station, saying that the affair was 
"tame," that nothing was likely to occur, and that the reserves 
might as well be sent home. Such orders were given. The Mayor 
and the Chief of Police went off to their respective beds, leav- 
ing Inspector Bonfield, excitable, brave, questioned before for 
his rashness, in charge of the men still on duty. 

Rain had begun to fall. At the Haymarket, Fielden, the 
Englishman, spoke last. Scouts, running from the meeting, 
told Bonfield that the orator was saying that "the law must be 
throttled, killed, and stabbed." The Inspector's temperament 
betrayed him. Ordering out a hundred and seventy-six of his 
men, he marched on the crowd. Captain Ward* in the front 
rank, called upon the meeting to break up. Fielden replied that 
it was peaceable. 

A second later, before anything else could be said pro or con, 

an explosion ripped through the ranks of the police, flattening 

scores, lighting up the rainy blackness, shaking the West Side 

windows in their casements. Bonfield, blundering, perhaps ex- 

160 



cusably under the circumstances, ordered his men to fire, which 
they did in all directions, wounding each other as well as the 
bystanders. People trampled each other, shouting and scream- 
ing, as they tried to escape the fusillade from the maddened 
police. Wounded men dragged themselves into doorways. Clubs 
broke skulls. Scattering shots from fugitives, the police said, 
kept popping at them for several minutes. 

Patrol-wagons came for the wounded officers, who numbered 
sixty-seven. Of these seven died. How many of the populace 
were killed was never determined, although the police insisted 
that the number was large and merely hidden by the anarchists, 
who spirited their dead and wounded away. 



For a day or two Chicago seemed to be still stunned by the 
detonation. The shock of a bomb so strange and foreign a 
weapon in an American city sickened the citizens. Then hor- 
ror turned to fury the nation joining in. Hysteria rocked 
Chicago. The police raided wildly, "discovering" bombs most 
conveniently in places where they would do most harm to the 
accused Parsons, Schwab, Spies, et al. A Captain Schaack of 
the police force disgusted even Chief Ebersold, his superior, by 
the ferocity of his attacks upon workingmen's homes, "dyna- 
miter's lairs" he called them. Very natural passions of revenge 
dominated many of the police. Love of the limelight spurred 
others on. The terrorized city whipped the officers to greater 
efforts, the police in turn kept public fear at razor edge. 

Arrests were wholesale, a grand jury winnowing out indict- 
ments for Fielden, Parsons, Spies, Schwab, and such others of 
the Workingmen's Party as Fischer, Engel, Lingg, Neebe, 
William Seliger, and Rudolph Schnaubelt. Parsons and 
Schnaubelt escaped, the former to a Wisconsin farm, the latter 
to Europe, from which he never returned. The case against 
Seliger was dropped. 

On June 21st the accused were rushed to trial, and as pro- 

161 



ceedings were begun in walked Parsons to shake hands calmly 
with his comrades, and sit down beside them for trial. He would 
face the music for the "cause." 

Distinguished lawyers, reviewing the trial in later years, 
were divided in opinion, some saying that the verdict lacked 
justice, others saying that the accused were obviously guilty. 
Errors were manifold in its conduct. Citizens' associations, 
business men, public sentiment, demanded that the noose come 
quickly and with small ado. Judge Joseph E. Gary assembled 
a jury that was all but hand-picked, his bailiff reputedly boast- 
ing how he had "packed" the venire so that counsel for the 
defense might speedily exhaust their preemptory challenges 
and be forced to accept prejudiced jurors. No creditable evi- 
dence linked the accused with the throwing of the bomb. In- 
deed, no bomb-thrower was ever discovered. The charge was 
that the dynamiter, whoever he was, must of necessity have 
been prompted to his crime by the inflammatory speeches and 
publications of the prisoners. On the exhibit-table the prose- 
cution spread a jumble of apparatus which, it claimed, was 
for the making of bombs. The police insisted that they had 
found them in anarchists' quarters, notably Lingg's home. 

On August 19 the jury voted "guilty," as it was expected 
to do; Judge Gary pronounced "death" for Parsons, Spies, 
Lingg, Fielden, Schwab, Fischer, and Engel. Neebe, whose 
crimes consisted of owning stock in the Arbeit er Zeitung, was 
given fifteen years in prison. Counsel for the defense argued 
for a new trial and was refused. The condemned asked to be 
allowed to address the court. This was granted. One by one 
they arose and spoke, ostensibly to the judge and the jury 
in reality they were speaking to the world. Newspapers gave 
columns to these addresses, as they had to the entire trial, which 
was one of the great "stories" of the latter half of the century. 
The speeches were reprinted, made into pamphlets, passed 
around the earth, cherished by many as curiosities, by some as 
monstrosities, by others as things of literary charm, by still 
others as gospels of the workingman's cause. 
162 



Fielden fascinated even his prosecutors by his three-hour 
oration. Oration it was in the finest sense, thought trained 
speakers who listened. The man was eloquent, philosophical. 

Among other things he said, "Your Honor, with due respect 
for your years, I wish to say this, that it is quite possible that 
you cannot understand how men can hold such ridiculous ideas. 
Yet it is well known that persons who live to a ripe old age 
very seldom change their opinions. It is a natural result." 

At one point he casually mentioned that "since I was eight 
years of age I have gained my bread by the hard labor of my 
hand." His prosecutors, at this, whispered among themselves, 
saying that if he had spoken to the jury before their verdict, he 
would most certainly have gone free. 

But Fielden asked for no mercy in his swan-song. The 
ecstasy of martyrdom and the poetry of sacrifice were already 
transporting him, as he said : 

"Today the beautiful Autumn sun kisses with balmy breeze 
the cheek of every free man ; I stand here never to bathe my 
head in its rays again. I have loved my fellow man as I have 
loved myself. I have hated trickery, dishonesty, and injustice. 
If it will do any good, I freely give myself up. I trust the time 
will come when there will be a better understanding, more in- 
telligence, and above the mountains of iniquity, wrong, and 
corruption, I hope* the sun of righteousness and truth and jus- 
tice will come to bathe in its balmy light the emancipated 
world." 

Spies, too, was lyrical : 

"If you think that by hanging us you can stamp out the 
labor movement, then call your hangman. But you will tread 
upon the sparks. Here and there, behind you, in front of you, 
and everywhere flames will spring up. You cannot understand 
it. You do not believe in witchcraft, but you do believe in 'con- 
spiracies.' " 

Schwab tried to tell his listeners what anarchy really meant. 

"Anarchy," he said, "is a state of society in which the only 
government is reason; a state of society in which all human 

163 



beings do right for the simple reason that it is right and hate 
wrong because it is wrong." 

Louis Lingg, haughty and defiant, snarled, "Anarchy is 
called disorder. Anarchy is opposition against the order of 
things which does not allow a man to live a life that is worth 
living. I die gladly upon the gallows in the sure hope that hun- 
dreds and thousands of people to whom I have spoken will now 
recognize and make use of dynamite. In this hope I despise 
you and despise your laws. Hang me for it. 

Parsons, denouncing the trial, said, "The verdict is the sum 
totality of the organized passion of Chicago." 

The jury, he charged, had received $100,000 after the trial 
as a gift from Chicago millionaires. The city had wined and 
dined the twelve men who had voted "guilty," he declared. 

"I am called a dynamiter," he went on. "Why? Did I ever 
use dynamite? No. Did I ever have any? No. Why, then, am 
I called a dynamiter? Listen and I will tell you."' 

Dynamite, he said, was a symbol of power which made one 
poor man the equal of a king's army. Gunpowder had freed 
the common man from the tyranny of the robber-barons in 
feudal times. 

"It is democratic; it makes everybody equal. The Pinker- 
tons, the police, the militia, are absolutely worthless in the pres- 
ence of dynamite. They can do nothing with the people at all. 
Dynamite is the equilibrium. It is the annihilate. It is the dis- 
seminator of authority; it is the dawn of peace; it is the end 
of war. It is man's best and last friend; it emancipates the 
world from the domineering of the few over the many, because 
all government, in the last resort, is violence; all law, in the 
last resort, is force. Force is the law of the universe; force is 
the law of nature, and this newly discovered force makes all 
men equal and therefore free." 

He and his fellows, as he talked, appeared as toilers for hu- 
manity, fighters for the day when capitalists would not put 
children to work and "cripple their soft bones." 

"We plead for the little ones, we plead for the helpless, we 

164 



plead for the oppressed, we seek redress for those who are 
wronged, we seek knowledge and intelligence for the ignorant, 
we seek liberty for the slave we seek the welfare of every 
human being." 

The judge set the hanging for Friday, December 3rd. At 
this Parsons spoke up, "December 3rd a Friday hangman's 
day! The day our Lord Jesus Christ died to save the world. 
He may have died again and the world be saved again." 

There were times, during these speeches, when it must have 
seemed to the old, listening prairie, that it was Tecumseh, the 
red man, talking to William Henry Harrison not a German 
or a Texan or a Britisher addressing a judge and a jury. 

Able defense had been made by counsel, and in the appeal 
to the Supreme Court of Illinois, it was Leonard Swett, still 
wrapped in the mantle of his friend, Abraham Lincoln, who 
spoke for the condemned. It was useless. The verdict stood and 
was sustained by the United States Supreme Court. Governor 
Richard Oglesby, however, comnluted the sentences of Schwab 
and Fielden to life imprisonment. Louis Lingg killed himself 
in his cell by exploding a dynamite cartridge between his teeth. 

Spies, Parsons, Fischer, and Engel were hanged on Novem- 
ber 11, 1887, in the county jail, Spies saying, through his gal- 
lows-hood, "There will be a time when our silence will be more 
powerful than the voices you strangle today," Parsons crying, 
"Let the voice of the people be heard !" 

The leaders of Chicago said "Good riddance" the day of the 
hanging. Many honest citizens said, "It's too bad about them, 
but society must be protected." Many friends of the dead men 
said, "They died like John Brown of Osawatomie." 

8 

Once the execution was performed reaction, deep and trou- 
blesome, set in. Much of Chicago's population felt shame and 
remorse. The merchants, the manufacturers, the bankers, the 
wholesalers, the railway magnates, the owners of schooners and 

165, 



real estate those restless, often reckless Yankees who had done 
so much to lift Chicago up out of the mud, out of the fire-ruins, 
out of the panics, stuck to their guns. They were convinced 
that they had helped lift the Garden City out of the toils of 
bloody anarchy. And when Governor John P. Altgeld in 1893 
pardoned Fielden, Neebe, and Schwab on the grounds that 
their trial had been unfair and illegal, they branded him an 
enemy of society. 

But across the city public sentiment decreed that, after this, 
it would be better to let free speech have its way without raids 
by the police, and when a girl named Jane Addams came to 
town in 1889 so soon after the hideous scare she saw the 
amazing spectacle of radicals, anarchists, socialists, labor- 
leaders, dissenters of all kinds, speaking from the same plat- 
form in the new Auditorium of a Sunday with clergymen, mer- 
chants, realtors, Republican politicians of every shade and 
gradation of thought, while so ultra-respectable a banker as 
Lyman J. Gage himself benignly presided over the scene, his 
white beard bespeaking peace. 

In such an atmosphere of liberality Miss Addams' genius 
flowered. With her friend Ellen Gates Starr, she leased the 
house once occupied by a pioneer, Charles J. Hull, and estab- 
lished the social settlement, Hull House, at Halsted and Polk 
Streets, where the melting-pot had its vortex* 

A monument to the hanged anarchists was erected at Wald- 
heim Cemetery, and there were years, in the decades that fol- 
lowed, when almost as many visitors came to it in the course of 
twelve months as to the statue of Abraham Lincoln in the park 
which bears his name. Anarchy as a "cause" disappeared from 
the American scene, leaving the dead men in the eyes of many 
laboring men as "martyrs" to the struggle which toilers under 
many labels waged for higher wages, the eight-hour day, and 
the rights of the working classes. 

The tragedy passed into history. A bomb, possibly the firsb 
thrown in America, had fixed itself upon Chicago's reputation, 
and many Chicago citizens came to feel, perhaps more strongly 

166 



than could citizens of other American cities, that as a general 
thing patience and tolerance must be preserved in dealing with 
violent workingmen. 

9 

It is a day soon after the catastrophe of Haymarket Square. 

A delegation of capitalists call upon Mayor Harrison, who 
has said that he doesn't believe the "anarchists" had anything 
to do with the bomb. They tell him that, henceforth, he must 
suppress free speech. Up speaks "the merchant prince," Mar- 
shall Field, himself: "Mr. Harrison, we represent great in- 
terests in Chicago " 

"Mr. Field," the mayor interrupts, "any poor man owning 
a single small cottage as his sole possession has the same inter- 
est in Chicago as its richest citizen." 



167 



CHAPTER XIV 



I 



the anarchists, who so blackened the name of the city 
among conventional folk the world around, had reminded ob- 
servers, now and then, of Tecumseh the Indian, it was another 
Chicago labor leader, part Indian in fact, who came far nearer 
to the traditions of the Shawnee communist. 

Honore Joseph Jaxon, though less famous than Parsons, 
Spies, Fielden, et al., was more influential than they in the 
actual history of the town, 

Jaxon had been born a nomad in his trader-father's buffalo- 
camp May 2, 1861, somewhere on the Northwestern plains. 
Indian blood was in him, and although his white blood made 
him graduate from the University of Toronto, the red strain 
captured him later when he claimed as his idol Louis Kiel, 
leader of an Indian rebellion. In a revival of that outbreak in 
January, 1885, Jaxon was captured and pegged to the ground 
until such time as he could be transported to prison. Escaping 
to the United States, he wandered about giving lectures on the 
Kiel affair, and in 1886 arrived in Chicago. That Spring, six 
thousand carpenters of the city went out on strike and, moving 
among them, Jaxon began writing pronunciamentos urging 
peaceful, watchful waiting. "Patience will win," he told them. 
168 



"Tire the contractors out, and you will win your eight-hour 
day." 

But the contractors, hiring non-union labor, went ahead with 
their buildings, and at length Jaxon, according to the story, 
told the labor chiefs to summon into headquarters all the de- 
pendable, fearless men they could trust. These volunteers he 
coached carefully, saying, "Go to the strike-breakers and ask 
them to quit for the brotherhood of man." 

Such appeals failed. 

"Now," said Jaxon, "try this persuasion,' 5 and he produced 
stacks of clubs, wagon-spokes, cudgels. 

Like a military general he organized violence. At an ap- 
pointed hour all squads were to strike simultaneously. To 
North Side "jobs" he sent West or South Side strikers and 
vice versa, eliminating so far as he could the chance of combats 
between friends. 

Soon after the appointed moment, riot-calls came from all 
sections of the city, engulfing the police, who could only dash 
here and there, scattering their forces. Non-union work stopped 
before the wagon-spoke onslaught, and although the con- 
tractors attempted to revive it, they gave up in six weeks 5 time. 
The eight-hour day had made a great stride forward. 

For himself, Jaxon seems to have asked nothing, not even 
power in the unions. He, who had given workingmen a prac- 
tical campaign of action that was far more eff ective, if lawless, 
than any proposed by the fantastic anarchists, resumed his 
work of pacifism. In the Autumn of 1886, with Lyman J. Gage, 
he addressed the city's leading business men in the president's 
room of the First National Bank, outlining a plan for the Civic 
Federation, a non-partisan, altruistic body which might, as he 
saw it, bring justice and sense into city affairs. 

"We must eliminate the unscrupulous rich and the purchas- 
able poor," he said. 

Vainly he tried to organize the bond-salesmen of La Salle 
Street, the fish-venders of Maxwell Street, the life-insurance 

169 



men and rug-peddlers all into one common body, the Solicitors' 
and Canvassers 5 Union. 

Concentration of wealth in downtown Chicago would be the 
ruin of the people rich and poor, he thought. Brooding over 
this in his home above a pickle-factory on Lake Street west of 
Halsted, he began tinkering with alchemy, hoping to make 
gold cheaply and thus secure funds with which to build a tre- 
mendous canal around Chicago, so that ships could discharge 
their cargoes at dozens of points, each of which would become 

a city. 

"I'll make the grass grow in the Loop some day," he kept 
saying, through the 1890s and early 1900s. 

In his Prince Albert coat and with a vocabulary that was 
scholarly, Jaxon used to call upon labor editors of Chicago 
newspapers with propaganda aimed at bettering the city and 
its people in many differing ways. 

At such times he would lapse curiously into language that 
was a gentle mixture of Indian simplicity and Quaker plain- 
ness, saying to editors, "The Great Spirit tells me thee will 
print this." 

Eventually he disappeared and the city forgot him, but the 
organized "slugging" which he, who wanted to be a pacifist, 
had reluctantly introduced to gain the eight-hour day, re- 
mained, ironically, as his contribution to Chicago. 

2 

For all their violence the '80s were to live in Chicago's mem- 
ory as a period of thrift and prosperity. Completing its first 
half -century of incorporated life, the city could look back upon 
its own rise with incredulity. Where covered wagons had rolled 
through the mud, hundreds of trains could now be seen com- 
ing and going in a day. Where its entire trade for a year had 
but lately been far short of a million dollars, the city could 
now behold a single packer transacting that amount of busi- 
ness in a week. Chicago could remember the time when half the 
170 



women in the log town could fill their larders out of one Hoo- 
sier's wagon ; now one bank alone, among scores, handled over 
ten million dollars, in and out, during a day. 

In place of the dreary swamps surrounding cabins, there 
were almost two thousand acres in public parks about the city, 
all of them connected with extravagant boulevards. The sys- 
tem might be still far beyond what the inhabitants could use, 
but men were no longer saying, as they had, "Our parks fit 
Chicago about as well as a wedding-ring fits a baby's finger." 

The blowers of the city's horn had the hammer-wielders 
down throughout most of the '80s. Newspapers still railed at 
"the low doggeries" which blotted the sidestreets of the down- 
town section, but in the same breath they boasted of the 100 
per cent, increase in population that Chicago had achieved in 
the decade. 

In 1890 the school census showed Chicago to have 1,208,676 
souls, 200,000 having been added in that year by annexing 
populous suburbs. 

The towns of Jefferson, Lake View, Lake, Hyde Park and a 
portion of Cicero had been taken into the fold in '89, and in 
'90 South Englewood, Washington Heights, and West Rose- 
land, residential sections to the southwest, were added. In 
twenty years Chicago had stretched its area one hundred and 
forty-four square miles. 

When the United States census of 1890 showed that Chi- 
cago was the second city of the land, it exulted, for it was now 
only 400,000 behind New York. Nor did it feel downcast when 
New York, in the next few years, forged far ahead, for wasn't 
Manhattan's growth, asked Chicago, mainly due to its annexa- 
tion of Brooklyn? 

Immigration, which had brought over 5,000,000 people 
into the nation across many borders during the decade, had 
hopelessly swamped the "old, American" stock in Chicago, as 
the school census of 1890 showed. Fully 68 per cent, of its 
inhabitants were foreign-born, while of the 32 per cent, native- 
born, many were the children of "old residenters" among the 

171 



German and Irish groups. Only 292,000 Americans were listed, 
while 916,000 were of either foreign birth or parentage. 

The Germans, who included the Jews in that census, out- 
numbered the Americans by almost 100,000 a group which, 
with the 315,000 Irish, the 45,000 Swedes and the 44,000 Nor- 
wegians, Americanized itself quickly. 

Of all the races the Germans and Irish intermarried most 
readily with the "nativists." The Teutons, though speaking 
a different tongue, were mainly Protestant in religion like the 
Americans, and the Irish, though Catholic and thus at religious 
odds with the Puritan civilization, spoke the English language. 

J. C. Bidpath, the historian, studying Chicago in that year, 
said that "the Irish here as elsewhere are common laborers. 
Pipe in mouth they can be seen toiling on the public works," 
Ridpath could have seen them as contractors, lawyers, doctors, 
merchants, too, if he had looked deeper. He found only some 
15,000 negroes "the severity of the climate repels the 
Africans," he observed. 

"Of the 54,000 Bohemians," he went on, "42,000 live in 
Pilsen, their colony on Blue Island Avenue, three miles south- 
west of Lakeside Park a foreign city in which one walks for 
blocks without hearing a word of English spoken." Most Bo- 
hemian men he found to be lumber-workers at wages of $1,25 
to $2.00 a day, "an economical people, owning their own 
homes, prejudiced against paying rent. I heard that many of 
them had left the Catholic Church and are drifting into scep- 
ticism, atheism and nihilism." 

Neither the Bohemians nor the 52,000 Poles were criminal 
or squalid as Ridpath had expected to find them. They were 
common laborers, but "cleanly and frugal." 

The 10,000 Italians he discovered to be divided between 
two large colonies, one on North Franklin Street, the other 
on South Clark. "Many of them are wealthy," he observed, 
adding, "Their race is hard to assimilate." A little later he 
might have seen Italians at the head of great produce-concerns, 
172 



printing-plants, many businesses, showing that a sizeable por- 
tion at least could assimilate most winningly. 

As to the city itself, Ridpath, author of the most popular 
history of the world in that day, thought it "the marvel not 
only of our own age and century but of the modern world." 

Climbing to the tower of the Auditorium, Ridpath looked the 
city over and gasped much as Gurdon Hubbard had gasped 
that time in 1818 when he climbed the tree to stare at the beau- 
tiful prairie. 

"Even from the dome of St. Peter's the landscape is by no 
means so fine, so extended, so full of life and progress and 
enthusiasm," he declared. 

In 1890 some Chicagoans exulted because their city was sec- 
ond in America in point of manufacturing ; others were proud 
because the year had set a building record, 11,640 new struc- 
tures costing $48,000,000; still others boasted of the strange 
skyscrapers which Chicago had shown the world. 

Not so high did Chicagoans hold their heads when the Illi- 
nois and Michigan Canal was mentioned. That ancient water- 
way had failed as a sewer and could never carry away enough 
filth to solve Chicago's sanitation problems ; yet it could carry 
enough in its slow current to fill canal towns with stench and 
disease. Ordered by the State Legislature to dilute its sewage, 
Chicago in '86 threw up its hands, wrote its old dreams off the 
books, and abandoned its lifelong hopes for the canal. Sadly it 
incorporated a drainage commission in that year, and, as the 
'90s dawned, dug away at a fresh canal, one that would be 
scientific, utilitarian, modern, with no memories of romance to 
haunt its banks. 

3 

Millionaires were dying and leaving bequests to the city. 
Walter L. Newberry, one of the signers of the city's first ap- 
peal for chartering, had died in 1868, leaving $4,000,000 and 
more from his real estate ventures, and by 1889 the wearisome 
legal squabbles that had withheld these funds were adjusted, 

173 



$2,000,000 going into a "scholar's library," directed by Wil- 
liam F. Poole, head of the Chicago Public Library and himself 
"the most distinguished librarian in the world," as Chicago 
boasted. 

John Crerar, railway magnate of the '60s and one of the 
bankers who had held up the city's credit in the panic of 5 77, 
died in 1890, leaving thousands of dollars to Presbyterian 
churches, orphanages, hospitals, Bible societies, the Historical 
Society, literary societies, and the Y.M.C.A. and $100,000 
for the erection of a colossal statue to Abraham Lincoln. Two 
million dollars he gave to launch the scientific library which 
bears his name. 

Philip D. Armour, adding $900,000 to the $100,000 left by 
his brother Joseph F., established in 1886 the Armour Mission 
to which within the next five years was added the manual train- 
ing school where youngsters of both sexes and all creeds and 
races fitted themselves to advance in the commercial and indus- 
trial city which Chicago had become. 

William B. Ogden, who had come reluctantly from New 
York to the swamp-town in his youth, had gone back to New 
York, his fortune made, and dying there, left a will, which in 
1891, fourteen years after his death, was settled to the advan- 
tage of Chicago charities and institutions, notably Rush 
Medical College, the Academy of Sciences, the Astronomical 
Society, the University of Chicago, the Theological Seminary 
of the Northwest and the Chicago Woman's Home. 

The pioneers were going fast. 

Long John Wentworth died in 1888, still amazed at what 
his eyes had seen in fifty-five years of Chicago's life. Gurdon 
S. Hubbard, never recovering from the loss and the shock 
of the great fire, died, blind, in '86, and the young city sud- 
denly realized what a beloved patriarch he had been. 

In 1884, the year that his factory sent 55,000 reapers to the 
farmers, Cyrus H. McCormick died, saying, "I know of no 
better place to die than in harness." Death took Deacon Bross, 
aged seventy-seven, on January 27, 1890. If the old "booster" 



could have lived three years longer he would have seen "The 
White City" on the Exposition grounds. No matter; he had 
been looking at a more magnificent city in his dreams every day 
for half a century. In November, 1891, there died Col. William 
Hale Thompson, one of Admiral Farragut's naval officers, who 
had come to Chicago in 1868 to deal in real estate, to help 
found the State militia and, after his death, to leave much 
wealth to his children, among whom was a son who bore his 
name. 

Vaguely Chicago began to understand that it had such a 
thing as a history. Youthful as it was, it had, in 1891, firms 
that were nationally known as old. H. O. Stone and Company 
had been selling real estate for fifty-six years. A. C. McClurg 
had been importing books since 1844*. Brunswick, Balke, since 
1848, had been making the billiard tables which Puritan mor- 
alists of the nation denounced as corrupters of youth. Rand 
McNally's maps had been hanging on schoolroom walls since 
1856. The trunks of C. A. Taylor, and the pianos and organs 
of W. W. Kimball had been sold over the country since 1857. 
Mandel Brothers had begun selling dry goods in 1855, the 
same year in which Crane and Company had begun making 
valves, Gage Brothers millinery, and Hibbard, Spencer, Bart- 
lett and Company hardware. James Kirk had sold soap to the 
nation since 1859, N. K. Fairbank since 1864. Lyon and Healy 
had been music-men from 1864. Edson Keith and Company 
were selling women's hats in '58, B. Kuppenhehner ready-made 
clothes to men in 1863. 

Franklin MacVeagh's wholesale groceries had risen in 1866. 
Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company's department store, and 
John M. Smyth's furniture-factory were twenty-four years old 
in 1891. Marshall Field's "big store," as the rural visitors 
called it in awe, had been so known since 1881, when Field had 
taken the "mammoth emporium" into his own hands. 

Since 1885 a boy from Springfield, Illinois, named Julius 
Rosenwald, had been selling clothing wholesale in Chicago, and 
in 1895 he would be vice-president and treasurer of Sears, Roe- 

175 



buck and Company, disputing with the twenty-two-year-old 
firm of Montgomery Ward for everything that an American 
farmer might order by mail baby-buggies and harrows, 
shrouds and corn-knives, groceries and mandolins, an infinite 
variety of necessities and luxuries. 

Chicago's "drummers" were legion in the valleys of the Ohio, 
the Mississippi, the Missouri, the Colorado, the Red, the Cum- 
berland, rivers ; they covered the continent, as commonplace on 
the Pacific slope as on the Atlantic seaboard. So many of them 
were boastful of their city that, when their spoutings were 
added to the general enthusiasm which Chicagoans exuded, the 
nation took to calling Chicago the Windy City. That term, 
according to residents of the city itself, meant merely that the 
west and north winds blew down its streets with more fury 
than in any other town. 

The world's greatest concentration of railroad freight-cars 
was to be found immediately south of Chicago, it was said, 
there where the big roads squeezed around the end of the lake, 
heading eastward. 

Each year, through the '80s, a new crop of boys in the mid- 
lands, the West and the Northwest, began to listen hungrily 
to the train-whistles calling on the horizon trains bound for 
Chicago and the bright lights whistles that made the farm- 
boys feel lonely, swinging there on the front gate at dusk-time 
among the hopeless plaints of the crickets, the owls, the frogs. 

Each year thousands of young men set their faces toward 
the adventurous city while their mothers wept for fear of 
Chicago's contaminating sins. Chicago was known as "a young 
man's town." 

Throughout the country Chicago's business men had, more 
than ever before, the reputation of working harder and longer 
than their colleagues of other cities. It was said that they 
employed fewer secretaries, too, answered their own telephones 
more often, talked with strangers more readily, listened to new 
schemes more attentively, took more chances. 

The city had a social world of which it was not ashamed, one 

176 



that had indeed been praised by the aesthetic Oscar Wilde when 
that poet's American tour brought him to Chicago. Reclining 
on a buffalo robe in the Grand Pacific Hotel, exquisitely clad in 
pastel garments, knee-breeches, and long silk stockings, Wilde 
sipped tea and told reporters what he thought of Chicago: 
"Your machinery is beautiful. . . . Your society people have 
apologized to me for the envious ridicule with which your news- 
papers have referred to me. . . . Your newspapers are comic 
but never amusing. . . Your water-tower is a castellated 
monstrosity with pepper boxes stuck all over it. . . , It is a 
shame to spend so much money on buildings with such an un- 
satisfactory result. . . . Your city looks positively too dreary 
to me." 

He closed his eyes at the mention of the stock yards and 
looked sick. 

4 

A murmur had been rising about a national World's Fair 
to commemorate the four-hundredth anniversary of Columbus* 
discovery of America. Across the Middle West the talk was 
that Chicago would grab it. Chicago was that kind of a town. 

The city's spokesmen fell upon Congress, whose committee 
was listening to the various cities advancing their claims to the 
honor of holding the Columbian Exposition. Driving with all 
their famous energy and zeal, the Chicago "boosters 5 ' told the 
officials that Chicago was the place. It was a melting-pot of all 
the races that had made the United States so magnificent a 
nation, it was closer than any other large city to the center 
of the country's population, a mythical spot some two hundred 
miles south and a little east. It had the hotel rooms, the wealth, 
the enterprise and, what was more important, spacious lake- 
frontage along which the White City might take limitless form. 

They won, and, as the city set to work to raise the money, 
gamblers, side-show men, saloon keepers, procurers, pick- 
pockets, "madams," circus-owners, confidence men, all rushed 
to the city. Beside them raced people of more respectable am- 

177 



bitions, realtors, concessionaires, merchants, widows eager to 
open boarding-houses everybody anxious to stake out a claim 
before the rush of gold struck the city. 

In the fall of '92 the city felt as if it were becoming a 
Western town again, free and easy, high, wide and handsome, 
young and reckless, and, in such a mood, it wanted Carter 
Harrison in the mayor's chair once more. Something of the 
West was in him, something dashing and democratic, big and 
magnificent, some fire a little too hot to keep within rigidly 
conventional confines. He was moral, he was honest, but he had 
an imagination and gusto that more Puritan mayors had 
lacked. Pour terms as mayor he had served already from 
1879 to 1887 and grand tradition that he was, the city 
wanted him to be the symbol of its expansive spirit in the hour 
of its greatest glory. 

The midlands, reading of his candidacy, guessed that he 
would win and that Chicago in Fair-time would be wide-open 
and thrilling. People said that Harrison would see to it that 
the city was brilliant, exuberant, triumphant, even if there 
was an overabundance of "sporting life." Everything would 
be gay. 

Many a pious midlander secretly hoped that Chicago's 
night-life would be turned on full blast during the Fair. Then 
a sober villager could have fun on his trip to the Exposition. 
Salving his conscience by resolute attendance upon the educa- 
tional exhibits, he could, in the cool of the evening, look in upon 
the shameful glories of the wicked city. 

Down in Marion, Indiana, one day, a village newsboy, Otto 
McFeely, later to become editor of an Oak Park newspaper 
which Chicago knew as "the world's largest suburban weekly ," 
stood on a street-corner, listening to the Hoosiers talking about 
the Columbian Exposition that was soon to open in Chicago. 

One Marion man said to another, "If Old Carter Harrison's 
elected mayor, I'm goin' to Chicago to the Fair, but Pm goin* 
to wear nothing but tights and carry a knife between my teeth 
and a pistol in each hand/' 
178 



PART TWO 



CHAPTER I 



O, 



"N a cold and cloudy day in January, 1891, a dozen or more 
architects stood on the bleak beach about seven miles south of 
the heart of Chicago. They watched the gray rollers come in 
and gazed dubiously at a vast tract of snow-covered sand, 
broken by ridges and by ragged patches of wild oak. 

A noted Boston architect, muffled against the blasts, climbed 
on a pier and called down to the leader of the party : 

"Do you mean to say that you really propose opening a 
Fair here by '93?" 

"Yes," replied this leader, "we intend to." 

"It can't be done," said the Bostonian. 

"That point," retorted the other, "is settled." 

The gentleman who declared it settled tells the story himself, 
almost literally as above. It is taken from the reminiscences of 
Daniel H. Burnham, 1 who missed few of the problems and 
none of the glory of the World's Columbian Exposition. On 
that January day he had assembled for the first time in 
Chicago the group of great artists in design who had joined 
the seemingly impossible enterprise of "opening a Fair here 
by 5 93." When he said it was settled, it was. The site looked 
hopeless ; the difficulties were appalling ; the time too short. All 

iQubted in Daniel Hudson Burnham; Architect, Planner of Cities, by 
Charles Moore (Boston, Houghton Mifflin Co.). 

181 



the elements were present for a typical Chicago problem. But 
to the sceptic Mr. Burnham returned what was, at that time 
at least, a typical Chicago answer. 

About a year later this tall, round-faced, moustached gentle- 
man with a square chin in which lurked a dimple, showed an- 
other and larger group of visitors what was doing in Jackson 
Park. This was a crowd of about a hundred overcoated, silk- 
hatted, scrutinizing, and self-important representatives of all 
the States. The National Commission had come to see how this 
Fair of "theirs" was getting on. Having been feted no end 
by Chicago politicians and citizens, having heard and returned 
vast quantities of oratory, they had got down to business. 

Director of Construction Burnham, supported by his staff 
and smiling officials of the Chicago end of the management, 
was delighted to show the legislative gentlemen about. He led 
them along miles of plank, laid upon the treacherous sands 
and squashing ominously in the February mud* He pointed 
out how a canal, a lagoon, a "wooden island," and other fea- 
tures of that memorable landscaping were taking form. With 
gestures of his long arms he indicated great, ghostly skeleton 
shapes grouped after a careful pattern, yet so enormous that 
they seemed like mountains upraised passionately by Nature 
herself. 

The visitors saw "floors as broad and as wide as truck farms. 
They saw arching domes, netted with threads of steel, so far 
up in the cold fog that the moving workmen seemed like flies 
crawling on a ceiling. There were broad avenues heaped high 
with construction-material and flanked on either side by tower- 
ing walls of new timber." 

There loomed before the amazed Congressmen, continued 
this reporter, "a behemoth-structure covering some thirty-two 
acres. The Capitol building at Washington if set down on the 
floor of this monster [the Manufactures Building] would be 
something like a peppermint drop in a frosted cake." The 
thing was actually coming to pass. And it was astoundingly 
182 



larger, more complex, and more prophetic of beauty than any- 
body that is, any Congressman had fancied it. 

2 

Mr. Burnham was at that time in mid-career, with a record 
of Chicago masterpieces which made him and his associates 
the natural leaders in the World's Fair construction. He and 
his partner, John W. Root, had joined their slim fortunes less 
than two years after the great fire, when Burnham was twenty- 
six years old and Root four years younger. They began in a 
little room, stove-heated, for which they paid $20 a month 
rent. Profiting by the frantic rush to rebuild the city, and 
pulling through the hard times of '73 somehow, the young 
partners found themselves in clover with the arrival of the 
prosperous ? 80s. Burnham was the business-getter of the firm; 
Root inclined to stick to the designing room. Their reputation 
reached the East, yet they chose to give their talents mainly 
to the West. 

Soon arrived the era of skyscrapers. Burnham and Root 
designed the first very tall building the Montauk Block, a 
"monster" of ten stories. It was the first building in the coun- 
try set upon "spread foundations," of concrete and railroad 
rails. They followed this with such achievements as the Rook- 
ery and the first section (sixteen stories) of the enormous Mo- 
nadnock Block. Two other pioneering architects W. L. B. 
Jenney and William Holabird, heads respectively of Jenney 
and Mundie and Holabird and Roche had the glory of using 
steel-frame construction for the first time in history. Jenney 
designed the Home Insurance Building, partly a steel skeleton. 
Then Holabird built an all-steel building, and at the same time 
was developed the "curtain of stone" process. A Minneapolis 
man, L. S. Buffington, had already patented a similar idea, 
but Chicago got real results, thus blazing the way once more. 
Naturally, Burnham and Root adopted and enlarged the proc- 

133 



ess, and their enterprise, stopping little short of the clouds, 
made a success of the twenty-one story Masonic Temple. 

It was, then, two of the ablest and best advertised Chicago 
architects, and two men, moreover, of comparative youth, who 
were selected to see that the World's Fair was built according 
to the vast general plan. But Root never had a chance to put 
his fiery soul into it. His death early in 1891 left Burnham to 
bear the burdens and reap the glory. It also brought into the 
picture several men, such as Charles H. McKim and Charles 
B. Atwood, for whom the opportunities might not have been 
so great had Root lived. 

Burnham, sorrowing, went ahead bravely with the work of 
organizing, harmonizing, crushing through prejudices. He 
chose an able assistant, Ernest R. Graham. He fought and won 
a battle with the large and hard-headed group of Chicago busi- 
ness men composing the building and grounds committee, per- 
suaded them to give up the idea of competitive designs and to 
adopt his plan of inviting a selected list of architects. He then 
picked the architects four from the East and six from the 
West and began to convert them. For some of the Easterners 
needed converting. They were sceptical about the time avail- 
able. They were sceptical as to whether the money would be 
raised. They were "very busy.' 5 However, Burnham, using his 
combination of humor and exhortation, captured them all, 

In the meantime a civic patriot and beauty-lover named 
James W. Ellsworth, of the World's Fair Board, scored a good 
one by persuading Frederick W. Olmstead, the great land- 
scape-designer, to tackle Jackson Park, with an eye not only 
to the immediate purpose but also to permanent beauty. 
Olmstead was dubious. He had planned Washington Park, 
and he knew Jackson. "You can have fifteen million and a 
free hand," Ellsworth is reported to have promised, though 
Lyman J. Gage, president of the Chicago board, was pulling 
his beard. Olmstead agreed, and, glorying as they all did 
sooner or later in the miracle-making of those two years, set 
to work to change a waste of sand, where little would grow and 
184 



floods were frequent, into something finer than the Luxem- 
bourg. His expert assistant caused whole acres of sand to be 
sliced from the surface, and carloads of loam were dumped 
there; near-by lakes were searched for beautiful plants and 
ferns ; flowering shrubs were carried miles to beautify lagoons 
and the "wooded island." 

Soon came Augustus St. Gaudens, enlisted under the Burn- 
ham colors. A reserved and somewhat eccentric genius, taci- 
turn in crowds, he was, nevertheless, with Burnham to excite 
him, a powerful helper and suggester. Moreover, he brought 
into the effort such sculptors as Frederick MacMonnies, Daniel 
C. French, Paul Bartlett, Karl Bitter, and many others; all, 
like Chicago's own sculptor, Lorado Taft, glad to get St. 
Gaudens' ideas and to refer delicate questions of taste to him. 
Working happily with the forces of art, too, was Frank D. 
Millet as "director of color." His engagement followed a small 
collision between Burnham and the previous "director of 
color," who, because of a decision made without him, held 
himself slighted. 

"I told him," relates Mr. Burnham, "that I saw it dif- 
ferently. He then said he would get out, and he did." 

3 

Director Burnham did not have to be "hard-boiled" with his 
troupe of architects. They were all too much thrilled over the 
prospect of being able, at last, to design great buildings after 
their heart's desire and practically regardless of cost. Before 
many months had passed, they had become so inspired by 
Burnham's appeal for teamwork, and by the grandeur of the 
whole dream (and, incidentally, such choice lunches had they 
enjoyed at Chicago's swaggerest restaurant, Kinsley's), that 
they were even ready to modify their designs where necessary. 
Difficulties of policy and of taste vanished before this spirit, 
in those meetings which were referred to as the most notable 
gatherings of artists for centuries. Inspirations popped out; 

185 



such as the one that all the buildings should be white, and the 
decision to give them a uniform cornice-height. Perhaps greater 
than all, for many of these intense and historically-minded 
men, was the realization that what was really being accom- 
plished was a new epoch in American architecture, the epoch 
of the classical, replacing the Romanesque as well as other less 
worthy motives in design. 1 

These were the chief architects, with the buildings originally 
assigned to them : 

Richard W. Hunt, New York: Administration Build- 
ing 

McKim, Mead and White, New York: Agriculture 
George B. Post, New York: Manufactures and Lib- 
eral Arts 

Peabody and Stearns, Boston: Machinery 
Van Brunt and Howe, Kansas City: Electricity 
Jenney and Mundie, Chicago: Horticulture 
Henry Ives Cobb, Chicago: Fisheries 
S. S. Beman, Chicago: Mines and Mining 
Adler and Sullivan, Chicago: Transportation 
Burling and Whitehouse, Chicago : Venetian Village 
(not built) 

These individuals and firms accepted responsibility for the 
principal structures, only a few out of the hundreds that were 
to stand within the grounds. But much of the designing even- 
tually fell into the hands of the gentle, casual Charles B. 
Atwood, a being so little known, comparatively, and with so 
little "front, 55 that Mr. Burnham came near not engaging him 
at all. It was Atwood who, in an emergency caused by the illness 
of another architect, produced in haste, and with the fire of a 
positive inspiration, the outlines of the Art Palace. It alone, 
of the major buildings, survived 5 93. Opinions of its beauty 

iSee The Story of Architecture in America, by Thomas Tallmadge; W. W, 
Norton & Co. 

186 



have but gained warmth during a generation. That building 
which once housed $1,000,000 worth of the world's art is now 
to be Chicago's Industrial Museum, owing to the generosity 
of Julius Rosenwald. 

Building the World's Fair, as Mr. Burnham saw it, "con- 
sisted of reclaiming nearly seven hundred acres of ground, only 
a small part of which was improved, the remainder being in a 
state of nature and covered with water or wild-oak ridges. In 
twenty months this must be converted into a site suitable for 
an exposition of the industries and the entertainment of rep- 
resentatives of all the nations of the world. On its stately ter- 
races a dozen palaces were to be built all of great extent and 
of high architectural importance these to be supported by 
two hundred other structures. Great canals, basins, lagoons 
and islands were to be constructed. The standard of the entire 
work was to be kept up to a degree of excellence which should 
place it on a level with the monuments of other ages." 

In a passage summing up what was done, Mr. Burnham 
wrote: 

"During the storms of Summer, through frosts of Winter, 
all day, all night, week in and week out, for two years the little 
band of American boys ran the race for victory with Father 
Time, and won it. Without looking for or expecting compen- 
sation at all equal to the services they rendered, without jeal- 
ousy, with eager willingness, these men were ever to be found. 
They showed what to me is the greatest heroism, forbearance 
and constant helpfulness." 



Yet there was another kind of heroism being shown, as the 
buildings rose, were clothed with walls and roofs, were plas- 
tered with "staff" and painted with jets of white paint blown 
through hose. There were heroes fighting the cold and the 
perils ; there were men like sailors climbing among the girders ; 
there were foremen and subordinate artists and what not who 

187 



should have had a medal apiece. Not that they were always 
cheerful. There were strikes galore, and near-rebellion. But 
the work went on. 

The Winter task of 1891-1892 was severe; that of 1892- 
1893 even worse. In cold weather few bleaker spots can be 
found than a sandy beach along Lake Michigan. The advance 
troops of this World's Fair army had to flounder in icy bogs, 
dig in earth hardened by frost, and in milder weather face 
virtual quicksands. Horses sank leg-deep in the mud ; vehicles 
bringing lumber, or hauling the soil and plants needed by 
Mr. Olmstead, had to have temporary plank-roads. There came 
heavy snowstorms, when the weight of drifts crushed in glass 
skylights, or even roofs. There were thaws and cold rains when 
volumes of water started leaks here and there, or almost threat- 
ened to wash the smaller buildings into the lake. 

And then, driven at such speed and working often on details 
of construction far from customary so many bold ideas were 
being tried out the seven thousand or more workmen faced 
a constant risk of accident. That casualty-record was high, 
as seen today; though at the time it seemed "low consider- 
ing." During 1891 over seven hundred accidents to workmen 
were recorded. Eighteen died. 

Other armies of men, engaged in the city-wide work of 
preparation, were toiling on railroad and street-car improve- 
ments. Still others were hurling together flimsy hotels or room- 
ing-houses. 

Chicago of '92 worked as it never had worked since the days 
following the great fire. 



188 



CHAPTER II 



JL HE Chicago of that period had excited the notice of the 
world, as the city had during its first magical growth, as it 
had in >71. 

Capture of the Fair, accomplished despite libels and double- 
dealing on the part of other cities (yes, St. Louis too), the 
magnitude of the whole venture these things excited a heated 
interest in publicists and editors, writers, musicians, would-be 
exhibitors everywhere. A white glow of publicity beat upon 
the Western capital. It towered before the gaze, an obvious 
mark for the admiring, the thoughtful, or the patronizing 
scrutiny of the monocled magazine writer or the newspaper 
hack. 

What was this Chicago, after all? 

2 

It was a city which had accomplished Herculean feats, and 
was continually facing new ones. It had scored conspicuous 
failures, also. It was a city which dominated a wide-spread 
valley, and was the goal of great fleets of ships. It had money 
and power. Both of these it wasted as it chose. It pulsed with 
complex human energies ; it was ouick to adopt new inventions 

189 



and apply new ideas. At the same time, it was miserably organ- 
ized. Politically, it was a village many times magnified. Parts 
of it were most uncomfortable to live in. And it was very 
sinful. The Eastern writers did not always observe these con- 
trasts. 

3 

Divest present-day Chicago of all except a handful of sky- 
scrapers, of a legion of apartment buildings, of the elevated 
railway "loop," of the great boulevard improvement and the 
splendid lake-front park, of the far-spreading "centers/ 5 or 
little cities, that have grown like mushroom-patches in recent 
years; take away automobiles, electric cars, and many bril- 
liantly illumined signs (especially those of "movie palaces") 
and you begin to get a picture of the Chicago of 1892. 

Its streets were paved largely with cobblestones or cedar 
blocks. Away from the business center, the sidewalks were 
usually of wood, many of them dilapidated and uneven in level. 
"Downtown," the walks were mostly made of huge stone blocks, 
and many of them stretched narrowly along the structures, 
four, five, or six stories tall, drab and humble buildings, that 
filled most of that region. Above these towered the Montauk 
Block and the Home Insurance Building, the skyscraper 
pioneers, the Rookery, the Monadnock and Old Colony and 
others, and higher than all rose the Masonic Temple, a won- 
der of wonders, a theme for sermon and vaudeville quip alike. 
Its building during 1890 and '91 had been watched by thou- 
sands. It was the tallest building in the country and Chicago 
felt it was entitled to the tallest, nothing less. Meantime, 
farther south, in fact so far south it "would never pay," some 
sceptics said, was that other recent and tremendous creation 
the Auditorium Building. Nothing so great had ever been 
dreamed of by Chicagoans, before 1889, when the Auditorium 
was finished; a hotel, opera house, and office building in one, 
and all the finest possible ! Ferdinand W. Peck, son of a pioneer 

190 



of the '30s, was its financial "father" ; Adler and Sullivan de- 
signed it. 

The dedication in December brought President Harrison, 
Vice-President Morton, and officials from everywhere. Gover- 
nor Pifer spoke. Patti sang "Home, Sweet Home," and played 
Juliet in the first opera given* 

It was related that, looking over the dedication crowd, Presi- 
dent Harrison whispered to the Vice-President: "New York 
surrenders eh, Mr. Morton?" 

Yet the Auditorium towered above a city still comparatively 
primitive. 

In those days there were horsecars to ride on, for those who 
could not afford carriages, or hacks at fifty cents to a dollar 
an hour. On a few main streets ran the cable-car lines, a 
product of genius or of the Devil. It took the strength of 
giant "grip-men," who always stood out in the open, to seize 
the cables with a clutch and start the cars. In Winter they 
muffled themselves in fur coats, while in the closed car to the 
rear passengers sat with their feet buried in straw. Those trains 
attained the terrific speed of nine or ten miles an hour. New 
York envied this record, according to Julian Ralph, noted 
journalist, who also wrote that the cable-cars "go with a racket 
of gong-ringing, a grinding and whir of grip-wheels. They 
distribute the people gradually, and while they occasionally 
run over a stray citizen, they far more frequently clear their 
way by lifting wagons and trucks bodily to one side as they 
whirl along." 

Along the main river-channel, whose recent improvement has 
been so radical and splendid, ran the South Water Street of 
the markets a mad, but savory, jumble of fruit- and produce- 
houses, a tangle of wagons and traders. 

Leading over the river, where now the great two-level bridge 
crosses, was an old swing-bridge continually overcrowded, and 
always open at the wrong time. 

The district it led to was a residence, rather than a business 

191 



district; very close by was a vicious slum, and adjacent, also, 
a "foreign quarter" where murder was common enough. On the 
West Side were patches of vice and poverty since eliminated; 
but there were also boulevards and "squares" now yielded to 
vice and poverty. 

In a part of the South Side lived the noted and wealthy 
citizens, such as the Fields, Armours, and Pullmans. Potter 
Palmer, however, had pioneered five years before, building a 
castle in the "near" residence section north of the river. This 
section is now already giving way to hotels and apartments, 
while the Prairie Avenue district of the South Side is now an 
area in transition, a region of sad old eyeless houses, or heaps 
of stones being leveled by the wrecker. 

Par out to the south, so far as to seem almost inaccessible, 
were two patches of wilderness in which miraculous things were 
being done. First, in Jackson Park, the World's Fair enter- 
prise. Next, on the other tract a mile or so to the west, a new 
university, or rather, the reincarnation of an old one. Some 
ten acres of sand-lot, covered with chickweed and tin cans, was 
being reclaimed, filled in, planted to lawn; and there were 
rising the forerunners of a noble group of gray, red-tile-roofed 
academic halls. Over the first of these enterprises presided the 
famous architect Burnham. Over the other was the domination 
of a restless, determined teacher of Old Testament literature, 
William Rainey Harper. 

4 

To thousands of Chicago's residents of '92 the two great 
undertakings the big show and the big university were 
remote and legendary. 

The actual history of a city depends very much on the 
welfare of such thousands ; but the written record often ignores 
them the swarm whose life is nothing but a round of desperate 
toil, of shifts to keep the family under a roof, to solve the 
humblest, simplest problems of existence. In this swarm belong 
192 



not only the bitterly poor, but the outrageously overworked. 
Chicago of '92 had more of this sort than the Chicago of 1929. 
A writer of the former period remarked that "leisurely quiet 
does not exist in Chicago even for men in a position to com- 
mand it." It was true that even the wealthiest citizens of that 
day drove themselves hard; it was probably equally true that 
they drove the workingman and workingwoman without ruth, 
and with little real knowledge of the severity of life among the 
wage-earners. The industrial mogul of those days had not yet 
begun to realize that higher pay and shorter hours are "good 
for business." To him the eight-hour day represented anarchy. 
And as for wages, one could get machinists for $2.40 a day, 
bricklayers and masons for $4 a day, carpenters for $2.50 or 
$3. The packer could hire medium-skilled men for from $1.25 
to $2, and teamsters for from $9 to $12 a week. Such wages, 
it is true, were partly offset by the comparatively low cost 
of living ; yet, even in ? 92, twenty or twenty-five dollars a week 
did not make lif q entirely smooth and pleasant. 

While work was plentiful and it remained so during *92 
there was no abnormal amount of sheer poverty in Chicago. 
The thriftier races Germans, Scandinavians, and the British 
nationals were dominant. Only in certain areas of the city, 
whither had floated the less capable, less reliable, sometimes 
even subnormal and criminal sort of poor devils, were there 
actual "slums." Those were bad enough. In them people slept 
on curbstones or on balconies belonging to some one else; or 
forty families were crammed into a three-flat building ; or chil- 
dren were turned outdoors because there was no place for them 
to sleep. The city had plenty of beggars, seldom bothered by 
the police. Canal Street and West Madison Street were then, 
as for years later, stamping-grounds for job-seekers and areas 
of lodging-houses, 15 cents a night and up. The city had then 
the institution, since quite gone, of the ragged and pitiable 
newsboy, who, if he could not get into the "home," found a 
corner in some loft. It was common in those days to find vaga- 
bonds warming themselves on gratings over an engine-room. 

193 



And then, speaking of poverty and misery, there was at 
high tide, in the early 90s, the amazing system of sweatshops; 
amazing because of the cruelty of the bosses and the slavish- 
ness of the workers. There were girls in these shops gaining 
as little as 25 to 40 cents a day. Skilled workers often received 
$5 to $6 a week, or less. Some of them "lived" on $4. Here is 
a weekly budget of a workingman in one of the less skilled 
trades : 

Rent $2 

Food, fuel, light 4 

Clothes 2 

Beer or spirits 1 

$9 

In those days beer was ten cents a pitcher; but then, coal 
was only three dollars a ton. 

When the task of earning a living pinched so hard, the em- 
ployment of children reached a point that scandalized thinking 
people and brought a reform. Stunted youngsters sat at 
benches packing things, or labored perilously at machines. 
In grimy factories sometimes fire-traps hordes of little 
people worked for trifling wages. And in the stores Chica- 
goans could, as Mrs. Florence Kelley wrote, "stand on any 
one of the main thoroughfares on a morning between 6.30 
and 7.30 o'clock, and watch the processions of puny children 
filing into the dry-goods emporiums to run, during nine or 
ten hours and in holiday seasons twelve and thirteen hours 
a day to the cry, 'Cash!' " 

The spectacle of exhaustion and disease among the children 
became too much to endure. During 1892 the movement to 
protect them became powerful, and while the World's Fair was 
thrilling people at large, a law quietly passed the Legislature, 
in July, 1893, which fixed the minimum age of labor at four- 
teen- Other safeguards were added, despite a battle put up by 
many manufacturers. 

194 



The West Side, especially, rejoiced. "Over the river," in 
this cosmopolitan city, dwelt hordes who had been lured from 
the old countries by steamship companies and labor agen- 
cies, if not by their own capacity for illusion. They were 
plunged into a struggle which for them was pioneering as 
desperate as that of the covered-wagon immigrants of the ? 30s. 
They had to give time to racial quarrels. They were preyed 
on by gangs. 

A few miles from the beautiful lake which some of them 
scarcely ever saw, within a short walk of the proud dwellings 
of Michigan Avenue, Prairie Avenue, Ashland Boulevard, they 
worked, loved, dreamed and multiplied. They lived back of 
lumber-yards, under the shadow of factories, along railroad 
tracks of the colorful but neglected "West Side." And to the 
south, in areas "back of the yards," dwelt the thousands who 
were ruled, and more or less fed, by smoking packing-houses. 
And far to the southeast, on lowlands dominated by the count- 
less chimneys of the steel-works, existed another great colony 
of those hardy, slovenly, and plucky Europeans. 



In that long, sprawled-out city there were perspectives 
appalling to visitors from more compact and graceful places. 
Walter Crane, a sharp-eyed Englishman, wrote of riding (to 
reach his host's house) on "a long, broad, straight road, 
crossed at right angles by others. . . The street sometimes 
breaks off short on the prairie to be continued when it pays. 
Along these straight roads are planted at regular intervals 
excessively irregular houses . . . the genius of the American 
architect breaking out in weird, conical towers, vast verandahs, 
mansard roofs. . . . The main roads are bordered with huge 
telegraph poles." Another writer commented: "Chicago is laid 
out in parallelograms; a city made by the surveyor and the 
architect,, who have mapped it out with a carpenter's rule." 

A thing which came much closer to home than lack of beauty 

195 



was the peril to life and limb. Not a single railroad liad yet 
been elevated, though "steps had been taken." Many tracks ran 
at grade in or near the central district. Every year several 
hundred persons were killed at these grades. Horsecars bumped 
over long gridirons of tracks, dependent on gates and watch- 
men; and once in a while a train would crush a car to splinters. 
Besides, the Juggernaut cable-cars took their toll; teamsters 
were knocked off their tall seats; children were ground under 
wheels. 

As for the city's health in general, it was better than that 
in any other of the large American cities, yet there was tragedy 
enough. During 5 92 there died from diphtheria 1,548 persons; 
from pneumonia, the "dirt disease," 2,397; from tuberculosis, 
the disease of "bad air," 2,382 ; from typhoid fever, the disease 
of bad water and milk, 1,489. Yet 1892 showed an improve- 
ment. There had been a total of recorded deaths of 27,754 
during 1891 ; a rate of 22.2 per 1,000. In 1892 there were 
26,000 and the rate fell to 19.93. But the mortality among 
children, one to five years old, was over 4,000 in a twelvemonth! 
Diphtheria antitoxin was a new and suspicious thing. As for 
the milk supply, it lacked any such supervision and treatment 
as it gets today. Not more than twenty years had passed since 
Pasteur had revolutionized the science of bacteriology, 

6 

What were the interests of this mass of people? 

Well, they had given thought for a few weeks to the nomi- 
nation of Grover Cleveland in a new and flimsy Wigwam, built 
for the purpose on the lake-front. They had read the great 
speeches Bourke Cockran and Henry Watterson made on that 
occasion, and had smiled on hearing how the rain penetrated 
the miserable roof and compelled the chairman, at one session, 
to wield his gavel standing under an umbrella. 

The swarm had other preoccupations. There were nearly 
two thousand gambling houses in which it could waste its 
196 



money. There were whole avenues lined with brothels; at the 
approaches to every railroad station lurked street-walkers. 
Both gambling-houses and brothels "paid protection," and 
few people cared ; certainly not the swarm. 

There were thrilling sporting-events, much more marvelous 
to read about than the newspaper accounts of "progress on the 
World's Fair." John L. Sullivan, the 312-pound idol of the 
prize-ring, was beaten that September at New Orleans by the 
189-pound Corbett. Nancy Hanks trotted a mile in 2.04. A 
bicyclist did a mile in 1.56. In that September, a freak vehicle 
called a "horseless carriage" appeared in the downtown streets. 
It was an electric car with a long steering-handle; it was pre- 
posterously slow and awkward. A small part of the swarm, 
standing on the curb, watched the abortive efforts of this 
pioneer automobile, too surprised even to jeer. 

But there were events in that year more expressive of the 
period. The Summer months saw the first work on elevation of 
railroad tracks. A continuous pounding from the newspapers 
had forced the City Hall to establish a Terminal Commission. 
Its report was not ready until the following year, and then 
it turned out that the program offered went too far; the ex- 
pense would have ruined the railroads. But meantime the 
Illinois Central, forced to bear the brunt of hauling people 
from downtown to the World's Pair grounds, accepted an 
ordinance passed in May, 1892, for elevation, and the mighty 
job of raising the parallel ribbons of rails went on simultane- 
ously with the completion of the exposition structures. 

In September came another portentous event. Six years 
after the city's aldermen had taken their first vote for a 
Drainage Commission, precursor of the Sanitary District with 
its elective board and taxing powers, the time had come to 
dig the first earth for the great canal. Political wrangles, 
engineering disagreements, financial problems, all had been 
dealt with and temporarily conquered. It was a joyous party 
of officials and invited guests that journeyed the thirty-one 
miles southwest to the boundary between Cook and Will Coun- 

197 



ties, to the point where the old historic "divide" rose almost 
imperceptibly among the meadows. Fifty-sis years had gone 
by since, by steamer, stage, and carriage, Chicagoans had 
flocked to this region to break ground for the earlier and less 
ambitious canal. Now five hundred or more out of the miluon- 
odd population occupied a special train. The Sanitary District 
trustees stood at the point selected for the first cut. A cloud 
of city officials, business men, and others completed the audi- 
ence. They had assembled, as the dark-faced Teutonic presi- 
dent, Frank Wenter, said, "to officially inaugurate this great 
work connecting Lake Michigan with the Mississippi, to create 
a condition that undoubtedly in ages gone by existed, to tap 
the great reservoirs above that will swell and stimulate that 
sluggish stream of the Illinois, and with proper assistance 
make it the great waterway from the lakes to the gulf of 
Mexico." Lyman Cooley, the gray-haired engineer of the board 
who had stubbornly contended from the first for a really great 
canal and had been thwarted by penurious trustees of those 
years, spoke of how "man's creative intelligence can remedy 
nature's caprice, restore the ancient outlet." A pioneer named 
Fernando Jones, who was present when the first canal was 
opened in '48, "reminisced." More speeches, and then President 
Wenter thrust into the earth a nickel-plated shovel and the 
great canal was begun. 

A month later, in this year of mighty beginnings, came 
another inauguration. This time it was the opening of the 
university. The leaders of the Baptist denomination, whose 
University of Chicago on Senator Douglas' land had perished 
in the '80s, had enlisted the aid of John D. Rockefeller for a 
new one. He had given $600,000, and the Baptists had raised 
$4*00,000, both within and without the denomination. Marshall 
Field had donated a ten-acre site. Then Dr. Harper had be- 
come president, Mr. Rockefeller had given $2,000,000 more, 
and Chicago men of wealth rushed to help the enterprise with 
such enthusiasm that another million for buildings and endow- 
ments was obtained in ninety days. On the first of October, 
198 



1892, students walked across the sandy, ragged "campus" and 
over planks into a partly completed building called Cobb Lec- 
ture Hall, after Silas B. Cobb, principal donor. (He who in 
youth took that terrible trip to Chicago on $7 capital.) In 
the building workmen still toiled at the ceiling; professors 
dodged ladders ; there was a pounding and a clamor. President 
Harper stood on the platform in the room that served for a 
chapel, surveyed the crowd from behind his gleaming spec- 
tacles, and said, "We will sing the doxology, Traise God 
from whom all blessings flow.' " A few more hymns, a Scrip- 
ture reading, a prayer, and thus simply was a new leaf turned 
in Chicago's educational advance. No procession, no speeches, 
no special train. The great Chicago swarm scarcely knew any- 
thing was afoot. 



What the "average man" was looking forward to was the 
dedication of the World's Fair buildings. He could comprehend 
the obvious, high-colored outlines -of the exposition project; 
nearly everybody had bought stock in it, or at least cherished 
a Columbian half-dollar. And nobody who could help it was 
going to miss this dedication, no matter if it did come six 
months ahead of the actual opening. Besides, interest had been 
whetted by accounts of the great naval review in New York, 
by the "grand ball" in Chicago's Auditorium, and by a glit- 
tering military parade, applauded by throngs occupying side- 
walks or hanging from window-ledges. 

Thanks to the Fair's managers, few people who could ride, 
walk, or hobble to the scene of the dedication exercises, October 
21, went there in vain. "Let them all in," came the order. 
They flowed into the muddy grounds, while the grand proces- 
sion of officials, titled and ribboned ambassadors, religious dig- 
nitaries of all faiths, and escorting troops passed over a wooden 
bridge from railroad to auditorium. 

The Manufactures building loomed there, a greater wonder 
than the pyramids. Speakers and others filled a platform 

199 



seating as many as the average theater. Singers numbering 
5,000 clustered on a tall rostrum. The "mob" sat or stood 
below twenty-five acres of people, said official reports. 
"Nearly every man in the assemblage of 150,000 had a per- 
sonal interest in the spectacle because he had sacrificed directly 
or indirectly to promote its success. The thousands of singers 
who had given their time and energies free, the Exposition 
stockholders, 30,000 of them in all walks of life, the private 
citizens whose taxes made up Chicago's contribution, the resi- 
dents of every State and territory ... all these felt that it 
was their Fair." So wrote The Chicago Record historian. 

The crowd stretched in limitless perspective, a crazy-quilt 
of many hues. There were seated thousands, and thousands 
standing, and half crushed. Men and boys had crawled far 
up among the iron trusses aloft, and hung there. 

In that vast space John K. Fame's "Columbian March," 
played fortissimo by the musicians under Theodore Thomas' 
baton, the choral rendition of Haydn's "The Heavens Are 
Telling," and the "Hallelujah Chorus" rose in the ears of 
many distantly and dreamily. As for the speeches, as for 
the delivery of Harriet Monroe's "Columbian Ode," they were 
scarcely audible beyond the nearest rows of the favored. Many 
of those acres of people saw only a chin-bearded pigmy who 
was George R. Davis, Director-General, rise and brandish his 
arms. They saw Mayor Hempstead Washburne, Harlow N. 
Higinbotham president of the Exposition since the retirement 
of Lyman J. Gage the much admired Mrs. Potter Palmer, 
president of the Board of Lady Managers, Thomas W. Palmer, 
head of the National Commission, and finally Levi P. Morton, 
Vice-President of the United States, rise in their places, far, 
far away, gesticulate and retire. Perhaps not even a modern 
amplifier could have carried well enough the words, "I dedicate 
these* buildings to humanity." The trained voices of those two 
orators, Henry Watterson and Chauncey Depew, reached a 
little farther ; but as a feast of reason, for all except a fraction 
of the crowd, the dedication was a failure. 
200 



But the lunch was a success. In the galleries, and at various 
places outside the buildings, "light refreshments" were served 
to the crowd, even the ticketless. A hundred thousand famished 
people descended on the food, and seventy thousand of them 
got some. 

Weary from standing or sitting stiffly through hours of 
inaudible oratory, yet preserved by some Providence from 
being trampled to death or falling off the trusses, the Chicago 
multitude went home, impressed, silent. It was freely published 
that there had never been such a crowd under one roof in all 
history. 



201 



CHAPTER III 



down the slope of thirty-six years, the World's Co- 
lumbian Exposition still forces the belief that, in many ways, 
it was the most wonderful thing of its time. It became the 
ruling passion of statesmen as well as architects, of religionists 
as well as artisans, of merchants, painters, engineers, musi- 
cians, soldiers, orators, and dukes. Its appeal reached the secret 
workshops of the makers of delicate fabrics, of exquisite 
jewelry. Not only the most civilized, but some of the most 
barbaric, peoples of the earth were moved to have a share in 
this "show." 

Only the other day an explorer from Africa told ho^ an 
old chieftain whom he had just seen in his wilderness remem- 
bered the name of Chicago and not because of its murders, 
but because of "your World's Fair." 

2 

Useless to try a resurrection of that image of beauty ! There 
are stored away, in libraries or elsewhere, large folios of paint- 
ings and photographs. Go and see them! . . . But the real 
colors, the multiform activity, murmurs of fountains, tramp 
of the multitudes, all the sparkle and thunder of the throng. 



are gone. Sound-recording was not yet adequate; the movies 
were invented too late. 

We have to look back upon the Fair critically, seeing in it 
a world-impulse, a culmination of dreams dreams not typ- 
ically Chicagoan. Destiny brought to this young city an ex- 
plosion of idealism, produced a miracle, and then ordered the 
miracle to disappear, leaving the sand-wastes to a new future. 
Paul Bourget wrote in farewell to the exposition, "The White 
City must disappear, while the Black City, which will endure 
forever, is only at its commencement," Yet in one respect, in 
city planning, the World's Fair left its impress upon Chicago. 
As the sociologist Charles Zueblin saw it, "For the first time 
in American history a complete city, equipped with all the 
public utilities caring for a temporary population of thou- 
sands, was built as a unit on a single architectural scale. 
Unique in being an epitome of what we had done and a proph- 
ecy of what we could do if content with nothing but the 
best. . . it was a miniature of an ideal city; a symbol of re- 
generation." 

Along with the beauties of this ideal city came the loud 
carnivals, the bands of fakers and "three-shell" men, the sala- 
cious dancers, the hordes of harpies, to all of which people 
who took the Fair as a circus had looked forward. The vis- 
itors who wanted a "hot time 5 * were not disappointed. Yet 
many of them must have been most impressed, after all, by 
the grandeur of the picture and by Chicago's grit. They 
knew about the fund-raising valor of men like Lyman J. Gage, 
Marshall Field, largest single subscriber for stock, Franklin 
MacVeagh, and others. 

At one time, after Congress had set $5,000,000 as the 
figure Chicago should raise, it was found that New York could 
furnish $10,000,000. Very well, Chicago would meet the ante ; 
it did so, through sale of stock to middle-class folks, and by 
bond issues. The Chicagoans, through their local board of 
directors, had to "carry the weight of governmental suspicion, 
hesitation, and indifference, 5 ' wrote one of the leaders. "The 

203 



only anxiety of Congress was to escape expense." The local 
corporation, standing in ill-defined relationship to the National 
Commission, was forced sometimes to defy, and sometimes to 
yield to, that large and unwieldy body; a multiplicity of com- 
mittees, a mass of overlapping authority, and all the jealousies, 
stupidities, and balkinesses of which overorganized human be- 
ings are capable, cropped out during the months of high 
pressure. Finally, the famous Chicago climate truly wonder- 
ful four or five months of the year outdid the eccentricities 
of people wearing titles and medals, and made it seem, during 
one Winter, at least, as though the Fair would never open at 
all. Storms, "cold spells, "wet spells," deluge from the skies, 
hell underfoot, challenged the gritty men who had sworn to 
"put it over. 5 * 

3 

When on May 1, 1893, the great invading army of Middle 
Westerners, supplemented by people from many States, poured 
into the grounds, they saw an Administration Building with 
an exquisite dome higher than that of the Capitol at Wash- 
ington, and in front of this the MacMonnies fountain, with 
its graceful rowing maidens acclaimed by St. Gaudens and 
others as the masterpiece of masterpieces. They saw other 
fountains, one on each side of the MacMonnies, then the 
lustrous Grand Basin, with its peristyle at the eastern end, 
and the Liberty statue upraised, but shrouded, waiting to 
admire itself in the mirror of the basin. There were the vast 
creamy flanks of Machinery Hall, Agriculture Hall, the Manu- 
factures 'and Mining Buildings; to the northwest, the Wooded 
Island, the dome of the Arts Palace, and a city of structures 
in which the classic motive faded out among bold and varied 
conceptions expressed in State buildings. 

It was a chill and misty Spring morning. All during the 

early hours anxious people watched the clouds. The crowds 

came under umbrellas. " Average people 35 they, accustomed to 

going afoot, to getting wet, to "pick-up" meals. There were 

204 



almost as many lunch-baskets as umbrellas. Father, mother, 
and the children were prepared for a gorgeous picnic. 

President Grover Cleveland was riding toward the grounds 
in one of twenty-three carriages, drawn by high-steppers. At 
his side sat President Thomas W. Palmer, of the National 
Commission, and President Higinbotham, of the Chicago 
Board, one time farm boy and dry-goods clerk, now a partner 
of Marshall Field gray-bearded, alert, with the face of a 
scholar and artist. In other carriages, members of Cleveland's 
Cabinet, World's Fair Directors, Governor Altgeld, General 
Miles, the Duke and Duchess of Veragua Mrs. Potter Palmer 
sitting grandly at the latter's side the Marquis de Barbales, 
Don Cristobal Colon y Aquilera and his Dona, other Span- 
iards cheered by the crowds, five years later to be at war with 
them. 

And in the very last carriage, lifting his gala hat to those 
multitudes who knew him far better than any of the others, 
Carter H. Harrison the elder. He was a happy mayor. Four 
terms he had served, and then given way to the inevitable; 
but now he stood elected by a few hundred votes to be that 
commanding figure, the World's Fair Mayor. 

The jingling, bowing, and somewhat haughty procession 
passed through the Midway Plaisance, where the variegated 
nationals, the freaks, bevies of fakirs, waiters, dancers, and the 
like, hailed nobility and officials as they passed. The Algerians 
were ready to greet them with their yell, "which," as a writer 
put it, "for penetrating power exceeded anything ever heard 
in a political meeting." Donkey-boys flattened themselves to 
earth. Tomtoms were beaten. Four lions of the Hagenbeck 
show had been trained to roar horrifically while the president 
passed; and doubtless they did. 

Meantime the delighted crowd had been assembling in the 
Court of Honor, facing the platform erected on the east front 
of the Administration Building. They had come again, in 
numbers three times greater than on the day of dedication, 
drawn by the powerful magnets of curiosity, civic pride, and 

205 



adulation of celebrities, to see and hear what little they could. 
The Court of Honor could hold them all, but the space near 
the platform could not. That standing-room was a stretch of 
mud, all around the silent MacMonnies fountain and far back 
along both sides of the darkly glistening basin. It is said that 
between four and five hundred thousand men, women, and 
children were massed somehow in the area. 

At first they spread out harmlessly to the eastward ; but as 
the party of dignitaries mounted the platform there was a 
rush in their direction by the scrambling thousands, splash- 
ing through the mud, brandishing folded umbrellas for the 
sun had come out elbowing, fighting, shouting. Choristers 
essayed a "Columbian Hymn." Their voices were all but lost 
in the clamor of the half-panicky mob. President Cleveland 
and the Spanish nobles sat gazing in amazement upon what 
was happening below. The luckiest spectators were those who 
had climbed ropes to the pinnacles of Machinery Hall, or had 
perched upon the dome of the Agriculture building. 

All during the hymn, the spectacle down on the mud-flat 
was like a scene from Dore. The huskies pressing toward the 
platform elbowed women aside ; they broke through the defense 
of Columbian Guards. Strong husbands lifted their wives up 
shoulder-high, so that they could breathe. Crying children 
were held aloft. Women with torn clothes climbed to the press- 
stand and tried to clamber over the railing ; reporters dragged 
to safety some who were fainting. 

A blind minister rose to pray. He could not be heard for 
the terrific yells from the fighting "audience," yells of "Stand 
still i" "Get back; you're killing those women!" "For God's 
sake " Police crashed through to places where women, and 
men too, lay underfoot, unconscious, and lugged them away on 
stretchers or wheeled ambulances. Somewhere in the crowd 
Jane Addams not among those in carriages f elt her purse 
seized by a pickpocket. A staff officer of the Columbian Guard 
thrust his sword between the "dip's 55 legs, tripped him, and 
hauled him off to the brig. 

206 



After all this, when records were made, there were listed 
only seventeen who had fainted and none with bad injuries. 

Director-General Davis rose by the table on which stood, 
in a purple plush casket, an electric key to be pushed by Presi- 
dent Cleveland. "It only remains for you, Mr. President . . . 
commensurate in dignity with what the world expects. . . . 
When you touch this magic key, the ponderous machinery will 
start. . . ." 

President Cleveland, fifty-six years old, but powerful, 
ruddy, with a chest like a barrel, laid aside a silk hat a little 
the worse for wear, and rose bowing. 

His voice had such volume that many could hear him who 
so far had not heard a word. The rest caught it in snatches : 

"Stupendous results of American enterprise . . . Magnifi- 
cent evidence of American skill and intelligence . . . Greet- 
ings we extend to those of foreign lands . . . Popular educa- 
tion . . . Stimulation of best impulses . . . Proud national 
destiny . . . We have built these splendid edifices . , . Ex- 
alted mission . . . Human enlightenment . . . Brotherhood 
of nations . . . The machinery that gives life to this vast 
exposition is now set in motion . . ," 

He touched the key. It was almost exactly noon. 

The Stars and Stripes fluttered up the mast in the center 
of the plaza, the red flag of Castile up another mast, and the 
white initialed banner of Ferdinand and Isabella up another. 
On all sides, on the tall domes and cornices of the buildings, 
flags furled for hours now broke out. From the MacMonnies 
fountain and its companions the white water gushed. The 
shroud fell from the Liberty statue, and it glittered in the sun 
to cries of Ah-h-h!" 

With all this rose the rumble of machinery set off by the 
electric spark; from the lake came the booming of guns from 
warships, starting flights of gulls from their beach coverts. 

The curtain was up on the glorious spectacle. But just as 
sometimes a piece in the orchestra thrusts an ominous motif 
into an opening chorus, there appeared in the newspapers of 

207 



that afternoon dispatches from Wall Street saying: "The day 
was one of great depression and considerable excitement. The 
bearish feeling was very pronounced. Repeated raids were 
made on leading shares . . ." 



No sooner was the exposition open than "vexed questions" 
assailed the doughty management. 

One of them was distinctly an intrusion from outside, an ef- 
fect of the financial panic that freighted the Wall Street dis- 
patches with gloom. Within the exposition grounds was a 
branch of a Chicago bank, The Chemical National. It had ac- 
cepted deposits from exhibitors, including many foreigners. 
(A Siamese exhibitor had $10,000 on the books.) Commission- 
aires used it for convenience. Eight days after the Fair opened, 
the downtown bank failed and the branch closed. It was a 
crisis. Should the exposition management shirk responsibility 
and let the exhibitors whistle for their money? President Hig- 
inbotham said no. He spent the night telephoning to wealthy 
friends. "You must help us guarantee the foreign deposits," he 
pleaded. "How much?" they asked. "Total of around $60,000." 
It was cigar-money for those men Lyman Gage, John J. 
Mitchell, George M. Pullman, Norman B. Ream, and the like. 
The guarantee was ready by morning. The foreigners lost 
nothing. 

Another specter, much more complex, was already stalking 
the question of closing the gates on Sunday. Agitation had 
begun long before the opening of the Fair. Congress had been 
bombarded with huge petitions, behind which, boasted the 
framers, stood "the full force of the church membership of the 
United States." Swayed by the claim, the Congressmen, when 
generously voting for the sale of $2,500,000 in Columbian 
coins to help pay for the show, tacked on a provision that the 
gates must be closed Sundays. But two months before the 
epochal first of May, Congress passed another act which with- 
208 



drew $570,880 from the two and a half million for the ex- 
penses of the commission on awards. 

The Chicago directorate saw a loophole. It was perpetually 
threatened with a huge deficit anyway; the shrewd business 
men on the board believed that Sunday crowds would help pay 
the bill. As it was officially phrased, however, the feeling was 
that "the exposition should be permitted to exert its benign 
influence on one day as well as another." Some one argued that 
Congress, by diverting funds, had broken a contract. The sug- 
gestion was seized on with gratitude. So, in the face of thun- 
derings from the pulpit that a "heinous example of law- 
breaking" was being set up, of jibes to the effect that rich men 
were debasing the morals of the poor, the board opened the 
gates on the third Sunday. But the "lid was on" most of the 
show. 

The crowds came but sparsely. They were not thrilled by a 
curtailed World's Pair. And then the question got into the 
courts. Lawyers now argued it instead of reformers. The di- 
rectors found themselves faced with an injunction against clos- 
ing, and one against opening. The solemn judgment of the 
United States courts was invoked, and three district judges, in 
a ten-thousand-word opinion, declared, "Close." Three higher 
judges reviewed the order and reversed it. The directors bent 
this way and that, according as the legal winds blew. They 
faced contempt of court either way ; and, as it fell out, in try- 
ing to obey one of the solemn orders to close, they ran foul of 
the injunction forbidding them to do that very thing, and were 
fined. A "unique and disagreeable experience," as Mr. Higin- 
botham later wrote. 

So was the "music row." During the early days of the Fair 
certain Eastern piano firms, especially the Steinways, refused 
to exhibit their products. Director Davis, compliant with the 
protests of Western houses, ruled that no Steinway piano 
should be used in the concerts which, with most ambitious and 
intellectual programs, were to be given under the baton of 
Theodore Thomas. Then Paderewski came to play with the 

209 



orchestra. He protested that he could play no other piano than 
a Steinway! The fur flew. The angry Westerners appealed to 
Davis; he took the case to the National Commission, which 
tried to assume a jurisdiction over Thomas that it did not 
have. Thomas, whose contract was with the local board, calmly 
proceeded to give the concert, and "Paddy" played on a piano 
smuggled into the hall at night. A Steinway it was. 

Then the newspapers raged, going so far as to intimate 
that Thomas was in some one's pay. He was haled before a 
committee of the Commission. A question of a Chicago-made 
harp which he was alleged to have barred was another count 
against him, a wholly false charge. The grizzled, proud old 
pioneer of Chicago music appeared before his judges, and he 
said, according to the Chicago Record version : 

"For forty years I have been before the American public as 
an artist. I am an old man, sixty years old and nearing the 
end of my course. I beg of you to consider that I value^my 
reputation as a musician and leader more than any pecuniary 
benefit I might derive from aiding any piano-firm." 

Paderewski left the city, followed by newspaper editorials 
which jeered at his long hair, his cloak, and his lady admirers. 
Thomas' resignation was demanded; he ignored this. His con- 
certs continued with the approval of his Chicago friends on the 
directorate. But he was deeply wounded. In addition, the poor 
early attendance at the Fair was ruining his fine plans for a 
musical festival that would pass all records. In August, in a 
letter which sadly recognized that "highbrow" music at the 
Fair had failed, that the performances should be considered 
"solely as an amusement," that expenses should be reduced he 
gave up his post. He closed with an offer to serve gratis, 
"should any plans suggest themselves to you in furthering 
which I can be of assistance." * 

Troubles, major and minor, beset the management as sum- 
mer advanced. There was a public quarrel in the woman's 
board, the cause being almost indistinguishable amid the hys- 
teria. Mrs. Palmer rose and referred darkly to "certain ladies 



who mortify me." Staid members of the board wept. One cried 
out to Mrs. Palmer, "You, our queen ! - " It blew over. 

There was a strike of waiters in the restaurants on the Fair 
grounds. They got their $15 a week. There was a robbery in a 
jewelry exhibit; loot, two diamonds set in a riding-whip be- 
longing to King Leopold, of Belgium. Then in July, a trag- 
edy. The cold-storage warehouse, badly built, and carrying 
three superfluous towers, caught fire. A company of firemen,, 
led by an intrepid captain, ascended the tallest of the*Towers, 
carrying hose, and were cut off by the flames. An immense 
crowd the total attendance that day was 130,000 saw the 
brave fellows slide down ropes, or leap into flames, and die. 
They saw seventeen bodies carried away. 



But calamity, bickerings, scandals, failed to check the en- 
thusiasm of the public for this exposition, whose glories grew 
upon them as they studied it. The times were bad, yet the 
crowds came, growing from a fifty-thousand figure in May to 
two hundred thousand in August. Farmers put new mortgages 
on their acres. School-teachers spent the last of their savings 
to journey to Chicago. Poor people of Chicago and elsewhere 
managed to find fifty-cent pieces for admission. An old man, 
leaving the Court of Honor with his wife, was heard to say, 
"Well, Susan, it paid, even if it did take all the burial money." 

No one could see it all. Ten thousand memories were borne 
away by those who spent every day there. Memories of things 
like these: 

The Ferris Wheel, its cars climbing to a height of 264 feet 
. . . the movable sidewalks on the pier . . . the Columbus 
Caravels, that had sailed all the way from Spain . . . La Ra- 
bida Convent ; Columbus' cannon, his contract with Ferdinand 
and Isabella . . . the thirty-five-foot model of the British bat- 
tleship Victoria ... the Yerkes telescope, built for the Uni- 
versity of Chicago, and awaiting its observatory . . . the 



Bethlehem steam-hammer, symbol of the "arts of peace"; the 
huge Krupp guns, prophetic of war ... the glorious gilt 
arch of the Transportation Building, Louis Sullivan's inspira- 
tion ... the first locomotives, New York's De Witt Clinton 
and Chicago's Pioneer ... the Streets of Cairo, the Irish 
Village, Blarney and Donegal Castles, the Moorish Palace, 
"Old Vienna," Laplanders, Arabs, American Indians ... the 
Woman's Building (dedicated when Mrs. Palmer drove a 
golden nail with a silver hammer); needlework by Queen 
Victoria ... the Children's Building, its creche and its store 
of toys . . . fifty thousand roses blooming on the Wooded 
Island . . . rough diamonds from Africa ; a solid silver statue 
frt6i Montana . . . Nicola" Tesla and "high tension cur- 
rents"; a long distance telephone to New York! ... the Ad- 
ministration Building seen at sunset from the Peristyle . . . 
the glory of electric lights at night, five thousand arc-lights ; 
illumination seen as beauty ... the $20,000 livestock show 
... the immense grain and food show ... the gray Canary 
diamond; Russian^ jades ; Sevres vases; Japanese enamels and 
cloisonne vases; Chinese lacquer; Swiss watches; the Nur- 
emberg "egg watch" . . . Parisian fashions, displayed on wax 
figures that drew the stares of bumpkins . . . John Alden's 
Bible; Miles Standish's pipe ... the battleship Illinois, the 
reproduction of the cruiser Oregon,, which was soon to frighten 
the Spaniards . . . fish, fish, fish, crabs, sharks, grampuses, 
lazily flapping in their tanks . . . convent bells from Califor- 
nia; the Cartagena church bell, 16th century . . . Mount 
Vernon done over as the Virginia Building . . . Independence 
Hall done over as the Pennsylvania Building, with the Liberty 
Bell under a dome . . . Florida's reproduction of the old St. 
Augustine fort . . . Boston's manor house; Louisiana's plan- 
tation mansion . . . the Illinois Building, considered ugly, but 
containing precious Civil- War memorials as well as symbols of 
the farming State . . . reproduction of the salon at Versailles ; 
Lafayette's sword . . . Germany's beautiful and characteris- 
tic building, one of the few to be preserved ; destroyed by fire 
212 



in 1925 . . . the Swedish and Norwegian buildings, the 
former built in Sweden and shipped in sections . . . the 
Japanese house, still standing on the Wooded Island . . . 
Brazil, celebrating Bolivar . . . the Ceylon Building, after a 
Buddhist temple ; later to be John J. Mitchell's house at Lake 
Geneva, Wisconsin . , . Haytian relics of Toussaint L'Ouver- 
ture . . , the fake "Blarney stone," actually a Chicago pav- 
ing-block . . . wheel-chairs, gondolas, Columbian Guards 
strutting about, college-boy guides. . . . 

There were memories of great "congresses," to which flocked 
optimists from all countries. Now was the time to solve every- 
thing. There was one congress of "strong-minded women," as 
they were then known. Susan B. Anthony, Mrs. Elizabeth Cady 
Stanton, the Countess of Aberdeen, Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, 
and many others whose names still mean something, were on 
the program. Temperance reformers had a big time, with 
Frances Willard and Archbishop Ireland as leaders. Social re- 
formers followed suit, discussing such things as pauperism, 
juvenile delinquency, prevention of crimes. Bankers met, but 
Chicago bankers, preoccupied by the panic, had to stay at 
their desks. And there were other meetings, culminating in the 
vast Parliament of Religions, an assemblage of all faiths, of 
all the greatest religious leaders except the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, who could not convince himself of the "parity" of 
other faiths with his. He was not missed. Under the Rev. John 
Henry Barrows,- Chicago silver-tongued preacher, all races, 
creeds, and traditions got a hearing. All seemed to expect the 
millennium which did not arrive in 1893. 



October arrived. The exposition was a success. October 9th 
brought Chicago Day, over seven. hundred thousand paid ad- 
missions, another vast and dangerous crowd; the folks didn't 
get home until morning. The closing days approached. Some 
sort of blaze of glory was appropriate. Then, just at the last, 

213 



an unknown being, a lean maniac with a grievance and a re- 
volver, spoiled it all. 

Mayor Carter H. Harrison had spoken, at his best, before 
a meeting of mayors on the evening of October 28th. He went 
home late, a happy man his engagement to a young lady who 
was to be his third wife had just been announced. He was full 
of pride in his city, tired, but aware that it and he had done 
well. He was frowned on by many who thought his policies 
vicious, but loved by many more. His office was open, always, 
to any citizen. This gray-bearded, black-eyed Kentucky 
planter, transplanted to a hobbledehoy city, used to drive 
around in the foreign sections Sunday mornings and ask after 
the health of the children playing on the walks. Murderer 
Prendergast did not think of this. He had a persecution mania. 
He thought he ought to be Corporation Counsel of Chicago, 
He rang the Mayor's doorbell. Harrison was called, and, alone, 
met his assassin at the door of the dining-room. There Prender- 
gast fired three shots, then fled. The Mayor died within fifteen 
minutes. 

The World's Pair flags went to half mast. Tragedy marked 
its close, except in the Midway Plaisance, where brawling and 
lewd crowds, waving whiskey-bottles and signs, rioted until the 
small hours. Loving, weeping processions, recalling the wild, 
half -morbid mourners at Lincoln's funeral, viewed the Mayor's 
bier at the City Hall. And so he was buried, and at the same 
time the dream-city on the lake's edge ceased to be. 



The grizzled old mayor, "booster" to the end, left a senti- 
ment in that last spreadeagle speech that is worth quoting. He 
said: 

"Genius is but audacity, and the audacity of the 'wild and 
woolly West' and of Chicago has chosen a star, and has looked 
upward to it, and knows nothing that it cannot accomplish." 



CHAPTER IV 



HE White City had gone, except for great buildings, buf- 
feted by autumn storms, "white elephants 55 for which no pur- 
chaser could be found. 

The "Black City," with its problems and its woes, remained. 
Paul Bourget, author of the striking phrases, knew little of 
the heart of things. What he saw deserted by the dream was an 
industrial Hades, full of smoking chimneys, choked streets, 
the movements of mournful mechanical giants. He did not see 
the strength of the city with its blackness. 

Chicago had passed through the financial panic with a huge 
loss of business, but was recovering. It stood in the midst of a 
region bursting with food ; and it was broker, "middleman," for 
millions of producers. The capital invested in factories was 
well over a half-billion, with an output of a quarter million 
more. The gross products of the clothing-industry were about 
$60,000,000, and of iron and steel more than that. Two-thirds 
of the railroads of the country either entered Chicago or 
reached it by connections, bringing wealth in the raw, iron, 
steel, woods, textiles, to be finished or passed along. 

Thus the Summer panic, which closed banks by the score in 
many States, struck Chicago and went on, just as the lake often 
sends bad storms packing around the horizon. There was a 



time, in June, when depositors stood in line before the windows 
of the Chicago banks, big and little, clamoring for their money. 
But they got it. Two national banks failed; a number of pri- 
vate houses succumbed. The others held out and paid cash. 
The Illinois Trust and Savings Bank was kept open until 
3 A.M. to take care of depositors. On the worst day of the 
run such men as P. D. Armour, Harlow Higinbotham, Mar- 
shall Field, and John B. Drake, appeared in the foyer, and 
talked to the crowds reassuringly. Armour even personally 
guaranteed payment, even gave people, in gold, at his office, 
the claims they brought there. Mr. Higinbotham, forsaking his 
World's Fair duties for the time being, joined in cheering up 
the depositors. He even held a baby for a tired mother ! 

By Autumn it was clear that the danger was over, and the 
city its coffers still full of money, its stocks of merchandise so 
low that it could not be bankrupted by that route could start 
on the upward slope. Its bank-clearings had fallen off only 
7.7 per cent, against New York's 22 per cent. loss. Building 
had gone on (though reduced), and was increasing again. The 
Black City had finished in *93 the handsome Newberry Library, 
the buildings so far financed for the University of Chicago, the 
Art Institute, the Historical Society structure, and the Acad- 
emy of Sciences Building in Lincoln Park. The cornerstone of 
the new Public Library was laid. Of the elevated railroads, the 
South Side and Lake Street lines had been built, and the 
Metropolitan (West Side) begun. 

There was room for pride. 

2 

And yet the Autumn and Winter brought misery. As the 
winds blew colder, the effects of closed factories, stores running 
with reduced force, armies of men and women "laid off," were 
appallingly shown. It was not alone a Chicago horde of "idle 
men and women, haggard and hopeless, and over all the ghostly 
shadow of suffering and starvation," as a sympathetic banker 
216 



put it, but a convention of unemployed from near-by cities, 
seeking Chicago as a forlorn hope. 

In the City Hall, all through December, the stone corridors 
were filled at night with sleepers. The impromptu dormitory 
was so overcrowded that the men were forced to sleep with their 
heads against the walls, a narrow path being left between the 
rows of outstretched feet. In addition, there were slumberers 
halfway up the first flight of stairs ; and here and there groups 
stood up, trying to doze between reminders from policemen. An 
investigator found that the majority of those troubled souls 
were unskilled workers not members of unions; he also found 
that less than half were foreign-born. 

Police stations all over the city sheltered from sixty to one 
hundred men each night. In the Harrison Street (Old Armory) 
station cells were packed, and in a long ten-foot corridor, in 
which maudlin and insane shrieks from prisoners could be 
heard, men slept elbow to elbow ; sometimes rats ran over them. 
That corridor was "paved with bodies," Jacob Riis found. 
There were young boys there too ; in the women's section moth- 
ers with babies. 

The Winter was terrible for children. Scores were turned 
loose on the streets. Babies were thrust upon overcrowded or- 
phanages. Evictions ran to hundreds per day partly because 
rents had been raised 20 per cent, during the World's Fair. 
Jane Addams, Graham Taylor, and other settlement workers 
labored to keep the mothers and children from the poorhouse, 
but the tide was too great. The population of the county poor- 
house increased by over 400 in a few weeks. In the 
Hull House district, 2,000 families received charity-coal 
at the rate of half a ton a month. Pawnshops did a 50 per 
cent, larger business than in corresponding months of '92. 
Loans were estimated by the police at $15,000 a day. An over- 
coat brought 35 cents, a silver watch $1,50, a complete "house- 
hold outfit," beds, dishes, stove, was sold for $20. 

The streets were filled with beggars, some of them stranded 
World's Fair peddlers, who now found their Armenian rugs 



and glittering fake jewelry impossible of sale. On every corner, 
every bridge, hovered blind or armless or legless creatures, 
who had profited during the days of plenty, but now whined 
for alms and got little. Terrible relics, many of them, of a Sum- 
mer of carnival. 

Such was the dismal Winter in Chicago in '93. The city was 
no worse off than others, in a time when, according to Brad- 
street's, the country had 3,000,000 persons out of work. But 
Chicago had so many troubles ! 

However, it was generous. Funds were subscribed by soft- 
hearted men of wealth to rent vacant stores in which "soup- 
kitchens" were promptly opened. A large empty building near 
the lake-front was turned into a soup-house capable of feeding 
four thousand a day. Merchants made contributions of food. 
Branch stations were opened. The sympathetic P. D. Armour 
could be seen watching one of these. In "slum districts, 5 ' mean- 
time, such feudal lords as Alderman John Powers distributed 
food and clothes to needy persons, who immediately became 
loyal constituents. "Hinky Dink" Kenna sheltered hundreds in 
his roomy saloons. Around the corner, the Pacific Garden mis- 
sion, under the stout Col. George Clarke and his delicate wife, 
cared for hundreds. The "free lunch" saved many from starva- 
tion. It was declared by a reliable newspaper that during the 
worst of the crisis sixty thousand men a day were fed free by 
saloonkeepers. 

3 

"In Hank North's saloon throughout the Winter he has 
given away on an average about thirty-six gallons of soup and 
seventy-two loaves of bread every day. In very many cases 
those who took advantage of the open-handed hospitality were 
too poor to pay a nickel for a glass of beer." 

So wrote a sympathetic and fiery British editor, who, in that 

December, stood before a gathering of prominent citizens in 

evening dress, and shouted, "The only place where the poor 

man can exist free now is in. the saloon." He was met with cries 

218 



of "Untrue!" Undaunted, he retorted, "You are gigantic in 
your virtues and gigantic in your vices. I don't know in which 
you glory the most, . , . The palace in which your city trans- 
acts business is also a shelter for hordes of starving men." A 
young lawyer named Joseph David, years later to be a judge 
who ordered misdemeanor "cases" to be released from a packed 
county jail, stood by the speaker, crying out, "No discharged 
criminal can obtain work in this town !" There was a hubbub, 
a storm of "Nos," but the words sank in. 

The British editor was William T. Stead. He had reached 
Chicago in time to see its World's Fair pride almost banished 
by its woes. Before a huge audience in Central Music Hall he 
had spoken his mind, and though most of his audience had 
gone away shocked, the result was the formation of the Civic 
Federation, first discussed in the '80s. In the next year he pub- 
lished a book, If Christ Came to Chicago, a philippic of four 
hundred and sixty pages that spared no millionaire's feelings, 
glossed over no single foul fact. Mothers begged their chil- 
dren not to read it. 

4 

This volume was destined to be a factor in Chicago's post- 
WorldVFair awakening. Many persons had been so blinded by 
the glory of the exposition that they ignored things which 
Stead clearly saw. Such things as these : 

"Streets of sin," where whole blocks were given up to broth- 
els, and powerful female proprietresses paid the police from 
$15 to $100 a week "protection." 

Resort property owned by "prominent citizens" ; rents going 
into the pockets of descendants of old Puritan families. 

Elections bought with money, with whiskey, with free 
lunches. 

Corruption in the City Hall, in the tax offices, in business. 
Ordinances faked up and rammed through the City Council 
after a division of swag. 

Tax-dodging extraordinary; a total assessed value lower 

$19 



than twenty years before, despite an increase of a million in 
population. 

Gambling-syndicates viewed complacently by successive city 
administrations. 

In general, a city many of whose great capitalists were in- 
different to its vices and its woes; a proud city riding for a 
fall, and in need of the application of every known device of 
sociology or religion to save it. 

Mr. Stead's thunderous red-bound tract, sensational in title, 
and Billy-Sundayish in much of its preachment, hit Chicago 
with a crash. Though stuffed with hearsay testimony, it was 
also impregnated with truth. It did not ease a situation full 
of strain. 

While Coxey's army was marching on Washington, to meet 
an absurd and inglorious reception, the line of starving men 
in Chicago thinned. The charity-efforts, concentrated in the 
Central Relief Association organized by the Civic Federation 
and supervised by the magnanimous T. W. Harvey, founder 
of a thriving town became effective; the outlay of large 
funds, contributed chiefly by "middle-class" folks, took the 
curse off the Winter. Thousands of men had been saved from 
starving by being given two meals a day in return for work on 
street-cleaning. But there remained the stark fact that numer- 
ous great plants were running short time; payrolls had been 
cut ; the unions were in a mood for trouble. 

And trouble brooded most ominously over the pretty lit- 
tle "model town' 5 of Pullman, where the sleeping-car king had 
started his housing experiment in the '80s. 



It is easy to see why George M. Pullman, a "good fellow" at 
heart, and married to a wife whose benevolence reached far and 
wide, could not bear the thought of interference with his rule. 
The whole mighty industry had sprung from his genius, from 
a bright thought years before. Sparing no pains, he had worked 
220 



out the plan and method of this model town, in which the 
skilled workman was to have a neat home, "a town from which 
all that is ugly, discordant, and demoralizing is eliminated." 
There was an arcade in which were concentrated stores, a 
bank, the postoffice a theater, a park, a hotel. The 3,500- 
acre paradise was beyond the city limits ; it was self-governing 
or rather, it was Pullman-governed. What one critic called 
the "feudalism" of the idea went so far as to create a system 
by which water sold to the Pullman Company by the city was 
resold to the householders. The same with gas. Odder still, the 
sewage from homes and shops was conducted to an under- 
ground tank, whence it was pumped and piped to the 140-acre 
farm of the magnate, and used as fertilizer ! 

There were cynics, long before the trouble of '94, who said 
of the Pullman residents that "they paid rent to the Pullman 
Company, they walked on streets owned by the Pullman Com- 
pany. . . . They sent their children to Pullman's schools, at- 
tended Pullman's church dared not enter Pullman's hotel 
with its private bar." But Pullman did not sell them their grog. 
It was a dry town. 

Mr. Pullman himself, hurt by criticism of his experiment, 
was disposed to point out that to give title to homes would 
have admitted "baneful elements"; he gave figures showing 
nearly a thousand who did own their homes nevertheless; he 
declared the townsmen were "entirely free to buy where they 
choose." 

At any rate, Mr. Pullman refused to admit that his ideal 
had a tarnished side. Nor was he the man to meet the unions 
in a yielding mood when in the Spring of '94 reductions in 
wages of from 30 to 40 per cent, and reduction of the working- 
force by a third, without a corresponding lowering of rents, 
brought a determined protest from the shop workmen. 

Once before, when the shocking eight-hour-day hydra raised 
its head, Mr. Pullman had proved a hard man to beat down. 
Now he and his vice-president, T* H. Wickes, declined to sur- 
render. 

221 



In May, with the tulips blooming their best in the dainty 
Pullman park, the makers of sleeping-cars laid down their 
tools. 

6 

Meantime, a new menace had arrived : a tall, gawky man of 
thirty-nine, French-Alsatian by descent, gentle-voiced but 
burning with sympathy for workers who were paid too little. 
The newspaper caricatures made him look like a combination 
of Bffl Nye and Mephistopheles. How the "respectable" folk, 
the cent-per-centers, hated him, both then and for years to 
come ! He was Eugene V. Debs. 

When fourteen years of age he had gone to work in the 
locomotive-shops at Terre Haute, and then had "fired 55 en- 
gines. Within ten years he had become Grand Secretary and 
Treasurer of the fireman's brotherhood and editor of its paper. 
In 1893 he gave up this $4,000-a-year job and organized the 
American Railway Union, whereupon his income dropped to 
$75 a month, and then to nothing. The "one big union" which 
he attempted made its first assault upon the Great Northern 
Railroad. A strike was sprung in April, 1894, with the sud- 
denness of one of General Sheridan's night-raids, and it was a 
success. 

When the American Railway Union met in convention in 
Chicago on June 12, the Pullman workers had been "out" 
for a month. The families of many were in a bad way ; it was 
said that workmen owed the company $70,000 for rent ; a Pull- 
man preacher was urging, "Act quickly, in the name of God 
and humanity. 55 The railway men voted $2,000 for relief, and 
began to talk boycott, but Debs preferred to arbitrate. A com- 
mittee of the American Railway Union called on Vice-President 
Wickes. 

"Nothing to arbitrate, 35 said Mr. Wickes ; and he added, ac- 
cording to Debs 5 sworn statement later, that he regarded the 
strikers "as men on the sidewalk, so far as their relations with 
the Pullman Company are concerned. 55 



A boycott-motion quickly passed the American Railway 
Union convention, when that report was brought in. The com- 
pany was given four days to treat with the employees. The 
ultimatum failed, and on June 26th, Debs sent out two hun- 
dred telegrams to his subordinates on Western railroads : 

"Boycott against Pullman cars in effect today. By order of 
the convention." 

The cars were to be cut out from trains, and run onto sid- 
ings. It was done on the Illinois Central that same night, and 
within the city limits operations came to a standstill. 

Now, while thousands of Chicagoans, quite uninvolved in the 
struggle, read with amazement and perplexity of the anarchy 
of "this fellow Debs," there came on swiftly a terrific tangle in 
the great spider-web of railroads. The boycott, denounced as 
unlawful, "an interference with the business of the railroad 
companies, bound by contract to handle the Pullman cars," 
automatically produced strikes. From Chicago to San Fran- 
cisco, the American Railway Union men "cut out" the Pull- 
mans, the managers discharged the men, then every trade allied 
with the union quit work. Perhaps the thing had gone farther 
than Debs meant ; he could not control what he started. Soon 
his earnest advice to commit no violence ("Never in my life 
have I broken the law or advised others to do so," he testified 
when put on trial) began to be disregarded. 

There was bound to be violence. All the bitterness, the hood- 
lumism, the despair, stored up at the bottom of Chicago's soul 
during the awful Winter, boiled over into the railroad yards. 
The causes were almost lost to sight. Mr. Pullman's woes fell 
with redoubled weight upon the General Managers' Associa- 
tion ; some said he deftly tossed them there. These railroad men 
were doughty fighters. They determined to run trains. Portly 
officials who had not handled a throttle in twenty years climbed 
into cabs ; others handled switches. But they found themselves 
defeated by howling, hooting, brick-throwing throngs. Here 
and there engines Were crippled, capsized on tracks; whole 
trains of standing freight-cars were overturned, tower-men 



were dragged from switch-towers. On one of those days a loco- 
motive was wrecked as a barrier in front of a mail-train crowded 
with "through" passengers, and the whole crowd marooned for 
hours, famished and complaining loudly. Meanwhile, at the 
stockyards supplies of livestock were dwindling. Yards stood 
empty. Stock-handlers had struck. A meat famine threatened 
the Middle West. 



This was in the last days of June. As July came on, Chicago 
found itself the flaming center of a war that spread through 
all the Western States. No one knew how it would end. The 
Federal judges in Chicago granted an injunction against in- 
terference with the mails. The Cabinet at Washington held ses- 
sion after session, and considered panicky messages from the 
West. But, as was characteristic of him, President Cleveland 
acted without hesitation. He ordered troops from Port Sheri- 
dan, and then more troops from other points. White tents 
sprang up overnight on the lake-front. Boys shooting fire- 
crackers on that morning of the Fourth of July scurried down- 
town to see the soldiers. Increased mobs, freed for the holiday, 
hurled missiles and the fighting word "scab" at regulars who 
now began to guard the trains in the big terminals. Elsewhere 
in the city, the wrecking of property went on, performed (ac- 
cording to the general managers) by experts who had left their 
jobs, or else (as the American Railway Union said) by irre- 
sponsible sympathizers. 

And now came on the memorable defiance of the President 
by Governor Altgeld, deep student of industrial problems, 
frank sympathizer with labor, and maker of hot phrases. The 
documents in that dispute between Washington and Spring- 
field are worth reading and rereading. They carry an interest- 
ing picture of the slender, dyspeptic, bearded governor hurling 
at the portly and grim occupant of the White House phrases 
such as, "Illinois can take care of itself," and, "You have been 
imposed on." Mr. Cleveland replied to the lengthy dispatches 



in never more than a hundred words. The Chicagoans read this 
exchange with amazement ; clubs passed resolutions upholding 
Cleveland. Perhaps less conspicuous were Governor Altgeld's 
informal statements, in which he laid the real onus upon At- 
torney-General Olney. Cuttingly he remarked : "Illinois never 
heard of Olney until Mr. Cleveland introduced him. Illinois had 
struggled along for nearly a century without his aid, and by 
the grace of God she will endeavor to get along without him 
in the future." 

President Cleveland meant to fight the thing out. He ordered 
more troops. Then he issued a special proclamation to any and 
all persons unlawfully obstructing trains or threatening prop- 
erty to "return peacefully to their respective abodes before 
noon on July 9th." The newspaper headlines read "Martial 
Law Declared." 

The city of Chicago was beautifully stirred up. Suburban 
residents were exasperated by the stoppage or the irregularity 
of their trains. It was risky to ride on them. Not infrequently 
bold souls stuck to one of those trains adorned with riflemen 
seated on the engine-cab and had to flatten themselves to the 
floor to avoid bullets. 

It was "outrageous"; it was "intolerable." Debs was the 
Satan of it all ; his men were criminals. Thus opined the "aver- 
age man," reader of certain papers. If he read others such as 
the Times, which Carter Harrison had bought and turned over 
to his sons he read that the strikers had some justice on their 
side. He read also that the Pullman Company, whose late em- 
ployees were by this time approaching starvation, had again 
refused to arbitrate. Possibly he read that Hull House had pro- 
tested against this, and had thus lost some of its financial sup- 
porters. 

The drama swept to a climax with fatal shootings in some 
of the railroad yards, with night-fires lighting the lonely prai- 
ries as scores of freight-cars burned, with a hideous accident 
in Grand Boulevard the explosion of an artillery caisson; 
three killed, mangled horses in the street, pieces of metal blown 

225 



through windows and crashing into drawing-rooms. The cur- 
tain of the drama went down on a third act, with Debs and 
three colleagues in jail on a charge of conspiracy^ and a con- 
tempt-of-court sentence added for good measure, with a threat 
of a general strike of all trades (and twenty thousand of them 
already out) and promises of civil war. 

The fourth act was less exciting. Somehow, the Chicagoans 
found their trains running again, the mobs discouraged, the 
troops withdrawn. They escaped the general strike. Even the 
uncompromising Pullman workers drifted back to the shops. 
In that fourth act, which dragged itself out into the following 
year, Debs and company were taken through the various legal 
steps of punishment. There were enough court proceedings 
against them to keep them and their astute attorney, Clarence 
Darrow, busy until 1895. The conspiracy-case strangely faded 
out; but on the contempt-of -court charge, the American Rail- 
way Union men were sentenced to serve six months in the tidy 
jail of the tree-shaded town of Woodstock. There they "rested" 
comfortably, wrote manifestoes, planned greater battles. 

Chicago, occupied now with "ordinary affairs," was not 
much interested in the anti-climax. 



8 

During the height of anxiety and bedlam, many thousands 
of awe-stricken people stood on a Summer night and watched 
the grandest of the World's Fair palaces burn. The doomed 
Administration Building caught fire from the terminal station; 
the mighty Manufactures Building, the homes of Mining, Ag- 
riculture, Machinery, and Electricity all were consumed. 
Tremendous billows of flame lighted the South Side and aston- 
ished lake-sailors miles away. It was a Goetterdaemmerung. 

But also, during those troubled days, there was an event 

which symbolized the permanence of a dream. The classic Art 

Palace had become the Field Museum. Marshall Field had 

given $1,000,000, and had ordered assembled there many won- 

226 



ders of the Fair, besides other exhibits. In that June of trouble 
the museum was opened, with many speeches but a mere bow 
to the crowd from the donor. The first day of public admission, 
Mr. Field sat on a bench in the hallway, watching crowds file 
through the turnstile. He had found a new kind of happiness. 



227 



CHAPTER V 



1 HE thunder and lightning invoked by Debs having passed 
on, Chicago settled down to its real concerns. These were en- 
grossing enough. 

Fifty thousand people were coming to the city every year 
to live! What did this involve? It put upon a city every one 
of whose limbs and sinews transportation, sewerage, water 
delivery, and the like were already overstrained, a burden 
that made everything creak. The food supply was wonderful; 
the housing not so good. And then, even if the immediate phys- 
ical wants of such a multitude could be adequately met, there, 
arose the questions of their health, physical and mental, their 
observance of law, their Americanization, 

Chicago was used to the spectacle of "immigrant trains. 3 ' At 
one time it had seen so old-timers say troops of foreigners 
led through the streets attached to ropes, each band conducted 
by a triumphant agent. It had seen stammering and perspir- 
ing Europeans swindled at the gates of railroad stations 
by cab-drivers, omnibus men, and deft-fingered crooks. The 
sight of groups of beshawled, earringed women, surrounded by 
bundles and dirty children, was so common in the waiting- 
rooms that sleek suburbanites hardly paused. 

Now, in the middle nineties, the crowds were even thicker 
228 



and they were growing darker. A profound change was coming 
over the character of immigration, throughout the country as 
well as in Chicago. The blond peoples of northern and western 
Europe were no fewer, but the swarthier, the "more dangerous" 
(or so the timid thought them) elements from southern Europe 
and from Russia were much more numerous. The years had 
come which would increase the population classed as Slavic 
from 64,735 (1890 census) to 102,113 (census of 1900) ; the 
Latins, chiefly Italians, from 8,748 to 20,992, and other sorts 
of European nationalities in somewhat similar ratio. A great 
many of the Russians were Jews not all of them the kind who 
became industrial leaders overnight. 

Of the annual fifty thousand only a part, of course, were 
Europeans. Chicago lured every year, as it always has, thou- 
sands of workers from near-by States, and others from the far 
East and South. It was still a magnet for youth ambitious or 
youth adventurous. Boarding-houses were crammed. The build- 
ing of apartment houses went on apace; and fortunately they 
were of a better type than the false and hideous "World's Fair 
flats," some of which may still be seen within a few miles of 
Jackson Park. These American arrivals could take care of 
themselves pretty well; not many fell prey to slave-drivers or 
to vice-lords or to tenement landlords. 

But the swarms of babbling, eager, credulous, and often un- 
prepossessing "new Chicagoans" were a phenomenon which 
alarmed some citizens, amused others, and in still others such 
as professors and "slum workers" awakened a spirit of re- 
search combined with pity. 

The housing curse was not, as in some large cities, an affair 
of tall and tottering fire-traps. It was a plague of wooden huts. 
In the districts overswept by the Great Fire, and in others 
where speculators had slammed cottages together as rapidly 
as in the pioneer days, there lay whole streets, incredibly 
mournful and dusty, fronted by one-story, or story-and-a-half 
"cottages." Not only so, but on many a lot a canny owner 
shoved the original house to the rear and built another in front 

229 



of it. Even three or four houses to a lot were not uncommon. 
There was a constant movement, a continual decay, collapses 
galore, a daily upheaval among these wooden kennels ; every 
once in a while one would come down and a small factory or 
store go up. "Almost any day," says a Hull House report in 
1895, "in walking through a half-dozen blocks one will see a 
frame building, perhaps two or three, being carried away on 
rollers." 

Conditions of living would seem incredible now, were it not 
for the fact that one can still find plenty of vestiges of that 
life. One can, indeed, observe many blocks of the very same 
houses, on the same streets. It never has paid the landlords to 
replace them. Nor, apparently, has it paid the city to discard 
these countless remnants of its black past. The city rolls over 
its valuable, its wistfully ancient, landmarks ruthlessly. Only 
when business wants the property does the foul wooden kennel 
get its conge. 

Thirty years ago families just disembarked from day- 
coaches of the railroads went to live in such houses. Several 
families would dispose themselves somehow in a shanty built 
for one. Or perhaps they would add themselves to the swarm 
occupying a large building, with a deceptively clean front, and 
wretched courts or alleys behind. 

"Little idea can be given," says the Hull House report, "of 
the filthy and rotten tenements, the dingy courts and tumble- 
down sheds, the foul stables and dilapidated outhouses, the 
broken sewer-pipes, the piles of garbage fairly alive with dis- 
eased odors, and of the numbers of children filling every nook, 
working and playing in every room, eating and sleeping on 
every window-sill, pouring in and out of every door, and seem- 
ing literally to pave every scrap of 'yard. 5 In one block the 
writer numbered over seventy-five children in the open street ; 
but the effort proved futile when she tried to keep the count of 
little people surging in and out of passageways, and up and 
down outside staircases, like a veritable stream of life." 

Often, continued this investigator, the lower floors of rear 
230 



houses were used as stables ; basements were the workrooms of 
"sweaters" ; dwarfed, undernourished adults and children could 
be seen toiling or playing in rooms full of tubercular menace. 
Signs in many languages announced the "omnipresent mid- 
wife. 55 An area was found in which lived nineteen thousand 
people, not one of whom had any bathing facilities whatever 
except the river. 

2 

So lived the "under dog, 55 hanging on desperately to the 
life-rafts that kept him from slipping even lower ; wretched, yet 
happy; poor, yet hoping always; and whipped by the keen 
Western air into an ambition he had never before felt. 

As for the "top dog, 55 as for the citizen halfway up toward 
riches and leisure, there was plenty to keep him amused and 
self-congratulatory. The illusion that his Chicago was a me- 
tropolis, a delightful abiding place, a center of the fine arts, 
still possessed him. Perhaps there were lovelier paradises, but 
he had no wish to enter them. He knew Europe but it could 
not beat Chicago. What about its sun-swept Michigan Ave- 
nue, with marble-front houses, tree-shaded yards, the stunning 
Auditorium, the carnival of glistening carriages and proud 
horses? What about its new Art Institute, its palatial new 
Public Library, its green parks? Could they be surpassed? 

And there was still fresh and thrilling the memory of the 
World's Fair, its like never known. The perfumes of its exotic 
villages were not yet gone; there remained in many minds 
visions of beauty, and quaint longings, inspired by the bizarre, 
the lovely, or the wicked pictures seen; the drumbeats of 
naughty savages still echoed, and good churchmen secretly re- 
joiced over having seen "La Belle Fatima." Far through the 
country spread the vogue of "hootchy-kootchy." 

When it came to "culture, 55 did not Chicago have it? Its 
writers were known in far-away, contemptuous New York. 
"Gene 55 Field 5 s last books were appearing. The "Dooley 55 
sketches of "Pete 55 Dunne and the "Artie 55 stories of George 



Ade were ranking as literature. A reserved, slender young 
man named Henry B. Fuller son of a celebrated pioneer- 
had brought out another of his novels, With the Procession 
not exciting, but liked by the critics. The very radical, almost 
shocking author of Rose of Dutcher's Cooley, Hamlin Garland, 
was attracting the esteem of the great Howells and others. A 
man with a delicate blond beard was lecturing at the University 
of Chicago, and writing poems ; his name William Vaughan 
Moody gained renown with his Great Divide. A firm of young 
publishers (Stone and Kimball) were daring to bring out with 
a Chicago imprint original works by Henry James, Aubrey 
Beardsley, and Robert Louis Stevenson. They printed the lat- 
ter's Ebb Tide in Chicago in 1895. The Little Room, very ex- 
clusive literary club, boosted for everybody who mattered. 

All the great actors played engagements, long or short, in 
the Chicago of that day Irving, Terry, Mansfield, Barrymore 
and Drew, Jefferson, Goodwin, Julia Marlowe, James H. 
Herne. For those who could not rise to the Merchant of Venice 
or Henry V, there were Shore Acres, Trilby, the musical com- 
edy Rob Roy, and above all Charley's Aunt. Naughty bald- 
heads fought for front-row seats to hear and see Lillian Rus- 
sell in La Tzigane, which failed in New York but drew $11,000 
in a single week in Chicago ! For the mere crass lover of humor, 
minstrels like Lew Dockstader and Billy Emerson performed 
antics only youngsters such as they could perform. 

Movies? The word was unknown. Yet it was in 1895 that 
two young men, George K. Spoor and E. H, Ahmet, were 
"monkeying" with a new thing, a sort of film that produced 
upon a screen flickering shapes resembling human beings in 
action. The infant enterprise was sickly, but Spoor kept on. 
And in a few years he was able to point to a giant amusement- 
activity of which he was certainly a pioneer. His Essanay 
(S and A) Studios saw the first film-work of Charlie Chaplin, 
Gloria Swanson, Wallace Beery and others, 

Art? The Institute (even then caring for fourteen hundred 
art students) exhibited the old masters and a few "moderns." 



There were also the well-known collections in the homes of 
Charles T. Yerkes, James Ellsworth, and Martin Ryerson. Col- 
lectors dared to exhibit Manet and Raff aeli, the last-named of 
whom visited the city, and was much astonished hy it. 

Music? Theodore Thomas, regardless of annual deficits, was 
presenting lots of Wagner, no end of Beethoven, and occa- 
sionally, some "crazy" things by Russians and Frenchmen. 
Famous opera-singers brought from New York performed for 
the wild Westerners, who, in small but happy Auditorium audi- 
ences, seemed to appreciate Melba, Nordica, and the De Reszke 
brothers as much as did New York or Boston. Paderewski, De 
Pachmann, Ole Bull, the child wonder Josef Hofmann they 
all played to capacity in old red-plush Central Music Hall. 

And then, the "church life" how the great preachers drew ! 
It was a thrill to hear John Henry Barrows, Hiram W. Thomas 
(awful heretic though he was), Bishop Samuel Fallows, and 
the like. Dwight L. Moody was "drawing" five thousand audi- 
tors a night. Billy Sunday had quit playing fielder for Anson's 
"Colts" and was about to launch his evangelistic career. The 
churches, little or big, were on the list of drawing-cards. 

Incidentally, there was a church for every two thousand in- 
habitants. This was somewhat offset by the fact that there was 
a saloon for every two hundred. 

3 

The saloon ! A more and more "burning question,** 
At this time there hung in thousands of homes a portrait of 
a lady with severe eye-glasses but gentle expression, whose 
name stood everywhere for the women's temperance movement. 
She lived in an inconspicuous Evanston dwelling, since become 
a kind of shrine. No greater celebrity had any Chicagoan of 
the '90s than Frances E. Willard. As head of the W.C.T.IL 
she had in twenty years attracted thousands of members, and 
had become a nation-wide "proselyter," To the original society 
she added the Home Protective Association. Before her death 

233 



in 1898 she had visited, it is said, every city in the United 
States of 10,000 or more inhabitants. She traveled 30,000 miles 

in one year. 

Like many another builder, Miss Willard found her un- 
solved problem in an actual building. She and her associates 
conceived the idea of a downtown city "monument" the 
Temple. It was built, and it was beautiful, but it involved debt. 
The Temple bonds became a subject for wise financiers to 
knit their brows over. They brought sleepless nights to the 
heroic lady. After she died, the W.C.T.U. speedily voted to 
give up the building. The "monument" passed to other hands, 
and today its very stones are gone, 

A year after Miss Willard, Mr. Moody was taken from the 
turbulent Chicago scene. Like her, he had been shocked by^its 
sins into the impulse to save it. He had begun much earlier. 
Indeed, it was near the middle of the nineteenth century that 
Mr. Moody, having come to Chicago to sell shoes, had begun 
mission work in a small way. He "sold" religion even more 
effectively than shoes. (His great friend John V. Farwell once 
called him "the Sunday-school drummer.") When he first 
taught poor children, he used to canvas a tough district for 
ragged youngsters, wash and clothe them, and hurry them to 
the mission house. That was the sort of man he was. 

Although in his later years he was summoned to many coun- 
tries to save souls, though he had triumphs together with 
Sankey, in England and elsewhere, he acknowledged Chicago 
as home. He was happiest, perhaps, addressing the weeping 
crowds in his North Side tabernacle, or in appealing to audi- 
ences that filled the high-arched Auditorium. He was a World's 
Fair figure not so much at the congresses as in his efforts 
to save the wicked who had flocked to the exposition. 

Moody made fortunes from hymn-books and other royalties ; 
gave the fortunes away. As late as the '90s he could be seen, 
going from seat to seat in street-cars or perhaps stopping a 
pedestrian, to inquire: "Are you a Christian?" The blackness 



of Chicago, many times, must have driven him to half -despair- 
ing prayer. 

.4 

Certainly, despite the delight of life, despite reform, God 
was not always in the Chicago heaven of the middle nineties. 
A good many people suspected this; a few were sure of it. 
The few who were burning to see Chicago not only well-gov- 
erned but impeccably moral, grouped themselves in the Civic 
Federation, "a voluntary association of citizens for the mutual 
counsel, support and combined action of all the forces for 
good." And these forces looked up to none other than Lyman 
J. Gage, the banker, for final decisions. 

If there were any who thought that, because of being a 
banker, Mr. Gage was too commercial to run a Civic Federa- 
tion, they were wrong. He had lived in Chicago many years, 
had seen its social convulsions, and was a thoughtful student. 
Shortly after the anarchist outbreak of 5 S6 he had headed a 
forum consisting of twenty-four members, including eight per- 
sons considered frightfully radical, and one who was even 
worse, perhaps a Henry Georgeite. Regardless of financiers 
who grumbled in the clubs, "What's Gage up to now? 5 ' he 
brought the forum to his house, where everybody had his say 
about the solution of the capital-labor problem and kindred 
matters. The house-forum led to public meetings, of which Mr. 
Gage wrote later, "I am sorry to say that they were attended 
but feebly by the well-to-do people. 55 And he added a comment 
on social levels : " ^Higher classes' is not the best term ; 'self- 
satisfied 5 is nearer. 55 

It was that kind of banker, author of a phrase, "Despair lies 
in the deep-seated prejudices of both sides of society," who 
headed the Civic Federation, with its central council of one 
hundred and its branches in all the city ? s thirty-four wards. 
It had six departments, philanthropic, industrial, municipal, 
educational, moral, and political, and on one or the other of 
these committees appeared such names as Marshall Field, 

235 



Harlow Higinbotham, Franklin MacVeagh, Cyrus McCormick, 
Jr., (son of the great Cyrus) as well as the social scientists 
like Jane Addams, Graham Taylor, Albion W. Small,^and 
Sarah Hackett Stevenson, and religious leaders like Emil G. 
Hirsch and 0. P. Gifford. The first vice-president was the 
Four Hundred's leader, Mrs. Potter Palmer; the second vice- 
president a union-labor official, J. J. McGrath, 



The Civic Federation feared no one, and tackled nearly 
everything. It helped put through the city's first civil-service 
law, which languished until the lawyer Adolf Kraus got behind 
it and made it work. It organized the relief -work in the dark 
Winter of 1 893-1894 ; it fought the twin evils of dirty streets 
and grafting garbage-contractors ; it startled the city, in the 
fall of '94, by an ax-and-crowbar assault on gambling. 

Now gambling in Chicago had for years been renowned; 
Cripple Creek was little better known as a place in which 
to "blow money." "In the very shadow of the City Hall," 
flourished the richly decorated and far f rqm f ur^^saions of 
such grandees as Harry Varnell, the JSwi^^Dr^iers, and 
Ed Wagner and Curt Gunn. The House of David roared 
unchecked, under the clever management o Billy Fagan. (He 
was so clever as to have one room with a sign over it, "The 
Rev. Mr. , Prayer Meeting and Gospel Services," to de- 
lude the police though they had no idea of raiding it, any- 
how.) Varnell's ran day and night, with a force of twenty-four 
faro^feglers, twelve croupiers, and sixty other employees. His 
payroll ~was over $3,000 a week, and His "protection" probably 
cost him twice that. 

All this was the fruit of years of "wide-open town, 55 encour- 
aged during the '80s, or even earlier, by the political power of 
that full-blooded, "divil-may-care" and shrewd character, 
"Mike" MacDonald. It is Chicago legend that he coined the 
phrase, "A sucker is born every minute'.*' For years he was in 
#36 



I 

and out of Chicago's enterprise as well as its scandals. He grew 
rich on downtown real estate; he once owned a daily news- 
paper The Globe. He helped build the "Lake Street L." But 
he was remembered usually as a gambler, owner of the "pal- 
ace," "The Store." By 1895 MacDonald was "about through"; 
others took his place. 

Under a ministerial chairman of a sub-committee the "forces 
for good" decided to extirpate gambling for all time. The 
mayor, John P. Hopkins, was backed into a corner, and a 
reluctant promise was obtained from him; but since he held 
that gambling under control of the police was less vicious than 
when hidden in secret and "lawless" places, the promise 
amounted to little. The houses closed for a time, but reopened. 
The Mayor declared that "certain business men" had asked 
him to permit the reopening. 

The clergyman-crusader, the Rev. W. G. Clarke, then hired 
an army of hardy special constables under a chieftain named 
Matt Pinkerton. In the bustling noon-hour of a September 
day a detachment crept up the stairway of Varnell's place, 
brushed by the negro watchman, and burst open the door. 
Hundreds of players (for the wheels spun merrily then in day- 
light hours) looked up amazed. A manager confronted the 
raiders. 

"By what authority ," he began. 

"The authority of the Civic Federation !" shouted Pinkerton. 

Watchers, gunmen, and manager hurled themselves upon the 
attacking force. There was a scuffle. Brass knuckles fell. The 
invaders retreated, only to return shortly with reinforcements, 
axes, sledge-hammers, and crowbars. With these they battered 
down the heavy oak door, with its iron trimmings, which had 
been slammed behind them. They climbed over a barricade of 
tables and chairs, and were laying hands on the roulette- 
wheels when they found themselves belabored by sling-shots. 
They drew revolvers, but did not shoot . . . those mild raiders 
of the '90s. Meantime an Evanston justice of the peace, who 
had been waiting on the street below, produced warrants for 

237 



Pinkerton and others. Before a huge crowd, filling curbs and 
windows, the constables were marched off to court. 

Next, the reformers ordered raids on J. Condon's gambling- 
house, also in the heart of the business district. Axes this time 
were concealed under mackintoshes; the doors were beaten 
down. Tables and wheels were carted away, but a writ of 
replevin had already been obtained, and the constables were 
once more defeated. The House of David was the next objec- 
tive. It was entered by 7orty men, for whom the wily Fagan 
himself opened the door into his domain with its "rich hang- 
ings and classic paintings." After a search, the roulette-wheels 
were found concealed under a pile of old battle-flags, and were 
carried to the street, while an enormous crowd hooted. Before 
carrying them out, the constables accepted a cooling drink 
from the amiable Fagan. They all bustled to the court of 
Judge Theodore Brentano. 

"We have a replevin writ," pleaded the negro attorney for 
the gamblers. 

"From whom?" scowled the gentleman who was to become 
minister to Hungary. 

"From the coroner." 

His Honor banged the desk. 

"I'll hold him for contempt," he declared, and adjourned 
court before another move could be made. So the Pinkerton 
troops carried the valuable wheels into the basement and burned 
them merrily in the Court-House furnace. 



The crusade would not have been complete without a mass- 
meeting, such as citizens of the '90s rejoiced in. It was held 
in Central Music Hall. Of course, Mr. Gage presided. Before 
the crowd filling pit and gallery Harry Rubens, Mayor Hop- 
kins* corporation counsel, was called on for a defense of the 
administration and of the "buck-passing" between Mayor and 
Chief of Police. 

238 



"Mr. Chairman," he cried, amid hisses and yells, "no ad- 
ministration of the city of Chicago has ever been as totally 
independent of and as radically inimical to the criminal 
classes." 

Heated by the storms of hisses, Mr. Rubens went on : 

"Inimical not only to the ordinary criminal classes who 
commit the everyday offenses of shop-lifting and gambling, 
but to the infinitely more dangerous criminals who will occupy 
a front pew in a fashionable church on Sunday and on Monday 
attempt to secure a corrupt franchise ordinance by bribery." 

He became still more bitter. He referred to princely man- 
sions, stylish landaus, cuttle-fish, tax-fixing, railroad kings, 
deaths at grade-crossings, etc., all amid hisses and cries of, 
"Will you answer a question?" 

There was more than a hint in all this of things which partly 
explained Chicago's turbulence of that day; a suggestion of 
the great warfare between corporations and the people. Indeed, 
there must have come to the minds of many in the audience the 
symbol expressed in the single word, which was like a challenge 
to battle: 

"Yerkes," 



239 



CHAPTER VI 



F, 



OR years the name of Yerkes had been pronounced with 
suspicion, with hatred, or with that facetious tolerance which 
has saved Chicagoans so much strain and concealed so many 
skeletons. 

For years Yerkes had faced down financial enmities, news- 
paper editorials, whisperings, allusions to his convict past, 
and the slanting looks of a society that half desired to ostracize 
him. He took attacks, says an inspired biographer, "in a calm 
good-natured sort of way, allowing nothing to interfere with 
his progress." In 1896 he was a ruddy, bold, white-moustached 
man on the verge of sixty, this traction-king of Chicago. His 
convict past lay a long way back in the '70s, the time of money 
panic. It amounted to nothing more than a brief term in a 
Pennsylvania prison, resulting from his failure, while a Phila- 
delphia banker, to produce city securities which he held on 
deposit. This fall from grace could not compare with the crimes 
of which he was accused in Chicago, but it sounded louder 
on the drums of newspaperdom. He was the arch-this and 
arch-that. Perhaps he smiled. But in the late ? 90s his Chicago 
career was ending. 



It could not be said that Mr. Yerkes and his associates, such 
as D. EL Louderback, had failed to develop the carlines. They 
had not extended them to meet all the needs of the riding 
public ; the people increased faster than the cars, year by year. 
But the traction-men had laid down hundreds of miles of new 
tracks on the north and west lines, which they controlled. In 
the late '80s they had introduced, on a few main lines, the 
cable-trains; and as early as 1895 the Yerkes group had begun 
to introduce trolley-systems. Characteristically, they proceeded 
in bland disregard of property-owners, who howled about the 
sudden forest of trolley-poles, some of which were planted 
overnight. They ignored protests against the "deadly trolley ," 
the perils inherent in speed, the live-wire peril even calm 
engineers discounted the dangers. No matter who roared, the 
Yerkes crowd continued to replace the old horsecars, at the 
same time that their elevated-railroad rivals were, amid equal 
clamor, beginning to encircle the heart of Chicago with a 
strangling collar of rails on stilts the Union Loop, both 
bane and blessing of downtown business. 

What the lay citizen understood very ill, though it was 
clear to financiers and newspaper editors, was that while 
"giving to Chicago the benefits of up-to-date transportation," 
Yerkes et al. were growing rich from dubious franchises and 
watered stock. It is a very tangled story. Let it go with the 
note that, having acquired the North Chicago Railway in 1886 
and the West Chicago Railway in 1887, Yerkes had helped 
himself to city ordinances for years with little compensation 
to pay. The franchises increased in value many-fold and on the 
stock market Yerkes had done so well that his "interests," in 
some cases, paid glittering dividends. The lines were capital- 
ized for millions more than they were worth. A scientific report 
issued in 1900 after Mr. Yerkes had escaped to a friendly 
London to build tubes stated that of the $118,000,000 se- 



curities of the companies in the late '90s at least $72,000,000 
worth were "water." 

Mr. Yerkes* relations with the City Council were very com- 
fortable. When he needed the rights to a street, or a couple 
of tunnels under the river, he pressed a button. His commis- 
sioner of aldermanic relations came running. Soon there floated 
through the dark corridors of the City HaU word of something 
good on the griddle. There would then be a meeting of two or 
three go-betweens in a hotel or a saloon back-parlor. In due 
time twenty or thirty aldermen would blossom out with new 
race-horses or deeds to nice property. 

It was the "system." Mr. Yerkes was not alone in taking 
advantage of it. The city owned all the streets and alleys, and 
could sell them wholesale or retail. Gas-companies seeking to 
lay mains, railroads needing switch-tracks, shopped for them 
in that smoke-filled Bon Marche, the City Hall. The aldermen 
received salaries that were nominal. Their jobs, said "muck- 
rakers," were worth $15,000 to $20,000 a year. Before 1895, 
in the days of Mayors Cregier, Harrison, Swift, and Hopkins, 
it was reported that the shopper for an important franchise 
had to pay $25,000 each to an inner circle of aldermen, and 
$8,000 each to members of a small periphery. An official who 
managed things received, in at least one instance, $100,000 
in cash and $111,000 in property. But later on there was an 
appalling slump in prices, and aldermen were known to take 
as little as $300 for a vote exacting 25 per cent, more for 
helping pass a measure over a veto. 

To make all this buccaneering the more gaudy, ordinances 
were framed on behalf of companies which did not exist, or 
were not expected to function. Aldermen helped organize them. 
In dear old '94, for example, the boys wrote out a gas-com- 
pany ordinance giving the streets to a ghost called the Uni- 
versal Gas Company, which was to use a huge network of 
streets and pay the city a pittance. The ordinance was passed, 
vetoed by Mayor Hopkins, and passed over his veto. Soon the 
clever group of aldermen, half saloon-keepers and half "re- 



spected citizens," sold the "rights" to the Mutual Gas Com- 
pany for $175,000, and the ghost was laid. Another famous 
measure, whose history would run into pages, was the Ogden 
gas-ordinance, which involved ninety-cent gas, a fifty-year 
franchise, and low compensation as against another proposal 
offering eighty-cent gas. It went through on the fly, but in 
later, comparatively reformed days, it proved ineffective, and 
a pretty plan to sell it for $6,000,000 fell through. The Ogden- 
gas ghost refused to be laid for years. It haunted a genial boss 
named Roger Sullivan in many a campaign. 

Yes, the aldermen were nearly as clever as the magnates. 
The system worked. Mr. Yerkes must have used it almost as 
a matter of course, just as his men hired court bailiffs to hand 
greenbacks to jurors in personal-accident damage-suits. After 
Mr. Yerkes had retired to London he reviewed his Chicago 
career to a journalist (Edward Price Bell) who had helped 
wreck that career; and his justification was^^I, had to do it." 

The wonder is that, with franchise-shopping s6 ^costly, Mr. 
Yerkes could afford his "mansion," his art gallery, Bis,^$l,000 
carriage, his $1,700 piano, his gift of an electric fountain to 
Lincoln Park, and his magnificent present to the University of 
Chicago for what is still the largest ref racting-telescope in the 
world. Thousands visit the dignified observatory at Williams 
Bay, Wisconsin, where Prof. E. B. Frost presides; gaze 
through the great tube that succeeded the old "Dearborn tele- 
scope," and wonder who Mr. Yerkes was. 

3 

Now in the late months of 1895, the Civic Federation, con- 
science of the city, determined to cleanse such part of the 
Augean stables as occupied the soot-stained City Hall. The 
Federation had followed its gambling-expose of September, 
1894, by forcing the prosecution of ballot-manipulators at 
the November county election and gaining twenty-one convic- 
tions, including one sentence to the penitentiary. By another 



year the Federation felt itself strong enough to assail the alder- 
manic grafters, numbering fifty-seven out of the sixty-eight ! 

But where was the man hardy enough to lead the assault? 
He was not among the inner councillors of the Federation. 
Indeed, it became clear that the political action group of that 
body could not cope with the conditions; there must be a 
separate organization. After a Winter of debate following 
a very enjoyable mass-meeting this new offshoot of the 
Federation was established and dubbed the Municipal Voters 
League. Its birthdate was February 13, 1896. Lyman Gage 
and his advisers had hunted frantically for a president to run 
their new league. Weeks were slipping by. Word of the reform- 
venture had got about, and city councilmen such as Johnny 
Powers, Little Mike Ryan, Foxy Ed Cullerton, and Bath- 
House John Coughlin were much amused. Things did not look 
propitious for political reform. One William Lorimer, a heavy 
blond person, lately a street-car conductor, constable, and 
water-office boss, had got himself elected to Congress, and was, 
amazingly, in command of Cook County Republicanism. Newly 
come to Democratic power was the diminutive Hinky Dink 
Kenna, former bootblack, seller of "red-hots" at the races 
where he received his soubriquet because of his small stature 
and now prosperous saloon-keeper. He and Jawn (nicknamed 
"Bath-House" because he was once a rubber in a Turkish 
bath) were to dominate the First Ward for years. 

Against the ruthless, clever, and well-intrenched aldermanic 
gang, who could prevail? Only eight years before, some mem- 
bers of the county board had "robbed the public treasury" of 
about $500,000 through crooked contracts on public work. 
Eleven were convicted, and a newspaper had crowed, "Official 
corruption cannot forever escape punishment in Cook County." 
But how about it in 1896? 

Mr. Gage worried on. And then, sitting in a meeting one 

day, he heard a few passionate words fall from the lips of a 

chunky, blunt, dark-eyed member with a black goatee. His 

name was George E. Cole. He was a stationer. He had become 

24*4* 



president of a Federation branch; the leaders knew little else 
about him. They could not dream that, in a few months, a news- 
paper would refer to him as a "political buzz-saw and thrash- 
ing-machine . . . hard as a billiard-ball . . . about as big as 
Napoleon . . . not an office he would accept on a silver 
platter." 

Mr. Cole, drummer-boy in the Civil War and resident of 
Chicago since 1868, was not yet forty years of age when asked 
to head the M.V.L. They told him frankly he was a kind of 
last resort. 

"If that's the case, I'll serve," he said with a characteristic 
chuckle. 

He thought a moment. 

"I make these conditions," he said, stroking his goatee. 
"First, I must be allowed to tell the brutal facts ; call a spade 
a spade, y'know. Second, I must pick, my own secretary. And 
third third, I do not want to know who contributes money 
for this cause." 

"Granted," replied the board instantly. 

"Do you suppose . . . Can I have as much as $10,000?" 

They thought he could. 

"Then let's be at it," said the new champion, rising to his 
full height of about five feet. 

The election was now a matter of counting days. Mr. Cole, 
having selected a directorate of seven members, sent for a 
slender, sharp-eyed young man named Hoyt King, who had 
been assistant secretary to former Police Chief Major Robert 
McLaughry, and made him the league's secretary. They hired 
a tiny office and furnished it with a couple of tables and a set 
of cheap chairs. On these sat the eminent directors, consisting 
of men like Edmund Burritt Smith, the scholarly lawyer, R. 
R. Donnelley, famous printer, and the civic-minded broker 
James L. Houghteling, who was treasurer. Judge Murray F. 
Tuley, grand old man of the bench, dropped in to give un- 
official advice. 

There was a minimum of useless talk. Mr. Cole's method was 

45 



to listen briefly, then break out, "But what're we going to 
do about it?" He steamed ahead like a tug churning the water. 
Spades were spades. The League documents appeared with the 
motto on the first page, 

"a hundred years ago 
If men were knaves, why, people called them so." 

From the little office issued printed leaflets, placards, letters. 
They were sparing of sirocco adjectives. Instead, they coolly 
recited the records of the aldermanic "gray wolves, 5 ' as the 
League later called them. A cool and wily pillar of the stone- 
business, Republican leader of the Council, none other than 
the late Martin B. Madden, was hit between the eyes. Mr. Cole 
had known and disapproved of him in South Side ward- 
politics. The saloon-fixers were dealt with quite as adequately. 

And Yerkes, at last the secret opinion of him was put in 
words; in three words exactly: 

"Yerkes the Boodler." 

There it was in good-sized type, on every fence and vacant 
building that could be hired. 

Only one signature appeared on any of the placards or 
dodgers ; the signature, "Municipal Voters League, George E. 
Cole, President." 

In the political saloons, on street-cars, in the polished offices 
of Mr. Yerkes, people were asking, "Who is this fellow Cole?" 

The gray wolves took their medicine sometimes with bared 
teeth, oftener with good humor. They had quaint ideas of what 
constituted insult. 

Hoyt King relates that one day, several years after the 
League started, the tall, pompadoured Bath-House John and 
the pale slight Hinky Dink appeared before Mr. Cole's desk. 
The League president rose to his full height, expecting trouble. 

"Mr. Cole, 55 said Coughlin, "you've done me wrong. You've 
libeled me." 

"In what way?" bristled Mr. Cole. 

"You said I was born in Waukegan, instead of Chicago. 5 * 
246 



The League officials laughingly promised a correction, but 
Coughlin did not laugh. All the boodle-charges had rolled off 
his back. To have Waukegan called his birthplace hit him hard. 

4 

The astonishing thing was that Chicago woke up. Perhaps 
there had been preparing for a long time a receptivity to Mr. 
Cole's kind of plain truths. Yet there was also involved the 
stone wall of gang-politics built so ably under a string of 
mayors, and supported by concessions to foreign elements 
that were willing to give up clean government in exchange for 
"freedom." The earthworks of the franchise-sellers were high 
and solid ; yet when it came to nominations for the aldermanic 
election, Cole's attack made a breach. Fourteen thieves dropped 
out of the running before they started. 

Meantime, the grafters and their agents had identified Mr. 
Cole. "The little fellow with the goatee, that's him." They 
knew Ms home address, too* Trying him out with cajolery, 
they made no impression. Soon there came to Mrs. Cole a mys- 
terious threat that her child was to be kidnaped. She was 
game, like her husband. He must keep on with his work. Noth- 
ing untoward happened. On the street Cole got black looks, 
but no brass knuckles. At his stationery-store there were evi- 
dences of a more subtle counter-attack. It developed that cer- 
tain business men were withdrawing their orders for stationery. 

"Can't help it," said the president of George E. Cole and 
Company. 

A minister wrote him a suave letter. The minister could not 
understand why his constituent, a leading alderman, was being 
called a knave. This alderman, said the pastor, had only 
worked for the "best interest of his ward." 

"Look at his record," replied Mr. Cole, with his usual brev- 
ity. The preacher was silenced. 

Alderman Powers sought out his fiery little antagonist. 

"Why don't you be a good fellow and give the boys a 



chance?" he coaxed. No good. The League built up its forces, 
held meetings, inspired messages from the pulpit, sent out its 
cool, precise, and deadly statements. 

The gang-aldermen, hitherto immune, fought hard. Powers 
flooded his melting-pot 19th Ward with ten-dollar bills. Good 
Italians were angry because he had said he could buy them for 
a song ; but since he had one out of every five voters on the city 
payroll (Hull House figures), he was still invulnerable. An- 
other of the ring named John Colvin the name has passed 
quite into oblivion walked into saloons, bought drinks for all 
comers, sneered at the reformers who had "done nothing to help 
the workingman." Still another of the "gray wolves," one 
O'Connor, had the happy thought to illuminate streets of his 
ward with electric light. He pointed with pride to his improve- 
ment, but the reformers pointed to the cost $575 for each 
light-pole. Blind Billy Kent, one of the most curious characters 
of the time, Mike Mclnerney, hejrhpjsaW^ 
was healthjjfor babies, John Brennan of the super-tough 18th 
W^-d^they all worked every device in their power. 

Powers and many of the other gangsters saved themselves. 
But in several wards men such as John Maynard Harlan 
sledge-hammer orator who was to lead two mayoralty forlorn 
hopes an d Charles F. Gunther, the "candy-man," beat the 
crooks by slim majorities. Roger Sullivan, who was looming in 
Democracy as Lorimer was in Republicanism, "put over" a 
decent person named Maypole. Altogether, twenty men whom 
the League considered good citizens entered the Council; a 
dozen of the worst coyotes were eliminated. Mighty victory 
for a little man with a goatee ! 

5 

The struggle for a clean Council went on with ups and downs 
for several years. In that first year the League crushed the solid 
two-thirds majority able to pass almost anything over the veto 
of Mayor Swift. In the next, the reform element was still 



stronger. Martin Madden passed out of the picture about this 
time to become an able Congressman. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Yerkes, having drawn the useful Lorimer 
into alliance, had moved upon the Legislature at Springfield, 
where the prospects looked better than in Chicago. He and his 
attorneys contrived measures granting fifty-year franchises 
to traction-lines, and an obliging Senator named Humphrey 
introduced them. 

Chicago rose in wrath. Delegations descended upon Spring- 
field, and by an amazing outlay of oratory, backed by fierce 
newspaper editorials, succeeded (May, 1897) in downing the 
Humphrey bills. But Mr. Yerkes, himself thoroughly aroused, 
returned instantly to the battlefield. Within a few days he 
caused to be framed and introduced this time by Charles 
Allen, of Hoopeston a new fifty-year-franchise bill. 

The fight grew fiercer. John Harlan, son of the United 
States Chief Justice, raged back and forth between Chicago 
and Springfield. In halls on all sides of the city people spoke 
bitterly; and yes! there was a mass-meeting in Central 
Music Hall. 

Thomas B. Bryan, Chicago stalwart and World's Pair di- 
rector, presided. At one point he cried out: 

"If you were a jury, what would you do with Yerkes ?" 

"Hang him!" roared the crowd. 

However, with the aid of Lorimer, and, according to Harlan, 
by lavish use of money, the Allen bill was passed ; passed amid 
violent scenes, when chairs were broken and desks dented. Gov. 
Tanner signed the bill. A newspaper cartoon pictured him at 
his desk, with a sign on the wall "What's Home Without 
C. T. Yerkes?" 

Full soon, a fifty-year-franchise ordinance, based on the 
Allen law, reached the Chicago Council. Two years before it 
might have slid through on rollers and a veto would have 
been overridden. But the solid gang-majority was no longer 
operating in the chamber with the ornaments of Stars and 
Stripes and spittoons. 

249 



Further, there sat in the chair of presiding officer a new 
Carter Harrison, black-moustached son of the hero of the white 
horse and slouch hat. Harrison was with the new dispensation ; 
in most matters, an ally of the League. He was impregnated 
with the political tradition of his dynasty, including opposi- 
tion to wealthy monopolists. "Man of the people," his policy. 
More, it could be seen that an era of franchise-selling, of 
"wild West" town, of "anything goes," had (possibly) closed, 
and a Chicago more modern, more scientific, was (perhaps) 
emerging. He wielded a tough gavel against the gang. The 
fifty-year-franchise measure was buried. A Harrison veto hung 
heavily not only over that outrage, but over many another 
invention of street-car barons, electric-monopolists, gas- 
grafters. The mayor's promise to "eat my fedora hat" rather 
than permit a Yerkes victory became a long-lived Chicago epi- 
gram. There was a bluff honesty ai>out this mayor that de- 
pressed the boodlers. 

Even non-partisan organization of Council committees won 
under Harrison, but not until his second term. And it was 1900 
before the League could congratulate itself on having defi- 
nitely sent the gang to the rear. 

An editorial in that year became very optimistic. The City 
Council was now "the best legislative body in any large city." 
Four years from the time when Cole, the stationer, had taken 
off his coat, Chicago had put Yerkes in his place, had set on 
foot really scientific studies of the carlines, and was headed 
toward the Mueller municipal-ownership law of 1903. 



The League brought into public life many figures John 
F. Smulski, banker, Milton Foreman, general in the World 
War ; William E. Dever, afterward mayor, Robert R. McCor- 
mick, who became an able president of the Sanitary District, 
and others. But politics had to thrust into all this one of its 
piercing sarcasms. 
250 



The League had won. In 1900 it was a clear victor. Yet in 
that Spring, casting about for a Republican nominee in the 
Second Ward to defeat an undesirable candidate, the leaders 
(successors of the weary Cole) listened to recommendations 
on behalf of a young man of wealth, son of a stout-minded 
Chicago citizen, an athlete. They were told that he could do 
no harm. "The worst you can say of him is that he's stupid, 55 
they were advised. 

This unknown athlete, known as football player and yachts- 
man, was about thirty years old, handsome and eager. He sub- 
scribed to the League's platform, and in the election he de- 
feated Candy-Man Gunther. Later, he voted against midnight 
closing of saloons, but was forgiven, as he had a reputation 
for efficiency. 

This strange political child of reform was William Hale 
Thompson. 



251 



CHAPTER VII 



JL HE drive during the late '90s to make government, and 
people too, law-abiding and "clean 5 * met with some applause. 
It was scorned, however, by the merry Chicagoan whose daily 
path lay between Billy Boyle's chop-house or SchlogPs res- 
taurant and the somewhat subdued gambling-parlors. 

There were many esteemed citizens, too, men of affairs and 
good habits (if the "morning nip" be allowed) who mourned 
the evident decay of an epoch. To them, the symptoms of a 
repressive age meant that a Chicago they loved loud, frank, 
and unsystematic was to be banished 3 and a period of smooth- 
ing down and slicking up was at hand. They took out their 
dismay in jeering at reformers, in taunting them with "play- 
ing to the church crowd, 55 in complaining of "all this so-called 
progress." 

They could not stop anything. The city rolled on over land- 
marks. Its new skyscrapers banished well-loved haunts, even 
as new moralities displaced the old. 



The veteran Chicagoan, strolling Michigan Avenue today 
under the stupendous parapets of the Straus Building or the 
252 



Gas Building, thrills at all this majesty, but sighs still for the 
perspective that included the dear old Leland Hotel, kept with 
personal assiduity by mine host Warren Leland, and the 
Richelieu, the incomparably European place run so lovingly 
by "Cardinal" Bemis. At the Richelieu, this rambling veteran 
will tell you, a dinner comprising twenty dishes could be had 
for a dollar; and a gala meal would be served on imported 
plates worth $1,000 a dozen (believe it or not) ! So valuable 
was this dinner-service that Mrs. Bemis always washed it her- 
self. 

"The lake-front!" the veteran will exclaim* "Maybe this 
Chicago Plan is all they say it is ; but I liked the lake-front 
when they played professional ball there, and the old exposition 
building was there, and there wasn't no Art Institute." 

And then he will remind you of the old American-plan 
hotel, which about this time began to yield to new systems ; of 
the Tremont House, with its lobby full of politicians, and its 
high ceilings and bedchambers (later occupied by class-rooms 
or offices of some of Northwestern University's professional 
schools) ; of the Old Sherman House (No. 2), watched over 
by J. Irving Pearce, pulling his long whiskers. 

He will go on until you stop him, all about Billy Boyle's, 
about Chapin and Gore's, Quincy No. 9, the Boston Oyster 
House, Kinsley's, and other establishments, free and easy or 
not, where things were so cheap, and the company so artless, 
after all. Besides, what about a fifteen-cent lunch, filling 
enough, served by one of Kohlsaat's busy negroes? 

By no means does the old-timer (though tender with memo- 
ries of stout old Kinsley and his "Dundrearies") forget Mc- 
Garry's saloon, whose bar was thronged night after night by 
citizens of real prominence and excellent domestic habits; by 
politicians, plungers, and wits by Pete Dunne, who so often 
listened to the repartee of McGarry and his customers, and who 
set it down in the universally read Mr. Dooley. 

And the veteran is likely to say : 

"I don't know as anything was gained by all those pleasures 

253 



passing out. I don't know, f r instance, as the town really got 
anywhere by the fight on gambling. Oh, well, I suppose it 
wasn't so good to have over a hundred saloons in two down- 
town blocks, and gambling so wide-open you could hear the 
wheels whirr from the streets. But I don't know . . ." 

And he will tell you, grinning, of Steve Rowan, the Fal- 
staffian policeman whose beat took in those two blocks, and who 
never, with all the "goings-on," arrested a single green-baize 
devotee. . . . He will even tell how Steve, sauntering on Clark 
Street one Summer night, when through open windows the^click 
of poker-chips came clear, was stopped by a "reformer." 

"Don't you know there's gambling on your beat, ^officer?" 

"Gambling?" returned Rowan politely, raising his bushy 
eyebrows- "Certainly, sir, I'll look into it." 

And on he strolled, humming. 

3 

Listen to the "vet" as he laments the passing of the Wash- 
ington Park race-track. Oh, Derby day! 

It was a beautiful park, the only one within the city proper 
that weathered, until 1905, the frowns of the anti-gambling 
tribunals. Flat buildings largely cover the area now, 

"How many times," murmurs the old-timer, "I've seen the 
tally-ho parties jingle down the boulevard to the track, the 
ladies with sunshades, picture hats, swell lace costumes. . . . 
Hampers of wine under the seats. . . . Old Capter Harrison 
never would stop all that, you bet. By the time young Carter 
came in, what you call public sentiment had shifted. Young 
Carter had to give an order to stop the bookies ; I remember 
the jokes when he did it. Feller named I just barely remember 
John Hill stirred it up. He was a blue-law feller. You know 
(but you wouldn't recall), his house out south was blown up by 
a bomb, and there were people who said he did it himself/* 

(Thirty years later the State's attorney of Cook County 
cited this early "mysterious bomb" in connection with explo- 
254 



sions that damaged the houses of two of his political opponents. 
If Hill did it himself, why not these men, asked he.) 

Our veteran drifts to the magnificent chance-taker Bet-a- 
Million Gates in the business world, John W., eminent steel- 
man and Wall Street figure. He recalls that, while still a star 
salesman, Gates would frequent eagerly the public rooms of 
such gambling-lords as Fagan and Curt Gunn; but after he 
became a high official he "got dignified. 55 Still, his vast business 
ventures did not exhaust his love of a thrill. Curt Gunn, quiet, 
commonplace to look at, a sort of Cyrano in pepper-and-salt, 
fixed up secluded but satisfying games for his friend Gates. 
"Heavy 55 bridge-whist games, were some of them. 

"Gates was one of the first bridge sharks," says the "remi- 
niscer." "No, I don 5 t mean straight whist bridge. A game 
only for rich gents then. And I remember they used to play 
in an office in the Rookery Building, sometimes starting on a 
Saturday night, and keepin 5 on until Monday. Send out for 
their meals. Mebbe $100,000 would change hands. 

"Oh, they had one game that was a good one ! The lemme 
see, they called it the American Whist Association was in 
town, and somehow an argument started over whether ama- 
teurs or professionals was the better players. And Gunn said 
he'd settle it. So he got another professional besides himself, 
and Gates got another amateur; and they played a $5,000-a- 
side match-game. The amateurs won !" 

4 

From this the old-timer passes easily to Joe Leiter and his 
disastrous wheat-corner of 1897-1898. 

"Six-footer, Joe was and is, of course. He was a nice young 
feller to meet. He was in his twenties when he went out to beat 
Armour and other big guys ; didu 5 t know what to do with all 
his money, I suppose. Anyway, he lost what was it? some- 
where near six million." 

The old-timer is not exactly Accurate, but let it go. It is a 

255 



story of which even grizzled Board of Trade men tell con- 
flicting versions, some saying that Joe simply underestimated 
the available wheat-supply; some that Armour deliberately 
"laid for him" ; others that the great packer did nothing of 
the sort. It is told that after young Leiter and his father, the 
famous Levi Leiter, as well was "in" several million, Armour 
caused the ice in the "Soo" to be dynamited in the Winter of 
1897-1898 and the torrents of unexpected wheat swamped 
a good part of the Leiter fortune. Also, Armour had built, in 
record time, warehouses on Goose Island, to receive the ship- 
loads of grain. But then, the packer was generous with the 
young man in the end; and it only took a decade or two to 
straighten out the mess in the courts. As every one knows, the 
old-timer will remind you, the elder Leiter, once partner of 
Marshall Field, had enough fortune left to finance handsomely 
the marriage of his daughter Nancy to Lord Curzon "You 
know all about that/' 

"Old Hutch" was still alive then, too. He had run a corner 
"Gosh, how long ago!" one that was a corner. As the cen- 
tury was ending, he could still be seen on the Board of Trade 
floor, amid the din ; a tall, rather gaunt figure, smooth-faced 
always, despite the vogue of beards. "He slept in his office," 
the veteran will tell you. They do say that he went beyond 
even the best fashion of the day in absorbing well, say fine 
wines. Of his taste in literature it is recounted that he prized 
both Shakespeare and Whittier . . . would recite Snowbound 
in full . * made his bookkeeper learn the poem and say it 
after hours. As for his taste in art, it did not keep pace with 
that of his banker son, Charles L. Hutchinson, one of Chicago's 
genuine connoisseurs. 

"Charlie," says the old-timer, "was over in Europe ; picked 
up a painting by can't recall the feller's name for some- 
thing like $30,000. Old Hutch jeered. 'I wouldn't give a nickel 
for it,' says he. When Charlie's estate was settled, that same 
picture was valued at about $100,000." 

You could see "Hutch" on the board. You could see Jim 
256 



Patten too. Rather young, vigorous, curt, a true speculator, 
watching the market with scientific calm ; ready to hurl a for- 
tune, but feeling as he did it that his operations (like his 
famous wheat-deal in 1908) were the outgrowth of natural 
conditions, and were for the real benefit of the country ; know- 
ing he would be accused of running a corner. He was disliked 
here and there, but respected even by traders whom he hurt. 
And through all, he applied much of his fortune to civic good, 
beginning at home, in the city of Evanston. 

The Board of Trade, whose tall clock presided soberly over 
the drone of the pit, has its own memories of "great days," of 
thrills, many of which began to die out when the government 
took hold of things during the World War. 

"You mustn't, 59 says the old-timer, "think of it as one of 
them gambling-places. It's one of Chicago's big efforts for the 
world ; and the world, from Japan to Argentine, and then up 
to Alaska, knows it well enough." 

5 

In those days, on the glistening new sidewalks or the well- 
paved streets, passed figures whose outlines have almost gone. 

Visitors or entertainers: Susan B. Anthony, being driven 
against her will to see a baseball game "a silly waste of time," 
she called it. ... Nat Goodwin, sauntering along the boule- 
vard with Maxine Elliott, and "so nice of him not to be jealous 
of his wife." . . . Israel Zangwill, with black curly hair, come 
to lecture. . . . Bryan, whose "Cross of Gold" speech still 
echoed. . . Edouard de Reszke, leaving a train and saying, 
"I shall not ride ze bee-ceecle in Tzecago, ze wind is so strong." 
. . Rudyard Kipling, pausing on his American tour, then 
going away to write : "This place is the first American city I 
have encountered. Having seen it I urgently desire never to 
see it again. It is inhabited by savages." 

tocal characters : Chubby Bob Burke, City Hall boss, stand- 
ing, all smiles, in the Mayor's outer office. . * . Capt. James 

5257 



H. Farrell, martial with his great chest and white moustachios, 
leading the silk-hatted platoons of that great marching club, 
the County Democracy. . . . James B. Forgan, the banker 
of bankers, Lyman Gage's successor, off to play golf at Bel- 
mont, where he organized the first golf-club in 1892. ... A 
youthful, amiable George M. Reynolds, lately come from Iowa 
to be cashier of the Continental. . . . Mrs. Potter Palmer 
whirling to a reception. . . . H. H. Kohlsaat on the steps of 
the Chicago Club. 

Or, more striking than all, aged Denis Swenie rattling along 
in his light buggy, on the way to a fire. The great "smoke- 
eater" was old when the new century began. Since 1849, when 
he was fifteen, he had been a Chicago fireman, beginning when 
the city had only six hand-engines. For more than twenty years 
he had been chief, knowing every fire-trap in town, leading his 
men into any sort of Hades once leaving his own house to 
burn while he scudded to another blaze. He built the Chicago 
department to be, perhaps, the best in the country; drove 
politics from it; seized every new scientific idea. In those days 
around 1900 he was white-haired, a venerable figure. And so 
it was great to see him, fairly snorting like his horse, drive 
to a "4-11." 



Our veteran, who seems to have been "all around every- 
where," wants to tell about Jack Haverly and his minstrels, 
and how Jack died poor in a hotel, all his money gambled away. 
Or, he would speak of the Eden Musee, the gaudy collection 
of wax-works, including a Chamber of Horrors; of Frank 
Hall's Casino and Frank's Mirror Maze and Woods' Museum 
great stuff for the visiting farm-boys, but "perfectly re- 
spectable, I'm telling you," Our "vet" would dwell upon the 
Buckingham, swell dance-hall of the upper demi-monde ; or the 
annual Mardi Gras fete, that drew the dandies and belles of the 
Levee. "Though maybe that was before the World's Fair." 
But he is persuaded to recall how at this time of late '90s, 
258 



in one of the popular saloons downtown, Big Dan Coughlin 
stood ruminating at the bar he ownedjdong with Mike Me- 
Namara, and what a history Dan had. / f 7 GPS* 

"Not long out of the penitentiary, was Dan; acquittea on 
his second trial for killing Dr. Cronin. . . . My gosh, the 
Cronin case! I couldn't tell you the half of it in an evening; 
but let me say, even as late as 1900 it gave some folks the 
shivers to think about." 

And right he is, the old-timer, for even yet the memory re- 
turns, to people of sixty or more, of the long, fine-printed news- 
paper columns, and what they told : how on the night of May 
4, 1889, the popular Dr. Cronin was called for in front of 
the Windsor Theater to attend a patient. The man who called 
drove a white horse. It was the way then of "taking a man 
for a ride." Like the scores of victims of later conspiracies, 
the doctor never returned to his lodging. Days stretched out. 
He was reported missing. Whispers grew in Irish secret circles ; 
they grew into demands upon the police. Presently a bloody 
trunk was picked up far out on the northwest side of the city, 
then a lonely and mournful land ; and on this spot there was 
discovered, jammed into a catch-basin, with crushed skull, the 
naked body of the doctor. 

It was the most horrible crime of the generation ; and it was 
lent grisliness not only by the phantom of a white horse 
"Darned near every white horse in town was suspected," says 
the veteran but by the shadows of Irish politics that hung 
over it. For Dr. Cronin was a leader in Camp 20 of the Clan- 
na-Gael, then battling for the freedom of Ireland; he was 
opposed to an inner circle called the Triangle. Treachery some- 
where, then murder. A veil of secrecy; strange forgetfulness 
of witnesses; forerunners, in a way, of events more than a 
generation later, when unwritten oaths would lock men's lips, 
just as in that early mystery actual vows so it was insisted 
halted proceedings. 

Big Dan, standing so calmly at his bar, had, with two others 
of the five brought to trial, served part of a life-term in Joliet. 

259 



"Influence" brought him out for a second trial. He was freed. 
The batteries of witnesses had been invaded by death and other 
things. Facts once clear were now clouded and uncertain, 
Coughlin reentered life, to be used now and then by "powerful 
interests" in that early indoor sport still very popular of 
bribing juries. 

There was a yet more phantom-like figure, as the old-timer 
recalls Alexander Sullivan, a lawyer who was suspected but 
powerful. Indicted among the first in those shuddery days of 
May, '89, he was speedily freed by habeas corpus ; watched 
from the side-lines while Coughlin and the rest "got theirs 55 ; 
lived also to be accused of jury-bribing, and finally freed. 

"And I remember," says the veteran, "seeing him walking 
the streets, cool as you please ; either the most innocent man or 
the iron-nervedest of the whole population. . . . But I heard 
say how when he was brought into the State's attorney's office 
for jury-bribing, long about 1900, he was jumpy for once; 
looked like a caged leopard ; and when they told him the charge, 
how he breathed a sigh for, you see, he thought they were 
after him for the Cronin murder." 



Over such tragedies, the passions of a city Celtic in mood, 
and actually five per cent. Celtic in population, rose high, then 
abated. It seemed that in a Chicago not yet emerged from a 
6C wi\d West" naivete and carelessness, adventurers might be 
jailed but they were prized. Or, as our veteran might say, 
"There were bad guys always interesting, though." 

He is induced to recall a character whose history was weirdly 
intertwined with that of Chicago through fully thirty years, a 
character straight out of Dickens Captain George Welling- 
ton Streeter. Oh, the old-timer can remember the "cap'n" away 
back to the first (a Summer in the '80s), when the small craft 
navigated by that Civil War veteran and descendant of 1776 
260 



fighters, was driven ashore, and the great idea of his life was 
born. 

It was born during days when the little ship Reutan had re- 
fused to be wrenched off the sands, and Streeter and his wife 
Maria, lodging there perforce, began, after months, to fancy 
that the generous lake deposited sand around the stranded hull. 
There was land "free" land on the same spot where, whether 
Streeter knew it or not, other squatters had, in years past, 
clung to a tatterdemalion existence. The captain, smarter than 
they, not only saw the claims that might be based on a survey 
made as early as 1821, but was able to organize his venture. 
He knew Chicago well from as far back as 1861 ; had been one 
of its entertainers as owner of the old Apollo Theater* 

His brain, acute despite whiskey-fumes, marched on to a 
dream of a kingdom, or at least a commonwealth. He elected 
himself head of the state, and called his domain the District of 
Lake Michigan, which he declared independent of both Chicago 
and Illinois. He owned allegiance to Washington, however, and 
battered vainly at official doors for recognition. 

He was holding the fort during the World's Fair, having by 
that time moved from the Reutan to a shanty from whose stove- 
pipe chimney, in Winter, smoke rose like the steam of the Cap- 
tain's own expletives. He clung on through hard times and 
good, growing constantly in pride, aware that the newspapers 
had made him a public figure ; always glad to be interviewed, 
but holding a long Springfield rifle, with a bayonet, across his 
arm as a threat to constables. Meanwhile, he sold lots cheap to 
hundreds of gullible mortals, to whom the survey of 1821 was 
just as good as the one of 1833 or even 1883. 

"I saw him at his auctions," says the old-timer, "standing 
there, his fuzzy tile-hat back on his head, his face brick-red. 
He had a ragged tawny moustache, and he could talk the arm 
off ye." 

Wealthy residents along that shore were "agin the Cap'n." 
They could look across the sandy waste and see the shanty, 

261 



cockily poised on the lake's edge, and customers standing in 
line. Potter Palmer and N. K. Fairbank were two millionaires 
who kept saying that Streeter must go. So did the Chicago 
Title and Trust Company, powerful protector of property- 
rights. These or others sent armed constables or police to dis- 
pose of George and Maria. Once the latter, a slangy Yankee 
woman of the motherly type, but a tigress on behalf of her 
lord, helped scare off with rifles the fellows wearing stars. No 
less loyal was William IL Niles, who for a time ranked as "Mili- 
tary Governor" of the District. Says our veteran: 

"I saw one scrimmage. A bunch of coppers was about to drag 
the Cap'n off by the collar, when Maria emptied boiling water 
on 'em, and they were glad to go." 

And again, it being then more than fifteen years since 
Streeter landed, Lincoln Park and city police assembled in an 
army of hundreds, besieged the shanty, amid much random 
shooting one or two of the besiegers were winged and 
finally the besieged, who included stout souls like one Billy 
McManners, were captured. Streeter did not stay in jail this 
time, but eventually his sharp-shooters killed a "trespasser." 
The Captain (then a widower) served time in Joliet. He 
emerged in less than a year, feeling good over lots that went 
right on finding buyers while he "languished." Courts sat upon 
the cases his claims brought about. Erudite lawyers sought au- 
thorities that would for good and all banish the fantastic 
legend that the Captain had rights. The Captain was hauled 
before judges who frowned upon his bold, profane way of 
talking, and one of them put him in a cell for contempt. 

He stalked the streets, when free, delighting in his lime- 
light, a "throw-back" in a Chicago growing taller than his 
own visions. Always he had money, tobacco in his cheek, a sense 
of heroism. 

At last he lost all, and died. Upon the sands he had "owned" 

there grew up the impressive Northwestern University group 

of buildings, the monster Furniture Mart, a growing mass of 

"swell" apartments and business buildings. The investments 

262 



are said to total more than $50,000,000. What the holders of 
Streeter titles, still believing, consider themselves worth runs 
to millions more. 

In the new city not many people are left to drop tears over 
the departed Cap'n half idol, half "butt." Nor are there many 
to echo his words of one day, applied to his own District, but 
doubtless a sort of defiance of the whole of Chicago : 

"This is a frontier town, and it's got to go through its red- 
blooded youth. A church and a W.C.T.U. never growed a big 
town yet." 



CHAPTER VIII 



A 



.._. FRONTIER town ! 

There were some traces of it still, in a new century* It had 
spurts of horse-play, and sometimes derision for culture. A 
man could be heard saying at the station, when the opera 
troupe (Nordica, Planfon, the De Reszkes, and others) came 
in : "There he is, the fellow I once laid down three hard-earned 
'cases' to hear sing at the Auditorium." A dapper broker 
greeted the announcement of a municipal Art League with the 
words: "I suppose they're going to hang bows of pink ribbon 
on the lamp-posts." 

But the city was growing up. It was finishing, or under- 
taking, vast public works. It was housing itself in new pat- 
terns of stone; and it was digging new wonders below its sur- 
face. 

2 

Part of this labyrinth of underground work was an addition 
to the long miles of water-tunnels, begun as far back as the 
'60s, when that genius, E S. Chesbrough, was city engineer, 
and now grown to a system of veritable rivers, bringing to the 
people, underneath the city, fresh water from the lake. But 
another part was a scheme, daring enough, of a network of 
264 



tubes below the chief streets of the city within which telephone 
and telegraph wires should run and, after a while, freight- 
cars. The City Council granted a franchise for the tunnels in 

1899, and within four years, while most people walked the 
upper levels indifferently enough, the burrowers working in the 
blue-clay depths had constructed twenty miles of tube. These 
were to grow, during a generation, to sixty miles, with track- 
age, electric-drawn cars, connections with railroad stations, 
freight-houses, big office buildings ; and to take off the streets 
the equivalent of five thousand "motor-truck movements" per 
day. Package-freight, coal, and the cinders of skyscrapers go 
through these tubes. 

Above ground, where everybody could see and admire, the 
stone symbols of an ambitious people continued to pile up. 
Building was brisk. The housing-need, for thousands of work- 
ers as well as families, was severe. But in the big year 1900 
progress of the kind was threatened by the longest and bitter- 
est struggle between building-trades and bosses that Chicago 
had ever known. They collided the two central bodies not 
only over hours of work, and over sympathetic strikes, but over 
union-restrictions to the amount of labor and to use of ma- 
chinery. Some seven thousand men became idle in February, 

1900. The layman was puzzled whether to call it a strike or a 
lockout. 

Whichever it was, it resembled a civil war. First, a war of 
words, in which "tyranny" figured freely, and the contractors 
said that domination by the unions must stop, or no man could 
be assured of life, liberty, and happiness. Then a war of fists, 
of brass knuckles, and now and then a shooting. (No sawed-off 
shotguns then.) The contractors* army of detectives came to 
include some hundreds, whose payroll, it is said, mounted to 
$50,000 a month. The union sluggers were fewer, but shrewdly 
generaled. Through a whole year, while idle workers came to 
number 50,000, department-store losses grew enormous, and 
scores of new pawnbrokers' signs were hung out, the deadlock 
kept on. 

265 



Graham Taylor hit direct by stoppage of work on part^of 
his Chicago Commons building and other civic leaders tried 
to bring about arbitration. So did Mayor Harrison. Neither 
side would yield. At length, as the months dragged along, the 
contractors wore down the unions, building was resumed; the 
whole thing ended rather inconclusively, except that the men 
got part of their demands, and the eight-hour day received a 
fresh buttress. Some people said that there was a victory for 
arbitration somewhere. 

3 

Behind a lot of this trouble lurked the silent, nicely tailored, 
humorously cruel personality of one M. B. ("Skinny") Mad- 
den n ot the Congressman. He was president of the Junior 
Steam-fitters 5 Union. Personally, he did not do any steam- 
fitting. He sat in an obscure office, pulled wires that made 
certain puppet "labor leaders" jump, and directed a gang of 
"wreckers. 55 

The fear of Madden was almost comic. He could demand 
$1,000 or more for "settling 55 a strike, and get it, every time. 
He could step in on a big building-enterprise and collect up to 
$10,000 or $20,000, easily. During a spectacular Fall Festival 
the city held in 1899, when the cornerstone of the Federal 
Building was laid, the dignified committee was shocked to be 
asked to pay a "fine 55 of $5,000 because the stone had the 
labor men said been cut by scabs. Another stone had to be 
cut. The idea must have been Madden's. He had philosophies. 
He said: 

"Show me an honest man, and FU show you a damned fool. 55 

But he also said : 

"I take money away from the rich nobs. As for my friends, 
I never shake 5 em down. 55 

This was proved true. He loaned money lavishly; he spread 
joy among the poor at Christmas. Once he forced his men to 
return a fat sum to a sporting character with whom he fished 
in Summer. They had picked on the wrong man. 

866 



His rule of his union, while at its height, was extraordinary. 
He dominated by his brains, as much as by his six-foot slug- 
gers ; by sheer "gall," too. At one meeting, as the story goes, 
he proposed a motion that he be elected president for life. 
Standing on the platform, flanked by his "bad men," he said: 

"All in favor stand up." 

A number rose. 

"Now," he said, glaring around, "if any wants to 

get up and vote no, let him try it." 

The affirmative vote was unanimous. 

In the great building tie-up of 1900, he played a role not as 
conspicuous as in the long series of troubles after that. His 
name was a black one in the press. His sluggers found hundreds 
of victims, but murders were few. Men battered and maimed 
each other then, seldom shot each other from ambush. 

At length Madden began to slip, as regards his power in 
the Federation of Labor. He crashed against a well-muscled 
and brainy person named Edward Nockels. There was a con- 
test of wits, of stratagems, as well as of fists. Nockels prevailed. 
Madden's union was expelled from the American Federation; 
he was fined $500 in court, for extortion. He turned into a 
sort of outcast ; then retired to private life, became legendary 
as "the first big labor-grafter." 

He had successors, but few who have been regarded with the 
same mixture of fear and liking. When he died, though he had 
handled fortunes, he left only a few thousands. 

4 

Through all the fracases, all the alternating terrors and 
delights, of those years following the World's Fair, one great 
task never paused. The long, symmetrical carving in earth and 
rock, the mighty Sanitary Canal, was lengthening mile by 
mile. 

By the end of 1899 workmen numbering thousands had dug 
the main channel twenty-eight and a half miles, partly through 

267 



glacial drift, and partly through solid rock. It was an epic in 
toil. Visitors who made half-holiday excursions to the scene saw 
muddy battalions swarming in the channel; they saw quaint 
devices cars drawn up inclines to "tipples," specially-made 
conveyors, pneumatic dumpers, hydraulic dredges, channeling 
machines laboring like metal dinosaurs. Terrific dynamite- 
explosions smote the ears of these visitors ; the huge piles of 
waste earth and stone mounted. Witnesses saw the canal turn 
into a long canyon with smooth walls, parts of which were 
streaked with strata of limestone. 

Altogether, the multitude of men and machines working 
through those years hurled up out of the cut 42,229,000 cubic 
yards of material. There was enough earth to make an island 
a mile square, and twelve feet above ground, in water forty 
feet deep. There was waste stone lying along the rock-cut path 
which, it was figured, would have furnished foundation to pave 
all the streets in Chicago then unpaved and these were many. 

Besides the excavation in the canal proper, the Sanitary Dis- 
trict of Chicago had cut a new river-diversion channel for the 
Desplaines, to prevent its flooding the main channel; it had 
built a spillway, or concrete dam, 397 feet long, to take care of 
surplus water temporarily ; it had created at Lockport the con- 
trolling-works, consisting of sluice-gates and a bear-trap dam 
that had metal leaves hinged together and controlled by valves. 
Many other jobs of construction, of building bridges and 
dams, of deepening the Chicago River, had been accomplished. 

It was thus that the modest "divide" at Summit, for so many 
years a problem and a lure, was pierced to the great advan- 
tage of a city. Another dream had come true. There now ex- 
isted a canal not less than 110 feet wide at bottom, in some 
places 160 feet (wider than the Panama Canal), 20 feet deep, 
and built to accommodate a maximum flow of 600,000 feet a 
minute, providing drainage for a population of 3,000,000. 

This labor had continued since September, 1892, its prog- 
ress sometimes threatened by dirty politics. Graft was not ab- 
sent. Contractors fattened on extras. There were attacks by in- 
268 



dignant taxpayers. Thus the trustees struggled on, always 
under a cloud of hostility shown by the city of St. Louis and 
towns that shared its views. The objectors saw a dark and 
dreadful city to the north, a city whose sewage it was claimed 
had collected on its river-bank by the ton, menacing the 
health of the Mississippi Valley. The weapons of the objectors 
were speeches and injunction-suits. Of these the Chicago trus- 
tees feared the latter the more. 

There was no gay multitude, there were no steamers with 
flags waving, when the impatient waters were first turned into 
the main channel, on the morning of January 2, 1900. At a 
meeting late the night before the bolder members of the Sani- 
tary District Board such as President William Boldenweck 
and Bernard A. Eckhart had forced a decision to start the 
flow at once. They had a flea actually three fleas on their 
backs in the shape of the Illinois and Michigan Canal Com- 
missioners, guardians of the ancient ditch so gloriously opened 
in 1848, but now for many years deemed inadequate. This trio 
threatened to block the State permit required for the big canal ; 
but at the eleventh hour, they compromised. 

As to injunctions, the Chicago board was in the dark, and 
could only worry. Hence the speed and secrecy. At nine o'clock 
that cold, clear January morning, the entire body of trustees 
appeared on the canal-bank, at a place where water was to be 
turned into a timbered chute leading from a collateral chan- 
nel connecting with the west fork of the south branch of the 
river. A ridge of earth was all that made a barrier. The trus- 
tees attacked it lustily with nine shiny new shovels. But this 
was going too slow. A dredge was summoned. In less than two 
hours the steam leviathan brought up the last bucketful of 
earth that formed the ridge. At once the water from the Chi- 
cago River boiled and foamed down the sluice-way into the 
canal. 

The trustees waved their hats and cheered. With them, hold- 
ing one of the new spades, stood a grizzled, determined-looking 
gentleman named Ossian Guthrie; a name charmingly fitting 

269 



his personality. He was a grandson of Samuel Guthrie, discov- 
erer of chloroform, and had designed the steam-engine for the 
first tug plying the Chicago River. At the very outset of the 
Sanitary Canal enterprise, when the venerable Citizens 5 Asso- 
ciation began to boom it, Ossian Guthrie did valuable work. He 
had a right to see this grand opening. And beside him there 
should have stood, to make things complete, "Judge" Harvey 
B. Kurd, who had framed the bill that separated the Sanitary 
District from the financially overburdened city, and gave it 
bonding power. 

The chief engineer was now tall, ruddy, bearded Isham Ran- 
dolph, who had seen the job through, following the terms of 
Engineers Samuel Artingstall and Benezette Williams. 



That operation of the second of January had gone only 
part way in starting the waters down their new course. A little 
work at the Joliet end remained, and by the middle of the 
month this was finished. Meantime, the menace of injunctions 
to prevent "pollution of the Mississippi" had become more defi- 
nite. It was rumored that the St. Louis district attorney was 
about to petition the United States Supreme Court, and action 
in the Chicago branch of the Federal court was threatened. 

The word went about the Canal Board offices on January 16, 
"They're going before Judge Kohlsaat in the morning." For 
a second time in a fortnight the harassed trustees faced an 
emergency. A midnight meeting brought a resolution to turn 
on the water immediately in the section of the canal between 
Lockport and Joliet. A special train was ordered, and the sleep- 
less trustees piled aboard* Nervous they were, but determined. 
Mr. Eckhart pulled his black moustache. Another trustee, re- 
ported observant newspaper men, exhausted three whole pack- 
ages of chewing-gum. On board also were the State Canal Com- 
missioners, including Col. John Lambert, steel-magnate, ami- 
ably on watch lest permits and the like be disregarded. 
270 



Arrived at Lockport, the party snatched a few hours' sleep 
and then sat waiting in a hotel lobby for a telegram from 
Governor Tanner authorizing the final step in the 'inaugura- 
tion. No message arrived, but there came an unknown bearing 
a document which he began to read. Its first words sounded like 
an injunction, and the trustees' hair stood on end. Finally the 
reader broke off and laughed. The thing was a hoax. A local 
editor, who rightly guessed that these Chicagoans, even ami* 1 
heavy anxiety, could enjoy a joke, had framed it. 

Time drew on to about the hour when courts open. * , . No 
injunction yet. . . . The trustees sprang to their feet when 
they were told, "Governor Tanner on the 'phone." Telegraph 
wires had failed, and the Governor, helping in the crisis, had 
decided to issue a verbal permit. 

Nothing could stop the thing now. Followed only by report- 
ers and a few officials, the little group of trustees repaired to 
the controlling-works. While with the tail of their eyes they 
doubtless watched for a breathless deputy with a writ, they 
stood by as a foreman worked the machinery of the great bear- 
trap dam ; with tremendous sighs of relief they saw a mass of 
green water shoot down the face of the dam and course like 
Niagara rapids towards Joliet and points south. Days would 
be required to fill the huge channel. A greater flow must be cre- 
ated to reach the stated maximum per minute. But the job was 
a fact and now let St. Louis bring on its injunction. St. Louis 
did so, but too late* 

6 

A few zealots, on the morning of January 2, had seen the 
water gush into the main channel, changing from murk to clear 
blue as it passed. Now on the day when the flow had been es- 
tablished throughout the length of the cut, people in the heart 
of Chicago were treated to a sight that thrilled even those who 
knew little of its cause. 

The creeping stream, that had sulked for years in its valley 
of sooty brick buildings, the river brown and foul, disfigured 



by driftwood, carrion, and rotten ice, was flowing upstream! 
The sense of the miraculous grew. Reports even went around 
that Bubbly Creek, the south branch cesspool for the stock- 
yards, had for the first time a current! 

Downtown crowds stood on the bridges, business men de- 
layed their appointments, clerks risked prolonging their lunch- 
hour, to watch the unfolding miracle of a brown old river 
turned blue; to see it perform the impossible, and slide away 
from the lake, carrying on a perceptible current its slabs of ice. 
This historic stream, "whose name, 55 as a chronicler put it, 
"had become a synonym for liquid hideousness," had been re- 
formed at a cost, up to then, of more than $23,000,000 for 
construction, plus $10,000,000 for other expenses. Once be- 
fore there had been a similar thrill, but it died out, for the 
pumps would not keep the current moving. Now, for a new 
generation, there was visible "magic." 

In Chicago newspapers were celebrating the event in words 
like these : 

"Seven years and four months ago the first shovelful of 
earth was lifted to begin the construction. Thousands of doubt- 
ers then declared that the day never would dawn which would 
see the completion of the work. But now the end is in sight. The 
waters have been turned back ; the current of the river has been 
reversed. It is the beginning of the final stage of the enter- 
prise, which is national in character. In time must come a deep- 
waterway connection of Lake Michigan with the Mississippi 
River. The story of the Chicago Sanitary Canal illustrates the 
audacity, pluck, and enterprise which have made Chicago a 
familiar name the world over. 55 



Always that deep-waterway motif, so old and yet so thrill- 
ing ! A fine resounding theme with which to win the favor of 
grumbling towns downstate, and to soothe the Mississippi Val- 
ley as a whole. While there grew up through the years an in- 



termittent controversy over the canal-flow, the lake-level, city 
water-meters a hot issue as late as Thompson's third term 
the vision of a ship canal binding Chicago to the Gulf never 
receded. Mass-meetings and other propaganda in towns along 
the proposed route brought about what was called the Lakes 
to the Gulf Deep Waterway Association, and in 1908 an 
amendment to the State constitution empowered the Legisla- 
ture to issue bonds for the construction of a waterway. Actual 
work was to be delayed for a dozen years. 

But no matter how much the waterway was postponed, the 
effect upon Chicago's health of the Sanitary Canal, taken to- 
gether with intercepting sewers flowing into it, and with new 
water-tunnels, was tremendous. The dreadful typhoid-rate fell 
sensationally. By 1905, it had been brought down, owing to 
purer water and milk-pasteurization, from 1,489 in '92, to 
370. In 1921 there were but thirty deaths from typhoid. In 
1928 there were only eleven. Deaths of infants one to five years 
of age fell from 4,238 in 1892 to 2,643 in 1905, and 1,669 in 
1927. 

The public seldom bothered with such figures. But it was 
eternally proud of its river that ran uphill. 



273 



CHAPTER IX 



HE city of those days, no less than now, abounded in com- 
edy, alternating with eruptions of tragedy. 

Events rose and fell on the heaving mass of its normal life 
the increasingly prosperous, more and more efficient, and gen- 
erally monotonous life of the wage-earner and the professional 
classes. The newspapers became more vivid. Hearst came into 
the field, and other dailies acquired new stripes. Local news 
popped on every side; city editors lived at telephones. 

Harrison held on in the City Hall. Political factions concen- 
trated, fell apart; others moved into the fissures and clung for 
a while. Names like Lorimer, Pease, Jarnieson, Deneen, Busse, 
Bob Burke, were woven in and out of the daily record. A jury- 
bribery case (the "pin-brigade" case) involving a bearded ad- 
venturer named Bill Gallagher and a popular lawyer, Patrick 
O'Donnell, had a run for weeks. Chubby, swarthy Burke, 
known as (XK. Burke for evident reasons, was locked out of the 
rooms of the County Democracy, which silk-hatted regiment he 
had controlled. Murders were committed and forgotten, unless/ 
it might be an unforgettable one, like the boiling of Mrs. Luet- 
gert in a vat by her sausage-maker husband. Scandals envel- 
oped names now strewn upon the winds. 

New problems appeared; automobile "scorchers/' for one. 
274 



Said the aroused mayor, "Something must be done about those 
fellows who run their machines ten to twenty miles an hour. 
I'm in favor of compelling the gears of all machines to be not 
above eight miles an hour. 5 ' 

The world heard spasmodically about such things in Chi- 
cago, sneered or pitied, but more often laughed. 

2 

It laughed until its sides ached when a court decision upheld 
the litigation of a Chicago real-estate man against the actor 
Richard Mansfield and A. M. Palmer, his manager, over the 
authorship of the famous play, Cyrano de Bergerac. It was 
amusing enough to have the real-estate man sue. To have him 
win that was side-splitting. 

The plaintiff was Samuel Eberly Gross, who since the late 
'60s had made a fortune in subdivisions and small houses, and 
had established at least sixteen suburbs, two of them bearing 
his name. An account written in 1894 said that during the pre- 
ceding ten years he had sold over 30,000 lots and had built 
more than 7,000 houses ; he still had 25,000 lots for sale. While 
the city and country were thoroughly familiar with his sign- 
boards, pioneering in an appeal now spread over Christendom, 
very few knew anything at all of Mr. Gross as a playwright. 

Yet it appeared by his pleading before the Federal court 
that in the late '70s he had written a drama which he called 
The Merchant Prince of Cornville. It had a character in it 
with a huge nose. This character stood under a balcony imper- 
sonating a stupid lover to a Juliet-like lady dimly seen above. 
The resemblance to Cyrano was obvious. Edmond Rostand had 
written the latter play in the early '90s. 

A masterly copyright-lawyer, Frank R. Reed, handled the 
case of Mr. Gross, who accused M. Rostand of plagiarism and 
prayed an injunction. Master-in-chancery Sherman took depo- 
sitions, including a very angry one on the part of M. Rostand. 
Among other things, the French dramatist cried, when the co- 

275 



incidence of two characters with two big noses was cited: "But 
there are big noses everywhere in the world !" 

Having examined a host of witnesses, including the great 
actor Coquelin who created the part of Cyrano at the theater 
Porte St. Martin in 1897 the manager Constant Coquelin, 
truculent Mansfield, and others, Master Sherman brought in 
an eighty-one-page report declaring that Cyrano was "a clear 
and unmistakable piracy." It was brought out that Mr. Gross 
in 1875 had left his manuscript for Constant Coquelin to ex- 
amine, but it was returned. Suspicious circumstance! Mr. 
Sherman pointedly remarked that "the mere fact that M. Ro- 
stand is a dramatic author of celebrity and the complainant 
an American citizen and successful business man does not show 
that the distinguished French dramatist has not appropriated 
the fruits of toil. . . . The greatest dramatists have been the 
most persistent purloiners of the literary property of those 

less gifted." 

It was on this report that Judge Christian C. Kohlsaat en- 
joined Mansfield and Palmer from presenting Cyrano, and 
awarded royalties which, however, the wealthy Mr. Gross 
waived. The cables sped this decision to Paris. Sarah Bern- 
hardt remarked, "It must be the first of April in Chicago." 
The actor Coquelin was in bed at that morning hour when the 
news was read to him. He spilled his coffee on his pillow, leaped 
up, careered about the room, bursting with laughter, and at 
length cried out, "Certainly this is a gay world!" 



On the border-line between comedy and tragedy rose the 
spectacle of John Alexander Dowie seeking to defend his king- 
dom against unbelieving creditors and their lawyers. The white- 
bearded prophet, whose assumed title "Elijah" made strap- 
hangers smile, had for years been drawing to him followers pa- 
thetically loyal and crack-brained, many of them illiterate im- 
migrants. He had established Zion City, with its lace-mills, 

276 



candy-factory, and whatnot. He was rich; his idiotically de- 
signed dwelling had fine rugs and hardwood. The property 
which he ruled was worth, he thought, fully $25,000,000. For- 
gotten were the days when he had been mobbed and forced to 
flee through the streets. 

The dogs of creditors assailed him in December, 1902, and 
a receiver was appointed. There were liabilities of $385,000. 
Dowie appealed in stentorian voice from the pulpit of his barn- 
like tabernacle ; it was said that he wept and tore his beard as 
he begged for money to save the threatened kingdom. There 
were reports that while he collected new funds, hundreds of the 
dupes of his teachings, workers in his factories, shivered and 
went ragged in their wooden shacks covered with tar paper, in 
the canvas tents some of them occupied, in that most desolate 
of cities on the bleak North Shore above Chicago. Meanwhile 
cables told how Mrs. Dowie and the son Gladstone were riding 
about Cannes, France, in "an elegant Victoria." 

The crisis passed; the receiver was withdrawn; but Dowie 
began to break. He lived only four and a half years more ; lived 
to be ousted from power by his favorite overseer, Wilbur Glen 
Voliva. 

4 

Out of the slums came four boys, children of a bleak, fero- 
cious region of the city, with a garbage-dump its chief land- 
mark. They could bear no more of the monotony and hideous- 
ness of life; they could find nothing but tedium in work. 
Throughout their boyhood they had beheld feuds, race-hatreds, 
families embroiled with other families all they learned was 
revolver-marksmanship. So Gustav Marx, Harvey Van Dine, 
Peter Niedemeyer, and Emil Roeski, set forth to be outlaws. On 
an August night they invaded a street-car barn, killed a clerk 
and wounded others, then robbed the place. After months, Marx 
was trapped, murdered a policeman in the fight, then confessed. 
Soon the three others were traced to a cave beyond the Indiana 
line among the sand-dunes 5 where they were living royally on 

277 



cake and dime novels. A tremendous posse of detectives, sher- 
iffs' deputies, and others besieged the cave, exchanged volleys 
with the three boys, received wounds. Their tales of the deadly 
aim and terrific armament of the besieged seemed a bit exag- 
gerated. 

The youths fled, climbed aboard a gravel-train, killed a 
brakeman, and taking command of the locomotive ran it a few 
miles, then escaped to a cornfield, where they surrendered 
rather tamely. All but Roeski were hanged. The crime echoed 
long in police-squad rooms and newspaper offices, until dwarfed 
by banditries of a later era. 



No comedy about this ; nor in the police-scandal of the time. 
That concerned no "dapper" gangsters and their vendettas and 
acquittals, but brought to the surface the horror of an under- 
world ruled and enslaved by greedy coppers in plain clothes. 
There had been steadily growing complaint against the police. 
A crime wave was on during the deepening Winter of 1902- 
1903. No glittering motors drew up before banks, filled with 
machine-guns ; no cashiers were kidnaped, "taken for a ride," 
forced to open safety-vaults. But there were persistent hold- 
ups, house burglaries, plain shootings with old-fashioned auto- 
matic pistols. So Chicago grew angry ; it was reminded that it 
had vicious resorts and crooked gambler^, and that the young 
were being corrupted, not to speak of the old. A commission of 
aldermen sat for many weeks. Chief of Police O'Neill, an ami- 
able soul with a scholarly aptitude in the field of Irish music, 
was "grilled." Famous inspectors like Patrick Lavin were tar- 
gets. Even the behemoth Andy Rohan, everybody's friend and 
tenderly regarded by detective-bureau reporters, was briefly 
under a cloud. 

There came from the underworld many a sad female figure, 
bef eathered creatures wearing cracked smiles, or worn and sor- 
rowful ghosts, to testify to police "shake-downs." They con- 
378 



fronted a roomful of aldermen, lawyers, bond-sharks, and po- 
lice who knew their first names, with as little fear as shame. 
Frightful stories of slavery mingled with the perennial expose 
of protected gambling and "brace games." 

The black side of the city was turned upward, and not for 
the first time, that the "upper dog" might look. Police inspec- 
tors, jolted from their complacence, herded resort-inmates into 
forlorn groups and told them to move on. A large citizens' com- 
mittee was formed to make the usual exhortations about crime, 
while women who could always be counted on to try to make a 
wicked city good, women like Miss Addams, Mary McDowell of 
the five-year-old University of Chicago Settlement, and Mrs. 
Ellen Henrotin, president of the Chicago Woman's Club, or- 
ganized to protect the women witnesses and rescue the fallen. 

Mrs. Henrotin answered interviewers with sane words. She 
quoted Prince (now King) Albert of the Belgians, who, when 
some one called that country the open forum of Europe, re- 
marked, "Yes, but I sometimes fear that so much talking im- 
pedes action." Said Mrs. Henrotin, "We in Chicago have 
talked a great deal about reform in the last few years, but it 
does not appear that we have done what we have been saying 
should be done." 

Mayor Harrison started a "clean-up" forthwith. Among 
other things, he revoked the license of a saloon (with crooked 
gambling in the rear) belonging to a powerful person called 
Mushmouth Johnson^j^nd he struck similarly at the even then 
powerful gambler Mont Tennes. / ) $j &^ ^*^/i4 J /C^ v 

These and other targets did not much mind. Soon things 
went on about as before. The women witnesses returned to the 
red-light district, wiser and possibly even sadder. The music 
took on a crescendo. 



During that period society held a grand bal poudre for 
charity. It was so called because those aristocratic enough to 
be admitted wore costumes of the time of the French Louis's. 

279 



The Auditorium, said a current account, "was turned into a 
veritable fairyland." Of course, Johnny Hand, incomparable 
bandsman and phrase-maker, led the orchestra. 

"And who shall say," burst out the chronicler, "which lady 
carried off the honors for being the most beautiful, the one of 
the quickest wit, the most clever? Was it beautiful Mrs. Hon- 
ore Palmer, or vivacious Mrs. P. A, Valentine, or Mrs. Ogden 
Armour, or Mrs. Harry G. Selfridge, or Mrs. Arthur Caton, 
or Mrs. Dr. J. B. Murphy?" 

The underworld watched, beyond a barrier of detectives. 



Overshadowing all the events of those years, combining all 
the dark drama, the irony, the ignorance, and the ruthlessness 
that had developed within the young city along with its glo- 
ries, was the disaster of the Iroquois Theater. 

The date of it December 30, 1903 is one date that Chi- 
cago remembers, though it may turn to old almanacs for the 
rest. Mention the Iroquois Theater horror and the memories 
of thousands, even young people, record at once a Christmas 
week when the theaters had spread out their richest menu: 
Wilton Lackaye with his company; Raymond Hitchcock in 
The Yankee Consul, Floradora and its sextet, Viola Allen in 
Twelfth Night and above all, "a delight for the children, an 
extravaganza called Mr. Bluebeard," with Eddie Foy at his 
best. It is remembered that the beautiful new Iroquois, "com- 
pletely fireproof," commodious, charming in its fittings, at- 
tracted crowds to see it as well as to laugh at Mr. Bluebeard. 
Any number of family parties were formed for the matinee of 
December 30; teachers free of school had whole rows of seats; 
mothers brought in their children from small towns. 

Fate had set the stage for a great calamity as cleverly as the 
crew behind the Iroquois curtain had shaped the settings of 
Mr. Bluebeard. What happened, in brief, was this: 

The audience, people of every age and kind, gazed enrap- 
280 



tured at the beauties of the choicest scene, set in "pale moon- 
light"; a double octet was singing the dreamy song-number; it 
was the second act, and the time was 3.15 P.M. A curl of smoke 
was seen near the flies. It was the red velvet curtain which, 
caught back to the proscenium-arch, had taken fire, probably 
from the "floodlight." Not many in the audience noticed any- 
thing. Those on the stage had seen too many little fires start 
and be quenched. But now flimsy pieces of scenery caught. It 
was a real fire ! 

Eddie Foy stepped to the footlights and called, "Please be 
quiet ! There is no danger." He grinned determinedly ; he urged 
the orchestra to play. There he stood, with the grease-paint 
concealing his pallor, and his absurd costume contributing a 
freakish note. 

The company now began to think of their safety. A stage- 
door was opened; a skylight tinkled to pieces; and the draft 
blew the fire into a sheet of flame and deadly gases, which 
swept across the footlights "like the deadly vapors that were 
hurled down Mont Pelee," wrote an inspired reporter and 
scorched and choked people everywhere in the shallow audi- 
torium. They were now jamming and climbing toward the 
doors. It was not so difficult to escape from the main floors, even 
though crowds were standing behind the last rows. In the bal- 
cony, with its narrower aisles and complex arrangement, there 
was no escape. In darkness for the electric lights had gone 
out the men, women, and children knocked themselves against 
exits which they found locked. There were iron gates at stair- 
way-landings to keep the gallery folk from turning into the 
dress circle. These also were locked. There was no light over 
exit doors ; some of these were hidden by draperies. 

On an alley wall, where the architects had thought to give 
the best of protection, were windows, emergency exits, and iron 
fire-escapes. Throngs, who had escaped being trampled under 
foot, rushed down these fire-escapes, met at stairways leading 
to the street, and were hurled into the struggling swarm. In a 
few minutes two hundred dead were piled up in a twenty-foot 

281 



angle of one stairway. A door opened, and flames from within 
killed those still alive who would not jump. A group of work- 
men in the Northwestern University quarters over the alley laid 
planks across, and a few people with clothing aflame escaped 
by this bridge. 

Not fifteen minutes had gone since the first alarm, and fire- 
men were pouring streams of water on the building, unaware 
that so many the total death roll was 596 had died, tram- 
pled or suffocated, within. Soon the fire-companies, police, and 
newspapermen rushed into the darkness with torches, and 
found hundreds dead or dying. Reporters dropped notebooks 
and helped carry out bodies. Some, called into their offices, lay 
down on the floor old hands as they were fainting. Never 
had they viewed such a scene ; never had innocence been so sav- 
agely crushed, nor death been so pitiable. One of them wrote, 
statistically, before he collapsed, "Five bushels of women's 
purses were picked up, and two barrels of slippers" . . . 

Scores of the dead or dying were carried to a near-by lunch- 
room and laid on the crude marble-top table. Other blanketed 
bodies lay in rows along the curbs. 

There followed awful scenes in morgues and hospitals, iden- 
tifications, wrong identifications, weeks of failure to recognize 
bodies which lay waiting in undertaking-rooms. 

There followed a season of funerals, when sometimes two or 
three white hearses would head a single procession. Church- 
bells chimed for an hour on one day of mourning, and people 
stood bareheaded in the streets. In saloons, it was said, men sat 
with untasted liquor before them. 

8 

Scarcely less grim than the disaster itself, whose description 
ran into pages of newsprint and entire books, was the official 
aftermath, the dreary and interminable "investigation." The 
coroner sat, heavy-faced, with his jury, listening to the testi- 
mony of survivors, then to the mumbled alibis of building- 
282 



inspectors who had failed to inspect, then to the long-winded 
remarks of the police- and fire-chiefs, and the opinions of 
Mayor Harrison and his reminder that he had warned the 
City Council about the theaters weeks before, and the "I 
thought everything was all right" of the theater-managers. 
The torrents of questions and answers flowed for days. Slimy 
facts came to light, such as that building-inspectors were 
bribed with passes to shows. Blame was passed back and forth ; 
high officials "got out from under. 55 In the end a long list of 
people, headed by the Mayor and the theater-managers, Will 
J. Davis, Harry Powers, and others, were held to the grand 
jury; the Mayor, however, obtained a writ of habeas corpus. 
Clarence Darrow was arguing, "It is not just to lay the sins 
of a generation upon the shoulders of a few. 5 ' Most of the re- 
sponsible men were indicted and after a while freed of guilt. 
The only happy result was a new long and stern set of regu- 
lations for theaters. They are one reason why, in every large 
city today, there are steel curtains, broad aisles, better floor- 
pitch, good exits, and other things. 

Meantime Europe had indulged in the same frenzy of self- 
search and padlocking of theaters as took place in Chicago. 
The Kaiser ordered his Royal Opera House closed for inspec- 
tion. In England, Holland, Sweden, Ireland, officials acted. 
There came a terrific housecleaning and destitution among 
the actor folk. Stars were idle; casts walked the streets. Even 
the run of Ten Nights in a Bar-Room halted. And, striking a 
note almost prophetic of the world-voice of a later generation, 
a Berlin newspaper declared: 

"It is certain that life is cheaper in Chicago than anywhere 
in America. This is only a new and more terrifying chapter 
added to the story of murder, robbery, strikes, and railway ac- 
cidents." 



383 



CHAPTER X 



T, 



HAT great costume-piece, The Coming of the Immigrant, 
went on from year to year with more and more bizarre effect, 
with the roar of many feet pouring onto a stage. Into this city 
of wonders, advertised to them as glittering with gold, caressed 
by kind winds, more beautiful than New Jerusalem, streamed 
the peoples of Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, to find 
no Paradise at all. Seeing them, an imaginative person could 
almost use Whitman's words : 

"I hear the cry of the Cossack, and the sailor's voice 

putting to sea at Okhotsk . . . 

I hear the Hebrew reading his records and psalms, 
I hear the rhythmic myths of the Greeks, and the 
strong legends of the Romans . * ." 

The crowds at railroad stations, the unlucky wights collared 
by the police, the shattered and sick carted off to gloomy hos- 
pitals, were changing in feature and color. They were darken- 
ing, still darkening. From 1900 on, the flow of folk wearing 
outlandish remnants of native wear, curious headdresses or 
jewelry or kerchiefs or belts, people chattering in unknown dia- 
lects, grew greater. Many were from southeastern Europe, The 
census classified a large swarm as "Austrians." They were 
284 



really Poles, supplemented by Dalmatians, Croatians, Sla- 
vonians, Bosnians, Herzegovinians. In such numbers they 
came, year by year, that in 1910 the census-takers recorded an 
increase of more than 120,000 of these "Austrians" in Chicago. 
In addition, 24,000 were credited to Hungary. 

There were nearly 130,000 Russians who arrived in that 
decade, the vast majority of them, of course, being Poles or 
Jews. The epic flight from the Czar's butchers was in full force. 
Adventurous and money-hungry Italy sent over nearly 30,000 
between 1900 and 1910. Five thousand Greeks joined the mi- 
gration. The "Nordics" had by no means ceased to come; in- 
deed the newly arrived Scandinavian peoples were almost as 
numerous as the Italians, while those listed from Germany were 
more than double the Greek population. Still, the current was 
growing brunette, and had in it, too, the ebony streak of ne- 
groes 14,000 of them whose movement from the South to 
the North would, though hardly started yet, seem some day 
more startling than any. 

The city received these needy and babel-speaking thousands, 
and put them somewhere. Its immigrant show-streets, Halsted 
Street, Milwaukee Avenue, and others, became more prismatic 
in coloring, more brilliant with scarfs, earrings, bracelets, 
gypsy shawls, more entertaining in the display of Turkish 
moustaches and Hebrew beards, more unintelligible with shop- 
signs one in Greek near the stockyards stretched over thirty- 
five feet of store front more exotic with coffee-houses, Hel- 
lenic theaters, synagogues, cafes containing paintings of the 
Danube or the Colosseum. 

Besides this^ there came, into this great mixing-bowl of na- 
tions, the mental inheritances of all those varieties of "queer" 
people. Remote from the understanding of the American, there 
existed in this or that foreign-speaking quarter historic hatreds, 
customs, and points of view that shocked the Anglo-Saxon 
when some pitiful outbreak brought them to light: the well- 
known vendettas among the Latins ; the far less comprehended 
revenges practiced by Balkan peoples ; the persistent belief of 

285 



some Europeans, confirmed by old-country practice, that every- 
thing and everybody has a price; the mystic rituals and feuds 
so jealously clung to by people of Romany blood or by Ori- 
entals or by Mohammedans; the pitiable fears dogging the 
Jew, his religious divisions, his instincts born of centuries of 
Christian persecution. So far as Chicago was able to bring 
harmony and a new type of patriotism among the wonderfully 
intermingled species of humanity, it did wonders; and that the 
process of "straightening them out" led to no greater tragedies 
than the record contains is astonishing above all. 

While Chicago was receiving the foreign-born to the number 
of 195,797, it became also the home of nearly that many having 
foreign parentage, the youngest generation of "foreigners," 
born with a homesickness they could not always define. In the 
meantime the population of "native whites ; native parentage" 
increased by only 90,760, out of a total gain in population of 
486,708. The grand total of population was, in 1910, 
2,185,283. 

The giant city was renewing its blood-vessels with a tre- 
mendous and terrifying speed. Its surges of feeling, its 
quarrels, its efforts, were those of an organism renewed every 
day, instead of in the legendary seven years. 



Symptomatic also of the changing times was the passing of 
many of the human landmarks of the city's middle period, when 
commercial foundations were laid, social lines drawn, mighty 
things accomplished. The Titans who grew to greatness in the 
5 70s or '80s were now old. Their passing from year to year 
taught a younger > hastier generation what they had done ; it 
reminded elders of decades the mettiory of which stirred a thrill. 

George M. Pullman died in 1897, only three years after the 

labor strife which so upset Chicago. At the time of his death 

the "model town," absorbed within the city proper, had been, 

and continued to be, in transition from an independent domain 

286 



into one subject to the city ordinances. A State Supreme Court 
decision finally forced the Pullman Company to give up all 
municipal functions. So passed the car-builder's dream. In his 
will he left more than $1,000,000 to found a manual-training 
school in Pullman for the sons of poor men. 

In 1901 died Philip D. Armour. Legends of his early rising, 
his seven o'clock appearances at his stockyards office, his crisp 
lectures to young employees, were to persist for many years. 
His chief legacy to the city, besides his contribution to its fame 
as a packing-center, was the Armour Institute, school of en- 
gineering and manual arts. This, following the generous en- 
dowment, he continued to support with keen interest as well as 
funds after it opened in 1893, and as long as he lived. The huge 
fortune and business passed into the hands of his son, J. Ogden 
Armour, half executive and half dreamer; and in a quarter- 
century the towering treasure, more than doubled by the son, 
was to pour into different hands, although the company itself 
managed to remain the chief rival of that other packing- 
colossus, Swift and Company. 

The rugged founder of the latter, Gustavus F. Swift, sur- 
vived his chief competitor only two years. The faith they had 
shared in Chicago as the great meat-distributing center had 
been tremendously justified. 

Mr. Swift had become absorbed in business to the exclusion 
of nearly all else, save his family and his church. It was he who 
early discerned the value of developing by-products. He was 
"so identified with the business," writes Dr. Thomas W. Good- 
speed to whom as early as 1890 Mr. Swift gave money for 
the University of Chicago "that it is difficult to differentiate 
between the two. Mr. Swift originated the business, made it, 
worked out its marvelous success, and dominated it to the end 
of his life." He was of a dominating type, and a man of monu- 
mental grit. During the '93 panic, as his son Louis has written 
in The Yankee of the Yards, for the whole summer he "drove 
along the edge of a cliff. . . . Sometimes he had one wheel 
part way over. . . . How he ran along tranquilly getting the 

287 



money somehow on the day he had to have it and meeting 
every obligation on the dot, is one of the wonder-points in 
business history." 

One day, as this son relates, the ticker at the Board of Trade 
stated that Swift and Company had failed. Soon there ap- 
peared on the floor a six-foot, bearded figure few had ever seen 
there. Writes the son: 

"He strode in the door, walked to a table, and rapped on it 
with that hard, heavy fist of his. Every one looked up except a 
few traders off in a corner, so he called, 'Attention! Atten- 

tion!'" 

Then, says the account, he raised his voice, calling out: ^ 
"It is reported that Swift and Company has failed. Swift 

and Company has not failed. Swift and Company cannot fail." 
And out he walked. 



Pullman, Armour, Swift gone and Potter Palmer also. The 
two packers were comparatively late-comers to Chicago, the 
others pioneers. 

Mr. Palmer was of the 1852 group, year of the first rail- 
road connection with the East. From the East he came to open 
a dry-goods store, which of course stood in the Lake Street 
business district. He was an innovator, too, a contributor to 
the Chicago tradition that there is no such thing as tradition. 
He permitted exchanges of goods, if customers were dissatis- 
fied; he allowed purchases to be taken home and examined. 
Competitors raised their eyebrows, but the system worked, and 
was copied abroad. 

Tiring temporarily of business, Mr. Palmer in the late '60s 
formed his famous connection with Marshall Field and Levi 
Leiter, keeping a partnership-interest but putting the man- 
agement up to the others. The business prospered. Mr. Palmer 
traveled. Returning refreshed, he gave up store-keeping en- 
tirely and undertook a bigger scheme, no less than educating 
Chicago to a new shopping district. It was State Street. Along 
288 



that thoroughfare, now a canyon of stores, there straggled in 
those days, just before the Great Fire, rows of cheap wooden 
buildings, like stumps of teeth with cavities between. Mr. 
Palmer bought a whole mile along the east side of the street. 
It was a "plunge. 55 The timid who deprecate every bold ven- 
ture wagged their heads. But by this move Mr. Palmer ac- 
quired real-estate titles of tremendous value. He went on back- 
ing his faith ; caused State Street to be widened twenty feet ; 
had the building line set farther back. Then he erected a new 
store-building at Washington Street, and to his former part- 
ners, Field and Leiter, he leased it for the then unparalleled 
sum of $50,000 a year. He built also the first of three Palmer 
Houses, which have stood successively on the same corner. 

These activities were before the Great Fire. When it broke 
out Mr. Palmer was in the East, his wife at home. He wired 
reassuringly to her, rushed home, and toiled at rehabilitation. 
The second Palmer House, famed everywhere for its steaks, 
its negroes, the silver dollars set in the floor of its barber-shop, 
went up. And then the merchant-realtor, vigorous at fifty, 
looked northward, perceived the possible values along the lake 
shore over the river, acquired large holdings and turned the 
marshy area into good land, erecting finally the "mansion** 
whose tower and conservatory for many years thrilled Chica- 
goans 5 and of whose treasures they heard marvelous tales. At 
last, within a year or two, the brownstone palace is to be razed. 

Mr. Palmer died in May, 1902. In the great drawing-room 
his body lay in state. People in a long procession, just as 
though he had been mayor, passed the coffin, glanced at the 
shrewd, refined face. In the line were a dozen negroes of the 
Palmer House personnel. And they wept. 

4 

Another well-known citizen lost his life the next month. He 
was Blind Billy Kent, alderman of the Fourth Ward, gang- 
politician and greedy Council member. He died horribly in a 

289 



fire which destroyed a sanitarium where, it is said, he was under 
treatment for alcoholism. The blaze reached him while he was 
in a strait- jacket, and he could not escape. As many people 
as attended any of the funerals of the commercial princes 
crowded to his home to mourn Blind Billy. A priest declared 
that "no man had labored more for the poor and lowly. 55 

The homage paid to Potter Palmer, the grief over the shock- 
ing death of a blind politician, wicked, but kind to his own 
both were profoundly Chicagoesque. 



Returning to the roster of the "upper class" idols who passed 
from the stage in those years, we arrive at the demise of the 
merchant of merchants, the grave, formidable, supremely able 
citizen who had passed fifty years of his life in this rude city 
and never acquired its rudeness Marshall Field. 

Chicago remembered little of his early career of his modest 
and efficient clerking for the Christian storekeeper, John V. 
Farwell ; of his $400 a year salary, his pallet in the store ; of 
his rise to partnership in the Farwell firm, and then his con- 
nection with Palmer and Leiter; of his indomitable work in 
saving the stock of his store during the Great Fire. There were 
not so many in the constantly recruited swarm of 1906 who 
remembered the fire itself. Chicago of the later day knew Mr, 
Field as a half -legendary figure whose portrait white hair 
and moustache, keen, proud face semi-occasionally appeared 
on some page ; Chicago's greatest millionaire, its Big Business 
incarnate. 

They heard stories of his managerial period ; they quoted his 
alleged motto, "The customer is always right." Perhaps he 
never said it in those words. Dr. T. W. Goodspeed has this 
version : "He would never allow a clerk to get into a dispute 
with a customer. If he ever saw anything of the sort, the clerk 
would feel a gentle pull on his coat-tail and, turning, would 
hear Mr. Field saying to him, 'Settle it as the lady wishes. 5 " 
290 



Scarcely ever did the Chicago multitudes see him. He beat, 
a path from his Prairie Avenue residence to his retail store, and 
thence to his office in the handsome wholesale-building, designed 
by H. EL Richardson. Generally he walked, followed (before 
the days of motors) by his carriage and coachman, who per- 
haps had set him down a few blocks from home. To draw up 
at his store behind high-stepping horses seemed to him osten- 
tatious. He would remain closely at work until lunch-time, then 
he would join, at the exclusive old Chicago Club, the tableful 
of wealthy friends, including for a long time P. D. Armour, 
George M. Pullman, N. K. Fairbank, perhaps Robert Lincoln, 
and generally John G. Shedd, who succeeded him as president 
of the firm. At four o'clock he ended the day's work. When golf 
became the sport of his kind, he played it at "about a hun- 
dred," it is said. 

In earlier life he had interested himself in efforts such as 
the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, the Young Men's Christian 
Association of which his employer, Mr. Farwell, was a great 
supporter the Historical Society, the Art Institute, the Civic 
Federation. As years went by "the business" swallowed him 
more and more. But in 1889 came a revival of his benevolence, 
kindled, it would appear, by Dr. Goodspeed. The latter, coaxer 
of money for the university, wanted those ten acres on the 
Midway Plaisance which Mr. Field owned. 

The merchant said that such a present could not be counted 
as part of the $400,000 which John D. RockefeUer had asked 
the Baptists to raise. Dr. Goodspeed and his associate, Fred* 
erick T. Gates, agreed, and on that condition Mr. Field gave 
the land. 

The ice thus broken, it was easier for President Harper, In 
1892, to obtain $100,000 from Mr. Field provided $900,000 
more be subscribed. The period mentioned to him was a hun- 
dred days. Thinking of notes of hand, perhaps, the merchant 
proposed ninety days. The $900,000 was raised and Mr. Field 
gave the $100,000. 

"For the first time," relates Dr. Goodspeed, "he had made 

291 



large gifts to a great public enterprise. He had begun to learn 
how to give." 

He gave the university two blocks for an athletic field. He 
turned over $50,000 worth of land to the Chicago Home for 
Incurables. And in 1893 came from him the $1,000,000 which 
inaugurated the renowned museum whose marble now glistens 
on the lake-front. This million was not separated from him 
without an effort. It took repeated persuasions from J. W. 
Ellsworth, Edward E. Ayer, collector extraordinary, and 
others, to "sell the idea." But once that was accomplished, the 
merchant backed the museum handsomely, and in his famous 
will, bequeathed it $8,000,000. Dr. Goodspeed states that it was 
his intention to revise his will, doubling that bequest. But death 
prevented execution of this benevolence, the fruit of a belated 
impulse. 

f The great tragedies in the Field family almost coincided in 
that winter of 1905-06. Late in November, Marshall, Jr., the 
thirty-seven-year-old son, suffered a serious bullet-wound. It 
was made public in detail that he received it at his home from 
his own revolver while preparing for a hunting-trip. An "agin- 
everything" newspaper some time later gave voice to a rumor 
that the accident had taken place not at Mr. Field's home, but 
in a far different place. Cynical Chicago has continued to 
believe something of the sort; orthodox Chicago has accepted 
the statements of noted physicians, of the family, and of busi- 
ness associates, that Mr. Field was in his own room when the 
bullet pierced his body. At all events, after lingering a few 
days, he died. Scarcely six weeks later his father, lately married 
to his second wife, Mrs. Arthur Caton, succumbed to pneu- 
monia in New York City. 

The bulk of the vast fortune, probably more than $120,- 
000,000, then went into trust for the two grandsons, of 
whom only Marshall III survives. Of that will, its provision 
for extending accumulations for years, its alleged inconsistency 
with American institutions, which led to the passage of a new 
law by the Illinois Legislature, enough has already been 
292 



written. In due time the grandson of the Marshall Field who 
fctarted work in Chicago for $400 a year will be one of the 
wealthiest men in the country. And people say watching sev- 
eral blocks of low-priced apartment buildings rise amid north- 
side gloom, a "housing experiment" on a large scale that the 
grandson has vision. 

6 

In the very same month (January, 1906) that saw the death 
of Marshall Field, Sr., President Harper succumbed to a battle 
of about a year with cancer. 

When average Chicago thought about him, it may have been 
tempted to classify him with magnates like Armour and Field, 
rather than to think of him as the interpreter of the Book of 
Job. They had heard so much about his negotiations with 
Rockefeller and other millionaires ; they had seen his new build- 
ings go up so swiftly and haughtily. Very likely they thought 
of him as much older than he was for he was not of the 
pioneer group. At his death he was forty-nine years and six 
months old. 

Dr. Harper was of a very complex nature, and in the 
struggle between the components of it there came about an 
almost tragic defeat of the research-scholar by the adminis- 
trator and money-raiser. There are many friends of his still 
living who assert that he never ceased to mourn the practical 
shelving of his Old Testament studies in favor of the immense 
and partly materialistic task of creating a university from the 
first stone upward. Yet he had the compensatory thrill of seeing 
his conceptions of the '80s not only well established, but evi- 
dently moving toward fulfillment, before the '90s were ended. 

He first entered Chicago affairs in 1879, as a twenty-two- 
year-old instructor of Hebrew in the Baptist Theological Semi- 
nary at Morgan Park. Well he deserved the often misapplied 
term "prodigy." He had been graduated from a little Ohio 
college Muskingum at the age of fourteen. Having been 
one of a small group studying Hebrew, he was chosen to make 

293 



a graduation oration in that language. Nevertheless, he was a 
"regular boy," who pranked about the village and led a local 
brass band through its streets, wearing his hat cocked back on 
his head and blowing an E-flat cornet with gusto. But he was 
a student! Giving up clerkship in his father's small store, he 
went to Yale for graduate study, and won his Ph.D. when 
eighteen. A year later he became principal of Masonic College, 
with some seventy-five pupils, in the hamlet of Macon, Ten- 
nessee. Also, at nineteen, he became a husband. 

Nest came Denison University, the seminary at Morgan 
Park, Chautauqua, a Yale professorship, and finally the op- 
portunity over which he hesitated for some time of heading 
the new Baptist educational venture at Chicago. He hesitated, 
for one thing, because his heart was set upon a great uni- 
versity, while others interested were ambitious only for a col- 
lege. In the end the decision came about as he wished. He then 
schemed a university so vast that, in order to keep in any 
sort of step with his mental operations, tons of money had to 
be poured into the enterprise on top of the original tons. 
Without counting the cost, he engaged professors of great 
no te_Von Hoist, Michelson, Chamberlin, Small, Laughlin, 
Jacques Loeb, Judson, and others and started off his uni- 
versity with a faculty of one hundred and twenty! He hired 
gtagg, and for the first time gave an athletic coach faculty- 
rank. Furthermore, the year before the opening, he got the 
trustees to pay the top men $7,000 a year. 

His famous innovations, which stood the educational world 
on its head, included four; the Summer quarter, university ex- 
tension then comprising both public lectures and the cor- 
respondence school the University Press, and affiliations of 
smaller institutions with the university. Very few of these has 
the university been forced to discontinue. Instead, other like 
institutions have copied the greater part of them. In his tre- 
mendous zeal and with his limitless ideas, however, Harper 
tended to exceed budgets and count upon more than he could 
get. The result was that about two years before he died a con- 
294 



f erence was held in New York which called a halt upon deficits. 
"No new departments, no enlargements, without money in 
hand, 55 was the substance of the memorandum adopted. At the 
same time, Mr. Rockefeller's annual millions for endowment 
stopped, and his gifts were not renewed until after the defi- 
cits had begun to decrease. 

Chicago, with all its tremendous toilers, hardly had such 
another demon for work as Dr. Harper. He taught, wrote, 
guided, journeyed, promoted, and sought always for more 
things to do. He never lost sight of the fact that his university 
was literally a part of the city of Chicago ; he belonged to its 
organizations, such as the Civic Federation; in 1897 he headed 
a commission which revised the public-school system, furnish- 
ing a plan which, despite politics, became partly effective. With 
all this the overshrewd Chicagoans were inclined to think of 
Harper as sitting on a chill eminence, even when they did not 
think of him as a gatherer of "oil money." Nothing could have 
been more unfair. 



Still one more Titan entered the shades in the Winter of 
1905-1906 : he who is said to have been the titular figure in a 
Dreiser novel. 

In a strictly edited newspaper obituary, such as burst into 
print by the column the last days of December, 1905, the career 
and death of Charles T Yerkes seem scarcely less empurpled 
than in the romance. 

Chicago had waved him farewell. In 1899 he had disposed 
of his traction-properties to the Elkins-Widsner group. Leav- 
ing the city after a dramatic adieu to an assemblage of street- 
car workers, many of whom had known his mastery for fifteen 
years, he had taken up residence in Slew York and London. 
The British city received him with especial warmth, as he was 
clearly competent to cope with the tube system, and no reason 
was known why the highest society should not receive him and 
his wife his second. Writers about the great world whose 

295 



accuracy need not be disputed now told how Mr. Yerkes was 
feted by nobility, even by royalty. Yet as the end approached, 
the experienced and fortunate couple were utterly estranged. 
He lived in hotels; she in the great house in Fifth Avenue, 
adorned with conservatories and filled with choice and indubi- 
tably genuine paintings by Rembrandt, Rubens, Hals, Corot, 
Reynolds, Botticelli, Greuze, and all the great a collection 
begun in Chicago and augmented as the fortune piled up. A 
holy carpet from Mecca was among the unusual items in that 
museum behind whose doors Mrs. Yerkes seldom cared to go. 

Mr. Yerkes grew ill and died, unreconciled with his family. 
Immediately New York and Chicago papers burst out with the 
great "human-interest" story of that time, the account of Mr. 
Yerkes 5 friendship for a Mrs. Sue Grigsby, woman of high- 
colored career, and for her daughter Emilie. It was told how 
the great plunger and connoisseur built a splendid Park Ave- 
nue house whose ownership stood in Emilie's name. It was told 
that the friendship, or infatuation, caused the quarrel which 
made Mrs. Yerkes live alone, and which also alienated son from 
father. It was insinuated . . . 

But the story strays away from Chicago. 

8 

With an effect that cannot well be calculated, the legends, 
noble and libelous, inspiring or degrading, crowding about the 
names of the departing Titans, entered into the mentality of 
Chicago, into its credos and even its political shibboleths. The 
newly acclimated foreigners, the schools of new fish leaping 
through the city's sluice-ways, the eager country folk coming 
there to live, and excited by all they heard, became alert mem- 
bers of a civilization of gossip. The theory that the packers 
formed a blighting trust, that there was a literal Four Hundred 
run by Mrs. Palmer, that the Marshall Field will was an 
insult to the poor men, that Rockefeller was trying to dominate 
education, that Wall Street wanted to own Chicago, that the 
296 



Catholic Church wanted to run it, that the great department- 
stores owned the City Council these and a hundred other 
dark tales traveled from mouth to mouth. Nor were they recited 
by ignorant folk alone. 

The way was thus prepared, in the early 1900s ? for more 
years of turbulence ; and there could be traced back to that time 
many a dementia which was still vigorous in 1928-1929, per- 
haps the most violent transition period of all. 



297 



CHAPTER XI 



1 HBOTJGH barrages of dissent, over barbed-wire fences of 
cynicism, and against clouds of stupidity, tie people who 
wanted Chicago a better city pushed on, with flags (of many 
different kinds) bravely flying. 

With many of them it was a conviction, in the Spring of 
1905, that to follow the mayoralty banner of a genial, emo- 
tional, and studious candidate named Edward P. Dunne 
would assure victory. Harrison had sat on the powder-maga- 
zine for eight years, four terms, and was grown weary. He was 
willing to let this judge, with his idealisms, try being mayor. 
The plan, however, was repugnant to many leading citizens, 
including not only those who were conservative about the city's 
problems, but to some of the more "regular" reformers as well. 
Judge Dunne alarmed them. He was a bold advocate of a 
program called Immediate Municipal Ownership. A lot of 
queer people, who were overacademic even when they did not 
make violent speeches, were back of the judge; so argued 
leading citizens and editors. They and the Republican party 
put forward John Maynard Harlan, whose vigorous but vain 
battle for the mayoralty in 1897 was still vividly recalled. 

The campaign of 1905 was an amazing conflict of words. 
It could only have been more explosive, verbally, if Lorimer 



had been active in it, but Lorimer, at that time, was otherwise 
engaged, brooding and plotting, perhaps looking forward 
even as far as the senatorship. Dunne and Harlan stumped up 
and down the city, hurling at surprised and blinking audiences 
of voters references to J. Pierpont Morgan, President Roose- 
velt, William Randolph Hearst, Hinky Dink Kenna. The 
Democrats pulled in Morgan because of that sale Mr. Yerkes 
had made to Wall Street. Joseph Medill Patterson, twenty-six- 
year-old grandson of the celebrated publisher and mayor, took 
the stump and denounced Morgan's absentee landlordism. Mr. 
Harlan, in his best form, predicted control of Mr. Dunne if 
elected by Hearst, whom he stigmatized, in ward meetings 
and in the gilt-arched auditorium, as the "Daily Assassin." 
Judge Dunne made a passing reference to the fact that Kenna 
was seeking reelection, and gave him a party indorsement ; the 
enemy took this up with glee and raked in everything that was 
true, and other stuff as well, about the little saloon-man and his 
friends. 

William Kent, young and wealthy civic fighter whose rhet- 
oric was fiery and went clear around a subject as well as into 
it, delivered one speech that must have echoed strangely in the 
East. Declaring that the local battle was only a phase of the 
popular struggle for opportunity described by Roosevelt as 
the square deal, he went on to say: 

"New York is today the center of things most despicable. 
It is the home of extravagance, the birthplace of the monkey 
dinner [Harry Lehr's feast at which, rumor said, a monkey 
was a guest]. A few Chicago people try to follow the lead, but 
Chicago cares more for race-horses, more for the fat stock- 
show exhibits, than for swelldom on exhibit at a horse-show, 
. . . We have not surrendered our democracy in Chicago. . . . 
Things are tending toward righteousness." 

Governor Deneen came up from Springfield, and in his bal- 
anced prose argued for Harlan. The latter was backed by his 
friends as "champion of the people in the bad old days" (of 
1897). 

299 



Dunne was backed as the man who would retire from power 
all those linked with "malefactors of great wealth," and who 
would see that the traction-companies in whose stock, he 
declared, Morgan had invested $25,000,000 got no more than 
their due. Harlan said Dunne desired to pay the owners of 
obsolete car-lines millions and millions of dollars. Dunne 
said Harlan said 

With the irrelevance of events in a large city, the spiritual 
music of Parsifal was being sung in a darkened Auditorium 
at the very time when, in smoke-filled campaign halls, epithets 
and insults brought howls of joy, and ribald processions filled 
the streets. Heinrich Conried's production, just as in Baireuth, 
was on the stage. Black-bearded Alfred Hertz conducted; 
Nordica, Burgstaller, and Van Rooy were in the cast. It was 
a performance, just as in Europe, of the entire score, with an 
intermission for dinner; and this put society in a flurry over 
whether to wear sack-coat, tuxedo or claw-hammer, "high neck" 
or evening gown. Devout Wagnerites hissed down applause 
upon Nordica's entrance. The Grail-scene music strove to 
escape into the city flaming with party strife. 

Election day arrived in the first week of April. The Harlan 
newspapers considered his election assured by 20,000 to 
25,000 plurality. However, it was Dunne who received the 
25,000 plurality, or close to it. He telegraphed to Judge 
Tuley, the universally revered jurist who had supported him 
through thick and thin: "General Nogi begs to report the 
fall of the Wall Street Port Arthur." 

This metaphor, it may be necessary to explain, was derived 
from the fact that the Russian empire was at that time being 
soundly whipped by the armies and navies of the Japanese. 

2 

The Dunne administration was filled with excitements and 
tjuaintnesses largely beyond the scope of this narrative. Of ex- 
citements, among the first was a terrific strike of teamsters' 
300 



unions, led by a ruthless, fire-eating newcomer in Chicago, 
"Con" Shea. There had been previous "teameo" rebellions, not- 
ably a wild-west affair in 1903; but this outbreak of the 1905 
Summer, bringing murders, assaults on police, a city half- 
terrorized, was the worst of all. It ran for months, a boisterous 
welcome to a new mayor. 

Quaintnesses in the city government were inevitable and nu- 
merous, since in the Mayor's following were characters "who 
fitted oddly into officialdom. With him on the ticket was Adrian 
C. Anson, Old Anse himself, who upon finding himself elected 
city clerk, exclaimed, "I'm just as pleased as if I'd won another 
pennant." Florid, amiable Anson added little to the drama 
of the Dunne regime. That could not be said of "Joe" Patter- 
son, who was appointed commissioner of public works. He was 
in those days a spitfire who could go so far as to call great cor- 
porations anarchists, and accuse them of stealing water. He 
even proposed to cure the stockyards smell ! 

Peter Bartzen, a hearty and headstrong German, was made 
building-commissioner. He saw his duty plain. Besides a house- 
cleaning of his department, he undertook to discipline the State 
Street barons. Shoppers arriving at the Marshall Field store 
at nine o'clock on a summer morning found the doors closed 
and a sign to the effect that the building-department had closed 
them* Police on guard grinned ; clerks within dawdled and won- 
dered. Mr. Bartzen had, he said, discovered some technical 
violations of the ordinances ; he had warned aU the stores ; he 
must make an example of somebody why not of the most 
powerful? 

The "discipline," word of which sped about the Loop and 
caused huge amazement and laughter, lasted an hour and a 
half. At ten-thirty the Mayor found it best to overrule his 
Bartzen and raise the siege. Meanwhile, the young blond vice- 
president of Field's, James Simpson, was placed under arrest. 

"I suppose," said Mr. Simpson, blushing through his tan 
as he signed his bond, "I suppose I'm a real American citizen 
now that I've been arrested by the majesty of the law." 

301 



Mayor Dunne did not appoint people with the idea of giving 
vaudeville. There was doubtless truth in the comment written 
by Jane Addams some years later that his administration "was 
founded upon the belief that if those citizens representing 
social ideals and reform principles were but appointed to office, 
public welfare must be established." He took advice from 
people of such principles. His eyes roved abroad, and he sent 
for James Dalrymple, manager of the Glasgow car-lines, to 
come and tell Chicago how to have municipal operation. Mr. 
Dalrymple came, but partly owing to the ridicule voiced by 
opposition newspapers, his visit was not a success. The trac- 
tion-argument only grew worse. 

In the meantime the Mayor, pursuing his policy of appoint- 
ments, named a Board of Education composed largely of 
persons representing social ideals ; such peace-loving idealists 
as Miss Addams and Raymond Robins, and argumentative 
ones like Dr. Cornelia De Bey. Chicago's school-boards always 
have been weirdly composed, owing to the ill-devised statutes 
making the positions subject to City Hall choice. The history 
of the schools has been a varied and turbulent one, with high 
levels such as the benign administration of Superintendent 
Albert G. Lane in the '90s, the fight of Dr. W. S. Christopher 
for medical inspection, the scientific proposals introduced by 
the W. R. Harper commission at the invitation of Mayor Har- 
rison ; and low levels such as the rotten scandals and shrieking 
comedies two decades later, in Thompson's time. It is a history 
as intricate as a study of European genealogy. For its later 
phases readers had best consult the recent book by Professor 
George S. Counts entitled School and Society in Chicago, 

The Dunne school-trustees strove honestly but without much 
chance of doing powerful constructive work. They represented, 
Miss Addams wrote, "no concerted policy of any kind, but 
were for the most part adherents to the new education/' They 
were suspected of being overpartisan toward the Teacher's 
Federation, militant labor-union which had grown dangerous 
through forcing corporations to pay millions more in taxes 
302 



than these corporations cared to pay. The teachers had helped 
Judge Dunne to election partly because he had decided in their 
favor a sweeping suit over salaries ; as mayor he had appointed 
friends of theirs, and these friends voted to withdraw from 
appeal, where the previous board had put it, that same salary- 
suit. 

All was fuel to the fire of conflict between radicals and con- 
servatives in Chicago of 1905-07 ; a conflict waged over educa- 
tion, over transportation, over gas prices and telephone tolls. 

The Dunne administration did not gain in popular favor as 
time went on. It had too many weak heads. John Burns, the 
British laborite, came for a visit. He was asked; "What do 

you think of ?" naming a city official. With his Scottish 

burr, Burns replied: 

"He's an ass." 

"But sincere, don't you think?" 

"So are all asses," blurted he. 



But these matters are really parenthetical. The cause of re- 
form went marching on. It did not get far by means of attacks 
on Mayor Dunne because he would not close the saloons on 
Sunday ; nor did it accomplish much by exposes of police negli- 
gence and graft, in reply to which charges the Mayor claimed, 
toward the middle of his term, that he had a wonderful police 
chief and that he had "driven graft from the City Hall." With 
or without harmony or perfect good sense, there were improve- 
ments in store. And several of those from which the most was 
hoped had to do with the courts. 

The first, arising from emotional Chicago's warm sympathy 
for unfortunate children, had begun several years before. 
Nine-year-old Steve Grubuvich stood before a judge, on a July 
morning in 1899, and sobbed. The Hon, R. S. Tuthill, chin- 
bearded and kind, drew Steve to him, murmured to him, ques- 
tioned him. Steve would not stop crying. He was just a panic- 

303 



stricken urchin, whose guardian, standing there, said that he 
threw stones at neighbors' horses, set fire to a barn, and traded 
his (the guardian's) watch for candy, "and whipping does no 

good." 

Steve, expecting a fresh whipping or possibly a jail cell such 
as he had heard about, kept on whimpering. But he was not to 
be punished in such fashion. Although he did not know it, the 
nine-year-old Grubuvich was a pioneer. He was the first case in 
Chicago's Juvenile Court, which itself stood up in the ranks 
of pioneers. 

Prior to that year, before a Legislature acted upon the 
appeals of child-lovers, boy and girl offenders had been 
dragged before the same tribunals, and locked in the same un- 
speakable hoosegows, as grown men and women. How many 
thousands of them, through the years ! In the six months prior 
to 1899, there had been 33% boys aged from nine to sixteen 
committed to the bridewell. And the bridewell was a desolate, 
dirty hell-hole, in which was jammed a hideous mess of human 
scum ; it was sometimes cruelly and as often heartlessly man- 
aged; the boys went into cells with thieves, morons, and drunk- 
ards. Hundreds more of them were packed into iron-barrel 
lazarets in the county jail. 

Chicago, as its intelligence grew, could not stand this. Espe- 
cially its women and most particularly that ancient and hon- 
orable group, the Chicago Woman's Club, sponsor of a 
county- jail school years before could not stand it. So, in the 
fullness of time, there came the Juvenile Court law, drawn 
with great breadth by the writer of laws, Harvey B. Hurd. It 
provided for the same disposition of delinquents, children who 
went wrong, as of dependents, those who were simply out of 
luck. And it had in it this great clause : "The care, custody, and 
discipline of a child shall approximate as nearly as may be that 
which should be given by its parents; and in all cases where 
it can properly be done, the child is to be placed in an approved A 
family-home and become a member of the family by legal adop- 
tion or otherwise. 5 ' 
304 



Another noble ideal, which for years could not be made prac- 
tical. The law specified probation officers, but did not provide 
for salaries. It pointed to detention in a decent place, but there 
was no such place ; at least, none better than the John Worthy 
School at the bridewell, which had been a great advance over 
the neglect of truants and "bad children" in an earlier period. 

For a time a Hull House worker, Mrs. Alzina Stevens, car- 
ried on alone. She had been a worker in a New England cotton- 
mill at the age of thirteen, had seen childhood at its unhappiest 
(and lost a finger from her own hand) ; coining to Chicago 
and Hull House, she had haunted police stations and often 
coaxed the police into giving her the parole of a boy or girl 
accused of petty offenses. The kids, especially those of foreign 
families knowing nothing of ordinances or statutes, were con- 
tinually "pinched" for picking up coal, for purloining junk, 
for breaking into empty houses, or for begging. Mrs. Stevens 
became their "mother" and then the first regular probation 
officer. Her salary was paid by subscriptions of a citizens' com- 
mittee, which as time went on increased their gifts until there 
was a corps of six, then a dozen, then a score. The effort had 
reached this stage in the hurly-burly days of 1905-1906. 

Despite all, the friends of the Juvenile Court, most promi- 
nent of whom at this time was Mrs. Lucy L. Flower, got the 
lawmakers to provide an appropriation for the salaries. After 
this, by a still more prodigious effort, they brought about the 
authorization and building of a Juvenile Detention Home, 
which was opened in 1907. No longer were children haled to 
court in the dingy County Building, or detained in the barn 
which was the first place of surveillance. They now had a neat 
little court-room, never crowded, more like an office; they had 
sunlight, games, pleasant work, to occupy them. During ten 
years the cases of more than 31,000 were disposed of under the 
new system; and there was formed also to study and help the 
unfortunate child, the Juvenile Protection Association, in 
which that benevolent lady of wealth, Mrs. Joseph T. Bowen, 
was the dominant spirit. Still later came a medical clinic and a 

305 



Psychopathic Institute, whose studies of the errant and abnor- 
mal child have become renowned. 

4 

It is a temptation to dwell for many more pages on that 
immense change for the better, the Juvenile Court and the care 
of Chicago's children generally; but there came another over- 
turn in those years which demands attention. 

The whole city court-system was rotten. For more decades 
than seems possible, Chicago, the energetic, Chicago, the inno- 
vator, had borne with a legal structure antedating its founding 
by no less than centuries the ancient and monarchical insti- 
tution of justice of the peace and constables. There were 
"J JVs," even in Chicago of the '90s and 1900s, who conducted 
their courts with a fair display of sense and legality; but there 
was also an egregious amount of laziness, stupidity, graft, and 
political pull that made the courts as a whole a menace even 
to the innocent. 

The J.P.'s were appointed by the Circuit Court judges. The 
constables, who became perhaps the worst disgrace of all, were 
elected. There were long lists of them presented to the voters. 
In the confusion tough candidates sneaked to victory oftener 
than good ones. A powerful, dangerous lot they became, even- 
tually, these constables, some of them sluggers, blackmailers, 
and gunmen very useful to politicians and even, at times, to 
certain business men. The most conspicuous, for some years, 
was one Louis Greenberg, a furtive genius, with somewhat the 
look of an old-clo' man. He took with him on some errands a 
couple of giant strong-arm men, who were efficient in evic- 
tions and the like. 

Other constables were muscular themselves. The giants would 

pound a protesting husband into unconsciousness while the 

furniture was being moved out. Also, it was said, these legalized 

ruffians were useful to corporations who desired to ruin rival 

306 



corporations. It was such influence, it is said, that for many 
years saved one constable from loss of his post. 

There were justices ready to grant judgments on perjured 
testimony, or to issue warrants for anybody the politicians 
wanted punished. In the police courts sat magistrates, ap- 
pointed by the mayor at the instance of the most powerful 
aldermen. Through ownership of a magistrate, an alderman 
could run his ward like a despot, even giving a rebellious 
precinct-leader the alternative of surrender or a month in the 
bridewell. 

Then, too, the financial side of those courts was worth some- 
thing. If things got slow, it could be arranged that the police 
should raid a disorderly house, and bring in, around midnight, 
two or three wagon-loads of women. The bail-bonds would be 
all ready. They cost plenty, too. And the prisoners could be 
held for ransom as long as advisable, or until the long-suffering 
owner of the resort paid fines or "fixed it up" with the alder- 
man. Meantime the police stole all they could from the women. 
Such events were profitable to many, and not least to bond- 
sharks such as one Andy Craig, political saloonkeeper and 
power in the Levee. 

Almost anybody could get even with somebody else by 
"framing" a case in a justice court. If it was not convenient 
to do this in town, the bewildered defendant would be ordered 
to appear in a suburban court, where his case would be set for 
an hour just before the arrival of the first train from the city. 
Either he could stay out there all night, or he could expect to 
find a judgment entered, his home invaded, his furniture and 
even his jewelry seized. 

Something "had to be done." So citizen grumblings and 
newspaper exposes were followed slowly by the formation of 
committees and by serious study on the part of lawyers. Reve- 
lations of crooked work in two offices of court clerks proved 
good for the cause, while correspondingly injurious to Boss 
Lorimer. Business men, hit several ways by mix-up of records 
and thefts of fees, got behind the new plan, which contemplated 

307 



a municipal court that would not only replace the J.P.'s, but 
deal with minor crimes, and with civil cases of more than 
petty importance. 

Upon this there emerged an attorney of long Chicago and 
Illinois experience named Hiram T. Gilbert. He drew the 
needed law and saw it through the legislature. The politicians 
had taken great alarm, but when they discovered that in addi- 
tion to twenty-seven judges and a chief justice, all elective, 
there would be a clerk and a bailiff, also elective, the bosses felt 
better. There would be hundreds of new jobs to play with. 
Lacking in the brass bands and gavel-tricks of some furious 
legislative work on Chicago's behalf, the campaign for the new 
court went through to success- Then when it came time to gain 
the approval of Chicago voters, the strong pleas made, and the 
memory of justice-court abuses, brought a heavy affirmative 
vote. Greenberg's notoriety alone, according to one authority, 
brought thousands of crosses to the "Yes" column. 

The court, as finally set up, was a new thing in the United 
States. It was to deal with civil actions involving $1,000 or 
less ; all infractions of city ordinances, and, at first, all crimes 
calling for fines or for imprisonment, except in the peniten- 
tiary. (The last-named jurisdiction was later found unconsti- 
tutional, and criminal cases had to be sent to the grand jury.) 
A greater innovation, however, was the power given to the 
chief justice. He was king not only over the associate judges, 
but over the clerk and bailiff. He was sworn to direct the as- 
signment of cases and to be the court of last resort in all other 
functions. His became a conspicuous and difficult post, one 
commanding as much authority as that of the State's attorney 
or district attorney if not more. 

The choice fell upon Harry Olson, who had for ten years 
handled, or helped to handle, a procession of difficult, sensa- 
tional cases in the Criminal Court ; an assistant under State's 
Attorneys Kearns and Deneen; a fighter and a student of 
criminology. In the first election for the new court he defeated 
Attorney Gilbert, father of the law, and took command. 
308 



The Chicago Municipal Court thus entered upon a career 
that was bound to be uneven in effectiveness, thanks to all those 
jobs being hurled into the political pot; yet a much-admired 
innovation. Other cities studied it, and as they watched, re- 
organized their own judiciaries with Chicago as a model. Be- 
cause of his study of the criminal and of the "expert" who 
unscientifically diagnosed the criminal Chief Justice Olson 
evolved the determination to apply psychological principles to 
cases within the court's jurisdiction. From this arose a psycho- 
pathic laboratory, under Dr. W. J. Hickson, 



In an entirely different field, another big "clean-up" began 
in 1906. It was going on in the cattle-pens and slaughter- 
houses. The popular, but mistaken, idea has been that it started 
with Sinclair's Jungle, a sort of novel and indictment com- 
bined, picturing dire conditions in the yards. At first de- 
nounced as a lie and a socialistic lie at that, the book took 
hold of the public imagination, went rolling across the country 
gathering sentiment, and got into Congress. Soon a couple of 
government investigators came quietly to Chicago, with the 
encouragement of Roosevelt, and took back to Washington a 
report which it is said was favorable. Perhaps it was, since the 
best of the packers, with the coming of by-products manufac- 
ture, had tried to do better. At all events, Roosevelt was not 
satisfied. He sent out other investigators, who turned in a 
document telling of bad sanitation, dark and crowded working- 
places, rankly negligent meat-inspection, and other evils. 
Roosevelt gleefully sent the report along to the lawmakers, and 
in due time the Beveridge bill, aimed at remedying the defects, 
went through. A great rebuilding and cleaning up struck the 
yards. One visiting the plants now finds nothing for a Sinclair 
to criticize ; he sees airy rooms, meats cleanly handled ; he walks 
on brick floors instead of in mud and filth. 



309 



There were lots of things to be glad about as 1906 waned. 
The old cable-cars went out of business. Overhead trolleys, only 
a little while before denounced as a menace, became the thing, 
and not a soul but rejoiced. Such crowds rode the first day 
that it required police to control them. Flags flew from 
windows. 

The campaign was on for the Municipal Court candidates. 
Some civic measures, long prepared, were to be voted for ; not- 
ably the four-year term for mayor. The movement toward a 
Chicago Beautiful was being discussed at banquets, and a 
charming new idea, that of "forest preserves, 55 was to be put up 
to a puzzled electorate. 

But it was very difficult, that October, to keep people's minds 
on such subjects. One tremendous local warfare, stirring up 
passions, whipping people to frenzy, parting families, pos- 
sessed the city. 

The Cubs and the White Sox had each won a national pen- 
nant. They were clashing on the diamond for the championship 
of the world. People chanted, "We have been IT, we are IT, 
we will be IT." They sang, "Take me back to that great old 
Chicago town." The lead-writers of the newspapers exploded 
in adjectives, in stories beginning, "This, the capital of the 
Inland Empire, is today the Mecca of the fanatic tribes," etc., 
etc. 

Bands played, street-throngs swirled, fair ladies crowned the 
heroes Doc White, Nick Altrock, Big Ed Walsh, Fielder Jones, 
and their white-stockinged mates ; or else three-fingered Mor- 
decai Brown, Johnny Kling, Evers, Tinker, the eagle-faced 
Frank Chance, from the West Side. The Sox won four games, 
the Cubs two. Total receipts were $106,550, considered im- 
mense in those days. Convening the "hot-stove league," fans 
voted that the "hitless wonders" had earned the bigger share. 
And the old Roman, Comiskey, was very proud. But City Clerk 
Pop Alison hung his head. 
310 



CHAPTER XII 



JL LACED old Lake Michigan placid in that it failed to share 
the enthusiasms or conflicts of the thousands living on its 
shores rippled before the city during all these years, bring- 
ing it ships, furnishing it water to drink, enticing it to pleasure. 
It was the city's greatest asset, people said ; yet for a long time 
they let it remain the privilege of a few. They allowed certain 
parts of its shore to be used for ugly commercial buildings. 
They permitted a railroad to parallel it. 

A few years after the World's Fair, a gentleman said at a 
banquet : "A very high purpose will be served if the lake shore 
be restored to the people and made beautiful for them." 

Continuing his speech, he grew lyrical and also prophetic: 

"The lake has been singing to us many years, until we have 
become responsive. We see the broad water, ruffled by the gentle 
breeze; upon its breast the glint of oars, the gleam of rosy 
sails, the outlines of swift-gliding launches. We see racing- 
shells go by, urged onward by bronzed athletes. We hear the 
rippling of the waves, commingled with youthful laughter, and 
music swelling over the Lagoon dies away under the low 
branches of the trees. A crescent moon swims in the western sky, 
shining faintly upon us in the deepening twilight. . . 

"And what sort of prosperity is this which we should foster 

311 



and maintain? Not that for rich people solely or principally, 
for they can take care of themselves and wander where they will 
in pursuit of happiness ; but the prosperity of those who must 
have employment in order to live." 

This prose poet was none other than Daniel H. Burnham, 
and he was addressing men who might fairly be called "rich 
p eo ple^_the Merchant's Club of Chicago. His outburst was an 
early expression of the Burnham dream, which seems to have 
been nurtured by that citizen who was always suggesting 
things, J. W. Ellsworth. The desire, no doubt warmed by many 
days of watching the lovely inland sea in its endless moods, 
grew gradually into a "project." Through it all ran the great 
impulse of the World's Fair. 

The Merchant's Club, glad to have an objective, cherished 
the project; talked of it from time to time. Then came the 
Commercial Club, another body of men representing both 
wealth and public spirit, with a proposition to Mr. Burnham, 
presented by Franklin MacVeagh, to draw a plan. But by this 
time Mr, Burnham had promised to draw one for the Mer- 
chant's Club. Whatever rivalry might have been threatened 
was ended by a merger of the two clubs in 1907 under the name 
of the Commercial Club. Their combined strength and money 
was easily adequate to launch properly even so vast a concep- 
tion as Mr. Burnham now had much more vast than the 
development of the lake-front alone. 

The years that went by, taking in different city administra- 
tions, and starred for good or ill by many happenings, turned 
the dream from a mere succession of speeches into an exhibit 
of drawings, both beautifully painted pictures (by the famous 
artist Jules Guerin) and careful diagrams, accompanied by the 
necessary text. The Plan of Chicago became a book. It was 
published by the Commercial Club in 1908. The president of 
the club at that time was John V. Farwell (the younger). 
The one hundred members subscribed $85,000 to start the 
thing off. 



How could the city ever make reality out of what was in 
the book? If all those millionaires had given every penny they 
had, they could not have paid for the improvements dreamed. 
The task must evidently become a municipal affair. Clyde M. 
Carr and others advocated this idea strongly. It presented diffi- 
culties ; the chance of the plan being strangled by politics, the 
equally strong possibility that the cantankerous voters might 
not favor it. The City Hall must do its part. So that when, 
in 1908-1909, the launching of the enterprise as an official 
Chicago matter had become urgent, a great deal depended on 
who ruled in the City Hall, 

2 

The man who ruled there was Fred A. Busse, aged forty - 
three, the rugged, portly son of a German Civil War veteran. 
He was at first sight coarse in appearance, with his big round 
body and his face that expressed more vigor than refinement. 
His speech was full of Chicago dialect, and his command of 
grammar not half as complete as his command of men. Fred 
Busse (hardly any one called him Mr.) had been elected mayor 
in a close race which put an end to the regime of Judge Dunne ; 
a curious race, too, because Busse had been painfully injured 
in a railroad wreck and could make no speeches. He hated 
speeches, anyway. 

This rough-talking, quick-thinking stout man was born in 
Chicago, not two miles from the City Hall. As a boy he roamed 
the North Side ; he got into scrapes ; it was written of him later 
that he had known, as friend or enemy, practically every other 
boy on "the near North Side 5 * not so difficult in the '80s. 
When he was old enough, he started and built a coal-business. 
He became well-to-do, but remained single and continued to 
live in a few rooms, with his parents, over the coal-company's 
office. He went into politics, got elected to the State Legisla- 
ture, joined the Lorimer wing of the Republicans, became boss 

313 



of the Busse Wards, was appointed postmaster of Chicago by 
President Roosevelt, and finally was nominated for mayor. He 
continued to live in the flat over the coal-company's office. 

Fred's companions in his younger days had not been of the 
scholarly order, nor those pure in speech or of the Band of 
Hope. He drank a good deal of beer in saloons, and there were 
nocturnal exploits and practical jokes. An early acquaintance 
was one Barney Bertsche, who was a clever hoodlum and lasted 
even to join in the champion hoodlumism of the 1920s. Be- 
friending of Bertsche was charged against Busse during the 
campaign. Stories were told of his saloon-fights, mostly mere 
pranks. He was pictured sometimes as a bum, and sometimes 
as a Lorimerite serpent. But at the same time, not only power- 
ful business men but newspaper publishers realized that Busse 
had executive ability and a grasp of city problems. 

With his election, consequently, it was felt by important 
groups that things looked distinctly better. The Dunne regime, 
these people thought, had slumped into police misrule and 
executive indecision. Busse would clean house. Moreover, his 
election coincided with the presentation to the voters of the 
most competent and far-reaching traction-program the city 
had yet seen* Ordinances had been expertly drawn by Attorney 
Walter L. Fisher, who had succeeded Clarence Darrow as 
Dunne's special traction-counsel, and the companies had ac- 
cepted them. They provided for twenty-year franchises, com- 
pensation to the city of 55 per cent, of the companies 5 net 
profits, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the systems, 
through routes, five-cent fares, $5,000,000 for subways, and 
other benefits. A board of supervising engineers representing 
the city was established. The city could purchase the lines at 
any time, upon six months' notice. 

This solution, as it seemed, of the traction-puzzle was passed 
by the City Council, vetoed by Dunne, and passed over his 
veto. In the campaign it was supported by Busse, and was 
approved by the voters, Chicago's mood became more and more 
cheerful. The Mayor, who had seized office in what the news- 
314 



papers called a coup, plunged ahead, demanding a flock of 
resignations, shaking up the Health Department, the Smoke- 
Prevention Bureau, pounding his desk before Chief of Police 
Shippy and roaring, "Get the big thieves! I'll back every 
honest copper." He shook up the Board of Education, got into 
a long and violent litigation and lost most of it, received re- 
porters and cracked jokes, and all the time seemed to be 
thinking, "What can I do for this town?" The prohibitionists 
reviled him because he would not close the saloons on Sunday. 
An extension of the telephone franchises came to a head, amid 
charges of graft, and Busse's approval of the ordinance ex- 
posed him to cries of "In League with Big Business !" 

He broke out occasionally with a "Go to hell!" and every 
one enjoyed it. He attacked the city's financial snarls, with 
Banker Walter H. Wilson as Comptroller. He kept on dodging 
speeches. 

In the middle of his term he very quietly married a young 
woman named Lee, and when the "old gang" came to congratu- 
late him, he blushed. 

3 

Here was vigorous human nature in the City Hall, and also, 
it appeared, insight. 

The Chicago Plan advocates were encouraged to take up 
their pet project with the Mayor. And so it came about that 
one of the least visionary, one of the least "highbrow," of all 
Chicago's mayors became an instrument in realizing one of 
the city's most idealistic and most splendid conceptions since 
the World's Fair. 

One can imagine Fred Busse sitting up nights with the elab- 
orate book, The Plan of Chicago, amazed and perhaps puzzled 
by the future paradise that it pictured. But there was no un- 
certainty about the message he sent to the City Council in 
November, 1909, accompanying his appointment of 353 citi- 
zens who were to constitute the first Chicago Plan Commission. 
The Mayor took the thing, as was his wont, practically. He 

315 



got a group of "lowbrow" aldermen together and said, "You'll 
have to be for this some time; why not now?" In his message, 
after referring to the labor which the fathers of the project had 
given unselfishly as volunteers, he wrote: 

"This plan is not to be considered as the embodiment of an 
artist's dream or the project of theoretical city beautifiers who 
have lost sight of everyday affairs and who have forgotten the 
needs and interests of the mass of the people. On the contrary, 
the men who have produced the Chicago Plan are all hard- 
boiled business men. . . Making Chicago attractive to vis- 
itors from all parts of the world will add to Chicago's resources 
a very great commercial asset, the value of which will be re- 
flected in every piece of real estate within our limits. . . . 
They [the planners] have particularly had in mind relief for 
the neglect from which the great West Side has suffered." 

Striking thus the right notes to silence discontent, Mayor 
Busse proceeded to recommend as chairman of the commission 
a member of the opposing political party, Charles H. Wacker. 
The non-partisanship of the plan, which saved it from much 
trouble through successive City Hall upheavals, was estab- 
lished. 

Mr. Wacker was the right man. He had been vice-chairman 
of the Commercial Club's committee under Charles D. Norton, 
who moved to the East before the approval of the City Council 
was sought. No one, apparently, then thought of any one but 
Mr. Wacker for the job. His heart was in it from the begin- 
ning. It was linked in his mind, as in all others, with 5 93. He 
had been a director of the Fair ; the youngest director, in fact. 
First a brewer, then a building-association man, wealthy but 
not too much so, loyal to German musical affairs, mixer in dif- 
ferent sets, supporter of various things like the Symphony 
Orchestra and the United Charities (of which he became presi- 
dent) , Mr. Wacker could step confidently into the task of edu- 
cating a prodigious mass of people, many of them indifferent, 
sullen, or openly rebellious, in a subject much to their future 
benefit. 

316 



Mr. Wacker was a ruddy, sanguine man who smiled his way 
through trouble. He acquired a prized lieutenant (called sec- 
retary) in Walter D. Moody, whose brain popped with pub- 
licity-ideas and who could clothe the vision of future Chicago 
in splendid banquet-phrases. 

The two, with the advice of a good-sized executive board, set 
out to convince the city. Meanwhile Edward B. Butler, art- 
lover and early friend of the Chicago Plan, became head of the 
Commercial Club committee, which continued to help and to 
raise funds. 

Years before there had been heard the chant of groups of 
business leaders who cried down the artistic creations of Mr. 
Burnham and his assistant, Mr. Bennett, in their top-floor 
studio on Michigan Avenue. There had been heard the scoffings 
of men who considered Chicago beautiful enough, 'who had 
"practical" ideas that ought to be tried instead. Now the mis- 
sionaries of the plan-gospel were confronting the sceptical 
public at large. They had to cope with unbelievers who consid- 
ered the published sketches "just a lot of pretty pictures." 
They had to argue with financial wiseacres who said the money 
could never be raised through bond issues. They grieved over 
"whispering campaigns," which sometimes found publication , 
in socialistic or labor papers, accusing the plan-promoters of 
trying to bring real-estate profits to somebody. The opposition 
was not very loud, but it was troublesome ; and worse than that, 
the mood of people generally was lethargic. For the huge swirl- 
ing masses, so hard-pressed just in daily living, the big idea 
was too much. 

The average citizen, however, could not escape hearing about 
the plan. If he picked up a newspaper, he found one of Mr. 
Wacker's pleas. He got in his mail a booklet condensing the 
outlines of it. If he went to the movies to see the hazy inar- 
ticulate films of those days he was likely to find a two-reeler 
that sought to educate him about his city and its future. If 
he went to church, a sermon about the plan might be aimed at 
him. If he stayed home with the children, those old enough for 

317 



schoolbooks were apt to confront him with a catechism which 
they were studying and which asked questions like: 

"What are the agencies that make for the future greatness 
of the city and the greatness and happiness of all the people?" 
or, "Why is the Chicago Plan superior to that of any other 
city, foreign or otherwise ?" 

For the brilliant scheme had been developed to place in the 
schools 70,000 copies of a manual that recited the needs of city 
planning, the work of Baron Haussmann in Paris and of others 
elsewhere in Europe, the history and problems of Chicago, and 
the nature of the commission's plan. Mr, Moody wrote the 
manual. School Superintendent Ella F. Young made it an 
eighth-grade study. 

Young men and women in their twenties today have not for- 
gotten that book. The children became voters. When in later 
years they were presented with ballots including Chicago Plan 
projects, they voted "Yes" almost automatically. 

Wacker and Moody roamed the city, delivering stereopticon 
lectures, with pamphlets distributed free at the door. More 
than a tenth of the city's population heard the plan thus de- 
scribed. In the newspaper offices, almost any day, a city editor 
was likely to find the beaming face of Mr. Wacker at his elbow 
with, "I have a little statement here," or, "Will you please ask 
your headline writers not to use the term 'city beautiful 5 ? 
People are so apt to misunderstand it." 

This went on for years ; but it was not all the commission 
did. That body knew that the launching of a specific project 
would impress the public most of all. So in 1910 the widening 
of Twelfth Street, great east-west thoroughfare running over 
railroad yards, through a dense and cluttered part of the West 
Side, was submitted to popular vote. It won by 21,000, al- 
though in the City Council previously ten aldermen had been 
hardy enough to oppose it. 

The next time, thanks to the whirlwind education of their 
constituents, those aldermen reversed their votes. 
318 



4 

With all such victories, however, even the stout optimism of 
Mr. Wacker and others must have faltered when they surveyed 
the huge, helter-skelter city and thought what had to be done. 
It lay there, a creature of men with no time to plan, and with 
land to sell. Streets had been made running at right angles, 
whenever one of these early subdivisions was platted. Streets 
ran into the river, or were stopped by railroad tracks, or were 
choked off by lumber-yards. Thousands upon thousands of 
people, even if not so dreadfully housed, could find no conven- 
ience in getting from one section to another. Railway stations 
had been set where it seemed expedient. The planners, attack- 
ing all this, kept calm, and reiterated : 

"This will be a slow process. Its realization will take many 
years." 

They had this kind of faith : 

"As fast as people can be brought to see the advantage of 
more orderly arrangement of the streets, transportation lines, 
and parks, it is well-nigh certain that they will bring about 
such desirable ends." 

Still, it was hard for Chicago to believe that any program 
could accomplish such an unscrambling of the scrambled city 
as the plan suggested, in summary as follows : 

"First, the improvement of the lake-front. 

"Second, the creation of a system of highways outside of the 
city. 

"Third, the improvement of railway terminals, and develop- 
ment of a complete traction-system for both freight and pas- 
sengers. 

"Fourth, the acquisition of an outer park-system, and of 
parkway circuits. 

"Fifth, the systematic arrangement of the streets and ave- 
nues within the city, in order to facilitate the movement to and 
from the business district. 

319 



"Sixth, the development of centers of intellectual life and 
of civic administration, so related as to give coherence and 
unity to the city." 

The pictures showed, among other things, a great civic cen- 
ter a work not undertaken to this day two level boulevards, 
diagonal through streets, relocated railroad terminals, and a 
system of islands, lagoons, and boulevards along the lake. On 
that especially tangled subject, the location of terminals, Fred- 
eric A. Delano worked out a solution which formed an impor- 
tant contribution to the plan. Mr. Delano, nearly ten years be- 
fore, had issued a booklet picturing what Chicago ought to be. 



The fact that the lake-improvement was mentioned first in 
the plan caused murmurs, although it was logical that it be so 
mentioned, and had been one of the first considerations of plan- 
ners even before Burnham's day. 

In this place belongs a cut-back to a time, nearly contem- 
poraneous with the World's Pair, when a great lover of the 
lake-front was acting in what many people considered an ec- 
centric manner. One real eccentricity he seems to have had: 
the use of an initial instead of his first name, which was Aaron. 
So he called himself A. Montgomery Ward, and later in the 
title of his company omitted even the A. This pioneer business 
man, who started an immense mail-order house in a loft and 
developed it regardless of enmities and jeers earned finally 
the nickname Watchdog of the Lake-Front. It became his pas- 
sion, his dominating motive, his relentless purpose, to keep 
buildings off that shore, at least within the mile or two bor- 
dering the downtown district. He said that he acted to protect 
the people, and one cannot find that any other interest 
prompted him. 

Through a stretch of years, Mr. Ward spied out and 
squelched every effort to erect by the lake a permanent struc- 
ture tall enough to count as a building. Business men went to 
320 



him with, "Now, surely, Mr. Ward, you will listen to reason." 
He rebuffed them. Even a project to put up an armory re- 
ceived none of his sympathy. He kept a corps of lawyers busy 
drawing injunctions and fortifying his resolve. Four times, at 
least, he fought contests to the last ditch that is, the State 
Supreme Court and he always got a decision. It was even 
necessary to reckon with him when the Art Institute was built. 

It would have been hopeless indeed for the city-planners had 
Grant Park been full of buildings when they began to realize 
on that rich asset, the lake. As it was, they had before them a 
long, curving shore, to which the waves brought gifts of sand. 
It was made clear that the waste material from building-exca- 
vations, from city dumps or from river-dredgings could be 
utilized for "made land." Estimates showed nearly 4,660,000 
cubic yards of waste produced annually. When the idea took 
hold, there came a procession of wagons, sometimes etched 
against the skyline like caravans of old, and there came up 
from the freight-tunnel little cars, bringing the waste. It was 
valueless, whereas the land it would make was estimated as 
worth $45,000,000 and by some more than that. 

The filling of the lake-front at length became a customary, 
a hardly conspicuous, feature of city routine ; yet it was one of 
the epic things of the period. The job continued all through 
the early stages of formulating the Chicago Plan, and kept on 
into years past the point this narrative has thus far reached. 

In 1909-10, however, the lake-front scheme was still embry- 
onic. So also was the boulevard-link improvement, which now 
has given an unimagined splendor to Michigan Avenue. 

The manual which the school-children were studying told of 
the proposed widening, of the expected construction of "a wide, 
roomy concrete viaduct and bridge across the river ... a 
double-deck, bascule structure." It described the grades, "less 
than those existing on Fifth Avenue, New York." (The writers 
had to look out for everything, including the fear that vehicles 
could not get up the grades!) And the book revealed how 

321 



Mayor Harrison (the younger) in his fourth term * had started 
an inquiry regarding a north-south boulevard-connection, and 
how this plan was delayed to death in sessions of successive 
boards of local improvements. When the Mayor returned in 
1911 for his fifth term, after eight years out of office, the com- 
mission was ready for him. Formalities were got over quickly, 
and the proposal came before still another local-improvement 
board, which ordered estimates. ... 

And there the project stopped, for the time. Moreover, the 
cheery manual could talk only in hopeful terms of the fact that 
the plan provided "means of securing forest places for the 
people. 5 ' It said, "The spaces to be acquired should be wild 
forests, filled with such trees, vines, flowers, and shrubs as will 
grow in this climate. Country roads and paths should be run 
through them and the people should be allowed and encouraged 
to use them freely." 

Children who read those words were doubtless optimists, but 
hardly to the extent of picturing themselves, twenty years 
later, driving their cars over concrete highways to the forest 
preserves, building camp fires, even sleeping in tents under the 
luscious branches of maples and wild oaks. 

Nor, perhaps even today, are they aware that they owe this 
escape from the stony confinement of the city to the Chicago 
Plan, to the genius of Burnham and his helpers Burnham, 
who sought above all the welfare of people, who worked hard, 
and who wrote the words, "Make no little plans. . . . Aim 
high in hope and works.'* 

i Mr. Harrison, in a newspaper interview in 1920, credited Mrs. Horatio N. 
May with the initial idea of a boulevard-link. She proposed a tunnel. Later, 
Alderman, Honore Palmer, son of Potter, suggested a bridge. 



CHAPTER XIII 



I 



T was a pity, some people said in a rather loud tone, that the 
spirit of Chicago could not tend always toward noble visions 9 
constructive efforts for the people, high aims and hopes. 

There were people then, in the second decade of the century^ 
who worried about the opposing currents the impulse toward 
creating a good as well as a handsome city, at war always with 
an impulse to steal, to murder, to destroy the fruits of hard 
work. 

These clashing currents have upset Chicago throughout its 
history, even to the present time, 

2 

In that second decade the city was rapidly growing toward 
the stature it has today. It caused more and more astonishment 
to the visitor. 

It was nearly 200 square miles in area, and its regions where 
nothing grew or was built only awaited the attention of devel- 
opment-agents. It had well over 4,000 miles of streets and 
alleys. People rode entirely on electric street-cars, unless 
they preferred the speedy elevated trains, or used suburban 
steam-lines, whose growth in capacity and number of trains 

333 



was scarcely less notable than the improvement in street-cars 
since the 1907 ordinances. But alas ! There was no subway. 

Downtown, although there remained many a lowly and tired- 
looking office structure, whose elevators died at inconvenient 
times, the building of skyscrapers had come to a stage repre- 
senting, to many observers, the last word. Indeed, to prevent 
the city from being taller, the aldermen fiddled continually 
with limitation of building-height. There were at least twenty 
which rose to 200 feet or more, five of them the homes of banks. 
Strikes still were something of a community amusement, but 
they could not check the boom, which brought a record-break- 
ing total of $96,000,000 in buildings in 1910. The "new" Fed- 
eral Building had been finished long ago. So with the new 
County Building. The new City Hall was nearly completed. 

State Street was "the greatest shopping street in the world," 
in all the guide-books. But in outlying regions there were other 
brilliant shop-centers, and the mail-order business was a sort 
of miracle. 

The city was rich. It had over a hundred banks with clear- 
ings of $38,000,000 a day. Deposits in national and State 
banks had increased during fifteen years from $201,030,840 
to $905,442,374, through the prodigious toil of men like For- 
gan, the Reynolds brothers, Mitchell, Byron Smith, and a 
legion of employees. The taxable property was estimated at $2,- 
500,000,000; records do not say whether it all got taxed or 
not. 

The, twenty-sis railroads which entered the city and went 
no farther were prospering with the multitudes who had to, 
or only wanted to, come into the metropolis. They disembarked 
in six principal stations, of which the La Salle Street terminal 
and the greatly admired Northwestern Station were newer than 
others ; the latter, in fact, not yet quite done. A grand new 
Union Station was in prospect. 

Visitors could choose among scores of hotels. Especially rec- 
ommended, downtown, were the Auditorium and its Annex, the 
Palmer House (No. 2), Sherman House (No. 3), the tall La 
324 



Salle, and the Blackstone, winner of an architectural compe- 
tition. 

Taxis were quite easy to find and could be enjoyed for not 
more than fifty cents per mile twenty-five cents for each ad- 
ditional passenger, half fares for children. The pioneer com- 
pany, the Coey Auto Hiring Co. (organized 1905), had been 
followed by the Fay Auto Livery Company, using three-cylin- 
der "gas" cars. Later Walden W. Shaw started the first big 
company, with John Hertz as a helper. When Hertz began 
running his Yellow Cabs, it was the unwritten law that a Shaw 
could pass a Yellow, but a Yellow could not pass a Shaw. . * . 
Strangers did not understand this. 

3 

A rich city indeed, rich in money and in energy. A domi- 
nating city, with a position increasingly strategic as to the 
movement of water and rail commerce. 

"Chicago," said a publication of that time, "is noted for the 
magnitude of its commercial enterprises, for the greatness of 
its financial institutions, for the excellence of its parks and 
public playgrounds . . . for its universities, its efficient pub- 
lic-school system, and for other educational, artistic, and mor- 
ally uplifting institutions that give to Chicago an enlightened, 
a cultured, and a progressive citizenship." 

The Association of Commerce speaking . . . This organiza- 
tion was the descendant of a Merchants and Travelers Asso- 
ciation of about World's Fair time, combined with the Chicago 
Commercial Association. To avoid confusion with the Chicago 
Commercial Club, it adopted in 1908 its new name. It was 
powerful, and not alone in trade matters. Its viewpoint was 
and is that whatever made Chicago more estimable, whether 
in money-profits or in culture, was good for business. In 1910 
it had about four thousand members, representing all kinds of 
commercial effort. These men, working on numerous commit- 
tees, took as their motto, "Chicago the Great Central Market." 

325 



But besides such work as bringing conventions to the city and 
boosting the long-delayed waterway-project, they labored 
not always with a welcome from the "antis" to assist in de- 
velopment of the "good side" of the city, and especially in 
educational matters. 

4 

These educational matters were doing pretty well. 

The universities had expanded in a manner that rivaled the 
growth of the Loop. The University of Chicago had long since 
completed its Tower Group the dominating structure being 
the gift of John J. Mitchell and modeled after Magdalen 
Tower, Oxford its Bartlett Gymnasium, and the School of 
Education, given by Mrs, Emmons Elaine. It was now build- 
ing the majestic Harper Memorial Library. More than two 
thousand members and friends of the university united in giv- 
ing $1,045,052 for this library. Meantime Northwestern Uni- 
versity had received from James A. Patten, the grain-king, 
funds for a huge gymnasium, built during 1910 on a shaded 
avenue of Evanston. An engineering-building was put up, and 
the School of Commerce was growing. Both universities were 
developing their work of teaching and research and were re- 
ceiving strong financial aid from Chicagoans. John D. Rocke- 
feller, Sr., had just announced his final gift of $10,000,000 to 
his educational child, with a letter consigning it to the mercies 
of the people of Chicago and the West* 

Armour Institute, Lewis Institute, the Hebrew Institute, 
Moody Bible Institute, and still other institutes were flourish- 
ing. The city had a strong group of law schools. It had a long 
roster of medical schools ; so long they had to be weeded out. 
Three were Rush (opened in 1843), the University of Illinois 
medical department, and Northwestern University school of 
medicine. The last-named was strengthened in early days by 
Dr. Nathan 3. Davis, a patriarch of general practitioners, and 
a founder of the potent American Medical Association. The 
city had become by 1910 the home of six Protestant theological 
326 



seminaries. These were matched by about as many Roman 
Catholic colleges. Music schools, of which the American Con- 
servatory and Chicago Musical College were the pioneers, were 
drawing thousands of students. The Art Institute was becom- 
ing more and more the leading school of the kind west of the 
Hudson, and the public visited its collections to the number of 
over 700,000 annually. 



Of the three principal libraries, the Public library had 
grown with the city so that it maintained seventeen branches, 
some of them in quite benighted regions. It gave out more than 
2,250,000 books through its circulation department. Its spe- 
cial collections had been greatly enriched. For rare books, how- 
ever, students went to the Newberry, with its museum of an- 
cient manuscripts, incunabula, books on beautiful buildings, 
genealogical, historical, and musical collections. For scientific 
study people frequented the John Crerar, with its 265,000 vol- 
umes in the field of science, especially medicine. The Crerar 
had not yet a building of its own. 

There was hardly enough Chicago-born literature of na- 
tional renown to fill a good-sized case in one of these libraries, 
yet genius was knocking at the gates. Not only Hamlin Gar- 
land, but in that second decade novelists as good as Robert 
Herrick, Susan Glaspell, Edith Wyatt, and Edna Ferber were 
typing copy in Chicago and shipping it to New York. Henry 
K, Webster had a bigger audience than they ; Opie Read bigger 
still. Emerson Hough, I. K. Friedman, Floyd Dell, belonged to 
the Chicago of that day. Sherwood Anderson was approaching 
its threshold. The Cliff-dwellers Club, founded by Garland, had 
been running for a few years. And there was about to be estab- 
lished that institution that has lasted through up-and-down 
waves of Chicago's fickle interest in fine literature Poetry, 
Harriet Monroe's magazine. First published in 1912, it was 
hospitable to early work by Vachel Lindsay and Edgar Lee 

327 



Masters, and to fledgling poems by Carl Sandburg, which had 
vainly knocked at Eastern doors. 

6 

The public schools, despite political quarrels, had become 
modernized in many ways. There had been added two high 
schools for technical training alone. The Chicago Teachers 
College was turning out teachers with some conception of sci- 
ence as a foundation for their work. There was now a Parental 
School for children who proved hard to handle. There were 
vacation schools, a school for crippled children, and special 
classes for the deaf, the blind, and the subnormal. The number 
of pupils ? had passed the 250,000 mark. 

And then, the Field Museum, though still housed in the old 
Fine Arts building in Jackson Park, had become in six years 
what some writers called an inexhaustible mine for students of 
anthropology, botany, geology, and zoology. Explorers were 
continually adding to its stores. It was equally rich in speci- 
mens suggesting prehistoric ages and in the latest discoveries 
concerning North American ethnology. Free lectures were 
being given. Citizens like N. W. Harris contributed small for- 
tunes to help its extension-work in the public schools and else- 
where. 



The religious life of the city had come to embrace every 
Protestant denomination, which did not often cross swords with 
the solid group of the Roman Catholic archdiocese, then under 
the leadership of Archbishop Quigley. The edifices of many 
Jewish synagogues stood here and there ; the Reformed congre- 
gations grew with the changing city. Christian Science 
churches, usually marked by their Grecian columns, were multi- 
plying. Adherents were crowding the temples of many "queer" 
sects. The city had a good many Mormons, and even more un- 
conventional believers. Taking all those enumerated together, 
328 



it is estimated that Chicago had between twelve and thirteen 
hundred churches in 1910. 

It was clear that the spirit of the Protestant churches was 
undergoing a change. There was a trend toward social service, 
and institutional ideas, though often debated, were gaining. 
Militant preachers, who cried against social wickedness, were 
more numerous, though not more vigorous, than in days when 
Newell Dwight Hillis berated the city for its civic sloth and 
wickedness. At the same time, there were here and there distinct 
movements toward leveling barriers between denominations. 

Undenominational, and very powerful, of course, was the 
Young Men's Christian Association established in 1878 
which was particularly a godsend to foreign-born and lonely 
youths. Its status in 1910 is inadequately expressed in the de- 
tail that it had a dozen or more buildings, in many parts of 
the city. A work not as large, but equally beneficent, was being 
done by the Young Women's Christian Association. 

For about three years there had met in Orchestra Hall every 
Sunday night large audiences under the auspices of the Sun- 
day Evening Club, founded by a Yale man who had always 
worked on the interdenominational idea, Clifford Barnes. He 
was also known as a capitalist, but he was by nature an altruist. 
Through his efforts, the club brought to Chicago religious 
speakers of top rank. Soon the people crowded Orchestra Hall; 
there were long lines out in Michigan Avenue when "drawing- 
cards" like William J. Bryan spoke. Everything, including the 
music of a fine choir, was free. 

Civic ethics, in this period, found a new architectural sym- 
bol, the new City Club building, completed during 1911. The 
club had been formed in 1903 on the suggestion of Walter L. 
Fisher, who as head of the Municipal Voters 9 League had seen 
the need of organized discussion to keep reform ideas stirred 
up. At the City Club centered for years many of the frankest 
and most thoughtful debates on traction, public improvements, 
and civic misdemeanors. "Big business" was not sacred there ; 
partisan politics got a chilly hearing. 

329 



The city was not only talkative, but also generous. Its wars 
and social tragedies led in almost every case to gushes of feel- 
ing, then to organizations. For example, there was formed in 
the Black Winter of 1893-94 the Bureau of Associated Chari- 
ties. After another stretch of hard times in 1907-08, this body 
joined with the Chicago Relief and Aid Society, adopting the 
name United Charities of Chicago. Millions came to be dis- 
pensed by this body always after careful study of cases and 
such sectarian agencies as the Jewish Charities of Chicago and 
the Central Charity Bureau of the Catholic archdiocese dis- 
bursed other millions. Union in effort became the policy after 
the World War, and the Chicago Council of Social Agencies 
was formed. A publication of that body in 1924 stated that 
$18,000,000 a year were being expended by private social 
agencies to help keep the city "healthy, happy, and safe." Chi- 
cago and Cook County, officially, were spending more than 
$9,000,000 a year for workmen's compensation, non-support 
cases, mothers' pensions, and pensions for public employees. 
There was developed eventually, and managed by Frank D. 
Loomis, a Community Trust, to make simpler the devoting of 
large private funds to benevolence. Charity, despite wars and 
woes, grew until more than a hundred thousand Chicagoans 
were giving two dollars apiece to help the poor. 

8 

A great many of the city's institutions were based on bor- 
rowed ideas. Not so with a five-year-old child that was destined 
to be Gargantuan no other than Rotary. 

In 1905 a young newcomer to Chicago, an attorney named 
Paul Harris, burst out over the dinner-table at Mme. Galli's 
restaurant with his inspiration, described as "the formation of 
a club to bring together men in different lines of business for 
mutual acquaintanceship and friendship. 55 Sylvester Schiele 
was across the table from Harris. They adjourned later to the 
office of Gus Loehr, where the three, with a tailor named Hiram 
830 



Shorey, appointed a meeting a fortnight later, and the club 
was organized on February 23. It was agreed to admit only 
"key-men" in different lines of business, to meet in their offices 
in rotation, and to admit members for a year only ; hence the 
name Rotary, The immense growth of the society compelled a 
change in some of these by-laws. Others such as compulsory 
attendance, classification, civic service were invented by Har- 
ris. Schiele contributed others. A member named Harry Rug- 
gles put in the luncheon-singing custom ; another called Mon- 
tague Bear conceived and designed the Rotary Wheel which 
one sees adorned with Jim, Ike, and Fred. 

Chicagoans all! And few Chicago ideas have spread farther. 



"What a city!" would exclaim those very Rotarians and 
many an unrotarized visitor as well "What universities, 
schools, art collections, ornamental buildings I" 

And what a musical city! For, with its combination of 
wealthy people who had "heard things played abroad" and of 
foreign-born who took music as a matter of course, Chicago 
was bound to become a warm supporter of that art. Like any 
urban center ^hose chief mental trait is youth, it acquired the 
passion for music before it grew toward other forms of culture. 

Yet, even with all the love of melody instinctive in the masses, 
the privileged citizens had to make them a present of it. The 
early struggles of Thomas and his orchestra form a chapter 
highly suggestive of the crudeness which so many critics of the 
city detected at that time. The great orchestra leader fought a 
battle with deficits, no less than with the sneering criticisms 
of certain newspapers, from which he might have retired dis- 
heartened "but for the faith of a small group, among whom 
shone a quiet gentleman named Charles Norman Fay. This 
group in the '90s inspired Thomas to go on, and to present 
music of the first rank, despite the fact that the entire guar- 
anty fund was being exhausted every year. 

331 



Regardless of the general public indifference, the music- 
givers had determined that Chicago should have an orchestra, 
and they dug into their pockets to have it. Then in 1903, when 
it seemed that Thomas and the rest really must give up, the 
enterprise was organized all over again. D. H. Burnham, long 
a trustee, stepped in and formed a syndicate to buy property 
for a home for Thomas's musicians on Michigan Avenue. The 
present Orchestra Hall was then built by popular subscription, 
about eighty-five hundred persons contributing. It was opened 
late in 1904, but the renowned conductor, after all his stormy 
career in an adopted city, did not live to enjoy the new hall. 
He fell a victim to the dampness and chill of its rooms while it 
was still scarcely complete, and died in January, 1905. Fred- 
erick Stock, his viola player and assistant, took up the baton, 
within a few months was officially made conductor, and carried 
the orchestra on to many triumphs. 

Chicago's interest in music, however, had not begun with 
Thomas. It had found utterance, largely because of the Ger- 
man citizens' insistence, in the Philharmonic Society, whose 
leader, Henry Ahner, gave concerts in the '50s with a twenty- 
five-piece orchestra. This venture failed, but an energetic 
leader, Hans Balatka, revived the work and was the first to 
play Wagner compositions in Chicago, in November, 1860. 
Balatka, through various tribulations, kept on until the ad- 
vent of Thomas with his New York players about 1870. 

Adelina Patti first sang in Chicago in 1853, at the age of 
ten. A little earlier, the first opera performances were given in 
Rice's Theater, which, however, burned down on the second 
night. Nearly every year after that, some New York company 
was heard in Chicago, often in the old MacVicker's Theater, 
afterwards in the Exposition Building, finally in the Audi- 
torium. Chicago heard all the great of the opera stage, 
Patti, Nilsson, Lili Lehmann, Materna, Calve, the De Reszkes, 
and the rest. Maurice Grau gambled on Chicago's music-inter- 
est ; sometimes won, sometimes lost. 

At length, after years when the Auditorium performances 
332 



became more and more brilliant as well as profitable, Chicago 
at last had its own opera company. So we return from early 
days to 1910, when Chicago was almost its present self. A 
strong body of guarantors, among whom Charles G. Dawes, 
John C. Shaffer, and Mr. and Mrs. Harold McCormick were 
leaders, organized in that year the Chicago-Philadelphia Opera 
Company, "pooled" with the Metropolitan directors, employed 
Andreas Dippel as general manager, Cleofonte Campanini as 
musical director, and Bernard Ulrich as business manager. The 
first season, with singers like Mary Garden, Carolina White, 
Schumann-Heink, John McCormack, was a success, partly due 
to exchange of singers with the Metropolitan. Three years later 
Mr. McCormick bought the stock of the Eastern directors and 
the company became strictly Chicagoan, with Campanini pro- 
moted to general director. Singers like Melba, Fremstadt, Titta 
Ruffo, and the "divine" Lucien Muratore were starred. Raisa 
was discovered. 

For a good many years, as November came around, Chicago 
could see the calm baton of the Italian maestro uplifted from 
his illuminated desk for the first bar of the opening of the 
season. 

And a goodly sight it was. 

10 

But music, after all, was a diversion of the few, a recourse of 
the more refined, an indoor sport. A good deal of the vigor of 
Chicago went into creating pleasure for the many. 

In the pre-war days, the theater, even of the first class, was 
not beyond the purse of a thirty-dollars-a-week man. He could 
get a balcony seat for next to nothing and see Mansfield or 
Terry ; for ten cents he could go to vaudeville, for two bits he 
could be stimulated at the Haymarket, the Alhambra, or the 
old Criterion. Supposing he preferred "high-class" shows, 
he could find plenty on the downtown Rialto, where electric 
signs flashed in profusion. In a single week in the Spring of 

333 



1911 there were advertised John Drew, George Arliss, David 
Warfield, Albert Chevalier, Julian Eltinge, Eva Tanguay, and 
the veteran Lillian Russell. The drama was in its heyday. Those 
five- and ten-cent attractions, beginning to be known as the 
movies, were not yet considered worth a journey downtown. 

Outdoors, amateur sport was coming up strongly as a rival 
of professional baseball, boxing, and racing the last two hav- 
ing turned into "illegal" amusements. Automobile-races were 
plentiful. A miracle called the aeroplane was just coming. Ten- 
nis and golf were having a boom, and those who did not be- 
long to clubs could play in the parks. 

The parks those were among the jewels of the proud me- 
tropolis. .Years and years before, when many a more obvious 
problem remained to be solved, men had stepped out in what 
looked like a visionary and quixotic plan for large parks, much 
larger than 200,000 people needed. Then were laid out Lincoln 
Park (1865), Humboldt, and Union. Jackson Park followed 
the World's Fair. These great playgrounds, even with their 
immense acreage and connecting boulevards, were soon seen to 
be insufficient for the spread-out city; they were inaccessible 
for thousands of the neediest people; there were said to be 
five thousand people for every acre of park space. 

Then came the idea of small parks, some of them thrust into 
regions of hideous houses and poisoned air. A small park com- 
mission which began work in 1899 with little money or encour- 
agement, found more of those as time went on, and by 1904 
had opened a respectable number of free places to play* A new 
and revolutionary plan had been formulated, too: to put up 
buildings, clubhouses, in those small pleasure-areas, for peo- 
ple's enjoyment the year 'round; to include libraries, assembly 
halls, and swimming-pools. Fourteen such places were placed 
under jurisdiction of the South Park Commission in 1903- 
1904. They were called for a time "socialized parks." By 1910 
they had been doubled in number, and the West Park system 
had acquired nine of them, while the North Parks included 
seven. 



None of these, owing to the scrambled jurisdiction within 
Chicago's limits, was directed by the city ; but the city created 
a special park commission, which put in before 1910 sixteen 
good-sized playgrounds. During that year 3,000,000 boys and 
girls whose pleasure had been found largely in vacant lots, or 
in crowded streets, played at the expense of the city ; and there 
were established also forty or fifty even smaller playgrounds, 
some of them covering only a few city lots. 

It was not easy to finance all this. Every bond issue meant 
a political quarrel. Citizens had to pour in voluntary contribu- 
tions. But, as one writer put it, "Chicago waited, watched, col- 
lected cash and did the impossible." 

11 

What a city! Could there be anything wrong with it? The 
half of its face which was toward the world, and which booster 
literature celebrated, was clean, brilliant, and benevolent. But, 
as many thoughtful people knew, the other side was unclean, 
revolting. 

The "muck-rakers" of the period looked at the reverse side. 
A few days before the election of Mayor Busse, there appeared 
in McClure's Magazine an article by George Kibbe Turner, de- 
livering these brutal blows : 

"The reputation of Chicago for crime has fastened upon the 
imagination of the United States as that of no other city has 
done. It is the current conventional belief that the criminal is 
loose upon its streets. . . . Why has that city, year after 
year, such a flood of violent and adventurous crime? Because 
of the tremendous and elaborate organizations, financial and 
political, for creating and attracting and protecting the crimi- 
nal in Chicago." 

And this was written, not in 1928, but in 1907 ! 



CHAPTER XIV 



A TJBLISHED during the last weeks of Mayor Dunne's term, in 
the midst of his fight for reelection, Mr. Turner's charges were 
denounced as a lie by Democrats, but were gleefully pro- 
nounced by Republicans to be the truth. 

He hurled figures about with abandon. His estimate of the 
gross receipts by vice-lords the year before was $20,000,000. 
He figured the gross receipts from gambling at $15,000,000. 
He said Chicago spent $100,000,000 a year for liquor. There 
were 1,000 unlicensed saloons, he declared, in addition to 7,300 
that were legalized. The whole thing was made possible, he 
generalized, because of the working of invincible syndicates in 
league with the powers that be. 

These powers laughed off the statistics as the natural hyper- 
bole of an expensive magazine-writer. But no one disproved 
anything. Indeed, the whole drift of Chicago history discour- 
aged the desire to disbelieve. Had there not been charges away 
back in the '80s, that gambling-syndicates, liquor- and vice- 
syndicates controlled somebody, charges which Carter Harri- 
son I hotly repelled? Had not similar accusations been flung 
in the face of Mayor Hopkins, and even in that of the more 
conservative Swift ; and had there not been a police scandal or 
two in the time of the younger Harrison, and again in the 
336 



idealistic period of Dunne? And would it not be just the same 
under Busse? And would it not always be just the same? 

Chicago was so used to the system, of which it caught 
glimpses, but never learned the whole truth, that it was bound 
to be convinced of a horrible state of affairs, while it was pow- 
erless to end that state. 

The sovereign voter, through phase after phase of city gov- 
ernment, had looked on helplessly while the men he had elected 
were bought and sold; he had read how one mayor after an- 
other, and one State's attorney after another, announced great 
plans as he took office and alibied himself when he left it; he 
knew the parrot-chatter of chiefs of police, "I will clean up 
the city," "I need a bigger force," "There is no gambling." He 
had seen the few really able chiefs become old men in six 
months, be discarded, or resign. 

Decades before though this was little known one of the 
best and sternest chiefs the city ever had measured his strength 
against a saloonkeeper alderman, and lost. He caused the sa- 
loon to be raided because of the robbery of a citizen there. 

The alderman appeared at the Chief's office and said: 

"You don't know what you're up against. The old man [the 
Mayor] won't back you." 

"FH bet you he will," said the Chief. 

There was a race to get to the "old man's" office. The Chief 
got there first. 

"You can accept that resignation of mine you have in that 
pigeonhole," he said. 

The Mayor was surprised. He sought to soothe his Chief; 
he hinted that the alderman was nothing to him. 

However, the boss reached the Mayor's ear, and within 
twenty-four hours the Chief received a blunt note accepting 
his resignation, 



Under such conditions, suspected if not proved, the non- 
political citizen had a poor chance. Still, he fought on, always 

337 



hoping to crash through the wall of politics. Before Busse's 
term had gone far, the "forces for good" began to concentrate 
against a problem which seemed to them worse than gambling 
or the saloon the problem of segregated and protected vice. 
This system had reached even greater strength than during 
World's Fair times, when the principal district for it was down- 
town. It now flourished a mile or two farther south. 

The subject of segregation was one that had been argued 
for centuries, but had lately become very acute in America. 
Many cities were in a state of mind over it. Chicago, a brewing- 
vat of opinion and loud argument, Chicago, the home of more 
political factions and clashing opinions than any other place in 
the world, was bound to have its explosion. 

Eight or nine years before there had been a preliminary 
blast, when business and religious interests, working through 
the newspapers, sought to cleanse the Loop of some nasty base- 
ment wine-rooms. For there were basements in those days in 
main streets, and the passer-by could look down flights of steps 
into smoke-enveloped revelry. Women trapped their victims in 
these dens; drunkards were robbed there. And the same kind 
of bloated lords who afterwards shone as rum-runners or in 
county offices had the same kind of malign power over city 
police. One Albert Friedrich is especially remembered for 
boasts of immunity, as well as for his particularly tough dive. 

It took strong bombardments of the City Hall, and terrific 
adjectives in the press, to dislodge these "barons" from their 
dugouts under office buildings. Mayor Harrison, who honestly 
held the view regarding vice that "it is impossible to run a city 
of almost 2,000,000 people with a strict blue-law construction," 
finally revoked the liquor license of Friedrich and a dozen 
others, and closed a string of dubious hotels. 

"No more drinks tonight," howled Friedrich to the mob; 
and to the reporters he said Harrison had tricked him. "The 
Mayor's currying favor with the religious crowd," said he. 

Complaint continued. Knights and ladies of reform like Ar- 
thur Burrage Farwell and Lucy Page Gaston were heard. Mr. 
338 



Farwell scored one with the charge that "vice in private drink- 
ing rooms of downtown hotels is just as bad as it is in Hinky 
Dink's place." Ministers prayed and preached. 

Fire was turned sharpest on Joseph Kipley, the chief of 
police who always wore brass buttons and had a beard like 
that of an elderly French sculptor. Kipley included among his 
best sayings the claim, "I stay at home nights with my family. 
That's why I don't see what's going on." He took this useful 
family South with him on a trip that about coincided with the 
sitting of a grand jury. 

The jury indicted Friedrich and others and turned them 
over to prosecution with a stern written reproof, but doubtless 
with scepticism as to their conviction. < 

And so it went. ^ ; r/ m - , , ' ' \- ' .-. , t , 

-- ' 



The chariots of reform rumbled on, with many a lurch, 
through the remaining term of Harrison and that of Dunne, 
and arrived, in added force, at the administration of Busse. 

Fred was torn between the insistence of political friends, and 
an apparent desire to listen to the pleas of social workers. He 
had inherited from his mother, some say, an impulse of sym- 
pathy with goodness, which had not been smothered by his 
wild oats. Perhaps, as a man of experience, he knew even more 
than the reformers how bad things could be. He knew why cer- 
tain regions were called Hell's Half Acre, or The Bad Lands. 
He knew the uses of sliding windows, hung on hinges^ to look- 
outs in the Levee, and all the tricks, including the elaborate 
system of electric bells connecting one house with another, to 
warn against police one wonders why, when the police were 
so harmless. 

So that it was a mayor fully posted, at least, whom the 
agents of good confronted. He swore at them, but listened. As 
a matter of course, he defended his chief of police, George 
Shippy, although it was shown that "some one" was protecting 
vice, and besides, bombs were bursting every few nights in 

339 



front of the house of the gambler Mont Tennes or elsewhere. 
Shippy, however, wrecked his career by shooting down an un- 
happy youth, Lazarus Averbuch an anarchist, said the de- 
tectives who rang his doorbell one night. The Chief went into 
a slump after this mysterious affair, and never recovered. 

Soon came the campaign against the First Ward Ball, a 
noisy annual event staged in the vast spaces of the Coliseum, 
where Presidents had been nominated and circuses glittered 
every winter. The ball was the pretty device of Aldermen 
Coughlin and Kenna for enriching their campaign funds by 
about $50,000 each Christmas time. Jawn had it one year, and 
Mike the next. The unfortunates of the Levee were forced to 
buy tickets at fifty cents each, and their masters to take large 
blocks. Every known gambler, de-luxe safe-cracker, and snake 
of the underworld was expected to "check in," while eminent 
politicians did not shun the fete. It went on, as one writer put 
it, in a "blur of tobacco smoke, red slippers, and cosmetics." 
The newspapers mentioned abbreviated costumes. All liquor- 
laws were suspended ; and the frolic was allowed to go on after 
hours at Freiberg's dance-hall, managed by the immunized Ike 
Bloom. 

In Jawn's year he would appear among the dancers, clad 
often in bottle-green evening costume, receive compliments on 
his latest song ("Dear Midnight of Love" was his masterpiece) , 
and beam upon the happy though staggering throng. It was 
his year in 1909. 

There had been a most unreasonable effort for a twelve- 
month to abolish the chaste frolic. The Woman's Club and 
other organizations had joined the protesting ministers and 
social workers. During 1909, however, the fight had gained so 
much headway that things were different. The Mayor had 
taken a long step in the direction of good police administra- 
tion, all the best citizens said, by appointing Leroy T. Steward, 
superintendent of city mail delivery, as Shippy's successor. 
The new Chief was above suspicion as to honesty ; he had plans 
for reorganizing the forces on military lines (an old cam- 



paigner in the Spanish- American war, he) ; he attacked the 
police problem with the logical, if rather innocent, notion that 
he could appoint good men and they would stay good. Mean- 
time, his career became that of a superintendent surrounded 
by spies, and jeered at because he appreciated art and en- 
joyed Schumann's "Traumerei." 

Chief Steward attacked the Levee ; successfully, for a time. 
But there was no stopping the First Ward Ball with a stroke 
of the pen ; the thing was too complicated for that. It involved, 
eventually, such efforts as a threat against the Coliseum's 
managers, and an appeal to Catholic priests who had their 
own kind of influence with the aldermen. The matter finally 
came squarely up to Mayor Busse. Before him, standing neu- 
tral but alert in his office, appeared Arthur Burrage Farwell, 
the Rev. E. A. Bell, head of the Midnight Mission, and Bath- 
house John. 

There was a colloquy, part of which was reported as follows : 

Bell (to Coughlin), "You are leading yourself and others to 
damnation." 

Coughlin. "It's no worse than other balls." 

Bell. "But you run it for your own profit." 

Coughlin. "Well, don't you make your living off the people 
down there in the district?" 

And so forth. 

The Mayor remained mum, but took in every word. Within 
a few days Coughlin announced that the ball was off. Busse had 
"told Jawn to quit." A concert was staged in the Coliseum that 
December to rows of empty chairs, and a sparsely occupied 
dance-floor. 

"I'm an optimist," said the alderman as he surveyed the 
crash of his $50,000-a-year privilege. 

He had a right to say it. For twenty years more he held his 
place in the City Council, nor was there any sign that he would 
leave it until his grave was ready. 



341 



4 

The episode of the First Ward Ball was only a symptomatic 
event, and this was true also of various demonstrations such 
as the melodramatic night march of "Gypsy" Smith and his 
hosts through the South Side vice-area. 

Before it occurred, appeals were made to the swarthy evan- 
gelist to give it up. Thoughtful religious leaders strove with 
him, but vainly- His head whirling with the passion to save, he 
notified the newspapers and went ahead. Twelve thousand peo- 
ple, it was estimated (though the estimate may well be cut in 
half) , fell into line behind him as he strode along his glorious 
path, clad as for the pulpit. The marchers were somberly at- 
tired also. Long black gowns trailed in the mud. Black neckties 
were worn. Prom all throats issued the strains of "Nearer, My 
God, to Thee" and "Where Is My Wandering Boy Tonight?" 

During that march, up and down and back and forth 
through the squalid Levee streets, the windows of houses were 
darkened ; the inmates crouched there listening. A tremendous 
crowd was attracted from the first. Hoodlums packing the 
curbs looked threatening, but showed no violence. Astonish- 
ment was too great. 

Gypsy led the crusaders to the Alhambra Theater, where he 
addressed them, and with his dark, shining face upturned, 
prayed for the souls of the fallen. The hour was late. Even as 
the evangelist prayed, the red lights were piercing the dark- 
ness again, dancing and music were resumed, corks popped in 
honor of the crusader. He told his audience, "This will do vast 
good. We have struck a blow for Jesus." Street-car riders the 
next morning read their papers with unusual zest. 



There was a crusader of a very different type who, in a 

region well removed from Twenty-second Street but almost 

equally tough, had taken note of the depravity and sorrow 

that mocked the optimism of church trustees. He was a Dean ; 

342 



a young Dean with a round determined head which he thrust 
frequently into trouble. A New Hampshire and Dartmouth 
man, he had known Chicago only a few years. 

This was the Rev. Walter T. Sumner, in charge of the Epis- 
copal parish of Sts. Peter and Paul, whose cathedral had once 
welcomed the wealthy residents of Washington Boulevard, but 
found itself in a degenerating locale, with the dismal Desplaines 
Street police station not far away. Dean Sumner was also sec- 
retary of the Episcopal city missions. He was the kind who 
would start with facts close at hand, and deduce from them 
theories of social control. He also made a hard-hitting speech, 
when necessary. 

The Federation of Churches, in which Dean Sumner was in- 
fluential, was strong in 1910, having about six hundred mem- 
bers. It included all Protestant denominations and had the ad- 
vice of settlement people as well as theologians. In January of 
that year a meeting was held which resulted in an appeal to 
Mayor Busse to appoint an investigating body which should 
survey the whole question of vice in Chicago, and do it scien- 
tifically. 

Thus for a second time it fell to Mayor Busse to set in mo- 
tion one of the city's far-reaching and difficult efforts to revo- 
lutionize itself. It compared in scope with the early lifting of 
Chicago from the mud, with the building of the drainage- 
canal, with the urban reconstruction involved in the Chicago 
Plan. But it was less attainable than any of these, for it dealt 
with human conduct. 

The Mayor agreed to appoint the investigating body re- 
quested. It came to be commonly known as the Vice Commis- 
sion. Dean Sumner was named chairman. The diversity of mem- 
bership is implied in such names as Dr. Frank W. Gunsaulus, 
Mrs. Charles Henrotin, Julius Rosenwald, President A. W. 
Harris of Northwestern University, Chief Justice Olson of the 
Municipal Court, Judge M. W. Pinckney, of the Juvenile 
Court, W. I. Thomas, University of Chicago sociologist, and 
Graham Taylor, head of Chicago Commons, which had fought 

343 



a battle of its own against the ousting of decent foreigners by 
resort-owners. 

According to some versions, the Mayor had been led to be- 
lieve that all appointees were pledged to segregation. Perhaps 
a similar belief caused the aldermen to fall in line. Even Cough- 
lin and Kenna, the First Ward "lords," and John Powers, vet- 
eran foe of reformers, shouted "Aye" when it came to voting 
money for the work. 

A full year passed, during which corps of investigators 
worked day and night gathering facts. They interviewed hun- 
dreds of people in the vice-district. Scores of conferences were 
held by the different committees, hearings were given to all 
sorts of informants, from missionaries to white-slavers. The 
data were assembled at great pains and published in a volume 
as thick as an astronomy textbook, with a statement and appeal 
to the public. One paragraph which went pretty deep read as 
follows : 

"It is the habit of Americans when they make laws to insist 
on ethical ideals. They will not compromise. They have been 
endowed, however, with a fine ability to be inconsistent, and 
having once declared their ideals, to find no difficulty when it 
comes to the administration of the law in allowing officials to 
ignore them. . . . This is the basis of graft and the greatest 
evil in municipal government." 

The report had its comforting side for the officials who suf- 
fered by implication. It declared that the conditions were not 
unique in the city's history; in fact, they were "better than 
the city has known in many years." (A possible bouquet for 
Chief Steward.) But it was set down as proved that vice existed 
as a highly commercialized business. The profits were set at 
over $15,000,000 a year only $5,000,000 below George 
Kibbe Turner's figures. Men were the gainers, women the vic- 
tims. The number of these unfortunates was estimated to be 
5,000. This was small compared with the estimate of 15,000 
issued by the city Civil Service Commission a year later. 

A shot was delivered which made many a business man set 



down his coffee-cup and pick up the newspaper with both 
hands : 

"With this group [the men in control of vice] stand osten- 
sibly respectable citizens, both men and women, openly renting 
property for exorbitant sums." 

There was a stir in State Street when store-managers read 
that economic and sanitary conditions of department-store 
work made women of these working-forces especially susceptible 
to being misled. Some stores, said the report, paid only six 
or seven dollars a week to women clerks. No woman, it was as- 
serted, could live on less than eight dollars. 

In the vast array of facts there were not overlooked the 
plight of many immigrant women, coming to Chicago alone, 
alighting in thronged railway stations with addresses of friends 
pinned to their clothing, lured away by cab-drivers, express- 
men, or panders, and eventually lost. Sometimes the addresses 
proved incorrect. Sometimes the women who had expected to 
be met by friends were defeated because the immigrant-trains 
had been sidetracked for other, richer, traffic. There were ter- 
rible stories between the lines. That beneficent agency, the 
Immigrants Protective League of Chicago, was not yet born. 

The situation of children was dwelt upon; the possible fate 
of little people who sold gum or candy or newspapers late at 
night under the red lights ; the moral destruction of messenger- 
boys ; the fact that in the Pirst Ward two hundred and ninety- 
eight boys and girls under twenty had been enumerated, living 
in dwellings that overlooked the back yards of disorderly 
houses. These were facts which officials found it hard to answer 
with the words, "The people should have their liberty." 

And there was one section which pointed forward to a mighty 
problem of later years. It described the establishment of vice- 
areas within, or adjoining, the settlements of Chicago's grow- 
ing population of negroes. These poor and bewildered people 
were represented as about one jump ahead of the spreading line 
of red lights. It was shown that a great majority of the em- 
ployees in resorts were black. And the children 1,475 boys 

345 



and girls were counted in the Negro settlement, polluted by un- 
sought contact with "the worst forms of bestiality." 

What should be done about it all? Segregate or not? The 
Mayor, remarking, "These conditions are with us ; to pretend 
that they do not exist is hypocrisy, 55 had called for a scientific 
study, and for recommendations as to the best method of con- 
trol. So the fifteen men and women of the commission gave them 
to him. They declared for a rigid suppression of the evil. Not 
only did they urge breaking up the segregated districts, but 
they called for an end of "protection," and an enforcement 
of the law, which was clear enough $200 fine for each keeper, 
the same for each inmate, the same for any one renting prop- 
erty for prostitution, the same for any one found in a resort. 
The commission asked the establishment of a Morals Commis- 
sion of five members and a Morals Court to deal exclusively 
and intelligently with persons arrested under those ordinances* 

But before the slow wheels of city legislation could turn, one 
four-year mayor had gone out sickened by tongues that 
wagged, it is said and another, of the opposite party, had 



come in. 



A Democratic mayor Harrison in a fifth term, after a 
victory over Prof. Charles Merriam sat in the fine new City 
Hall, while a Republican State's attorney served out his term 
in the dreary Criminal Court Building. He was John E. W. 
Wayman, known as a bright young lawyer, and, at the outset, 
as a "live" official, but nothing like as capable as his predeces- 
sor, John J. Healy, from whom he had taken a nomination 
after a contest that stirred much bitterness. 

Chicago's open brothels, so powerful a factor in its reputa- 
tion from the first, were beginning to go. In 1911 the Mayor 
closed the Everleigh Club, 1 most elegant and infamous bawdy- 



Harrison's attention was called to a pamphlet blazoning Chicago's 
fame in terms that enraged him ; declaring, in effect, "two things you must not 
miss: the stockyards and the Everleigh Club." Exploding, the mayor ordered 
the resort closed, over protests from police officials. 

346 



house of Twenty-second Street and probably of the whole 
world as well. Visiting European gentlemen said that it eclipsed 
anything of the sort in Paris. Transcontinental travelers mar- 
veled at its seductive distinction, its cultivated gentility, its six 
parlors each named for a different flower, each furnished in the 
color of its particular blossom and scented by a fountain that 
gave off the faint perfume of the chosen bloom. The creation 
of those decorous sisters, Minnie and Ada Everleigh, was, in its 
infamous way, a work of art, and the legend of its grandeur, 
of its inmates, some of whom, it is said, wore only evening 
gowns and discoursed politely on Oscar Wilde or Longfellow 
according to the abilities of the patrons, was one that had 
spread from coast to coast. In a lesser grandeur shone the 
resort of "Vic 55 Shaw. The mayor closed that also. 

The Arena Hotel, too, disappeared. For almost a generation 
this most aristocratic of assignation-houses, standing at 1340 
South Michigan Avenue, had been the resort of ultra-sophis- 
ticated sinners. Seen from without, it was only a three-story 
residence set well back from the sidewalk, its front door never 
opening, its blinds drawn. But in the rear was a courtyard 
which carriages, then, in time, automobiles, entered by a drive- 
way that passed under an arch, and at the side door the patrons 
were admitted by an attendant who politely turned his back 
that it might always be said that no attache of the Arena had 
ever looked upon the face of a lady guest. 

Other "houses, 55 somewhat less notorious across the world, 
winked out as Chicago cleansed its name. The major work, 
however, was yet to come. The autumn of 1912, the Vice Re- 
port having been doing its propaganda work for more than a 
year, found Wayman in a quarrel with a good many of the 
people who had thought him a white hope. He was seeking a 
renomination, and his actions were puzzling indeed. They cul- 
minated in a battle with the current grand jury, Wayman 
declaring the indictments it brought illegal, and calling it a 
runaway grand jury. 

A storm came down upon his head. Part of it came from the 

347 



Committee of Fifteen, a voluntary body composed of men like 
Clifford Barnes, its chairman, Julius Rosenwald, H. P. 
Crowell, of the Quaker Oats Company, and Harold H. Swift, 
youngest son of the great packer. Men like these had several 
years before financed the sleuthing of a young attorney named 
Clifford Roe, who proceeded to smash a far-spread syndicate 
of vice. Now they made it hot for the wavering Wayman, who 
was in discomfort as well because Mayor Harrison was pad- 
locking resorts, suspending police, and stirring up his Civil 
Service Commission. 

It was a sultry Summer for Wayman, nor was it improved 
by the fact that Virginia Brooks, a young woman leading a 
crusade in a tough southeastern corner of the county, was 
calling him names that hurt. Being of a somewhat theatrical 
turn of mind, she organized and led a parade through the 
Loop district at the end of September. Reporters not too strict 
about numbers said that they counted 10,000 persons in this 
odd procession, which included many children, and was embel- 
lished by floats as elaborate as are seen nowadays in a Cali- 
fornia carnival. Perhaps the prize-winner was a Viking Ship 
presented by the associated Norwegian churches. Twelve men 
in armor stood alongside the ship, dominated by a young man 
in pink tights representing the god Thor. So that there would 
be no mistake about him he carried a placard saying: "The 
Great God Thor with his hammer. The Norwegians will help 
smite the saloons." 

An anti-cigarette float read, solemnly, " 'The Cubs must cut 
out cigarettes, 5 says Murphy." Some of these allusions seemed 
irrelevant to Wayman, but the paraders got back on his trail 
at an Orchestra Hall meeting. 

Some weeks before this, another odd thing had happened. 
Philo Otis, secretary of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, a 
member of a very old Chicago family, and a man of strict views, 
asked an injunction against the owner of a building next to 
the one he owned in the Levee that was occupied by the Mid- 
aight Mission, He charged direct violation of the city ordi- 



nances. This, the first case of the kind in Illinois, resulted in 
a clear victory. The offending house was closed. The case was 
called the Appomattox of the war on open vice. 

Wayman, harassed, bristling from a colloquy with Chief 
Justice Olson and in a state of mind which, according to re- 
port, was the precursor of that in which he committed suicide 
some years later, flew into a passion. Threatened by a special 
grand jury, compelled to withdraw from a fight for renomina- 
tion, and peeved at the millionaire committee, he suddenly 
swore out warrants in the Municipal Court for a hundred and 
thirty-five dive-keepers, owners, and agents of property. 

There followed, at once, the most spectacular raids ever seen 
in Chicago's Levee. Battalions of detectives invaded the dis- 
tricts, especially on the South Side, where the most powerful 
resort-owners reigned* Keepers and inmates were jammed into 
patrol-wagons, except when favored ones among them a giant 
negress named Black Mag were allowed to ride to the police 
stations in their own shiny autos. A terrific clamor and a mid- 
night orgy filled the streets ; "good folk" who watched it looked 
on in dismay. Curiosity-seekers parked their cars near enough 
to see the grinning or weeping sinners being herded into Black 
Marias. Gangs of young men rushed up and down the streets 
breaking into empty houses or cracking the doors of places 
that had just put out their lights. The boom of Salvation 
Army drums, the gleam of their banners under flickering 
lights, amid the yelping crowds, added a strange touch to that 
Hogarthian night picture. 

Next day the quiet, well-behaved Chicagoan had another 
shock to his feelings. From some central headquarters of the 
underworld went out an order to the "slaves" like this : 

"Get on your loudest clothes and more paint than, usual and 
parade the streets." 

"Go to the residence districts, ring every doorbell ; apply for 
lodgings." 

"Get rooms only in respectable neighborhoods. 5 ' 

So into Michigan Avenue at four o'clock in the afternoon 

349 



poured a horde of women in silks or satins, wearing big plumed 
hats. It was said that some had not been outdoors in daylight 
for months. They tripped or staggered along, while parties 
in automobiles drew up to stare and the police stood helpless. 
Scarcely a house or flat in avenues south of the Loop missed 
a call from some woman pleading that she had "lost her home. 55 
Not one was taken in ; but on the other hand, when lodgings 
were offered by committees hastily formed, scarcely one would 
accept the invitation. 

The terrible picture faded as quickly as it came. One thing 
that drove it to the rear was the shooting of a candidate for 
President named Theodore Roosevelt in Milwaukee, the night 
of October 14. 

But, on returning to the front page, the segregation topic 
was batted back and forth; university presidents told their 
views ; sociologists everywhere were drawn into the argument ; 
a noted woman physician remarked, "A sin hidden is much 
better than a sin exploited." Brand Whitlock sent the sage 
word from Toledo that "there is no solution that does not pre- 
suppose human perfection. 55 Segregationists and anti-segrega- 
tionists fell upon each other, debating until a minister cried 
from his pulpit: "For the Lord's sake, let us have a rest! 
Shut up ! Let us get together without a word of publicity and 
look our problems in the face. 5 ' 

The vice-lords watched the turmoil unperturbed, with sneers. 
They filed bonds, and waited. 

One who felt the least concern was a burly duke of the vice- 
domain, James Colosimo. He was "pinched" almost with apolo- 
gies. His right-hand man, by the way, was one John Torrio, 
even then feared. An assassin was to have Colosimo's blood 
within a few years, and the crown was to pass to Torrio. He 
in turn was to hand it down to a young gun-fighter named 
Al Capone, alias Brown. 



350 



A few lines about the aftermath of the crusade : 

Mayor Harrison appointed a Council committee which can- 
vassed the same ground the Busse commission had covered at 
a cost of $20,000. The aldermen met, listened to testimony for 
weeks, were about to vote a pro-segregation report, but weak- 
ened and reported for "further investigation." 

Barratt O'Hara, lieutenant-governor under Dunne (the for- 
mer mayor, now head of the State), headed another body which 
investigated vice and low wages together. A decided change 
in wages of women resulted; unions of department-store em- 
ployees were formed. 

The Morals Court recommended by the Sumner group was 
established in the spring of 1913 and heard some five thousand 
cases in a year many before crowds of morbid sightseers. It 
was followed by a Court of Domestic Relations and a Boys 5 
Court. 

The Morals Commission had to await appointment by Mayor 
Harrison. He named at first a second deputy chief called Funk- 
houser, who lasted until Thompsonism put a blight upon every- 
thing of the kind. In 1915 Harrison named the Morals Com- 
mission. Confronted by the Committee of Fifteen with list after 
list of owners of resort-property, he gave the migrant resort- 
owners little rest. As his term drew to a close, it seemed that he 
discerned a change in public sentiment since the '80s, a revul- 
sion against restricted vice-districts under police supervision, 
and he declared, "Chicago is through with the segregated-vice 
idea." 

New slams at vice, prosecutions of crooked police, war on a 
"clairvoyants' trust" and upon those new terrors, "auto ban- 
dits" (one "Teddy" Webb was the worst) , broke, with a lot else, 
when Wayman was succeeded as State's attorney by Maclay 
Hoyne, grandson of Chicago's first city clerk. There was an 
almost continuous uproar about matters suggesting that, as 
Hoyne said, "Chicago's criminal world was increasing in power 

351 



from year to year, and growing bolder." True though this may 
have been, it was not then an international scandal. It was only 
part of a local turmoil which fascinated strap-hangers and 
brought guffaws from the man whom "Al" Smith has called 
"the fella on the sidewalk." 



8 

And all this time the city grew larger, more generous, more 
favored of the gods, more stately. 



352 



CHAPTER XV 



W, 



E now turn back to May, 1909, in order to quote a few 
words about a Chicagoan of considerable prominence, then and 
later: 

"Few men in the community have stirred conflicting enthusi- 
asms, prejudices, animosities, and altogether divided public 
opinion as has 'Billy 5 Lorimer. On one side he has been lauded 
as a wise and progressive statesman, and on the other de- 
nounced as a disreputable gang politician. . . . 

"Through all the praise and abuse Lorimer has maintained 
the same placid, benign attitude which by many is considered 
the secret of his success. A man who never lost his temper, who 
never has been heard to swear, who does not smoke or drink, 
who always spoke softly and kindly, Lorimer, with that patient, 
childlike countenance, those compassionate, drooping eyelids, 
has endured all and bided his time. Always observing appar- 
ently the doctrine of non-resistance, he has awaited oppor- 
tunity, rested while his enemies worked, listened while his rivals 
talked, and then blandly and gently led the way to the solu- 
tion he himself had planned." 

Thus the Chicago Tribune, in unusually benevolent mood. 
What called forth the statement was the fact that Billy 
Lorimer, while the Illinois Legislature was deadlocked at 

353 



Springfield in that May of 1909, had walked off with the 
biggest prize of his life, the chance to sit at the north end of 
the Capitol at Washington alongside of the veteran Shelby 
Cullom. 

Scarcely had he taken the oath of office before some of those 
in Chicago who considered him a disreputable gang-politician 
began planning to unseat the poor, harmless fellow. And this 
was finally done. 

2 

The story of the struggle covers a period of years, and be- 
longs to the nation as much as to one Great Lakes city. It 
makes a brief appearance here because the enmities it gener- 
ated are still forceful in that city, and because the antagonists 
on both sides were very interesting Chicago people. 

Take Lorimer, for instance. There have been glimpses of him 
in earlier pages as street-car conductor, as constable, as Con- 
gressman. What needs to be told now is that he, the son of a 
Scotch Presbyterian minister, was born in England in 1861 and 
was brought to Chicago when nine years old; that he and a 
brother were left three years later to support their mother and 
three sisters; that Billy, in that village-like Chicago of the 
'70s, sold newspapers and blackened boots on street-corners, 
painted signs, drove a truck for packing-firms, all this before 
he collected fares on the old Madison Street horsecars, and 
became a big man around the car-barns through organizing a 
Street Railway Employes Benevolent Association. He was a 
politician, even then in 1884, boosting James G. Blaine to 
people who rode on his platform in the chill October weather. 1 
Lorimer became an organizer, bringing together in his mother's 
kitchen some friends who formed the Sixth Ward Republican 
Young Men's Club. In those years he became known and ap- 
proved by Joseph Bidwill, a district leader. They learned much 
from each other. 

Without pursuing Lorimer through the mazes of Chicago 
i Knut Hamsun was a street-car **hand" in Chicago at about the same time. 

354 



politics to any extent, it becomes clear that he was of the very 
soil of the city. He was a boy among boys who formed early 
and enduring friendships, expressed in joint business ventures 
and political schemes. They cared nothing about the abstract 
science of government, nor about what their enemies in a 
"higher" sphere thought of them, nor about ethics. What they 
cared about was friendship and jobs, v 

So this group, dominated always by Lorimer, pushed its way 
up, regardless of the frowns of civic idealists, and laughing 
at buffets from the Democrats. Having once acquired power in 
the city and its suburbs, Lorimer developed ability as a maker 
of mayors, county officials, even governors; not overlooking, 
however, his own pay-check, for at thirty-five he was a Con- 
gressman. The mayors he "made," wholly or in part, were 
Washburne, Swift, and Busse. (He failed, much to his regret, 
to "put over" a shrewd, cold-blooded judge named Elbridge 
Hanecy.) His governors were Tanner, whom he boosted for 
state treasurer as early as 1894 and at whose right hand 
he sat in the Executive Mansion during the Yerkes warfare 
of 1897 and Richard Yates, for whom he stampeded the 
Springfield "love-feast" of 1899. Lorimer's county officials 
were legion, including John A. Cooke and John Linn, old 
friends whom he made court clerks, and who went to prison for 
taking too many fees; and Charles S. Deneen, who, though 
elected State's attorney on the Lorimer slate, soon broke away 
from him. Lorimer also "made" a senator, Albert J. Hopkins. 

Back there in the days when Yerkes was the target of "Hang 
him !" mass-meetings, Lorimer was his cool and reliable agent 
in getting votes for fifty-year franchises. When the drainage- 
canal was building, he had a contracting-firm which certainly 
got none of the worst of it on bids. He made money here and 
there ; he was "in" everything ; he was roasted and kicked ; his 
blond head rose again and again, bloody but unbowed, from 
newspaper attacks. His friends got into deep trouble, but no 
matter how it affected him, he strove to get them out. It was 
written, "It is part of Lorimer's philosophy of life that it 

355 



is no crime to cheat the law of its prey if that prey happens 
to be a friend." 

& 

As for his enemies, a list of them would nearly fill the rest 
of this volume. Suffice it to mention those whom he himself 
honored with special mention when he defended his claim to a 
Senate seat. 

He named President Taft, he named Theodore Roosevelt, he 
named William J. Bryan but the roster must again be lim- 
ited, this time to Chicagoans. Well, there was Governor 
Deneen, whom Lorimer had helped to make State's attorney, 
only to find that cheating the law of its prey would not be 
so easy as he expected. Then there were the editors of the 
Chicago Tribune, to whom Lorimer was disposed to refer 
vaguely as "the McCormicks and Pattersons." Robert W. Pat- 
terson was editor until just before the Lorimer scandal started, 
and Medill McCormick was publisher. Mr. Patterson died, 
Mr. McCormick became ill, and the control passed to Robert 
R. McCormick and Joseph Medill Patterson. Had Lorimer 
spoken of the "heirs of Joseph Medill," he would have been 
accurate. Then there was James Keeley, the militant manag- 
ing-editor of the paper, who had gained glory in company 
with Chief Justice Harry Olson, by pursuing to Africa a shiv- 
ering fugitive bank-wrecker named Paul 0. Stensland. 

Another "enemy" was Victor F. Lawson, editor and publisher 
of the Daily News. About the time when young Billy Lorimer 
was selling papers on the streets, Mr. Lawson, son of a pros- 
perous Norwegian who helped found Lincoln Park, was work- 
ing in the office of the Daily Skandinaven. While Lorimer was 
a conductor, Lawson, with M. E. Stone, was making the 
young Daily News a success. When the blond boss became Con- 
gressman, the brown-bearded Lawson was making two news- 
papers successful the Daily News and the Chicago Record. 
The views of the two men concerning civic duty, municipal 

356 



government, and social ethics were utterly irreconcilable. And 
though they were both churchmen, Mr. Lawson's religion took 
the form of devout membership in the old New England Con- 
gregational church, suggestive of Pilgrim worship. Mr. 
Lorimer did not greatly resemble a Pilgrim. 

Mr. Lawson fought with all the belligerency which underlay 
his calm exterior the machinations of Yerkes. Lorimer fought 
with his devious devices, his back-room conferences, and his 
friendships to make Mr. Yerkes richer. 

Now Mr. Lawson had an intimate friend named Herman 
H. Kohlsaat who, naturally enough, was among the "enemies" 
of Lorimer. Mr. Kohlsaat was a few years younger than Mr. 
Lawson, having been born in Ohio in 1853; his childhood was 
spent in the ancient Illinois metropolis, Galena. At fourteen 
he came to Chicago, where he became a carrier of Chicago 
Tribunes, then a cash-boy for Carson, Pirie, Scott and Com- 
pany, then a bakery salesman. He bought the lunchroom busi- 
ness of his firm, quickly formed his famous "string" of stool- 
and-counter lunchrooms, progressed both there and in his large 
bakery, and at forty was wealthy. He then bought a half- 
interest in the Inter Ocean, sold it and bought the Chicago 
Times-Herald and the Evening Post. He was in high pros- 
perity in 1901, when he took over Mr. Lawson's Record, sold 
the Evening Post to John C. Shaffer, and called his merged 
morning paper the Record-Herald. Selling this to Frank B. 
Noyes in 1902, Mr. Kohlsaat stayed out of the field for eight 
years, but in the Lorimer-scandal year of 1910, he returned 
to the fray, repurchasing the Record-Herald. 

A gentle soul and generous, a lover of club-talks, maker of 
newspapers that were too good for his purse Mr. Kohlsaat 
w;as in some ways a strange man to be chosen by destiny as 
agent of the coup de grace for Lorimer. Yet that was prac- 
tically the fact. 

These powerful publishers formed a group who, on a great 
many matters, managed to agree. They were of one mind, at 

357 



least during 1909-1912, concerning the infamy of Lorimer. 
Therefore he lumped them together in his category, and called 
them the "trust press," an enduring phrase! 

Of course there were the Hearst papers, morning and eve- 
ning. Lorimer did not say so much about them. Mr. Hearst was 
by way of being a Democrat. And lastly, there was the Inter- 
national Harvester Company, which was also, after a time, in 
the conspiracy which Lorimer deemed arrayed against him. 

4 

For the origins of the unremitting conflict between the anti- 
Lorimer publishers and the placid Billy himself, one would 
have to search far into the early factional quarrels and line-ups 
of Chicago. Doubtless one factor was the struggle to wrest from 
Yerkes his traction-monopoly. Others might be found in more 
intricate relationships, business and social, outside of which 
Mr. Lorimer always stood. The sober old furnishings of the 
Chicago Club might have told tales. The Chicago was not Mr. 
Lorimer's club. 

Whatever the cause, the group quietly dominated, off and 
on, by Mr. Lawson adviser of the hot-blooded Tribune crowd 
as well as of the rather talkative Kohlsaat did not like Mr. 
Lorimer. He became Senator, the potential dispenser of a vast 
patronage, much against their will. And unfortunately for him, 
the circumstances attending the selection of this would-be 
political Kaiser soon began to furnish ammunition for the 
allies. 

In April, 1910, the Tribune published a terrific scoop. It was 
the confession of a wretched Democratic Legislator named 
Charles A. White that Lee O'Neil Browne, chunky member 
from Ottawa, Illinois, had paid him $1,000 to vote for Lorimer 
as Senator, and that Representative Robert E. Wilson (for- 
ever after called Bathroom Bob) had handed him $900 in the 
bathroom of a St. Louis hotel. 

The Tribune was performing one of its big stunts. It had 
358 



joined with State's Attorney Wayman in checking up the facts, 
and within a week two others of the fifty-three Democrats who 
voted for Lorimer added their confessions. Browne was in- 
dicted for bribery, and within a fortnight his trial was begun. 

Events followed, in a tangled skein very expressive of mod- 
ern legal procedure, as well as of one side of Chicago social 
doctrine. A third confession, this time mentioning $2,500, was 
blurted out. The Browne jury disagreed; another jury ac- 
quitted him. A juror in this second trial related to a grand 
jury that he was bribed to vote "Not guilty." Charles E. Erb- 
stein, attorney for the defense, a lawyer whom criminals 
trusted for many reasons, was suspected, indicted, tried twice, 
and the second time acquitted. 

The Chicago fella on the sidewalk knew not what to make 
of it all. However, that fella had been fully able to understand 
and enjoy an episode that had happened a few months before, 
adorning the whole tragedy-comedy most delightfully. In Sep- 
tember, 1910, Theodore Roosevelt, out of the White House 
and restless to return, was invited to address the Hamilton 
Club of Chicago. He had been on a Western trip, and on the 
train whom should he meet but Mr. Kohlsaat. The publisher- 
baker told the ex-President some very pertinent facts about the 
blond boss. 

And so, when a committee of the club, in panoply of silk 
hats and braided coats, met Mr. Roosevelt at Freeport, he was 
ready with an unexpected question. 

"Is Senator Lorimer to be at the banquet?" he inquired. 

"He is a member of the club and has accepted an invitation," 
was the reply. 

"Then I must decline to go," snapped Roosevelt. 

He explained that he thought Lorimer as bad as the poor 
devils who took the graft. He insisted, it was recounted, on a 
telegram being sent to Lorimer "advising him of the situa- 
tion." This was done. And Lorimer stayed away. His only satis- 
faction was to hear, months later, one of his defenders say on 
the floor of the Senate: 

359 



"Theodore Roosevelt could enjoy a luncheon with Booker 
Washington, but could not afford to dine in the same room with 
William Lorimer." 



As 1911 came in, both the Illinois Senate and^the United 
States Senate appointed committees of investigation, A sub- 
committee of the latter exonerated Lorimer, but a minority 
headed by Beveridge opposed this. In March, despite all the 
long speeches and the even longer testimony, the Senate voted 
46 to 40 to let Lorimer stay. Among those who backed him 
was Chauncey M. Depew of New York. 

The fella on the sidewalk said, "I knew they'd never land 

that guy." 

But wait, it was now Mr. Kohlsaat's turn to play the 
"heavy" part. According to his own account on the witness- 
stand, Mr. Kohlsaat was walking to the Chicago Club one day 
to take luncheon when he met Clarence S. Funk, general man- 
ager of the International Harvester Company. They fell into 
conversation about the Lorimer case. In this casual talk Mr. 
Funk mentioned a rather startling fact. It was that a gentle- 
man had asked him, the month after Lorimer's election, for 
$10,000. "Well, we put Lorimer over down there at Spring- 
field and it cost us about $100,000," was what this gentleman 
had said so Mr. Funk told Mr. Kohlsaat. The $10,000 was 
to be one of a number of contributions to reimburse the 
$100,000 pooL 

"Of course, I don't want to be known in this matter," Mr. 
Funk warned the editor. 

Mr. Kohlsaat kept the story to himself. But a little later, 
he began printing on an inside page in the Record-Herald 
editorials very unfavorable to Lorimer. Finally, one editorial 
distinctly mentioned the $100,000. 

The committee in Springfield, headed by Senator Helm, 
hopped on this editorial. It summoned Mr. Kohlsaat. By the 
time he reached the witness-stand Mr. Funk authorized him to 
360 



tell all. Further, Cyrus McCormick, head of the International 
Harvester Company, had assented. Then Mr. Funk was called. 
He declared Edward Hines, lumberman, was the person who 
asked that the Harvester Company give $10,000 to reimburse 
the restive donors of the $100,000. 

"You people [of the Harvester Company] are just as much 
interested as any of us," were the words attributed to Hines, 
"in having the right kind of man at Washington." 

Mr. Funk refused politely, on behalf of the Harvester com- 
pany. 

The "probe" went on. Mr. Hines denied the story. Next, 
Edward Tilden, packer, was raked into the inquiry as reputed 
treasurer of this fund. Mr. Tilden got himself arrested for 
refusing to give up records ; he was released by habeas corpus. 
There was a succession of interesting witnesses before the Helm 
committee. Then the scene shifted again to Washington, where 
a new inquiry, stirred up by Senator La Follette, was ordered 
in June. 

To skip a wilderness of detail, including 5,000,000 words 
(actual estimate) of testimony and speeches, the second at- 
tempt to unseat Lorimer was successful. Senators, convinced 
by the new revelations, flopped over. The grave Shelby Cullom, 
who had been defeated for renomination because he stood by 
Lorimer in 1910, turned against him. The vote was 55 to 28. 
The case had dragged on to July 13, 1 



Surveying the musty record, the reviewer of today feels a 
certain depression over the thought of that long-continued 
burble of words, that sweating of miserable culprits, that 
shifting and always dreary scenery. So much rhetoric! Such 
digressions! Such wreckage! Even names that in those days 
evoked a thrill are today as the dead leaves. Indeed, the 
majority of the actors are in their graves, including Browne, 
who fell from his Ottawa back yard into the river not so long 

361 



ago, and Erbstein, who died of pneumonia, carrying many a 
secret with him into the dust. 

There rises most distinctly the figure of Lorimer, making his 
last speech, his face dripping with sweat in the heat of a Wash- 
ington July, his serenity gone, his sentences full of "Oh, my 
friends! 55 

He attacked Mr- Lawson as a tax-dodger on the strength 
of a clerical error long since explained. 

He attacked the Tribune because of its lease of school-prop- 
erty, the canceling of a revaluation clause, a matter upheld 
by the courts. 

He assailed Governor Deneen for having, when State's at- 
torney, retained the fees of office. 

He assailed Taft, Roosevelt, the State's attorney in Spring- 
field, the Harvester Company, and all the rest. 

Mopping his broad white brow, he shouted, "When you have 
driven me hence, beware ! The guillotine is there for you, as it 
is here for me/ 5 He said that had he been willing to enter the 
offices of the "trust press 55 as a suppliant he could have been 
their "white-haired boy. 55 With pathos he pictured success for 
a lake-to-gulf waterway, one of his pet ideas, and he not there 
to vote for it! 

In soft-violin tones, he referred to his family, saying, "When 
I return to my home, one look at their beautiful faces, one kiss 
from each, will be compensation for me." 

After the vote was announced, he walked toward the cloak- 
room with a smile. He came home to Chicago soon after, there 
to be met at the station by an automobile parade, with plac- 
arded cars and cheering occupants, and led by one of Lorimer's 
bright young men William Hale Thompson, 



The "trust press/ 5 the Tribune school-lease, Lawson's taxes, 
Deneen's fees these became themes sounded for years on the 
loud horns of political campaigners. If Lorimer did not create 
362 



these themes, he at least developed them like a master of coun- 
terpoint. He taught them to his pupils. William Hale Thomp- 
son learned to sing them forwards and backwards. And the old 
dream of a waterway, the useful old piece of ballyhoo he 
taught them that also. 

Lorimer was through, said the fella on the sidewalk. Instead, 
he had no sooner been buffeted from the Senate than he was 
scheming new schemes. He might have turned successfully on 
his enemies, some think, had it not been for another calamity. 

Shortly before the White confession, a blundering small- 
town man named Charles B. Munday had succeeded in interest- 
ing Lorimer in organizing a string of banks headed by the 
La Salle Street National. Lorimer became president and 
elicitor of funds from public treasuries to fatten his banks. 
Munday was vice-president and financier. "Oh, what a finan- 
cier!" Lorimer might have cried in a speech, had he been 
making speeches just then. 

Little interest attaches nowadays to the horrible details. The 
banks, especially the La Salle Street Trust and Savings into 
which the La Salle Street National had been converted were 
rotten with mismanagement, loans to politicians, and loans to 
Lorimer commercial ventures. After the crash in June, 1914, 
people recalled the closing of the John R. Walsh institution in 
1905, when the career of that old-time Chicagoan, railroad 
organizer, newspaper owner, was wrecked. The fact was re- 
vealed that when the two Lorimer banks were merged, their 
persuasive president had taken over to the Central Trust Com- 
pany his check for $1,250,000, and cashed it; the money was 
carted to the La Salle Street Trust and it was there, according 
to the law, when the State examiner called. After he had gone, 
it was carted back to the Central Trust. 

Much later, in official statements, officers of the latter bank 
explained that the transaction was following a custom of long 
standing. Its president, Charles G. Dawes, who was far from 
owing Lorimer any favors, political or otherwise, has repeat- 
edly told friends why help was authorized for the ex-Senator 

363 



who had worn a path from one bank to another to get the cash. 

"Why did you let him have the million? 55 a reporter asked 
Dawes in 1924^ when he was campaigning for Vice-President. 
"You believe he kept you from being Senator." 

"Oh," replied Dawes, "the poor devil was down and out." 

Few people at the time of the debacle were sorry for him. 
Depositors waited. Stockholders "shelled out." There were wails 
everywhere. On charges of looting the banks of nearly 
$2,500,000, and of breaking practically every banking-law, 
Lorimer, Munday, and others were indicted. The former was 
acquitted ; Munday went to prison. 

"He's done now," said the straphangers of the ex-Senator, 
purged of blame. 

He faded into the background, indeed. Perhaps it was time 
for younger men. He ate of bitterness, and he met the re- 
proaches of friends now impecunious. His great friend Busse 
a note for $20,000 signed by the ex-mayor was found in the 
bank died in debt that Summer, his death possibly hastened 
by worry. 

The interminable legalisms, receiverships, hearings, suits 
and counter suits, judgments, awards of a small per cent, to 
stockholders and depositors the creditors* final loss was sixty- 
one cents to the dollar dragged on through more years. After 
a while nobody read the papers to find the latest on the Lorimer 
banks. 

Europe went to war. 



364 



CHAPTER XVI 



A 



COUPLE of strange "character actors 5 ' now enter the spec- 
tacle. 

One is James A. Pugh, a mayor-maker; the other Fred 
Lundin, would-be President-maker. 

Following them is to be introduced, in the midst of the trag- 
edies and the chaos of a war of many nations, the mayor of 
Chicago whom the two, counseled by the hero of the previous 
chapter, created, and over whom they quarreled. 

a 

Pugh was the loquacious one, the back-slapper, of the two. 
His unconscious play of humor, closely allied to pathos, con- 
sisted in his hero-worship, his naive faith in his strapping play- 
mate, Thompson, of whom he said years ago, in character- 
istically unprintable language, "He's the est 

of a man who ever grew up in Chicago." It was said in the 
tone of a compliment. 

They knew each other as very young men. Thompson, 
though a Bostonian by birth (1869) had been brought to 
Chicago in his infancy. His father, Col. William Hale Thomp- 
son, was by that time wealthy enough so that William, Jr., 

365 



could enjoy elegant leisure. However, according to his cam- 
paign biographies, he sold papers and did odd jobs so as to 
keep out of mischief. Later he was cook and foreman on a 
Wyoming cattle-ranch. 

Pugh, born in Wales four years earlier than ^Thompson, 
became a promoter, a schemer of warehouse-projects on the 
lake-front. He made money and spent it on things like speed- 
boats, yachts and aristocratic dogs. A good while before he 
experimented with politics, he built four motor-boats called 
Disturber I, II, III and IV. The last one, the experts said, 
would run sixty miles an hour, "if," said Pugh, "she don't bust 
herself. 35 She did neither. 

Happily, and without the cares of state, "Jim" Pugh and 
"Bill' 5 Thompson in those days sailed the blue bosom of Lake 
Michigan. Of the two, it is testified by experts, Thompson was 
the better skipper. 

"Say what you like of him," declare old yachtsmen, "Bill 
could sail a boat." 

They were blithe companions in the yacht-club rooms, in 
hotel bars, in athletic-club billiard-rooms. Pugh was Thomp- 
son's superior, mentally and also physically, although a good 
many inches shorter in stature. Bill, say intimates of both, had 
a touch of awe of this rough Welshman, who could outtalk him 
any time. Yet they played about serenely together, except when 
they were too exhilarated. One evening, it is related, Pugh 
chased Thompson in and out of several hotel and office build- 
ings, in a fury over something or other; lounge lizards and 
loiterers at bars were convulsed to see a chunky bull-calf of a 
man pursuing a giant athlete through swinging doors and out 
into alleys. 

At some time in those early days, Thompson loaned $25,000 
to Pugh to save one of his warehouse-projects from calamity. 
Almost that exact amount, the Welshman declared years later, 
he spent of his own funds to help elect Thompson mayor. 
Others have estimated his expenditure at ten times $25,000. 

Toward 1915 he was prosperous. He had a warehouse- 

366 



scheme in which Lundin had joined him, and the stock sold 
well. In those days Pugh, known to yachtsmen everywhere, not 
omitting the veteran Sir Thomas Lipton, wore diamonds, $20 
shoes, fur coats ; he had a house on Sheridan Road, a magnifi- 
cent red automobile, and a $2,000 bulldog which sat haughtily 
on the seat by the chauffeur. 

When he died on his Michigan farm a few years ago, there 
remained in addition to that property, which he had deeded 
to his secretary, an estate of $10,000. 

3 

Lundin's comedy was more subtle, and at the same time was 
related not so much to naivete as to the sinister humor of the 
anterooms of legislative halls, or the littered hotel-chambers 
of political conferences. 

It pleased the newspapers at one time to picture him as a 
mystery man, but there never was any mystery either about 
his activities or about his mentality. Everybody who knew any 
history knew that he had been an admired member of the 
Lorimer political group as far back as his twenties and that 
was as long ago as the World's Fair. Everybody who recog- 
nized eccentricity, such as Chicagoans most enjoy, could iden- 
tify the mental processes which made him wear, in a city where 
most men dressed as alike as two magazine "ads," a long black 
frock coat, a stiff -bosomed white shirt, an artist's flowing bow- 
tie, a pair of conspicuous colored glasses, and a hat with an 
egregiously broad brim. That was his custom from early man- 
hood to middle life. Not only had he not forsaken it, but he had 
become proud of it. More consistent in his f reakishness than in 
his political alliances, he chose to be stared at in Chicago streets 
because of his clothes, although his strange, cat-like nature 
bade him retire to obscure hotel rooms, use the telephone spar- 
ingly, and be very careful what checks he signed. 

The uniform was a perpetual reminder of the days when 
he had driven up and down the remoter streets of Chicago in a 

367 



wagon drawn by a single horse, selling a soft drink of his own 
invention called Jumper Ade. He took with him a pair of ne- 
groes with banjos, who would lure a crowd by sentimental dit- 
ties. Then to the open-eyed circle, under the glare of torches, 
Lundin would extol the "delightful and refreshing beverage" 
which he had for sale. 

Lorimer scouts marked him out as a person with qualities 
greater than those of a medicine-man. The blond leader admit- 
ted him to counsel, took him away (politically) from blunt, 
one-legged Henry Hertz, North Side boss, and proceeded to 
"make something of him. 55 He made him a State Senator at 
twenty-six, and found him adroit in framing small Senate bills 
annoying to corporations. Lundin was useful in the great 
Yerkes conflict in 1897, to which so many Chicago relation- 
ships and ructions run back. He made himself strong in the 
seventh Congressional district, and in 1910 captured a seat 
in the national House of Representatives. At the other end of 
the Capitol Lorimer was trying to hold onto his own place. The 
two old friends, both of religious inclinations, roomed together 
in the Washington Y. M. C. A. 

Somewhere along the line, principally in those vivacious 
early conferences of politicians now grown elderly and scarred, 
Lundin became the associate not only of Lorimer, but of men 
whose exploits have been described in thousands of newsprint 
columns: Such statesmen as Len Small and Michael J. Fah- 
erty. Nor did the ex-medicine-man lack opportunity to know 
the promising youth who, with his athletic record, his social 
abilities, and Ms father's money, might prove supremely useful 
as the occupant of a big office even the mayoralty. 

Lundin very carefully cultivated Thompson. There was a 
club where Bill was a hero, where he was the honor guest at 
dinner. Fred always managed to be there. He was a busy man, 
but he got around to the dinners. 

Thompson noticed this loyalty of a gentleman so distin- 
guished, and liked Lundin more and more. Whenever possible, 
368 



the gawky man with the wide, humble smile * would whisper in 
the ear of the tall, handsome, susceptible Thompson that he 
was destined for great affairs. "Even," with a toothy grin, 
"the White House." 

In the meantime, Jim Pugh, the old yachting friend, con- 
tinued to picture, without quite such broad flattery, the good 
which Thompson could do Chicago were he mayor. 

"Boss of the greatest city in the world; how would you like 
that?" 

For the time being, the prospect was enough* 

4 

There was a war in Europe. The news of it had come to the 
busy, sufficient-unto-the-day, Anglo-Saxon Chicagoan, know- 
ing nothing of Europe's intrigue or anxieties, as something in- 
credible, a bad dream. Within a short time he began to ap- 
preciate it as a spectacle, to enjoy following the communiques 
and sticking pins in maps. He learned much geography and 
the pronunciation of the names of French generals. 

The realities became more vivid to this Chicagoan when he 
began to sense in the air he breathed a tension of nationalistic 
feeling. If he had not thought about the "foreigners" and 
about how deeply ran their blood-tie with Europe, he thought 
about it now. Not only did he find German, French, English ac- 
quaintances citizens of those countries and reservists being 
summoned across the sea to fight, but there was reflected to 
him the rising war mood, the basic war hates, of many who did 
not go. It was mostly unintelligible to him, the reason why 
people who had become Americans, and were prospering here, 
should so bitterly take sides about the beastly doings of a lot 
of countries whose bondage they had escaped . . . Well, he 
could understand how the English felt. But as for the Ger- 
mans, French, Poles, Italians, he thought they were fanatics* 
i He called himself "the poor Swede," also, at times, "insignificant me." 

369 



Why not take it coolly? Why not profit by it, as some business 
men were beginning to do? The war could not last long, any- 
way. Already, in the Winter of 1914-1915, there was talk of 
the great peace- jubilee to be held in Chicago soon ; a big chorus 
of singers, etc., etc. . . . 

The politicians saw further into the minds of the foreign- 
born than did the ordinary citizen. They knew more about the 
race-divisions, the numerical percentages, and the way differ- 
ent peoples generally voted. Not only were they unofficial 
census-takers, but they were psychologists. With some satisfac- 
tion they saw the cleavages developing in a society which the 
less active-minded Chicagoan dreamily supposed to be pretty 
well Americanized and solidified. They noted, and fanned, the 
sparks of prejudice, the growing flames of allegiance to this 
"old country 55 or that, this group or that, which began to array 
Teuton against Latin, which so disturbed many of the placid 
Scandinavian groups, which divided even nationalities like the 
Germans into those who repudiated Emperor William II, and 
those who clung to his image. 

The little politicians listened to pitiful stories of men and 
women of foreign origin whose relatives were being killed, shed 
a crocodile tear, and passed on the news to the big politicians. 
The latter filed the interesting data in a drawer marked "war 
hates," to be drawn upon at a later day. 

Foxy leaders like Fred Lundin overlooked none of the valu- 
able new facts, the new influences upon voters, that were com- 
ing to light. But the time was not yet ripe to use them. 



The program was to introduce gingerly, and by tactics that 
would not create alarm, the carefully instructed and properly 
flattered William Hale Thompson into a complex local war- 
fare over the control of Chicago affairs. The thing had to be 
done with care, not only to avoid awakening the slumbering 
370 



voter and diverting the war fans from their maps but also 
to avoid reminding people of the defeats the Lorimer-Lundin 
element had quite recently suffered. They had, in 1912, sought 
to cover the retreat from Washington by organizing the Lin- 
coln Protective League which the "trust press 5 ' persisted in 
calling the "Lorimer-Lincoln" League. The State ticket so 
headed was crushed by the voters, and not alone by Wilson 
voters. Moreover, in that same defeat, William Hale Thomp- 
son failed to gain the place on the board of review for which 
the League nominated him. There had followed this, too, a 
Republican Club of Illinois, to which Bill was persuaded to 
contribute rather liberally, and it had not outlasted the odium 
of the Lorimer bank failures. 

So, although Pugh and his friends were talking persuasively 
to yachtsmen, boxing-followers, and old-time football fans who 
had seen Thompson play tackle on the C. A. A. team of the 
'90s, it was deemed imprudent to release the complete news of 
how mighty a man Thompson was. Lundin, who, though mak- 
ing money as Pugh's partner, was awaiting the best moment to 
shoo him away, let the athletes organize. He let a campaign 
be started, without too many brass bands, to run Thompson 
in the primaries against Harry Olson, and against Charles M. 
Thomson, who represented the remains of the Bull Moose move- 
ment in Chicago Republicanism. 

Lundin also waived objection to Thompson's platform, the 
planks of which most interesting to a reader of the present 
were : 

"I will suppress crime, drive the crooks out of Chicago, and 
make the streets safe for men, women, and children. I will pro- 
tect women from insult in public places. 

"I will put the public schools under a business administra- 
tion. 

"I will lead to resurrect the spirit 'I wil? for a greater Chi- 
cago." 

The platform was passed around from hand to hand of the 

371 



Lorimer-Lundin conferences, whose gang of would-be payroll- 
ers was waiting to rush to the City Hall, and was greeted with 
chuckles. It was handed about at dinners of the Pugh athletic 
group, while the candidate, flushed and blinking, sat at the 
head of the table, nodding : 

"Sure, that's my platform." 

There were slaps on the broad back. 

"You'll win by 40,000, Bill," 

But not much of this was revealed to the readers of pro- 
Olson newspapers, since for the most part they treated Thomp- 
son as a minor candidate. The real conflict seemed to be on the 
Democratic side, between Mayor Harrison, seeking nomina- 
tion for a sixth term, and Robert M. Sweitzer, a pleasant 
county official backed by Roger Sullivan, and a Roman Cath- 
olic* 

Thus, while the trench warfare of the 1914-1915 Winter was 
proceeding in Europe, while generals schemed out Spring of- 
fensives and the Kaiser's naval strategists were preparing for 
the reign of terror on the ocean lanes, Thompson's backers so 
managed things that only small-bore artillery was used against 
him. Newspapers reviewing the candidates could say nothing 
worse than that he was a Lorimer follower. They gave casual 
publicity to his promise that he would be personally^ respon- 
sible for the conduct of the police force, and they printed, in 
small type, "He says he will not use the people's money to 
build up a machine." It was a political contest, and little else. 
The big bosses played chess. The voters . . . 

This primary election, in which Chicago women for the first 
time voted for mayor, was held in February. Thompson "nosed 
out" Olson. The editors were so surprised that they declared 
that only the official count could decide the result. The official 
count showed that Thompson won by 2,508. 

On the Democratic side Sweitzer defeated Harrison more 
decisively. The Mayor prepared, after all those years, to re- 
sign his place. A new deal was in sight, and why not? Only 
here and there was a plaintive voice heard like that of the 
372 



"poet" who, perhaps thinking of the father as well as the son, 
wrote lines under the title, "Harrison's Farewell," lines begin- 
ning: 

"Oh, its good-bye, old Chicago, farewell to the City 

Hall. 

Sorry I've got to leave you, but it's written on the 
wall." 

Sung to the tune of "Tipperary." 



Chicago did not know what was happening to it that Spring. 
Heavy shocks came from across the water. Ships were sunk. 
England blockaded Germany. Hindenburg rose like a vast 
shadow of Thor on the eastern horizon, and peace looked far- 
ther away. Thousands of men walked the streets of Chicago, 
idle, as in the days of 1893-1894. 

In the whirl of new motives and new worries, it was easy for 
the political chess-game, played without regard to the public 
welfare, without the slightest sincere concern for anything but 
power, to run on, move after move. Only a few out of some 
2,500,000 people bothered to know that Thompson had a 
"Lorimer past" ; few thought about old grudges like those re- 
sulting from the 1904 campaign, when Deneen had neatly 
beaten Frank Lowden (Lorimer's preference) for governor; 
few understood how quickly such quarrels could be silenced. 

The war-map fans glanced at paragraphs on the fourth page 
of the evening papers telling how angry Harrison was at Roger 
Sullivan because of the February result, and how, before that, 
Sullivan had been angry at Harrison because Larry Sherman 
beat him for the Senatorship. 

Who cared about a war of political bosses, when the kings 
of Europe were .covering the land with blood, and people could 
read items like, "The German losses now are estimated at 
1,800,000"? 

373 



Soon, however, the fight between two home-boys to be 
mayor began to emerge into a louder, more wordy phase, which 
distracted the citizen from his gazing across the Atlantic. The 
campaign grew hotter. The candidates began to shout from 
the stump the vituperations carefully taught them by the 
bosses. Sweitzer raked up Lorimerism. Thompson countered 
with the charge that if good-natured Bob were elected, Roger 
Sullivan would be the real boss of the city. Sweitzer discovered 
inconsistency in Thompson's speeches : 

"He talks church, home, and civil service in Hyde Park; in 
the First and Second Wards it is, fi l am for prize-fights, dice- 
games and jobs for you colored boys. 5 " 

Sweitzer learned later that, in both places, Thompson was 
believed. 

Broad-shouldered Bill developed unexpected skill with an 
audience. Then, as in later campaigns, his appearance on a 
platform, high-colored, grinning, the warm-hearted, magnetic 
friend of everybody, clear to the back row, would rouse mad 
huzzahs. He adopted the eight-gallon hat. "When I rode to the 
range, 35 fell into his speeches, which came to be an amazing 
jumble about street-car fares, subways, promises of police re- 
form, slams at Roger Sullivan, and fragments of things touch- 
ing on national issues. The crowds sat goggle-eyed and admir- 
ing as he soared into regions of economics, severely blaming 
Wilson and the Democrats for "the present industrial depres- 
sion/ 5 and reviving from a past era the phrase, "the full dinner 
pail. 55 (Tremendous applause.) He would quote figures sagely 
from a slip of paper. He hesitated at none of the most perplex- 
ing questions of national statesmanship and approval came to 
him in waves, not only from the anxious dolts on the floor, but 
from educated logicians who sat, with folded arms, on the plat- 
form behind the water-pitcher. 

It was a matter of life and death for the Republican leaders 
to elect Thompson mayor, or at least to elect a Republican 
mayor. It was life and death for the Democrats to win. 
374 



While the world was whirling into hell, while, moreover, the 
city of Chicago was suffering from its same old diseases lazy 
government, crooked police, stupid smoke-inspectors, dirty 
streets and litters of garbage the leaders on the Democratic 
side dropped everything to carry their feuds to the bitter end. 
Prom the Republican side came the voice of Mr. Deneen, 
saying : 

"Let us forget our differences. [Meaning the row in Repub- 
lican ranks.] We must return to the old American policy of 'the 
majority rules,' if our party is to be restored to power. [In 
1916.] 

"Mr. Thompson comes from one of our oldest and best- 
known families. . . . He has character, energy, knowledge, 
and experience. . . ." 

Mr. Deneen hoped that this would be the first of a long line 
of political victories that would "restore the Republican party 
to control of the city, the county, the State and the nation." 
(Long continued applause.) 

The bosses now took out of the drawer marked "war hates 55 
a few of the squirming specimens there concealed. The Demo- 
crats worked up an apparently passionate movement for 
Sweitzer among the Germans. (About the same time, some of 
the more fiery Germans were holding meetings and crying out, 
"God punish England !") Sweitzer pro-Germanism proved to 
be a mistake. Before it could be stopped, it was turned into a 
weapon for that pure-blooded American, Thompson. Clubs 
with badges, "Unser Wilhelm fur Biirgermeister, 5 ' did not 
work so badly. 

Religious hates were dragged in along with war hates. No 
one said a word against bigotry. It was useful. It was the duty 
of party leaders, in order that the ranks be kept solid for 1916 
no matter what became of Chicago to uncork the vials in 
which hissed the hottest chemicals such a city knows. From the 
Lundin-Pugh-Thompson office issued bales of secret circulars 
reviling Sweitzer's Catholicism, insulting the Pope, and decry- 

375 



ing Sullivan both as a Catholic and because of an old, faded 
scandal, Ogdto gas. From the Democratic printing-presses 
were ground out roorbacks to the effect that Thompson had 
promised to drive Catholic teachers from the schools. The 
Thompsonites smuggled into mail-boxes charges that Sweitzer 
would fill the schools with adherents of the Pope. 

Everything grew frenzied. Women, hectic in their first may- 
oralty battle, organized clubs on both sides. They sat in the 
galleries of theaters and hissed opposition candidates at meet- 
ings, A Can't Stand for Thompson Club of women paraded. 
A pro-Thompson rival shrilled references to somebody named 
"Barney" Grogan. It got so that the doors of noon rallies 
would be crashed by mobs of enemies, and the steel curtains 
had to be rung down. 

"Full dinner-pails! . . . The Pope! . . . Lorimer! . . . 
Wide-open town." 

Thompson was the champion of decency. Clergymen prayed 
for him. He was a Protestant, anyhow . . . 

Thompson would get back jobs for thousands. The unem- 
ployment was terrible, and it was aggravated by a building- 
trades deadlock almost as bad as that of 1900. There was an 
Industrial Commission appointed by Mayor Harrison, which 
had recommended many things, plans thoughtfully worked out 
by a great humanitarian, Prof. Charles R. Henderson ; he died 
of overwork on this task. The mob scarcely noticed his name. 

Thompson, Thompson, would fill the empty pails ! 



On the Saturday night before the election, there was staged 
a boisterous Sweitzer parade in the Loop. It was a nightmare 
of gaudy floats, bands, the county Democracy in silk hats, 
braying auto-horns, sidewalk fights, and drunkenness. Thomp- 
son men sought to break the ranks. A band of sixty in cow- 
boy hats raged up and down under the bright electric lights of 
the Bialto. . . . Flags were torn from cars, coats were torn 
876 



from Democratic backs. The carnival went on until late hours. 
The saloons were packed. Harpies picked the pockets of 
drunken men. 

And so this was what the town would be like under Sweitzer, 
reasoned quiet folk, moralists, and Republicans. 

To the polls on the April day swarmed woipen voters in 
great numbers to their first big local election. A vast majority 
of the registered men and women jammed the booths, bursting 
with emotion over religion, morals, or political bossism. Demo- 
cratic leaders caused their droves of sheep to vote for Thomp- 
son in large numbers. 

And so it was a landslide. Sixty-one per cent, of the women 
(while incidentally electing a better City Council than Chicago 
had seen since 1897) cast their ballots for Thompson. 

When the votes were counted, the creature of Pugh and his 
Sportsman's Club, also the political adopted son of Lundin and 
Lorimer, was found to have captured Chicago by a plurality 
of more than l^OOO. 1 

iThe Chicago political writer, Paul R. Leach, contributes this reminiscence: 

"Receiving the returns that night in a room in Hotel La Salle were three 
men, Pugh, Thompson, and Lundin. Pugh was at the 'phone. 

" 'Bill, you old son of a ' Pugh shouted, slapping Thompson on the back, 

'I always knew you'd do it !' 

" 'Mistah Mayah,' said the suave Lundin, offering his limp hand, 'allow me 
to congratulate you.' 

"From that moment, friends of Pugh say, dated the downfall of Pugh as 
Thompson's closest adviser, and the ascendancy of Lundin. Flattery did it. 
Those who have remained close to Thompson today never call him 'Bill,' nor 
even Mayor. It is Mr. Mayor." 



877 



CHAPTER XVII 



11 E sat at the great glistening desk, in a room banked with 
flowers. To the casual eye, he was a healthy, normal, and earnest 
being. He was impressive, he was even handsome, with his sleek 
black hair, so faintly touched with gray, his warm black eyes, 
his height. Good, amiable man. And lucky ! 

Head of the government of a city of 2,500,000; the city in 
which his father had believed and for which his father had 
toiled. Mayor of Chicago, with congratulations raining in ; of a 
pleased city pleased, anyhow, to have the latest fight over 
a united party, with the approval of business men, the worship 
of a multitude of spirited friends. Mayor of Chicago, with a 
chance to make greater and greater a city which he truly be- 
lieved to be glorious. 

Thompson at forty-six! 

He would be a good mayor. He would include in his broad 
vision "all the manifold interests" of such a metropolis. Lead- 
ing business men were to be his advisers ; he asked for their co- 
operation. Thompson would not build a machine not he. Nor 
would he let the street-car companies raise their fares, not a 
cent. 

This calm and smiling Thompson, confronted just after his 
378 



term began by a strike of the street-car men, drew together the 
contending chiefs and smiled them to a settlement. "He acted 
with unfailing good humor and common sense," said a contem- 
porary chronicle. Chicago, which had spent several half -en joy- 
able days getting to work by impromptu buses, by catching 
rides, by pedestrianism, hailed the settlement with relief. 
Thompson was hero for a day. 

Again, when the excursion-steamer Eastland keeled over in 
the river, costing the lives of hundreds more than were lost in 
the Iroquois fire, the mayor was keenly on the job. That is, he 
was " junketing,' 5 but he hurried back on a special train. He 
was prompt to appoint a relief-committee, to stimulate Chi- 
cago's outpouring of money for the families of victims. On be- 
half of the city he publicly resented the calmness of a Cabinet 
officer who seemed indifferent to the slack Federal inspection 
of lake steamers. He spoke for the people. He was a Mayor ! 

It was in those days the people dubbed him "Big Bill, 35 in 
affectionate Windy City language. 

Ambitions whirled in his brain; visions of mighty deeds for 
Chicago. A new city booster, in direct succession yet how dif- 
ferent from William Bross and John Stephen Wright, had 
come forth to lead the "I will" chorus. He was louder than his 
predecessors, and his voice was supported by the powerful new 
devices of a great publicity-age electric signs, glistening cars, 
"ads" brilliant with color and ingenuity, soon an imperfect in- 
vention called' radio. 

The magnificence of Chicago, its greatness, past and future 
and, not forgotten, that waterway! thrilled Big Bill, di- 
verted him from slow, careful tasks like city bookkeeping. He 
talked like a super-real-estate man, and sometimes like a 
prophet. It was in his blood. 

Within a few years and he may have been planning it even 
then he was to inspire a sort of miniature World's Fair. He 
and his crowd organized on the Municipal Pier a celebration 
called the Pageant of Progress, in which anxious business men 

879 



joined (the times being very bad) in order to exhibit their 
wares. There were parades, circus stunts, and general uproar 
followed by another uproar in the courts and out when it was 
found that city officials had an interest in a concession monop- 
oly. "This great permanent exhibition" ran for two years only 
(1921 and 1922). 

Back there in 1915 Thompson burst upon the Chicago scene, 
a huge figure emitting jokes the crowd could understand, a 
glittering drum-major for a brass band any merchant was glad 
to join. 

Powerful politically, he dared to issue an official order no 
mayor had attempted for more than forty years closing 
the saloons on Sunday. A great publicity idea! A "national 
stunt." The cries of cheated saloon-men died away harmless 
outside the City Hall windows. 

Bill was boss. At the same time, Lundin was the "man be- 
hind." And as for Pugh, he was now a discarded friend. 



380 



CHAPTER XVIII 



ITHIN a period that seems like the leap from noon to mid- 
night, Chicago found itself in the war. 

The situation was not simple. There were close to half a mil- 
lion people of German birth or ancestry living in the city. 
There were a good many thousands belonging to other nation- 
alities who, secretly or not, sympathized as much with the Prus- 
sian cause as with the opposition. There were those excited by 
the recent overthrow of Czar Nicholas. The word "anarchist" 
came back, soon to be replaced by "Bolshevik." In addition, 
there was a large group, or coalition of groups, which honestly 
objected to the entrance of the United States into the world- 
conflict. Chicago's immense family of human beings, who had 
been through so many crises together, and who had accom- 
plished so much despite petty tiffs around the breakfast-table, 
was now to show what would happen in the face of perhaps the 
severest test of all. 

What sort of commotion could be expected, in a community 
so mixed, in one where men "spoke right out," where every fel- 
low was as good as the next, and knew it? How wholeheartedly 
would the Chicago which, with its suburbs, had given Wilson 
217,528 votes in 1916 as a peace-keeper support him in a war 
abroad? Would there be Copperheads and draft-riots now? 

381 



There were no riots. There were no parades of protest. In- 
stead, through the anxious fortnight before the declaration by 
Congress, when lawyers debated whether a state of war existed, 
Chicago became military on the theory that such a state did 
exist. The aldermen, the universities, and business bodies galore 
declared for universal military training. National Guard regi- 
ments were mobilized, and left for "an unknown destination." 
Youths from Gold Coast families eagerly sought recruiting- 
stations. The owners of yachts entered them for a flotilla of 
sub-chasers; William Hale Thompson's Tuinga headed the 

list. 

Indeed, the roar of "Uphold the President!" quite drowned 
out the voices here and there including those of two Chicago 
Congressmen raised by people who doubted "whether the 
present provocation would justify a declaration of war." (The 
provocation, of course, was the loss of American lives at the 
hands of the submarine fiends.) Men who pulled down the Stars 
and Stripes got black eyes. "Disloyal" grumblers got jostled on 
street-cars. Suspected "alien enemies" were jailed. Some of 
them were innocent enough, it turned out. The pronunciamento 
of the Loyal Legion, calling for the resignation of one Con- 
gressman, was more conspicuous than the resolutions of the 
Chicago Federation of Labor asserting that "the common peo- 
ple do not want war," and declaring that armed neutrality was 
enough* 

Bugle-calls sounded in the early sunlight on the last day of 
March. All day, along boulevards and under the thronged win- 
dows of skyscrapers, passed parades of men in uniform, and 
joyful bands. The Loop flowered with recruiting-banners, and 
silken Stars and Stripes floated like brilliant clouds overhead. 
Then in the evening three thousand people swarmed into the 
Auditorium, while thousands more beat at the doors. Governor 
Lowden, with his booming voice, hurled to the topmost bal- 
conies his appeal to stand by the President; Bishop Samuel 
Fallows, the tears coursing his ravaged face, spoke, and was 



echoed by loud "Amens." Bryan was hooted as a pacifist. The 
sedate Harry Pratt Judson, university president, read resolu- 
tions which were adopted with a shout. A lone woman heckler 
was silenced. 

In these days there were crammed together the framing of 
the draft-legislation ; the scramble of headlong youth to enlist 
before conscription ; the turning loose of furious young women 
to shame slackers ; the organization of the councils of defense ; 
hot demands like that of the Bohemians to tear out of school 
textbooks a page that praised the Kaiser, striking resolves like 
those of James A. Patten and others to quit speculation in 
grains ; a leap in prices, and a strike of bakers to boot ; a decla- 
ration by wealthy women, of whom Mrs. J. Ogden Armour was 
one, that they would trim household budgets. 

There was a mystery, a disturbance, in the air. Newspapers 
were feeling the first censorship. Government and State agents 
were rounding up possible spies, and turning most of them 
loose. A cook in a swagger club was conspicuous among these. 
There was a mild heckling of German symphony-orchestra 
players ; and a rash public-school teacher, who in a pamphlet 
called the war unpopular, was suspended, the door slammed on 
him, and "Benedict Arnold" flung at his stubborn head. 

The war was the most popular thing in Chicago. 



How, then, explain the attitude of the Mayor of Chicago, 
who loved popularity above all else? 

While Washington moved toward the final decision, he had 
been shaking his large head, doubtful about things which to 
most others seemed clear enough. He doubted the propriety 
of pinning yellow ribbons upon slackers at the marriage bu- 
reau, where applications by hundreds mounting to as many 
as four hundred a day were swamping the clerks. Facing 
questions about endorsing the expected draft, he kept an odd 
silence. 
JEIad he really been thinking of German sentiment, he must 



have given at least some attention to utterances like that of the 
Illinois Staats Zeitung, leading daily, whose editorial "admits 
that the German government has sinned, and condemns the 
government for those sins. There is only one kind of thought 
and action for every loyal American citizen: Stand by the 
Stars and Stripes.'* 

The Mayor, flying in the face of the city and possibly that 
of Providence too, became more emphatic. He issued a pam- 
phlet, when passage of the draft-bill became certain, opposing 
that measure and also objecting to supplying foodstuffs to the 
allies. This, he argued, would bring starvation to the American 
workingman. The brochure was read with astonishment. 

Then came the stiU celebrated "Joffre incident." No sooner 
had the stalwart and placid general, accompanied by gesturing 
Viviani, reached American shores than cities tumbled over each 
other, asking for visits. The mayors of these cities uniformly 
presented the invitations. Thompson was silent. His silence be- 
came prolonged enough to attract notice by newspaper men, 
who, as one of them has written, "supposed at first that the 
Mayor's attitude was more a matter of indolence than any- 
thing else." The City Hall reporters kept at him, however, and 
on the third day, about three weeks after the declaration of 
war, the brooding thoughts of the Mayor found utterance. 

"It is possible," he said the accounts of the interview agree, 
word for word "that a portion of the citizens of Chicago 
might not be wildly enthusiastic over it" [a visit from the 
French mission] . 

He gave out the news that he had asked the corporation 
counsel, his staunch friend, Samuel Ettelson, for an opinion 
about his authority to extend the invitation. The next day, 
more of what was on his mind came out, 

"Are these distinguished visitors," he inquired, "coming here 
to encourage the doing of things to make our people suffer 
further, or have they some other purpose?'* 

He read to the scribbling reporters census-figures which 
showed that in the public schools there were numerous f oreign- 
384 



born children, and thousands born in America of foreign-born 
parents, and he said, looking up : 

"Chicago is the sixth largest German city in the world. It 
is the second largest Bohemian city, the second largest Swed- 
ish, the second largest Norwegian, and the second largest 
Polish." 

He had evidently prepared for the interview. 

"I think," he said, "that the mayor is presuming consider- 
ably when he takes the position that all the people are in favor 
of this invitation." 

Thus the questioning, doubting Mayor, who presently was 
"rebuked" when the City Council voted unanimously to send 
to the Joffre party the invitation which the corporation coun- 
sel had ruled it ought to send. 

The anger of enthusiastic war-workers was unbounded. The 
newspapers interviewed everybody, eliciting here a statement 
that the Mayor should resign, there an assertion that his 
name should not be mentioned in polite society. Representatives 
of eight Slavic nations joined in a public protest. Theodore 
Roosevelt was in town, and snapped out before a great meet- 
ing the words, "Let us not try to curry favor with the Ger- 
mans by meeching meanness to General Joffre." 

There never was perfect accord between Thompson and 
Roosevelt. At a parade in honor of Hughes in 1916, the "Cun- 
nel" appeared, the Mayor also; there were terrific huzzahs. 
After the parade, Thompson came into a room full of his 
cronies, flung his cowboy hat on the table, and said loudly : 

"Well, I put it all over the son of a gun. He thought the 
cheers were for him." 

4 

The Joffre incident passed over for the time being. Chicago 
had now, after two years, got somewhat accustomed to unac- 
countable things, unpleasant surprises, issuing from the then 
voluble Mayor* It had been jolted in the Autumn of 1915 by 
his order closing the saloons on Sunday. The political motive of 

385 



that action, if it was political, ne\er had become fully clear. 
Somewhat clearer were the City Hall's muddling of the police 
problem, the neglect of the Morals Commission, and the tem- 
porary ruin of the city tuberculosis sanitarium through politi- 
cal appointees. People said, "Lundin, that's all.' 3 People said, 
"The 'poor Swede' tells him what to do." And the "poor 
Swede" wailed, "I'm not in politics at all." 

Was Thompson's anti-war attitude caused by Lundin ? Was 
it due to friendship with the more Kaiser-loving Germans? 
Was it keen politics? Was it stupid politics? 

At least one trustworthy witness, Colonel (now General) 
John V. Clinnin, came out a couple of years later with first- 
hand proof that early in the war, before the entry of the 
United States, Thompson and Lundin shared the belief that 
the Americans were opposed to the war, that the people would 
not stand for a war with Germany. Clinnin actually saw the 
City Hall organ, the Daily Republican, being "edited," with 
the Mayor and his mentor inspiring editorial attacks on Wil- 
son, and somebody else carrying the copy to the printer. 

"No candidate," said Lundin to Thompson, "could succeed 
with the German vote against him." 

Indirectly, through newspapers friendly to him, the Mayor 
fell back upon the view that it was the City Council's business 
to invite Joffre and Viviani; and he pointed out that at the 
Auditorium meeting when they were welcomed he delivered an 
official address. Lastly, he exhibited a letter sent by Cyrus Mc- 
Cormick, chairman of the citizens' committee, thanking the city 
administration. The letter, however, was addressed to Mr. Et- 
tleson. 

The Mayor stubbornly held his ground. Late in the Sum- 
mer of 1917, he again exhibited his defiance of the mass-senti- 
ment in favor of the war and against its opponents. The Peo- 
ple's Council of Peace desired to hold a convention of protest. 
It found no welcome in North Dakota, in Minnesota, or in Wis- 
consin. Next, the pacific group announced that it would meet 
386 



in Chicago. The Mayor did nothing to prevent this, and the 
delegates arrived. 

Governor Lowden acted without delay. He sent word to the 
Chicago police that such assemblages were not permissible any- 
where in Illinois. The Mayor, enraged by this invasion of au- 
thority, gave his own orders to the police, whose Chief declared, 
"I have notified my men to offer no resistance to the meeting." 
Thus the convention was held under police permit, while troops 
sent by the Governor to prevent it were on the road. 

"No official under our constitution and laws," wrote Thomp- 
son in a message vetoing a resolution passed by the City Coun- 
cil to rebuke him, "is vested with the arbitrary power and 
tyrannical authority to prejudge that a meeting called for 
lawful purposes is to be used for an unlawful one." 

Was it shrewd politics, reasoned pacifism, or Lundinism? 
Whatever it was, these war incidents became accepted as part 
of a Thompson program to "grab the German vote." They fig- 
ured in his unsuccessful campaign for Senator in 1918. They 
were still alive when he came up for reelection in 1919* 

Before that date, however, a movement had come to the fore- 
ground which, in effect upon Chicago's politics no less than 
upon its permanent social structure, was more important than 
anything due to the war. 



387 



CHAPTER XIX 



Jl HERE were withdrawn from activities in Illinois, during 
1917-1918, more than 350,000 men. Of these fighters in army 
and navy Chicago sent the most, proportionate to its popula- 
tion. Enlistment and the draft half emptied offices and shops. 
The steel-plants, railroads, factories, were starved for men; 
and not only because of outgoing youths donning uniforms, 
but because the great streams from Europe had been dammed. 
By this time nearly every nation from the tip of the British 
Isles to the Bosphorus was involved. An immigrant from these 
borders was as rare as a man from Borneo. 

Into the vacuum rushed the American negro. 

It does not seem wholly true that, as common talk had had 
it, the big industries lured the colored man Northward. They 
did not need to. That swarm in the Southern States had long 
been awaiting a chance to move. For over fifty years the negro 
had been free, but in the same period he had been treated as a 
separate sort of human being, and often as a lower sort and 
sometimes as a sort lower than a tame animal. He was sick of 
it. He was particularly sick of suspicion and cruelty, of Jim 
Crow cars, of "the buzzard roost*' in the theaters, of disfran- 
chisement, of judges who gave white men the verdicts. It was 
not that he was starving, at least in large numbers. It was 
388 



"that inferior feeling. 5 ' And so the negro, even when singing 
under the Southern moon, was eager to give up his vine-hung 
(and probably unsanitary) cottage in the fields for whatever 
he could get in a white man's town. 

Chicago, lined up with the Mississippi States and a terminus 
for the big North-South Railroads, was the natural goal for 
as many of that huge negro population in the central South as 
could find the carfare. It shone like a great North Star to those 
dreamers. Many thousands of the race had settled there before 
the World War, anyhow ; the World's Fair had attracted many. 
Their Chicago newspapers, in addition to messages by letter 
and otherwise, carried down to the black folk below the Ohio 
appeals like this, from the De-fender: "I beg of you, my breth- 
ren, to leave that benighted land. You are free men. . . . Your 
neck has been in the yoke. ... To die from the bite of frost 
is far more glorious than that of the mob." 

More sober, and more grammatical, appeals described the 
high wages to be had. As much as $8 a day. It was given out 
that there were 50,000 jobs open in the stockyards alone. Chi- 
cago, Chicago was the place ! The Southern negro felt that he 
knew the city ; knew it, if in no other way, through Sears Roe- 
buck and Montgomery Ward catalogues. 

Ah, yes ! And, if not too benighted, he knew a great name 
that was linked not only with Sears Roebuck but with his own 
welfare the name of Julius Rosenwald. The Jewish philan- 
thropist, long before the war, had come to realize that the ad- 
vancement of the negro had claims upon his tender sympathies 
as sharp as those of needy, retarded people anywhere. He had 
visited Tuskegee, had held long talks with Booker T. Wash- 
ington. He had winced over tragedies of race in Chicago, for so 
long his own city. And, figuring it all out with the wisdom 
that had built a colossal business, he poured out his help 
through a system aimed at good management of what he gave 
and at the basic needs of the colored man, namely, education 
and better morals. 

Thus, with heavy benefactions to negro schools and with his 

389 



cooperative offers that led to negro Y. M. C. A. buildings in 
more than a dozen cities Chicago included he had by war- 
time come to be known as one of the two or three greatest 
American friends of the black race. Never did he cease to help 
universities or Jewish charities or relief funds of general 
scope; he gave them millions. But he had a special warm spot 
for the negroes : he called them, in one prepared statement, the 
neighbors of the white man. 

Within a few years more it was to be known that he had a 
special project for relieving the problem of housing black 
families; and before he was seventy this model-apartment 
scheme on Chicago's South Side was to reach the point of 
actual building. 



The great migration, one of the most notable movements of a 
people ever recorded, began in 1916, with the increasing suc- 
tion of men into foreign armies. It reached its peak when the 
United States mobilized. During 1916-1918 about half a mil- 
lion negroes journeyed from Southern to Northern States, in- 
tending to stay. Chicago, which had received tens of thousands 
since the Civil War, and had seldom bothered about the black 
streak in its human fabric, became the destination of about 
65,000 negroes, and realized full soon that it had a race- 
problem. 

Of course, it seemed as though there had always been the 
Black Belt, down there in the region where refined folk hated to 
go; down there alongside the red-light district. There had also 
been black patches on the West and North Sides. Few of the 
average thoughtless Chicagoans had ever supposed there 
would not be room for more in those unsightly areas. But now, 
with hordes of black men coining in, and with whole families dis- 
embarking, bundles, babies, and all, from trains, with black 
laborers crowding the street-cars, and with an obvious bursting 
of housing barriers, the situation was as clear as though some 
mighty flood had swollen a murky river above its banks. 
390 



"Shortly after the migrants began to arrive," says that 
amazing report. The Negro in Chicago* "practically all avail- 
able houses had been taken and filled to overcrowding. On a 
single day the Chicago Urban League found 664* negro appli- 
cants for houses, with only fifty-five dwellings actually avail- 
able. At the same time, rents for negroes were increased by 
from 5 to 50 per cent. 5 * 

The newcomers captured what they could out of the fourth- 
rate or fifth-rate dwellings unoccupied by the very poor. Many 
were glad to lay down their tired heads in rooms whose squalor 
was equaled only by their vicious history for it was in the 
once gaudy, now foul, houses that had paid fortunes to Levee- 
kings that thousands of negroes found homes. They saw with 
round eyes fragments of Gomorrah. They came upon mysteri- 
ous tunnels, odd electric devices. They opened closets whose 
doors stuck, and found the rags of brilliant costumes. They 
came upon a skeleton, here and there, . . . 

When investigators went to see how the migrants were faring, 
they got curt reports, like: "No gas, bath, or toilet . . . 
plumbing bad ; leaks . . , hot-water heater out of order . . . 
water for drinking and cooking has to be carried in ... 
asked landlord to turn on water in kitchen ; told them to move. 55 

Some landlords were not even as good as that. They made 
promises, broke them, and cursed the poor devils who got in- 
sistent. There was a continued shifting of negro families from 
one hovel to another, or from one large but squalid apartment 
to another, a childlike optimism ever leading on. 

And often they did find better things. And as time passed, 
members of the race who were determined, who were buffeted 
but resilient, pleasure-loving but hardworking, acquired prop- 
erty, found better homes, swelled the membership in churches 
to an amazing degree, and, however tough the struggle, re- 
joiced that they could ride in any seat vacant in a street-car, 
or sit on the main floor of a theater. 

i The Negro in Chicago; a Study of Race Relations and a Race Riot, by the 
Chicago Commission on Race Relations. The University of Chicago Press. 1922. 

391 



They spread into boulevards of the South Side. They crept 
south along the old and charming double avenue. Grand 
Boulevard, and along South Park Avenue, and into aristo- 
cratic old Prairie Avenue, and the white man moved on ahead 
often hurling a bomb as he went. 

The black race dug its foothold deep. It acquired a fancy 
for real estate, and did not at all mind a burden of mortgages. 
Carl Sandburg, the poet, investigated the situation in 1919, 
and wrote : "Twenty years ago fewer than fifty families of the 
colored race were home-owners in Chicago. Today they num- 
ber thousands, their purchases ranging from $200 to $20,000, 
from tar-paper shacks in the still-district to brownstone and 
greystone establishments." 

3 

While the black man thus progressed, while in a few months 
a virtual savage from the cotton-fields would don the clothes 
and something of the manner of an urban dweller, while the op- 
pressed creatures could learn to play and to save their dimes, 
it could not be said that the negro in Chicago found himself al- 
ways proud to live. "Change of residence," says the commis- 
sion's report, "carried with it in many cases change of status. 
The 'leader' in a- small Southern community when he came to 
Chicago was immediately absorbed into the great, struggling 
mass of unnoticed workers. School-teachers . . . had to go to 
work in factories." 

He, the negro, half -child, half -man, was still the under dog. 
He was still a "separate" being. Though he was happier than 
he had been, there was a disturbance within him, deep down. 
He threw out his chest and jingled his silver, to keep up his 
spirits. He was delighted when white people treated him nicely. 

Only one big politician seemed unreservedly his friend, and 
that was the great Mayor Thompson. As far back as the pri- 
mary of 1915, Thompson had attracted a notable negro vote. 
With the assistance of colored aldermen, he carefully devel- 



oped it, not only showing himself in the Black Belt whenever 
he could, but appointing colored men and women to places in 
the City Hall. By the time of the mayoralty election of 1919, 
this deliberate cultivation of a struggling, half -segregated, and 
intensely emotional race had resulted in the capture by Thomp- 
son of almost every negro's heart. Little they cared how the 
enemies of their friend protested about Thompson's machine, 
about the collapsed finances of the city slumped from a sur- 
plus of about $2,800,000 in 1915 to a deficit of over $4,600,000 
in 1919 or about the increase in murderous crime, or about 
quarrels over subways, or about "Thompson's disloyalty." 

He would appear at campaign meetings down in the dark 
South Side, and be greeted as "our brother." His big face, 
rounder and swarthier than a few years back, would beam ac- 
ceptance of the term. 

"I will protect the weak against the strong," he would 
thunder. 

And were not they the weak? He himself was a strong figure 
to them, big and broad. A distinct person, a gladiator. For 
the rest, as James O'Donnell Bennett described him in those 
days : "Eyes heavy and somewhat sad ; nose too small, but beau- 
tifully modeled; mouth lax and heavy and not reassuring ex- 
cept when he smiles, and then the smile irradiates the whole 
face . . . complexion still florid as in the old days ; eyebrows 
heavy and give the face strength ; on the whole, a massive head, 
poised on a powerful neck." 

His voice would go out in a roar over rows of crinkly-haired 
heads, shouting down the men and things these under dogs 
hated the "trust newspapers," or rather the millionaires who 
owned them, the smug or academic social students who talked 
about "clean politics," the upper crust of society generally. 

He shook the hands of those black folk. He admired their 
babies. On at least one occasion he took up a pickaninny on the 
platform and held it on his broad shoulder. 

He was running against two vote-getting opponents : Sweit- 
zer, whom he had beaten before, and Maclay Hoyne, the busy, 

393 



ambitious State's attorney, who chose to run as an independent. 
John Fitzpatrick was also running on a labor-party ticket. 
Thompson had the advantage of the divided opposition. At 
the same time, he fought weighted down by the odium of pay- 
roll padding, his truckling to Lundin, and the forlorn, crime- 
ridden conditions of the city. His promise of a traction settle- 
ment was a matter of course. All candidates promised one. As 
for his war record, as for his soarings into irrelevant national 
issues and his hollow appeals to free Ireland, they may have 
helped as much as hurt him. The soldier voters were still in 
France. 

Anyway, after the three-cornered campaign had run its 
course of political maneuvering, mud-slinging, Loop parades, 
and saloon-fights, it became clear that Thompson was still on 
top. Behind the brave claims of his rivals lurked the probability 
of defeat. He was not to be the "landslide" hero of 1915 ; that 
was clear also. In fact, the issue might narrow down to a few 
thousand votes. 

And that was what it did. It narrowed down to a margin, 
throughout the city, that might by itself have called for a re- 
count. But the negro men and women marched to the polls, 
solid for Thompson. In some precincts not a vote was cast for 
another candidate. Thompson got 15,569 votes in the princi- 
pal black wards, as against 3,323 for the next man. His offi- 
cial plurality was Sl,622. Evidently, then, even if beaten by 
some thousands without it, his negro support would have 
elected him. The phenomenon was startling almost beyond ex- 
pression. 

'4 

Not quite four months later, the condensed venom of politi- 
cal hate and race-hates gave Chicago five of the worst days it 
had ever known. 

The black cloud rising for several years past had been met 
with no civic movement merited by such a problem* Good negro 
leaders had worked to benefit and civilize the newcomers from 
394 



the South ; white philanthropists like Rosenwald had done what 
they could, while the City Hall worked to corrupt the black 
men politically and morally. But it was after and not before 
the outbreak of July, 1919, that organized and scientific study 
got to work and then it was ordered by the governor of the 
State and not by the Mayor or City Council of Chicago. 

The menace hovered and grew. The negroes obtained more 
and more jobs; their swollen population crept out of regions 
where they were tolerated into locales where they "did not be- 
long." The situation passed from one of grumbling and jos- 
tling into one of sporadic terrorism. That cowardly weapon, 
the secretly planted bomb, was employed by well-dressed 
fiends who sought to scare negroes out of newly acquired 
homes or to "warn 55 real-estate men who helped the negroes get 
them. Within the two years from July 1917 to July 1919, 
twenty-four bombings were recorded. Not one was traced to its 
source. 

Along with all this went a guerrilla warfare carried on by 
gangs of young hoodlums to whom the pursuit of a negro 
down an alley was a joyous adventure as well as a "duty." 
Along a strip of several miles, north to south, adjoining the 
Black Belt and with a deadline between, these gangs, some of 
them dominated by youngsters under military and voting age, 
had their hunting-grounds. It needed only a tocsin to unite 
them. The reelection of Thompson, after a display of every 
evil prejudice, racial, nationalistic, or religious, seemed to fur- 
nish such a signal. 

On Sunday, July 27, there was trouble at a South Side 
bathing-beach, used by both whites and blacks, with an invis- 
ible line between. Somebody crossed the line, and stone-throw- 
ing began. A seventeen-year-old colored boy swam into the 
area used by whites, and while a shower of stones was flying, he 
took fright, sank, and was drowned. A white man was pointed 
out by negroes to the policeman on guard, but was not ar- 
rested. Instead, the officer arrested a negro on the complaint 
of white bystanders. 

395 



Two hours passed, while more and more negroes collected 
at the beach. The lone officer sent for reinforcements. On their 
arrival, a negro fired at them and was himself shot down. Then, 
as the day wore on and darkness came, messages sped from 
place to place in the negro quarter that the great terror had 
become a fact. Groups of whites and blacks met; there were 
disorganized fights, stabbings, shootings. 

The next day, a working-day, was quiet until the afternoon 
hour when laborers jammed the street-cars returning from 
work. Cars were brought to a halt, negroes jerked from the 
platforms and beaten. Thirty blacks were maimed, and four 
killed, while one white man was murdered. 

The outbreak spread out into tragic incidents all up and 
down the embattled part of the South Side, This was one, as 
described in the commission's report three years later: 

"Rumor had it that a white occupant of the Angelus apart- 
ment house had shot a negro boy from a fourth-story window. 
Negroes besieged the building. The white tenants sought po- 
lice protection, and about a hundred policemen, including some 
mounted men, responded. The mob of about fifteen hundred 
negroes demanded the 'culprit/ but the police failed^to find him 
... a flying brick hit a policeman. There was a quick massing 
of the police, and a volley was fired into the negro mob. Four 
negroes were killed and many were injured." 

At midnight that same night, Monday, Chicago's nightmare 
was intensified by a car-strike, tying up all the surface and 
elevated lines. The mobs, on both sides, now attacked men 
walking to work. Automobiles filled with armed hoodlums sped 
through the hot, dusty streets of the belt, firing at will. 

Nothing less than panic had seized Chicago. The smoke of 
burning negro homes was rising. Mobs pursued their victims 
even into downtown streets, where some white men wearing the 
uniforms of soldiers and sailors killed two negroes and wounded 
others. The police seemed powerless; indeed, there was some 
evidence that they were friendly to such gangs as Ragen's Colts, 
the Lorraine Club, and the Sparkler's Club all "mentioned," 
396 



but none convicted, in connection with murderous assaults. So 
there came, within twenty-four hours after the trouble began, 
appeals to the city authorities to ask for militia. Chief of Po- 
lice Garrity, Spanish War veteran, held back, declaring that 
inexperienced riflemen the "crack men" were still in Prance 
would only make matters worse. "Mayor Thompson," says the 
Commission's report, "supported the Chief's refusal until out- 
side pressure compelled him to ask the Governor for aid." Gov- 
ernor Lowden, watching the situation from a hotel room, acted, 
but so much time had been lost that the troops did not begin 
active duty until the evening of Wednesday. With the arrival 
of these five thousand men, striplings though many of them 
were, the riot began to die down. A rain-storm followed the in- 
tense July heat that had helped madden the crowds. "From this 
time on," says the report, "the violence was sporadic, scattered, 
and meager." 



It was while revolvers were still cracking that citizens met at 
the Union League Club and petitioned Governor Lowden to 
appoint a State Commission to study "the psychological, so- 
cial, and economic causes." On August 20 he named twelve 
persons, six from each race. Julius Rosenwald, the philanthro- 
pist, and Victor F. Lawson, the editor, were among those repre- 
senting the whites. Funds were raised through an auxiliary 
committee. A long and intensive inquiry began. 

The great book, of nearly seven hundred pages, was at 
length issued. Of its magnanimous and enlightened appeals, 
aimed at quieting race-prejudice, Chicago absorbed all too 
little. 

"What are we going to do about it?" one man would ask an- 
other, as the years went on. And people shook their heads. 



397 



CHAPTER XX 



HE service-men who came back that Summer were excited 
about "old Chi." 

They had heard of the reelection of Thompson; some of them 
had made long-distance protests. They had read about the 
race-riots, the street-car strike, the new seven-cent fare, the up- 
roar about "H. C. L.," and the (temporary) collapse of the 
saloon. It must have seemed to many of them, while still abroad, 
that their city, despite its immense Liberty Loan successes and 
its Red Cross generosity, was almost as insane as the battle- 
front, 

But they found it going about its business with the same 
nonchalant and cheery and chip~on~shoulder spirit that it al- 
ways showed. 

Moreover, they found it increasing in beauty. 



"Beautiful," was not their adjective, nor "wonderful," nor 
"attractive." They said: 

"Look, fella, there's a new skyscraper at La Salle and 
Adams." 

"The Field Museum is sure stickin* up out of the mud." 
398 



"Why, they've cut off the old buildings already to build the 
boulevard !" 

Their city was changing, as noticeably as the lines of auto- 
mobile-bodies which also they noticed as vividly as the mov- 
ies were changing. Although these boys may not have under- 
stood it, quite, the immense conceptions of a new city, born ten 
or twenty years before, were now forcing their way upward 
through architectural debris; they were penetrating crowded 
and smutty areas like a fine plow that turns its furrows among 
rotten roots. A triumph over stupidity, indifference, bicker- 
ings, and greed was being expressed in long, broad sweeps of 
highway, as well as in victorious towers and cornices. 

The last time the service-men saw the improved West 
Twelfth Street, for example, it had been, for much of its 
length, a chaos of dust and stripped buildings, their ends torn 
off like the shelled towns of France. Before that, even long be- 
fore there ever was a parade of Chicago doughboys, Europe- 
bound, there had been dragging through the courts the formal 
objections to the condemnation proceedings. About the time 
when Wilson was nominated for a second term, the court opened 
the way for tearing down buildings and widening the street ; in 
August of that year, the city paid for the first piece of prop- 
erty condemned, and the wrecking began. Then, in December, 
1917, while some of the troops had gone over, but many more 
were in camp, the job of widening the street from 66 feet to 
108, for a mile and a half west of the river, was complete, and 
a little before Christmas there was a carnival in celebration. 
Nearly 100,000 people rode in decorated cars, or cheered from 
the curbings. 

To accomplish this end, there had to be worked out a com- 
promise with stubborn railroads about the viaduct which was 
to carry the improved street eastward over the river. Then the 
city had to buy 302 individual pieces of property ; it had to 
deal with sharp lawyers representing property-owners who at 
first fought bitterly, and some groups of whom were harangued 
by agitators* 

399 



But, "as a lasting tribute to Chicago's citizens of foreign 
origin," wrote Walter D. Moody, 1 "it must be recorded that 
these people, when they were properly informed, . . . under- 
took to cooperate with the [Plan] Commission, and did so with 
such complete harmony and faith as to put some of the more 
Americanized sections to blush." 

When the condemnation suit came to trial, the city, accord- 
ing to Mr. Moody, met with scarcely any opposition. 

3 

In carrying through the boulevard-link improvement, the 
commission and the city encountered one of the Americanized 
sections, and faced a tartar. 

The construction-problem w$s not as simple as the one of 
lopping off the fronts of some West Twelfth Street stores. 
Meanwhile, the importance of dealing adequately with Michi- 
gan Avenue, part of the city's "front yard," was in many ways 
greater. The boulevard had been widened already, from Park 
Row north to Randolph Street, creating what used to be called 
"the splendid mile." But this splendor was abruptly checked 
by arriving at a length of street, from Randolph to the river- 
bank, historic but hideous, and only 66 feet wide. 

Mr. Moody vividly describes that strip as one which "pre- 
sented the appearance of a poor, tenth-rate city . . . Many 
vacant buildings showed the grime of years upon their windows, 
their door-lintels were hung with cobwebs, and a general air of 
decadence prevailed. At the corner of Randolph Street . , . 
traffic was barricaded by the 66-foot jutting ^building-line 
which caused the vehicles struggling to enter the gap to be 
massed in solid and almost inextricable confusion. At the river, 
traffic was obliged to make a sharp turn up a steep grade to 
cross the Rush Street Bridge, and thence it continued in that 
narrow, overcrowded thoroughfare for blocks before it could 
again turn lakeward into Pine Street." 
i What of the City? by Walter D, Moody. A. C. McClurg and Company, 1919. 

400 



This account added that the Rush Street Bridge at that 
time before its two-level successor was used carried 16 per 
cent, more traffic than London Bridge. Across it rumbled 77 
per cent, of all the automobiles, and 23 per cent, of all the com- 
mercial vehicles, which entered the Loop district from the 
North Side. 

It was in the Spring of 1914, in the last year of Harrison 
as mayor, that the City Council authorized the improvement. 
In November the first bond issue of $3,800,000, went over by 
a popular vote. The majority was 78,846; a victory gained 
over growlers who objected to a move to help "the rich auto- 
mobile crowd," who called the proposed street "the swells' " 
thoroughfare, and the "boulevard on stilts." At least as un- 
selfish a stand might have been expected from "the swells" as 
had been taken by their less prosperous fellow-citizens of West 
Twelfth Street. But not so ! The suit to gain possession of the 
land needed went into court in February, 1916, and was not 
finished until more than two years later. 

"The trial of this case," Mr. Moody wrote, "was contested 
by two hundred and five lawyers who, in their efforts to obtain 
good deals for their clients, added tremendously to the cost of 
the litigation, the city being obliged to employ a large array 
of high-priced experts to defend itself against its opponents. 1 
Many instances of unselfishness and fine public spirit were 
shown by citizens whose property was either taken or heavily 
taxed, but many other instances of selfishness of the first order 
showed themselves, which resulted in the cost of the improve- 
ment being materially enhanced." 

A direct settlement had to be made with 8,700 property 
owners. Many "got ugly" because they had cherished a fear 
that the entire cost would be up to them; some, no doubt, were 
angered because the "low-brows" elsewhere in the city had 
urged that very arrangement. Others simply clung to what was 
undoubtedly gilt-edged real estate. One big company carried to 

i Coming events cast shadows. See Chapter XXVIII for an account of what 
the undue employment of "experts" did to the Thompson administration. 

401 



the State Supreme Court a claim for $1,000,000, but got only 
half of it. The commission, with strong assistance from a body 
now named the North Central Association, had managed to 
sign up, before public hearing, a majority of the lineal front- 
footage ; and thus a year's delay was saved. 

The tearing-down process began near the river on April 13, 
1918. There was an automobile parade and a dinner eaten by 
about a thousand people. Mayor Thompson spoke; so did his 
"demon of energy" (the president of the board of local im- 
provements) Michael J. Faherty; so did Mr. Wacker, With 
characteristic warmth of phrase, Mr. Wacker said: 

"The administrations of Mayors Fred A. Busse, Carter H. 
Harrison and William Hale Thompson will illumine ... the 
brightest of all pages in the history of our beloved city." 

The great improvement crashed on. It swallowed tons of 
money bond issue after issue. The war boosted prices; the 
treasury emptied itself and was refilled, with Faherty's usual 
wild prodigality. By the spring of 1920 the cost had grown 
to nearly $16,000,000. Bond issues were no longer feasible. 
There was a deficit of more than $1,000,000. Experts (many 
of them mere minor politicians) grabbed nearly $800,000. It 
was Faherty's motto, then as well as afterward, to "Go ahead 
on the jump and straighten out the legal end later." 

None of this darkened the festivities on the fourteenth of 
May, 1920, when the "splendid mile" had been pushed north- 
ward over the river, and far beyond, and was ready to be en- 
joyed. The mighty two-level bridge, which rose into the air like 
an alligator's jaws when ships whistled, and over which, at 
later times, millions of autos were to run while heavier vehicles 
clattered in the half -darkness below, was open for traffic. 

Another flowered procession of motors . . . Big Bill, his 
cowboy hat, and his Booster's Club . . . signs hoisted, read- 
ing "All hats off to our Mayor. What do we live for?" . . . 
shouting people on the curb . . . flags waving, whistles blow- 
ing . . . airplanes showering down booster circulars. . . . 
402 



The next day, two thousand cars per hour hissing over the 
smooth, wide structure. . . . 
Another milestone! 



It was like Chicago, the Jekyll and Hyde of cities, the city 
of dual personality and gaudy contrasts, that on the same day 
when a beautiful civic adventure was celebrated there should 
take place a ceremony marking the end of a vice-lord. 

On that May 14 there passed along South Side streets, with 
throngs following, and judges and aldermen in swell cars, the 
flower-covered coffin of Big Jim Colosimo, unctuous monarch 
of the Levee for years. Under his bland exterior, his "front" 
of cafe proprietor and host to politicians and college boys alike, 
he had the temper of a huge spider who waits and waits. He 
hid behind his "front" and sent out Torrio to do his ugly 
errands. He poured wine from dusty bottles and in the back 
room counted his Midas-like pile. 

Some one shot him dead in his "refined" cafe one afternoon. 
Dale Winter, singer protege of his, mourned him, along with 
the widow. And though both police and friends swore to "get" 
the assassin, he never was found. No one ever knew unless it 
was Torrio. 



Where the lake lay glittering, there was no suggestion of 
the city's volcanic heart. The march toward improvement went 
steadily on, through a labyrinth of plans, counter-plans, legal- 
isms, politics. 

A tangled business, indeed, this lake-front development ! It 
can scarcely be more than suggested in a few paragraphs. One 
is confronted by a tremendous library of records, in which lie 
moldering the details of negotiations between such ponderous 
units as the City Council, the Park Board, the United States 
War Department, and the Illinois Central Railroad. Besides, 

403 



there were individual property-owners with riparian rights. 
All had something to say. The original authority of the gov- 
ernment, the grants to the railroad, legislation that heaped 
up through the years, created a web almost baffling the clear- 
est minds. 

The story of the effort to compromise the Illinois Central 
case is typical. Told at its briefest, it runs like this : 

The agreement was prefaced by four years (1903-1907) of 
legislative action, necessary that the city might acquire those 
riparian rights held by citizens. Next came negotiation with 
the railroad, which had an undisputed claim to the lake shore 
bordering the heart of the city for about four miles. The argu- 
ment dragged on until the winter of 1911-1912. Terms were 
reached, but rejected by the aldermen. Then came forward a 
citizen group including Lessing Rosenthal, Allen B. Pond, and 
Charles E. Merriam, who suggested better terms with the rail- 
road; that is, better for Chicago. They proposed a much-re- 
duced grant to the Illinois Central in return for the coveted 
strip of water as well as ten-odd acres of land. In the mean- 
time, the South Park commissioners, two of whom were John 
Barton Payne and Charles L. Hutchinson, reached a special 
settlement with the Illinois Central It assured the site near 
downtown for the Field Museum, instead of in Jackson Park, 
where it seemed for a time the merchant's gift might have to 
go. The site was provided only a few months before the limit 
in Mr. Field's will for acceptance of his $8,000,000 bequest. 

As for the complete project of shore-development, it came 
to the verge of success, and then a new "hitch" developed. 

The War Department, keeping a watchful eye on the lake- 
front that Chicago was trying to make its own, had to be ap- 
pealed to for a permit before the filling proposed could be 
done. Mayor Harrison led a large and determined delegation 
to Washington. Mr. Secretary, backed by an array of en- 
gineers, said he could issue no permit until the entire question 
of Chicago harbors was resolved. Back came the delegation, 
and the Plan Commission, which had to veer with each wind, 



started to adjust its blueprints to meet the new circumstances. 
At length the plans were ready, and in the fall of 1914 the 
Council Committee on Harbors, Wharves and Bridges called 
for a recommendation covering everything. It was forthcom- 
ing. Nearly two years passed in hearings and in argument. An 
ordinance was adopted. The Illinois Central rejected it. Dead- 
lock . . . Next the railroad was requested to, and did, sub- 
mit a complete terminal scheme. It came before the City Coun- 
cil in September, 1916, but now a subject of debate not yet 
thrashed out though raised tentatively years before entered 
the long-drawn conferences: the question of electrifying the 
railroad system. Stalemate once more. 

The Great War was on, but despite its distractions, all par- 
ties to the lake-front problem, strongly urged by such bodies 
as the Association of Commerce and the Union League Club, 
gathered themselves anew, and in 1918 negotiations were re- 
sumed. By July, 1919, the Council Committee on Railway 
Terminals had recommended an ordinance providing for elec- 
trification of the Illinois Central, a grand new terminal station 
in harmony with the Field Museum, and other important fea- 
tures. The railroad finally accepted the measure and filed bond 
for $1,000,000, agreeing to electrify its suburban lines by 
1927, its freight-service by 1932, and its through passenger- 
lines by 1937. 

Thus, during a period which saw world-convulsions as well 
as stormy political years in Chicago, the will and ingenuity of 
citizens who held fast to the lake-front dream forced a path 
through meshes of trouble as dense, if not as wounding, as the 
barbed wire in No Man's Land. The Field Museum and the 
Stadium were built, and these two classic structures became 
dazzling ornaments of "Chicago's front yard." Farther north, 
meantime, beyond a curve of blue water, there had been thrust 
out into the lake the Municipal Pier, whose twin towers and 
double chain of lights contribute so much to Chicago's night- 
scene. 

By the lake-front negotiation, the way was opened also for 

405 



the creation of a shore Elysium, comprehending the island 
necklace, the splendid curving boulevard on the lip of the lake, 
the vast undulating expanse of park along the city's central 
area a ll those beauties conceived so long ago, and now flower- 
ing in a way that thrills not only every Chicagoan, but every 
visitor. The nuisance of hundreds of puffing locomotives, belch- 
ing smoke that discouraged tree-planting, was on the way to its 
end. But, as the candid Moody wrote : 

"Reviewing the years of wrangling, bickering, and delay, 
one is forced to the conclusion that two-thirds of these nine 
years [1910-1919] have been wasted, and that two-thirds of 
the controversy has been stupid." 

6 

If this criticism was true of negotiations, what could be said 
of the troubles that grew out of labor strife? 

The city was eager, it was passionately determined, to build, 
build, build. Some great urge, not wholly commercial, yet cer- 
tainly not wholly idealistic, forced it on. This passion brought 
about, after years of struggle, the erection of the Union Sta- 
tion; and thanks to Mr. Wacker, John F. Wallace, and others, 
the huge terminal group conformed to the Chicago Plan bet- 
ter than for a time it seemed likely to do. Yet this great project 
was halted at least twice by long and bitter labor-contests. 

There was tumult all through the building-industry. There 
were here, as in most other fields, effects of the effort of a 
topsy-turvy world to get back on its axis. Material prices were 
sky-high ; so were living costs ; wages, however, in the building- 
trades had not kept pace with this rise. In the whirl of new 
angers and with many people so ready to raise the cry "Bol- 
sheviks I" the ideal of arbitration, which seemed so well estab- 
lished back in the 1900s, was frequently lost to sight in the 
building-field. 

There were a good many union officials, czars of certain 
building-trades, who had a passion to get rich quick. There 
406 



was a culmination of devices such as exclusive agreements be- 
tween material-firms and union rings, or "shake-downs" which 
scared contractors badly if they did not impoverish them. The 
"pineapple" and the sawed-off shotgun had come into use, 
superseding the brass knuckles of 1900. Sluggers more clever 
and blood-thirsty than Skinny Madden ever controlled could 
now be hired for $50 a day and up or down. 

There was one attempt to deal with this in 1917, when a 
noted Chicago laborite, Mike Boyle ("Umbrella Mike") was 
convicted, with others, of conspiracy to restrain trade. But 
this case, only one of a series of efforts to "clean up" or to 
"crush the unions" as you happened to look at it failed to 
clear the air. Looking at it from the viewpoint of such organi- 
zations as the Chicago Association of Commerce, the woods 
were full of union officials with criminal records, holding power 
through thuggery. The vexatious "jurisdictional strike" was 
snagging many an architect's plans. And money was leaking 
from the pockets of some contractors into those of some busi- 
ness agents. A legislative commission headed by Senator John 
Dailey sat on the matter during 1920, and heard dark and 
bldody tales, accompanied usually by an echo of the jingle of 
dirty money. Sums ranging from $3,500 to $47,000, it was al- 
leged, were "coughed up" to assure the completion of big 
buildings. There were seven strikes on the Drake Hotel job! 

Now there was a man on the Federal bench in Chicago to 
whom, at that time, people were apt to turn when they wanted 
something settled or exposed, fortissimo. He was a black-eyed 
judge, with a shock of white hair, a quid of tobacco in his 
cheek, and a spitfire vocabulary. Father Landis, back in Indi- 
ana, had named his son Kenesaw Mountain, after the battle 
fought near Marietta, Georgia, in 1864. The Judge, who in the 
1900s won national attention by imposing a huge fine on the 
Standard Oil Company of Indiana, and who scored almost 
every week by quaint remarks while hearing minor cases, was 
always ready to take up troublous questions. 

In 1921 the embattled builders and the trades unions laid 

407 



their troubles in his lap. There had been a lockout that ex- 
hausted everybody's patience, and held back enterprises worth 
hundreds of millions. Judge Landis agreed to arbitrate the 
wage-scale, and then elected to take up other issues, too. When 
he was ready to rule, he not only revised wages ordering what 
amounted, roughly, to a 12% P e ? cent - reduction per hour, 
and more but he went into the whole basic trouble. He de- 
clared from the bench that Chicago building was in bad repute. 
Capital, he said, was avoiding the city as though it were dis- 
eased. "There is a virtual famine in housing-accommodations," 
he said, though it was only a few years since Chicago had had 
about 30,000 vacant flats. 

The agreement Judge Landis proposed called not only for 
arbitration, but for an end of sympathetic strikes, a removal of 
limitation on material to be used, and an abandonment of union 
rules that tied contractors 5 hands. 

This was the Judge's own "pineapple," tossed among the 
building-unions. The labor history of succeeding years was 
made turbulent by it. Some unions, such as the plumbers, re- 
volted. The carpenters, who had proposed arbitration in the 
first place, concluded that the Landis survey would go beyond 
wages into matters over which the local union had no jurisdic- 
tion, and remained aloof. When the row broke, they took up 
litigation which, late in 1928, was decided by the Illinois Su- 
preme Court in their favor. 

As for the associated contractors, cheered up by Judge Lan- 
dis' decision their way, they entered upon a distinctly new pro- 
gram. They decided to employ such unions as accepted the 
award, and to fight the others with imported men and troops of 
special guards. In an effort to back them up, the Association of 
Commerce appointed a citizens 5 committee, with a roster, at 
that time, of 179. Thomas E. Donnelley, son of the pioneer 
printer, became its head, and men of large wealth such as 
James A. Patten backed him up. The committee obtained 
$3,000,000 by public subscription. 

It was another Chicagoesque conflict, with battle-cries such 

408 



as "Down with the boycotting millionaires !" on one side, and 
"No quarter to grafting labor!" on the other. There were de- 
sertions from both armies. Some of the unions got on the best 
they could under the new conditions ; others tried to fight. A 
number of contractors, with nation-wide obligations, fearing 
strikes in other cities, finally abandoned their alliance with the 
Citizens' Committee to Enforce the Landis Award (its full 
title). But that body became powerful, set up employment 
agencies; insured building-operations; backed up the police 
with special guards (as many as seven hundred at one time) ; 
employed publicity-methods with decided effect. Meantime, the 
venerable Building Trades Council went through "shake-up" 
after "shake-up." 

And during those years, of course this being Chicago the 
struggle did not stop short of bombs, arson, or murder. The 
chief of the flat- janitors' union and nine others were convicted 
of conspiracy to bomb and extort. A police lieutenant named 
Terence Lyons was mysteriously slain by gunmen riding in a 
Ford car. Chief of Police Fitzmorris caused the Building 
Trades Council suite to be raided; scores of labor men were 
whirled to cells in patrol-wagons; three characters of great 
notoriety then Fred (Frenchy) Mader, Big Tim Murphy, 
and Con Shea were tried, but eventually acquitted* Mader 
"took a rap" over a matter of $700 and some Drake Hotel 
lamps. . . . But that, too, was crossed off, as the months went 
on. 

People twenty years hence will wonder what it was all about. 



Somehow or other, the city rose above its battles, its violent 
clashes in court and out, its gushes of hatred and its peril from 
human destroyers. 

The blue sky itself scarcely seemed a barrier to spires and 
Babylonian towers. The Masonic Temple, miracle of the 1890s, 
was humbled, the Monadnock no longer attracted rural sight- 

409 



seers. These sightseers looked down from galleries hundreds of 
feet up looked down over the far-spreading, wistful ? and 
lovely lake on one side, and into the Liliputian movement on 
boulevards (new and glossy boulevards) to landward. 

Figures, if you like: 

The building-record, over $100,000,000 a year in 1914- 
1916, fell to about $64,000,000 in 1916, and to less than $35,- 
000,000 in 1918. It recovered to $104,198,850 in 1919. But 
what of that? During the first year buildings erected under 
the Landis Award were alone valued at $115,000,000. And 
during the next six years, general conditions being what they 
were, there were to be added to the mighty roofs and walls of 
the new Chicago edifices that cost more than $1,700,000,000. 
In one year, 1924, more than ninety miles of buildings front- 
age went up. Meantime, pressure from people with city-plan- 
ning minds brought new zoning ordinances and a commission 
which tackled the huge job of remapping a metropolis. 

The age of mere millions had passed. The age of billions had 
dawned. There had vanished also all timorousness in the face 
of hugeness, all fear of building too much* 

And with the ending of such fears, it seemed that the city 
had lost, as well, its suspicion that beauty did not pay. 



410 



CHAPTER XXI 



B 



now the days of super-speed, of super-brilliance, of 
super-power. American energy not only had survived the war, 
but apparently had been redoubled by it. Chicago caught the 
pace the amazing, dazzling, even perilous pace of the third 
decade. 

Now came the time of six-cylinder cars, owned by people for 
whom four cylinders had been a luxury. To eight and twelve 
cylinders new thousands aspired. Bright motor-headlights 
made firefly processions on every glassy street. 

It was the time of stunning tiers of window-lights, sur- 
mounted sometimes by illumined castles in air, magic Par- 
thenons floating among the clouds. 

The time of lofty hotels and "ultra" apartment houses, 
with tiaras of lights, elevators "you worked yourself" ; electric 
devices that would have humbled Aladdin. 

Of more and more ambitious movie palaces, their fronts 
streaming with flashing arches or traveling placards ; their in- 
terior an awesome mixture of all the architectures ; their stages 
set with spectacles enriched by new inventions of electricians ; 
their orchestras playing amid color shading from sunrise golden 
to sunset purple and back again. 

Of equally grand, bizarre, or at least big, dance-halls; 

411 



crowds larger than at State conventions ; gleaming and sonor- 
ous saxophones the Charleston. 

Of shop-windows as amazing as the World's Fair; of 

"specialties"; of antiques; of lightning changes in styles and 
merchandise-gambles lost; of gewgaws and gimcracks and ban- 
gles and bracelets; of billions of stockings and billions of little 
hats ; all in floods of light, managed with great art. 

Of incredibly long lanes of street-lamps, up and down the 
slopes; light everywhere; light lavished and wasted; as much 
candle-power used in a week as the whole nation once used in a 

year. 

And the element in which all this lived came from super- 
power. 

2 

Aladdin was reincarnated, for Chicago, in Samuel Insull. 
That citizen now dominates a power-realm so wide-spread and 
various that little people doubtless think of him as a vague 
Influence, above and beyond the turning wheels and crackling 
wires ; a being who has got everything under his thumb, who 
sits and presses buttons, who owns too much. What did he 
ever do, men ask? 

The name of Insull did not excite common talk in Chicago 
until something like twenty years ago. This England-bo.rn 
American had, however, arrived in Chicago in 1892. Before 
that date, he had observed the central West. He saw its sweep- 
ing areas, its beauties, its unused resources, its future wealth. 
It was the arena in which he wanted to perform; and Chicago 
was, perforce, its heart. To use Mr. Insull's own and more 
practical words, 1 "It seemed to me that this great community 
. . . must inevitably become the center of manufacturing for 
this populous and rich central valley of the country." He had, 
in 1892, at the age of thirty-three, advanced from being a 
London stenographer, the son of a manufacturer's agent and 
temperance-leader, to be confidential secretary to Thomas 

i Address to Western Society of Engineers, February 1, 1923. 



Edison, then general business manager of the .Edison enter- 
prises, and finally vice-president of the General Electric Com- 
pany a consolidation of the Edison and Thompson-Houston 
interests. But he had decided to get out of the manufacturing 
end into the "business of production and distribution of elec- 
trical energy. 9 * 

"I was looking for a place," to continue the quotation, "where 
central-station business was the least developed. Fortunately 
for me, the old Chicago Edison Company had asked me to look 
for a president for that company, and I was bold enough to 
suggest myself as a candidate." 

The leading spirits of the company, including the banker 
Byron L. Smith, did not seem to object to the suggestion. In 
fact, they seized upon it. So Mr. Insull moved from under the 
Edison roof and became a Chicagoan in time to make the 
World's Fair a demonstration to the world of the wonders of 
electric light. The central station there was the first large one 
energizing at once light, power, and transportation. Mr. In- 
sull was young then, but there were already at work in him 
many of the same motives he has since followed. One was to 
make consolidations. His company absorbed a concern called 
the Chicago Arc Light Company a mere child which, with 
other infants in the badly lighted city, could generate only 
about 3,500 kilowatts. He bought it from B. E. Sunny, who 
was to become one of the builders of the vast telephone interests. 
Later, Mr. Insull took into the fold a number of other electric 
companies, formed the Commonwealth Electric Company, and 
in 1907 welded all into the Commonwealth Edison Company. 

Control of so much territory stimulated another of the 
super-power man's motives, which led toward greater produc- 
ing-energy and longer transmission. There was nothing me- 
chanical at that time the end of the century to satisfy him. 
But while he pondered, there arrived in America a device then 
regarded dubiously by many engineers, a Parsons turbine. It 
interested Mr. Insull very much; it started inspirations like 
those which set a composer to work on a symphony, 

413 



President Coffin of the General Electric Company, much 
interested in the western efforts of the former vice-president, 
suggested that Mr. Insull try out a 1,000-kilowatt turbine. 
It was not enough. Mr. Insull (after having some of his 
engineers travel about the country and find out how many or 
rather how few, turbines were in use), went to see Mr. Coffin. 

"Build us/' said he in effect, "build us a turbine that will 
produce 5,000 kilowatts." 

Five thousand! Mr. Coffin's technicians shook their heads. 
However, Mr. Insull said he would be responsible. He made it 
personal, not a message from his directors. But, in his own 
words : 

"After a long discussion ... we decided to construct and 
equip a turbine station. 55 

The first unit was of 5,000 kilowatts ; a second, at the same 
place (Fisk Street) was of the same amount. The year was 
1903. A few months ago a joyous group of power-men cele- 
brated the placing of a tablet on that old station. Mr. Insull 
tells a good story about the first experiment. 

"When they turned on the steam/' he said, "my friend Mr. 
Sargent [the chief consulting engineer] told me that he 
thought I had better go back to the office in Adams Street. The 
'innards' of the turbine were scraping on the casing and mak- 
ing a terrible noise. I asked Sargent why he told me I had 
better go to the office. He said: 'Well, I don't know exactly 
what is going to happen/ 

"I said, Well, then, you had better go out as well.' 

"He said, *No ; it is my duty to be here, and it is not yours. 1 

"I said, 'Is the thing going to blow up?' 

"He replied, 'No ; I don't think it is, but I don't know.' 

"I then said, 'Well, Sargent, if it blows up, the company 
will blow up, and I will blow up, too; so I might as well stay 
here, and between us we will finish the job.' " 

Very few Chicagoans knew anything about what the turbine 
meant, or even that there was a "5,000-k.w." one in town. They 
414 



did begin to find out that electric light was more plentiful, 
brighter and cheaper. The turbine, unknown to the crowd, 
had performed an immense feat. Whereas, before Mr. Insull 
brought it, transmission reached only about 2,500 feet, it be- 
came comparatively without bounds. More of the amazing 
engines, which had been adopted far and wide after Mr. In- 
sull's experiment, were put to work ; they grew more gigantic ; 
they generated up to 20,000 kilowatts, then up to 35,000, then 
up to 50,000. In 1926 Mr. Insull said: "The larger companies 
that supply energy directly to the Chicago district will not 
hereafter install any generating-units of less than 50,000 kilo- 
watts capacity, or about 67,000 horse-power each." 

The tremendous Crawford Avenue station at that time had 
a 75,000-kilowatt unit, and others, of 90,000 and even of 
100,000, had been ordered. The region around Chicago was 
being fed, electrically, by enormous stations which, in cities 
north, southwest, and southeast of Chicago, drew the incredible 
energy from its source and supplied the enlarged domain which 
Mr. Insull in a super-power sense controlled. 

He formed or consolidated companies whose work stretched 
out into "metropolitan Chicago," a district including a string 
of sixteen Illinois counties, two hundred towns, 6,000 square 
miles. Lights, telephone-current, electricity for street-cars and 
Ls and finally for the electrified Illinois Central all came 
from Insull turbines. He said in 1926 that the whole cash in- 
vestment in plants and equipment devoted to the production 
or use of electricity, or in the production of electric appliances, 
amounted to more than a billion dollars. By 1926, Mr. Insull 
headed the Commonwealth Edison Company, with an invest- 
ment of about $200,000,000. He had formed the Public Service 
Company of Northern Illinois. He had for a number of years 
been head of the Peoples Gas Company, controlling all gas- 
production. He had become chief of the city's elevated car- 
lines. Because he produced their power, he was a "man behind" 
the surface lines too. He had developed interurbans into high- 

415 



speed and long-distance .systems. Enterprises which he man- 
aged or with which he had close relations employed over 
150,000 men and women. 

He had "sold electricity" to Chicago and its territory to an 
extent never known anywhere, and had reduced charges volun- 
tarily. This was his other great motive: to convince people 
that electricity was "the thing." This principle he long ago 
established. And now Chicago, it is asserted, uses more elec- 
tricity per capita than any other city in the world. 

So much for the super-power man. Nearing three-score and 
ten, he is white-haired but active. He is a target for popular, 
or at least political, attack. "They say" that his interests 
backed Thompson; Corporation Counsel Ettelson has been one 
of Mr. InsulPs lawyers. The latter has, at least, consistently 
opposed that anti-Thompsonite, Senator Deneen. He keeps on 
managing his own huge machine. He reaches out in "jobs" like 
his work during the war as head of the State Council of De- 
fense. There are times when, it is said, he has felt that Chicago 
is somewhat ungrateful. 

3 

The city, during its great recovery from "war depression," 
was sometimes too harassed, and nearly always too busy, to be 
grateful. It was rising, and it was spreading. It was outstrip- 
ping itself. 

That "Great Central Market" swirled with effort, with in- 
coming and outgoing riches. Titanic inner cities, consisting of 
industrial plants employing thousands upon thousands (one 
of them the development of Cyrus McCormick's dreams in the 
? 40s) , had grown up ; the long trains of cars on private switch- 
tracks were as significant as the swarms entering and leaving 
the huge gates. Chimneys belched smoke all around the half- 
moon horizon. 

Into the stockyards rolled interminable train-loads of ani- 
mals (18,631,000 head during 1923) and millions more went 
out, eastward and to Europe, killed, inspected, dressed. The 

416 



floods of wheat, corn, oats, barley, avalanched into Chicago 
warehouses, and were passed on, amid a seesaw of Board of 
Trade prices, to the tune of (1924) 69,000,000 "bushels 
wheat," 99,000,000 "bushels corn," and other grains in pro- 
portion. Over 255,000,000 pounds of cheese, 446,500,000 
pounds of butter, nearly 7,500,000 cases of eggs, were hurled 
into Chicago from the vast farm-lands round about, and con- 
sumed, or packed in the half -million cubic feet of cold-storage 
space, or sent on in refrigerated cars. 

The city's legion of bakeries cleansed and controlled for a 
generation past turned out $80,000,000 worth of bread and 
related products. Candy was made to the tune of $49,418,800 
worth. Twelve million dollars' worth of ice cream or water ices 
was turned out of modernized factories. Canners stuffed twenty 
million dollars' worth of goods into cans. And tobacco, cigars, 
cigarettes, chewing-gum valued at nearly thirty millions, were 
artificed a part of that thirty million built the glittering 
Wrigley Building at the entrance to the Link Bridge. 

Armies of men and women beyond enumeration toiled at all 
these activities and trades. Other armies labored in druggists 5 
goods, patent medicines ($14,000,000 worth in 1924), 
$30,000,000 worth of soap, $13,000,000 worth of perfumery 
and cosmetics. In large-scale wood-working shops, furniture- 
products worth over $61,000,000 were made in 1923, uphold- 
ing a prestige Chicago had enjoyed in that line ever since 
Scandinavian cabinet-makers began work in the city. Making 
stoves, lamps, carpets, light-fixtures, phonographs, and count- 
less other necessities or luxuries, worked thousands of other 
mechanics. One battalion nailed together over $5,000,000 
worth of coffins in 1923. It is affecting in that connection to 
read in one survey x that "in improvement of the harp Chicago 
has won unique distinction." 

A great musical-instrument maker, this city; it produced, 
and still does, more than 180,000 pianos annually. It came to 

i These statistics, like others in this chapter, are taken from the Chicago 
Association of Commerce twenty-first anniversary survey, 1925. 

417 



be a champion maker of banjos and of cathedral-chimes. In 
Chicago originated the modern player-piano mechanism. 

Printing and advertising -had developed to a vast extent. 
The survey says, "One local plant alone prints between 70- 
000,000 and 100,000,000 [mail-order] catalogues a year." 
Advertising firms listed had an annual output of over 
$30,000,000. Great national magazines sent their work to Chi- 
cago printers. It was stated that about 500 journals, from 
dailies to quarterlies, were run off Chicago presses* And dur- 
ing the years between 1899 and 1921 the value of printing- 
products increased from more than $36,000,000 to more than 
$237,000,000. 

In the metal-industries, using round numbers only, value of 
products were charted as showing: in electrical appliances, 
machinery, and supplies, almost $400,000,000; products of 
rolling-mills, nearly as much; products of foundries and ma- 
chine-shops, not quite $200,000,000, and of blast-furnaces, 
over $150,000,000, These represent in most cases a trebling 
or quadrupling of output since 1914. 

Fully as striking, perhaps, was the growth of the clothing- 
industry, for years Chicago's lustiest effort, next to its stock- 
yards. The value of products as given for 1923 was $170,- 
497,452 in the men's-clothing line, and $54,583,589 in that of 
women's clothing. There were gains of millions in both during 
two years and tremendous progress since before the war. One 
reason, besides the greater demand, was the accomplishment of 
peace in this immense labor-field. Scurvily treated a generation 
before, forced into violent and even tragic strikes while fight- 
ing their way up, the clothing-workers achieved in 1911 an 
agreement with one large manufacturing firm Hart, Schaff- 
ner and Marx which paved the way eight years later for 
general agreements in the clothing-market. An arbitration 
board was created, under the chairmanship of a University 
of Chicago professor. The union (Amalgamated Clothing 
Workers of America) formed a trade board and an efficient 
internal government, affecting 40,000 or 50,000 workers. Soon 
418 



the union had a building of its own. The whole thing was a 
triumph of industrial statesmanship. 



All in all, it was estimated, nearly half a million people 
in what is called "metropolitan Chicago" ranked as wage- 
earners five years after the World War. Thirty-nine per cent, 
of them were in manufacturing and mechanical industries; 
sixteen per cent, in trades; not quite six per cent, in profes- 
sions. Various occupations accounted for the rest. 

They were paid, during 1923, wages figured at more than 
$762,000,000. They spent it most of it in 50,000 retail 
establishments, of which 15,000 dealt in foods. But they saved 
enough so as to have more than $635,000,000 in savings in 
State banks alone, in 1924. It. was figured that since 1900 the 
per capita wealth had increased about five hundred per cent. 

Of these riches, during 1904-1924, millions upon millions 
piled up in the outlying banks. 



The people were perhaps too little inclined to give science 
credit for Chicago's productivity and the wealth it made. They 
knew few of the names of men searching in commercial labora- 
tories for new methods, devices, results, which would create 
new power, new efficiency. A volume could not contain the list 
of discoveries that benefited, for example, telephone-transmis- 
sion, automobile parts, steel and iron processes, building-ma- 
terials, the outputs of fine woods, cement, musical devices, and 
many other things. 

And in still other laboratories, those of universities, pro- 
found basic studies were being carried on. The names of A. A. 
Michelson, Thomas Chrowder Chamberlin and John M. 
Coulter are among those that stand in the most conspicuous 
light. The first-named, a Chicagoan since 1892, won the Nobel 

419 



prize in physics in 1907. At more than seventy years of age he 
was still seeking to perfect the results of his lifelong study of 
light, its nature and velocity. 

The medical scientists gave Chicago a renown that grew 
through the years. Such prodigious workers as Dr. Frank Bill- 
ings, with his studies of focal infections and the relation of 
infections of the nose, throat, and teeth to disorder elsewhere 
in the body ; such as Dr. Ludvig Hektoen, part of whose big 
work concerned precipitins in the blood; such as Dr. George 
H. Dick, who with his wife Gladys developed methods of pre- 
vention and treatment of scarlet fever ; Dr. John B. Murphy, 
the great surgeon; Dr. Joseph De Lee, of the Lying-in Hos- 
pital; Dr. Arno Luckhardt, who discovered a new anesthetic, 
ethylene, Dr. Anton J. Carlson, who threw light on the physi- 
ology of hunger, and Dr. Alice Hamilton, student of industrial 
diseases all these and many more accomplished advances in 
medical knowledge commensurate with the great strides of the 
city in commerce and manufacture. 

The fame of such scientists spread quietly to hoary quad- 
rangles abroad, to little groups of "those who know." But it 
was outshouted by trade statistics and silenced by the echoes 
of barbaric crimes* 



420 



CHAPTER XXII 



JL HE city, in this period, leaped over borders, political and 
geographic. 

It did not choose to become only a compact mass of hotels 
and apartments, in which normal family-life disappeared. It 
had, like every big city, an urge in that direction, but the 
stronger urge was the other way. Ignoring the lure of land- 
lords who "did everything for you and did you," the lure too 
of kitchenettes and cooperatives, thousands of householders 
strove to build or buy separate dwellings, even if they were 
only box-like bungalows. Real-estate men with limitless faith 
and sometimes more faith than sense of beauty put up whole 
towns of such houses. Far out on the prairies the daring sub- 
dividers plotted new communities, stuck up signs bearing 
aristocratic street-names, and were rewarded presently by a 
rush thither to occupy the little five- and six-room homes, often 
pathetically alike, which shot up on the flat land. 

In the city proper there were more apartment buildings 
being constructed than family dwellings, but in the immense 
and growing half -moon of metropolitan area around it, that 
was not so. This exterior Chicago, physically linked with the 
municipality but politically independent of it, had a growth 
no Eastern metropolis could rival. The Chicago suburbs grew 

421 



several times as fast as the city proper. They were villages of 
homes, and some of them fought hard against encroaching 
flats. The residents owed to Chicago about all they had in 
money for the vast majority of them worked downtown yet 
they had migrated beyond the political border, and could look 
calmly upon a disordered City Hall, feeling that some one 
else was to blame. So, to visitors asking what was the matter 
with Chicago, there could be given as one answer: "Well, so 
many of the good citizens don't vote in Chicago !" Yet there was 
a growing tendency to think of a region containing between 
4,000,000 and 5,000,000 people, and taking in dozens of 
towns, as a metropolitan unit. There came to be a Regional 
Planning Association to treat the problem scientifically. Not 
inappropriately, Daniel Burnham, son of the great planner, 
headed this association. 

Even in the corporate limits, there arose a diverse com- 
munity feeling, rather than a civic unity, all up and down the 
long stretch of city on or near Lake Michigan. New centers 
everywhere new groups of stores, theaters, churches, garages, 
and all that the ordinary man needs, with houses clustering 
about, neighborhood interests developing, improvement-associ- 
ations, parent-teacher clubs, art and literary societies. More 
than a hundred Chicagos, there were, within the one Chi- 
cago. . . . 

In those regions there remained, or there were brought to 
them, characteristics of small-town life not so much the 
narrow ideas of Main Street as the Mid- Western notions of 
morals, of raising children in a nice neighborhood, of letting 
shade-trees live, of digging in the soil and "prettying" the 
front yard. In scores of the "little Chicagos," not a half -hour 
from the towering Loop by street-car or by steam lines, 
one could find all the tranquillity, the local pride, the "de- 
cency 35 which one is disposed to see or imagine in the tiny 
towns, unincorporated, through which one drives on a remote 
stretch of State highway. A few suburbs, on the other hand, 
were tougher than the slums. 
422 



The super-power giant, Insull, with his great organization 
and his impregnable monopolies, could keep pace with and even 
lead a growth into the metropolitan fringe. Unfortunately, 
transportation could not. The steam-roads did pretty well, and 
the Insullized Ls and interurbans managed to make progress, 
but the surface carlines could not expand in the same degree 
as other utility-services. The city rolled out beyond the end of 
their trackage, people clamored for cars and the cars were 
not there. When lines had been extended, there was too much 
of delay and overcrowding. Motor-buses came into the picture, 
but there were too few of them . . . and there was still no 
subway ! 

Operating under the 1907 ordinances, and facing their ex- 
piration in a few years, the traction-companies met complaints 
that they "had plenty of money and could expand if they 
wanted to" with the claim that they could not raise a lot of 
new capital while their status was so uncertain. They explained 
that short-term franchises made long-term bond issues impos- 
sible. Unified control, it was argued, was a forlorn hope. No 
one could agree on what the properties were worth. For half 
of Chicago's corporate existence this traction-problem had con- 
fronted a city noted for its bold conquest of difficulties and 
now, despite the 1907 "solution," the problem was about as 
bad as ever. Half the city blamed political demagogues; the 
other half blamed the traction-interests and the "trust press." 

And there was another keyring puzzle which nobody seemed 
able to work. The great sprawling city during decades past 
had swallowed village after village, including the town govern- 
ments of those suburbs. In the remote era of the late ? 90s, the 
assessing power of town officials had passed to a central assess- 
ing board, and this was considered too optimistically, it now 
appears a great step toward just taxation. But the citizen 
still found himself under the thumb of a multiplicity of govern- 
ing and taxing bodies* He paid to the city, to the Park Boards, 

423 



to the Sanitary District, to the schools, to the Forest Preserve 
District, to literally scores of other taxing bodies. 

If he found joy in the South Parks, he must remember 
that more enjoyment could be voted only by a board named 
by Chicago? No, by the circuit judges of Cook County. If he 
was a North or West Park patron, he must look to trustees 
appointed by Chicago? No, by the governor of Illinois. In 
such a situation one reason is seen for the long delays and 
bickerings that hampered many great improvements. 

The citizen was like a conscientious office employee with a 
half-dozen bosses all telling him what to do. And if he tried 
to throw off the authority of two or three, the others sat on him. 

People who analyzed the mess attacked it, once in 1905 and 
again in 1920. The Legislature at Springfield was appealed 
to for a new charter for Chicago. In 1905-07 the city got its 
Municipal Court, and some minor benefits; but the voters 
listened to the politicians and voted down the rest of the pro- 
gram, including home-rule and consolidation of taxing bodies. 
In 1919 a law was obtained dividing the city into fifty wards 
and providing for non-partisan election of aldermen. In 1920 
a constitutional convention again tackled the muddle, and 
brought into the program once more the possibility of im- 
proved taxation, consolidated and simplified government, and 
a moderate degree of home-rule. A great city was struggling 
to free itself; to run itself without a continuous appeal to a 
Legislature composed over 62 per cent, of "down-staters." 
The voters did not seem to understand this. They saw only 
menacing things like the State income-tax plan that threatened 
their pocket-books. 

The Thompson machine, for reasons of its own, fought and 
beat the proposed State constitution, with its new charter-plan 
for Chicago, in 1922. Even the police were employed to ring 
doorbells and beg householders to vote "No." The school- 
teachers also worked against it. All municipal employees were 
told that control of their pension-laws would be taken from the 
State Legislature and vested in the City Council. Home-rule 
424 



applied to their own interests they did not relish. Moreover, 
certain features of the plan impressed labor-union people as 
"judicial tyranny." 

The effort failed ; the muddle remained. 

3 

But the vast swarm of workaday people "middle-class, 55 if 
the term is permissible went their way quite happily, un- 
worried by governmental absurdities. They inhabited a city 
which gave them the essentials of ordinary living, such as fair 
wages, decent housing, plenty of fun. Pay-checks were fatter 
all around. Many big concerns, after years of grumbling, had 
concluded that it was better to provide the wherewithal for 
motor-cars, fur coats and fancier furniture; the money spent 
seemed in the end to roll back to its source. In the living- 
quarters, nice bathrooms, appliances that "worked," and floors 
easily cleaned, seemed to make the average man more cheerful 
than he was before he could afford those things. And as for his 
pleasures, he was bound to have them; he had airily ignored 
the plaints of pessimists who said he was wasting his life, and 
now that he had stifled those plaints, an unheard-of amount 
of Chicago's energy went into giving the Plain Citizen his fun. 

The movie palaces led. One company alone, which had 
pioneered in 1917 with a large and sybaritic theater (the first 
"ultra" one in America), had millions invested in four or five 
such houses by 1925. There were other "strings," amazingly 
invading not only dense neighborhoods but also remote cross- 
roads, which at once brightened. Orchestras, vaudeville pro- 
grams, even acts of grand opera, were added as the busy show- 
men became richer. 

But there were now such eager multitudes of music-lovers 
that all the allurements of jazz players and powerful pipe- 
organs failed to disturb the attendance at "highbrow" per- 
formances. Indeed, many of the movie concerts became "high- 
brow" on their own account. The Germans who had virtually 

425 



brought music to Chicago were now reinforced, as indeed they 
had been for years past, by passionate pilgrims (Italians, Rus- 
sians, Jews, and many others) who delightedly climbed any 
number of stairs to sit in balconies at Orchestra Hall or the 
Auditorium. The growing rosters of music-students greatly 
helped. There were easily 20,000 of them in the city, attending 
the half-dozen big conservatories, or smaller ones. 

Frederick Stock, who had taken charge of the Symphony 
Orchestra in 1905, had within less than twenty years devel- 
oped himself from a good musician and composer into one of 
the finest conductors in the country. He, a German-born citizen 
who had laid down the baton during the war because of a 
foolish flurry about his citizenship, was the man who came 
forward to encourage American composers, virtuosi, and 
orchestra members. As Glenn Dillard Gunn wrote, Mr. Stock 
"did not try to force his convictions upon the public, but per- 
sisted in his efforts for the American composers, presenting 
their works in conjunction with the standard symphonic litera- 
ture." He labored, too, to reach more and more Chicagoans 
with better and better music. He gave popular concerts and 
children's concerts every week. His men played in such fine 
part-season events as the Evanston Music Festival and the 
Ravinia Park open-air performances. 

"Ah, Ravinia!" A delighted gasp often heard in Chicago. 
In the woodland amusement-place, some twenty-five miles from 
the city, a rather unambitious concert-program had been 
turned into Summer opera, chiefly by the efforts of Louis 
Eckstein. On a little stage, excellent singers, borrowed for those 
weeks, gave abridged but delightful performances of many of 
the standard operas. The natural setting was exquisite. Music- 
lovers, many of them the same who crowded downtown halls, 
flocked to the place by; trainloads. Ravinia became more than a 
succes d'estime. 

The big opera downtown had now come under the control 
of none other than the super-power man. A few years after the 
war Mr. and Mrs. Harold McCormick, who had, it is said, 



poured more than $1 ,000,000, some years, into the treasury 
of the Chicago Opera Company, turned over their burden to a 
reorganized board, and the Civic Opera Company came forth, 
with Samuel Insull at its head. 

Mary Garden directed the company with gorgeous effect 
that last season of the McCormick regime. The final curtain 
was rung down with a larger deficit, but a remembrance of a 
season when money had been no object. Mr. Insull took hold 
with the policy of creating a strong group of guarantors they 
grew to more than two thousand and new ideas of "selling 
opera. 55 He reduced the deficit, reduced the salaries of stars, 
too, in some cases, improved box-office receipts, and clung to 
business principles similar to those that had made his public 
utilities a success. There were complaints from people who 
lamented the absence of singers like Muratore and Galli- 
Curci ; but it seemed to many patrons that Chicago opera must 
needs undergo this phase of management in order to gain a 
greater future. It was to be a future in a forty-two-story 
building on the river bank. At the end of January, 1929, fare- 
well was said to the "ancient 55 Auditorium. The opera was 
Romeo and Juliet, as in 1889, with Edith Mason, wife of 
Director Giorgio Polacco, in the soprano role. 



Chicago, in the 1920s, went into the open air. The forest- 
preserve system, one of the original Chicago Plan items, had 
become a reality. Members of the Cook County Board of 
Commissioners, serving ex-officio as Forest Preserve Commis- 
sioners, had developed the woodland areas. Gradually more 
than 30,000 acres of land on the fringe of Chicago were ac- 
quired, isolated, and policed ; and more was added every year. 
The president of the board, Anton J. Cermak, gained credit 
for a lot of this. With new highways and immensely more 
automobiles, these wild parks, along rivers or among hills, be- 
came the playground of people who could not afford the money 

427 



for country estates or the time for long journeys. A huge 
zoological garden, for which Mrs. Rockefeller McCormick gave 
150 acres of land in 1919, took form. Other plans of develop- 
ment grew, urged by a citizens 5 advisory board headed by Gen. 

Abel Davis. 

In the city parks golf became the sport of sports, though 
baseball diamonds, too, were open to scores of amateur teams. 
Jackson Park, years before, had offered one of the first public 
golf-courses in the country. It came to have three of them, 
while in Lincoln Park and some of the West Parks others were 
laid out. All around Chicago, within an hour's ride, or even a 
half -hour, there were established municipal or village public 
links, which, added to those of private clubs, made access to a 
golf -game easy and cheap. The Chamber of Commerce survey 
of 1925 noted that there were a hundred and twenty courses 
within forty-five miles of the city, thirty-three of them open to 
the public, and that it was estimated there were 1,250,000 
rounds of golf played in the Chicago district every season ! 

Horse-racing and boxing were legalized again. Professional 
or amateur, sport rode high in favor. 

Tennis, swimming, yachting, all boomed. There were hun- 
dreds of tennis-courts upon which any one could play, in the 
parks. The lake shore offered bathing-beaches at intervals for 
miles and miles. De-luxe swimming-pools in athletic clubs, both 
men's and women's clubs, were outnumbered by the free pools 
in public field houses. Chicago became water-wise. Something 
like two hundred sail-yachts rode at anchor in the harbors, or 
flitted over the waves; and motor-boats, speed-boats, then 
finally amphibians, grew handsomer and faster. 

All this within such easy reach of home ! Golf -greens, swim- 
ming or shooting, baseball-parks, sailing for any one who 
could own or share a hull in city area, instead of a long motor- 
ride away. 

Room for the "common people" in concert-halls, instead of 
a monopoly by the rich . . . Lectures at low prices . . . 
428 



Beautiful art, gratis at least twice a week. A few answers to 
the question, "Why do you live in Chicago?" 

5 

As for beauty, there were a thousand creations scattered 
about which could be admired any time without a cent's worth 
of tribute. They did not even cost a dime tip to a caretaker 
quite a contrast with sightseeing in Europe. A leisurely visitor 
to Chicago could take away the recollections of things, none 
of them under the roofs of official show-places, such as these : 

The beauty of the Great Lakes, symbolized in bronze by 
Lorado Taf t, near the Art Institute . . . the charming Good- 
man Memorial Theater . . . the "Spirit of Music," com- 
memorating Theodore Thomas . . the St. Gaudens monu- 
ment to Logan; the general on his charger, holding a flag 
snatched from the melee at Atlanta . . . the MacNeil murals 
in the Marquette Building, showing the pioneer priest's jour- 
neys . . . epochs of Chicago history painted as a frieze in 
the Central Trust Company Building ; the Jules Guerin murals 
in the Illinois Merchants Trust bank . . , the Chicago Water 
Tower, a wistful Victorian relic in the center of grand new 
North Michigan Boulevard . . . the Tribune's carved stone 
ornament called "Aesop's Screen" at the entrance of its lofty 
tower-building . . . Bertram Goodhue's exquisite Chapel of 
St. Andrew in St. James' Episcopal Church, a memorial to 
James L. Houghteling . . . Frederic Clay Bartlett's medieval 
Gothic decorations of the Fourth Presbyterian Church ... a 
rose-window in the Quigley Memorial Building (modeled after 
the Paris Sainte-Chapelle) , a replica of that in Notre Dame 
de Paris . . . the St. Gaudens Lincoln statue in Lincoln Park, 
"the finest portrait statue in the country" ; soon to be rivaled 
by the same sculptor's seated Lincoln in Grant Park . . . the 
statues in Lincoln Park to La Salle, Garibaldi, Schiller, Bee- 
thoven, Goethe, and many bthers the Goethe which was ab- 
surdly treated during the World War . . . the grand eques- 

429' 



trian monument to General Grant, rising illumined at night 
above the 'road of thronging motorists ... an old house on 
the South Side, all that remains in Chicago of residence-archi- 
tecture by H. H. Richardson . . . vestibule windows in the 
Second Presbyterian church designed by Sir Edward Burne- 
Jones and executed by William Morris ... a Public Library 
branch modeled after the Erechtheum at Athens . . . the 
Hutchinson Commons at the University of Chicago, modeled 
after Christ Church College, Oxford ... the rusted and for- 
lorn, but striking Massacre Monument in what used to be the 
land across the wall of the old Pullman place ... the tall 
monument to Stephen A. Douglas, Chicago's earliest sculp- 
tured monument ... the gorgeous gilt-bronze reproduction, 
in Jackson Park, of French's World's Fair plaster lady who 
symbolized the Republic . . . Taft's shadowy Fountain of 
Time at the entrance to the Midway, in Washington Park . . . 
Kosciusko, Leif Erikson, Von Humboldt, in the park named 
after the naturalist; Carter Harrison, Sr., heroically sculp- 
tured in Union Park, and with sentences from that last World's 
Fair speech, the apostrophe to Chicago's destiny, lettered on 
the stone ... the walls rising for the new University of 
Chicago Chapel, Rockefeller's gift toward symbolizing the 
dominance of religion over education. 



Impulses from that strange composite, the soul of Chicago, 
took form in such monuments, such beauties, conspicuous or 
half-hidden. This was the Chicago of aspiration, added to 
Chicago the industrious, Chicago the thrifty, Chicago the play- 
boy. Against such a scene, the shadows of darker things vice, 
crime, the plottings and sputtering of warring gangs seemed 
to many people evanescent and unreal. 

Those shadows were distorted into giant figures. In the 
greater perspective they appeared to dwindle. They were like 
moths against a far horizon moths in a dance of death* 
430 



CHAPTER XXIII 



"Play it across the table. 
What if we steal this city blind? 
If they want anything, let ? em nail it down. 

"Harness bulls, dicks, front-office men, 
And the high goats up on the bench, 
Ain't they all in cahoots ? 
Ain't it fifty-fifty all down the line?" x 

Carl Sandburg wrote the words some time in 1919. They 
could have been uttered in a thousand "hang-outs, 55 where those 
supreme cynics and fatalists, the gangsters, talked things over. 
The time had arrived when they felt safer than they ever had 
felt. The city they had picked to build their fortunes in was 
tremendous; it had all kinds of people in it; and if these 
people, if all the "moral force" in the place, had been turned 
loose against crime, the criminals would have been wiped out 
like a machine-gun nest in a general advance. 

But the good people, the very busy people, building homes 
and bank accounts and skyscrapers, relied blindly on the men 
they had elected to govern and prosecute. Many of these men 

iFrom Smoke and Steel, copyright, 1920, by Harcourt, Brace and Howe, 
Inc. 

431 



did neither. The bright minds of the underworld, who profes- 
sionally regarded laws as lightly as they did advertising 
dodgers tossed in at the windows of their cars, now decided that 
enforcement of those laws was likewise too trivial for ^notice. 
The good citizen, meanwhile, kept on tinder a partial illusion 
that the laws were fine, that the police were trying to uphold 
them, that indictments led to convictions, that judges were 
incorruptible. 

And so, while the workers, crushed into L coaches, or pour- 
ing into the Loop from the suburbs, 1 read of queer murders, 
and queerer court proceedings, while they tried to learn from 
cryptic newspaper stories who was who in gangdom Big Jim 
and Mike de Pike and Hymie and Samoots they could hardly 
discern that the vice-chiefs, new and old, the crooked brewers 
and the gunmen, were getting as well organized as the other 
business men, and much better organized than the forces of 
law and order. 

Least of all did the trustful citizen ever think that gang- 
war would become a sort of Grand Opera. 



Colisimo, typical vice-king, was in his grave. The old regime 
gave way to the new. In place of this veteran warrior against 
society, who had worked his way up from street-cleaner to 
padrone, then to restaurant-keeper and successful pander, 
stood Torrio, heir to his power. Colisimo had brought him on 
from New York, where big business, culture, and gangsters 
all flourished long before they did so in Chicago. 

From Big Jim the quick-witted Johnny learned the ways 
of his adopted city, its political ins-and-outs, its buyable offi- 
cials, and the roster of its gang-world. He had a cool business 
head, had Johnny. He could shoot well enough, but he pre- 
ferred diplomacy. He would rather buy a man than kill him. 

i A traffic survey in 1926 showed that between 7 A.M. and 7 P.M. of each 
day, 1,693,506 persons entered or left the central business district. 

432 



He did not think it an indignity if a few police sergeants tried 
to hold him up for as miserable a sum as $200 or $300. He 
paid, and smiled. Still, a certain amount of brute force had to 
be used against enemies who were so crude as to use it ; hence 
Torrio had about him retainers whose job was to kill, to kill 
quickly and "clean." He had others who were not only fine 
marksmen but good managers, capable of bossing a brigade 
or even a division. When he found them he developed them, 
as a wise executive must. It was in this way that he "brought 
out" such young hopefuls as Alfonse Capone, a star of one 
of the New York gangs in which Torrio himself had shone. 
This youth learned well from his master. He even surpassed 
him in skill at escaping "the rap" ; for Torrio eventually went 
to jail, while Capone leaped from safety-island to safety-island, 
and was tenderly preserved from harm. 

Capone was to be lucky in another way. He was in a high 
place in gangdom a few years later, when crime became a box- 
office and circulation hit, when it became "sure fire" before the 
footlights and magazine editors frenziedly offered authors $1 
a word to write about Chicago's gangs. Capone, without being 
much of an actor or hero in fact (indeed, some say he is only 
a "front" for a brainy committee), became celebrated from 
Spokane to Miami, and even as far as London and Berlin. He 
did not protest, although it brought him no money. Indeed, at 
times he found it interfered with his regular work. 

3 

The names in this chain of power and to them could be 
added a long list suggesting the same nationality the names 
of Colosimo, Torrio, Capone, led some of the passionate maga- 
zine-writers (few of them lived in Chicago) to suggest a lot 
of nonsense about the Italians and their place in the city. 
Some writers were thoughtful enough to narrow the term to 
"Sicilians." But they wrote buncombe just the same. For ex- 
ample, Colosimo was not a Sicilian, but a Calabrian, and a 

433 



creature not of any tendencies inherent among the people of 
that respectable province, but of life in Chicago for twenty 
years. 

And the writers did not always put the blame where it be- 
longed. They might have consulted an Italian rector. Father 
Louis Giambastiani, who pointed out that, when prohibition 
came, "every Italian center in the city was allowed to become a 
boiling pot of moonshine to satisfy the thirst of the non-Italian 
people. The Italians got the money and the Americans (if you 
Eke the distinction) got the Italian liquor. 55 

As for the dreaded Sicilians, they were no more represented 
by the bombers and gunmen than were the Germans by those 
car-barn bandits of 1903, or the Irish by such characters as 
the tough labor-agent, "Con" Shea. Further, they outnum- 
bered the immigrants from northern Italy two to one, so that 
criminal Sicilians were, of course, more numerous than those 
from other provinces. The great body of decent ones took up 
suitable work in Chicago and made good. 1 They, like some of 
the Genoese, Piedmontese, etc., were preyed upon by black- 
mailers and bomb-throwers. Of their own race, powerful ele- 
ments like the Genna Brothers piled up fortunes which they 
trebled by bootlegging. The sorrowing small-merchant paid 
and paid. If he "got ugly," he found his goods smashed, some- 
times his shop window smeared with whitewash, or fruit-stands 
overturned. Pioneering among savage tribes could have been 
no worse than the fate of some of the honest shoestring Italian 
business men, who had fellow victims in the Jewish district 
domain of "benevolent politicians" like Morris Eller. 

Such tales as were heard at Hull House, and the Chicago 
Commons ! Little wonder the settlement people went to the polls 
with blood in their eyes. 

i G. Schiavo, in The Italians in Chicago* states that of the ten leading whole- 
sale grocers in the city, seven are Sicilians ; he adds, "Probably fifty per cent, 
of the Italian retail stores in the city are owned bj Sicilians." 



434 



4 

With imported gangsters like Torrio and Capone the home- 
grown ones were in vivid contrast. 

Always were the Torrio-Capone sort aliens, coldly detached 
from Chicago, hirelings. That was not so much true of the 
young fellows who, like Terry Druggan and Frank Lake, ad- 
vanced from sophomoric hoodlumism in their native districts to 
the Ph.D.'s and Phi Beta Kappas in their line to wealth, 
power and terrorism. 

The Chicago boys were likely to retain most of the lingo of 
the streets, the swagger, the rough push- ? em-off-the-sidewalk 
attitude which was the fashion of their home-districts. At the 
same time, they were often a more warm-hearted, companion- 
able, and reckless sort than the imported thugs. They had 
friends who had not been sold them on the market, but were 
men whom they had known from the days when they all played 
ball together back of lumber-piles ; as these friends became po- 
licemen, State Senators or judges, the hoodlums moved up in 
their own social and financial world. No need of bribing offi- 
cials like that at least, not all the time. It was certain the 
officials would give their old pals Tom and Dick and Harry 
the best deal that far-stretched habeas corpuses or waivers 
of felonies could possibly justify. 

That bribery took place, that police captains bought fine 
flat-buildings, that cases were strangely "hung" in jury 
rooms, is one of those phenomena that everybody knows. But 
it is equally certain, and much easier to prove, that a political 
friend of a hoodlum, when the latter sought bond or even 
acquittal, would quite as likely use in "high quarters" a speech 
such as this : 

"Listen, Your Honor: This fellow goin* on trial tomorrow 
is young Dick Whoosit, nephew of old Whoosit who kept the 

Wild Goose saloon on th Street. You remember old Jim an 5 

his sister. An' you may call to mind young Dick ; maybe you 
went to school with him . . " 

435 



The "old times" and "friendship" arguments were hard to 
resist. Part of the local pride, the strange love of picturesque 
Chicago common to all circles, entered into the thing. And as 
for the gangs, every one knows the harsh yet human laws that 
govern them the code that transcends the work of legisla- 
tures. In Chicago it passed from mouth to mouth among boys 
in short pants who played and fought together in the region 
of those melancholy shanties built just after the Big Fire, who 
roamed and broke windows and stole door-knobs before there 
ever was a Juvenile Court. They saw their parents worked to 
death, or thrown out of work, or jeered at by a landlord. Some 
of them determined that society should pay for it. Or, they saw 
the rich folks driving along boulevards, knew that often the 
money had been as good as stolen, and yearned to drive fast 
horses or autos themselves, and to wear clothes as nice as 

that. 

These boys, born in the splendid time of the World's Fair 
which such boys had to crash if they saw it at all or perhaps 
in the bad days just after it, were adult and experienced by the 
time the jazz era, accompanied by prohibition, came along* 
They had proved their worth as safe-crackers, dips, or gunmen 
for warring newspapers. The age of prohibited beer and whis- 
key became their Golden Age. Little difference, in that regard, 
in Chicago from what happened elsewhere in America. Terry 
Druggan and Frank Lake, the inseparable pair who rose to 
command of the Valley; Joe Saltis, built like a hippopotamus, 
but agile enough in mind ; the O'Donnell boys, who bossed the 
Southwest Side beer-sources; the Miller brothers, a gang all 
by themselves; the seven Gennas, first Black Handers, then 
bootlegger aristocrats; a host of underlings, chauffeurs or 
killers (e.g., Frank McErlane, perhaps the cruelest of the 
lot) these had counterparts in cities from New York to 
'Frisco, New Orleans to St. Paul. 

There was this difference : in Chicago social walls went down 
more easily, the phrase, "He's pretty tough, but a good scout 
436 



after all," was oftener heard. There was less scrutiny in the 
best hotels or restaurants of young men who wore nicely fitting 
evening clothes and tipped well. Chicago had something of the 
Parisian laisser faire. 

But there was also a political difference, just then, between 
Chicago and Cleveland or San Francisco or even New York. 



As early as 1920 it was seen that Chicago "beer-hustling" 
was getting organized, with at least tacit consent by the City 
Hall. Breweries were known to be open and booming ; Chicago's 
immense thirst was being quenched, law or no law, and public 
sentiment inclined toward approval of this fact. The Federal 
and the municipal officials were pulling opposite ways. Thomp- 
son's chief of police, Charles Fitzmorris, at first secretary to 
Harrison, then to "Big Bill/ 5 who gave him "the city's hardest 
job," stated in 1921, with characteristic candor, that a large 
percentage of the police were busy in the booze traffic. They 
kept on being bootleggers. The policy of thejnayor, then 
forever* .w&s " we O: 1 * town." * cz ~' 



police being indifferent if not corrupt and the Fed- 
eral forces too few, the feudal chiefs of the booze-industry 
went right on improving their systems and making boundaries 
based roughly on Chicago's natural divisions^ Into the ranks 
of the several armies rushed practically all the clever or ath- 
letic young hoodlums "educated" during the last twenty years. 
The wages were good, bonuses rich, advancement speedy. Com- 
petition was also brisk/jVhen boundaries were crossed, or beer- 
trucks "hi- jacked," there were murders which the public read 
about and quickly forgot. There were few stern inquests, and 
hardly ever any effective trials, to keep those episodes running 
In the newspapers/J 

Sometimes there would be an outburst of mysterious rage in 
a crowded street or building; there would be a spurt of fire, 
a revolver-explosion or two ; there would be a body on a tiled 

437 



foyer, and a dash of a group, "identity unknown," to the 
street, the roar of a motor. . . . 

It happened once on the opening night of a play in Madison 
Street, in the theater lobby. The supposed murderer was one 
of a party who had sat, white-shirt-fronted, in a main-floor 
seat. His career and death came as near as anything could to 
supplying the growing taste for "romances of gangland. 55 



He was born in a near-by city, but was brought to Chicago 
when so young that he might as well have been indigenous 
instead of transplanted. 

He grew up in the "near North Side," which is, and was 
then, such a curious double-slice of fine streets with noble old 
houses, and of slums like "Little Hell" a name, by the way, 
that far antedates any Italian settlement there. 

The mother of the boy was dead, and his father did the best 
he could. He knew his son was a fighter, a "live one," but also, 
when sitting in the big Catholic Church, he saw him up among 
the altar-boys, helping in the grave ritual. As good-looking as 
any of 'em, too. 

In those days, the time before the Juvenile Court, or the 
Boy's Court, when saloons were plenty and bathtubs so few, 
there flourished the old Market Street Gang. We saw it crack- 
ing negroes' heads in an election of the '90s (Part II, Chapter 
VI.) This sweet-faced altar-boy, with the lively fists, was en- 
listed with the Market Street terrors. He hung around saloons, 
acting as a waiter part of the time. He learned, it seems, to 
crack safes, as well as to shoot beautifully. At one time in a 
"circulation war," he did fancy terrorizing for a newspaper- 
Unlike some of his crowd, he did not always "beat tKeTrap,'* 
for we find him, before he was of age, serving a few months 
in the bridewell for robbery, and a few more for carrying con- 
cealed weapons. He must have escaped the war draft more 
successfully. 

438 



Now when the Golden Age of law-breakers came on, when 
ministering to the thirsty became something illicit and profit- 
able, this hero of romance was all ready for it. He still got 
arrested now and then once, indeed, for that mysterious 
shooting in a theater but now the records in his case were 
sure to read, "a nolle prosequi was taken," or "stricken off with 
leave to reinstate." He was now Somebody. He had a mob of his 
own, and money, and political friends. Some of these must have 
been people with offices in the Criminal Court Building, for 
that was where cases were "stricken off." But also, the now 
full-fledged gangster, known in the newspapers as a dapper 
gangster, had an allegiance to, or an alliance with, Torrio. 
This seemed useful in clearing him of more than one murder- 
charge, and even of a Federal indictment. 

Daytimes, this young fellow, whose name Dean O'Banion 
came to seem glorious in headlines, was the charming propri- 
etor of a florist's shop on the edge of the Gold Coast. It was 
across the street from Holy Name Cathedral, where he had been 
an acolyte. Well-dressed, not flashy a bit, and always affable, he 
was known by name to many a comfortably-fixed citizen near 
by, and most courteously did he fill their orders for perfumed 
blossoms, most delicately did he respect their grief when it 
was a funeral order. They did not read the newspapers care- 
fully. 

From the florist's shop as headquarters, he was running a 
mob and managing murder-parties when necessary. He had the 
job of collecting new and efficient arsenals as when, in 1924, 
he acquired a huge assortment of machine-guns, rifles, and re- 
volvers. And all the time he was given to impulsive generosities, 
staking his friends from funds not made in the flower business, 
or paying the fine of a tramp. Once, it is known, he paid for 
the care of a crippled youth at the Mayo clinic. 

He "stayed home nights," his wife said. (It hardly seems 
possible.) He "loved to sit in his slippers, listening to the radio. 
He never drank. He had only one little car." 

In the fall of 1924< it was that this many-sided fellow, who 

439 



afterwards became one of the prototypes of no end of fiction, 
drama, and movies, met the sensational finish awaiting him. As 
he stood alone among his beautiful cases of flowers one morn- 
ing, a squad of men dark men, they were afterwards de- 
scribed entered boldly. A negro employee in a rear room 
heard O'Banion say, "Hello!" Then he heard the uproar of 
revolver-shots, and a crash of glass as the bootlegger florist, 
neatly bullet-riddled, fell dying into a display of chrysanthe- 
mums. 

The straphangers, hazy about the facts, but gorging on 
"romance,' 5 next read about the amazing funeral of O'Banion. 
They read how he lay in state in his $10,000 silver-bronze 
coffin brought from Pennsylvania in a special car. They read 
how women in furs, and women wearing head-shawls, mingled 
in the line ; how gangster friends of the famous decedent wept, 
while at the same time they fingered their guns. 

It was sobbed in print that silver angels stood at head and 
foot of the coffin, bearing candles ; and that a slab on the coffin 
bore the words, "Suff er little children to come unto me." And 
another slab said, in a more matter-of-fact way, "Dean 
Q'Banion, 1892-1924." 

So new then, so commonplace now, the great funeral proces- 
sion, with judges, legislators, aldermen, dutiously present . . . 
the parade of automobiles . * . the refusal of the Cathedral 
for the funeral . . . the fortune in flowers ... so new, and 
so "mysterious." 

How had this happened to Chicago? 

The straphanger was not inclined (not enough inclined, 
anyhow) to ascribe it to politics. 



440 



CHAPTER XXIV 



A 



GREAT deal had been doing, however, in politics since the 
war, and since the coming of prohibition. If the preoccupied 
citizen did not get the point, at least the gangsters did. 

There had been elevated to the dictator-like office of State's 
attorney a judge with a good record for dispatching work, a 
vigorous and quick-tongued Irishman named Crowe. His elec- 
tion came (November, 1920) in the next year after Thomp- 
son's second victory. They were fast political friends at the 
time. The friendship proved in nowise disconcerting to the 
gangsters. 

Next there had come a rupture dividing the two. It took the 
form at first of a loud newspaper-quarrel between the State's 
attorney and Chief Fitzmorris. The row occupied columns, and 
in the heat of the charges, the veil covering the strange favor- 
itism accorded to gangland began to be lifted. But it was 
quickly dropped again. It was soon found that Crowe had allied 
himself with men who did not want Thompson as mayor any 
more. 

At Springfield there went into office as governor in 1920, 
on the same ticket with Crowe, the old-time Lorimer politician, 
Len Small. Like some others in that camp he was able to recon- 
cile a church-going morality with obedience to all demands 



from his party faction. As his faction grew kinder to men under 
indictment or "hounded to the penitentiary," so did Governor 
Small listen more genially to appeals for pardons. Not these 
alone, but many other executive actions greatly puzzled even 
people who admired him as a developer of concrete highways. 
He was put on trial on a charge of having, while State treas- 
urer, lent public funds through a spectral bank. He was ac- 
quitted ; but hates grew more bitter. 

A storm originating in 1922 broke over Thompson's head, 
coming from that center of storms the School Board. Having 
broken all records for misrule, and having preferred jail for 
contempt of court to retaining a strict superintendent, Charles 
Chadsey, a dominating group of trustees faced public wrath 
over grafting which was not only suspected, but proved. Some 
of them, with their friends, were shown to have sought profits 
on school and playground sites. The greedy political shysters 
took advantage of every possible contract, dipped into every 
fund, to enrich themselves. They forced principals to order 
wasteful equipment or luxuries new plumbing, movies, phono- 
graphs, pianos, even electric hand-dryers and potato-peelers. 
This orgy went on until civic bodies and newspapers forced a 
series of grand- jury inquiries which, after several false starts, 
resulted in sweeping indictments. Now the general public, calm 
enough during the first exposures, had one of its violent rages. 
It became conscious at about the same time that its taxes were 
much higher, and that the city treasury was worse than ever. 
It grumbled about bad police protection and dirty streets. And 
it read charges which were in due time stubbornly denied by 
both Lundin and Thompson that the "poor Swede" had said 
to some of the school-trustees : "We're at the feed-box now, and 
we're going to feed, 3 ' 

Thompson was dodging bricks, and Lundin found it time 
to go up an alley. The gaudy Pageant of Progress had become 
a scandal. Upright citizens who had let things drift on for 
years were making effective speeches about the schools, the 
cradles of our citizenship. The winds blew cold and gloomy 



upon the City Hall, and Lundin partly because of grand- 
jury activity caught a train for the north. Thompson rushed 
after him and pleaded with him to be the same old Fred. But 
Fred, it appears, coldly advised Thompson not to run for a 
third term. 

Within a short time, having thought everything out the 
desertions, the direction of the wind, and the lean campaign- 
fund Big Bill sat down to write a swan-song. It was a char- 
acteristic effort. He had tried so hard to build Chicago, but had 
failed. "My enemies . . . the trust press . , ." He really pre- 
ferred to be a private citizen, and labor in obscurity for the 
welfare of "all the people." 

The Republicans, with some relief, left him where he was 
parked, and proceeded to nominate the city postmaster, Arthur 
Lueder. The Democrats, bossed since the death of Roger Sul- 
livan by the choleric but canny ex-miner, George Brennan, 
selected a judge, William E. Dever. 

In the election the judge beat the postmaster by more than 
100,000. 



Mayor Dever was a Chicagoan of forty years' standing, 
the son of a County Donegal man who emigrated to Woburn, 
Massachusetts, and started a tannery. Having learned the 
currying-trade, young Dever drifted to Chicago and became 
an expert leather-worker. He "studied law nights' 5 (phrase 
which might be kept standing in type for biographies). In 
1902, when Graham Taylor and his Chicago Commons group 
were looking for some one to beat an unsavory person for the 
Council, they brought out Dever. He did not want to be 
brought out, but he was. 

By the time he entered the suite of rooms just vacated by 
Thompson, he was gray-headed, a vigorous man past sixty, 
with a stubborn chin and remarkably bright blue eyes. He had 
watched Chicago through years of political strife; had seen 
machines run and finally be laid on the junk-heap ; had marked 

443 



how officials hesitated and stammered; had, sitting on the 
bench, observed how the application of law was sometimes too 
cruel and sometimes too weak. 

Knowing Chicago through and through, knowing its sizzling 
mixture of human chemicals, its fickleness when hit by emotion, 
and, generally speaking, its bland disregard for advice about 
its conduct, he still thought that a dose of strictly applied law 
would be good for it. And he took solemn oath no man could 
take an oath more to heart that he would stick on the poultice. 
At least, he would try. 

The Mayor's idealisms were new in the experience of the 
city, outside of election speeches. He "would not build a ma- 
chine" that had been heard before, but now it really seemed 
true. People reminded him that Brennan was still a big boss ; 
he retorted that he was not bossed by anybody, He promised 
to "appoint men free from the taint of politics"; another 
phrase, now made to seem more credible by such selections as 
that of Col. Albert Sprague, scion of a deeply respected whole- 
sale grocer, as commissioner of public works. To pick a chief 
of police was harder. The Mayor chose a captain named Mor- 
gan Collins, and gave him absolute trust. His corporation 
counsel was a good lawyer, Francis X. Busch. 

Summer months went by, and then, having taken full stock 
of the city's increasing outlawry, the Mayor decided upon a 
bold move. Bold, and as some said, quixotic. It was suggested 
to him, according to report, by a fiery "reformer" of national 
fame. 

Mayor Dever called in his tall, black-haired Chief and they 
talked about newspaper reports that floods of illegal beer were 
sold, and that the police "got a split." They agreed that there 
was truth in this, and they decided that is, the Mayor decided, 
and the Chief nodded his head to stop the traffic altogether. 
Within a few hours police were posted at every active brewery, 
with orders to stop each shipment of beer and have it analyzed, 
This radical attack was the more surprising because Dever was 
444 



known to be a "wet," a man who regretted that "good beer" 
was unlawful. 

In his challenge to the bootlegging world, the Mayor rapped 
Federal investigators and ineffective courts. Moreover, he put 
in dignified language what had been said more colloquially be- 
fore : 

"I am informed and believe that this [beer] traffic has be- 
come syndicated and that war has been declared between dif- 
ferent interests which have not hesitated to corrupt the police 
department; they have gone into the slums and employed in 
their work some of the most desperate criminals." 

The Mayor mentioned no names, but everybody read into 
the statement such now famous ones as Torrio, O'Donnell, Sal- 
tis, Druggan, and Lake. The latter had by this time achieved 
riches, spats, and patent leathers, not to speak of limousines 
and race-horses. There were fifteen breweries operating, the 
police had found, and between 15,000 and 20,000 liquor joints. 
It was scarcely a secret, either, that in the syndicate Mayor 
Dever had referred to there were ward committeeinen, legis- 
lators, and other politicians, some of them influential in his own 
party. 

When reminded of this by reporters who gathered around 
his desk, he tossed back his wavy gray locks, and said : 

"Well, people tell me that I'm wrecking a promising politi- 
cal career, but it can't be helped," 



Whatever the immediate effect upon politicians, the result of 
the order in gangland was not law-observance or peace. In fact, 
the Mayor's action worked like an intrusion into a nest of 
snakes. 

The beer-lords were incredulous, but at the same time un- 
easy. New methods had to be formed for keeping the amber 
fluid moving ; new alignments of armies had to be made. Lords 
and underlords stepped on each other's toes in their confusion. 

445 



The big fellows, heavily guarded and inclined to hug their dug- 
outs, like generals anywhere, escaped assassination for the time 
being ; but the mortality among lieutenants was heavy. Some- 
times the victims were kidnaped, taken to the long, dark roads 
near Chicago, and there butchered. Sometimes, in a street 
crowded with shoppers, a pair in a sport roadster would be 
ambushed by another pair in an open four-passenger, and 
laid low with bullets. 

To the revolver succeeded the rifle ; to the rifle the abbrevi- 
ated shotgun ; to the shotgun the machine-gun. 

Mayor Dever had said, "It's disgraceful for O'Donnells or 
O'Connors or any one else to stand on the street and shoot each 
other almost in plain view of the police, and have nothing done 
about it." 

Yet, there it was : murder, murder in several forms and worse 
than wild- West brutality and nothing done. Oh, arrests, in- 
quests, grand- jury reports; all that sort of formality. But in 
the courts, there was a dreary record of releases because "the 
police could find no evidence,' 9 and on the books of the State's 
attorney an equally deadly repetition of "stricken off." 

The field of operations was enlarged to take in parts of the 
county that not many years before had been vacant land* Out 
where workmen had gone to build homes in villages beyond the 
jurisdiction of the Chicago police, the booze- and vice-syndi- 
cates had found it easy to exist, to buy local ofBcials, to control 
elections. Some of the big spiders lurked in far corners of the 
web as in Cicero, a place now nationally notorious, though its 
decent citizens are as numerous, proportionately, as in many 
another part of the city fringe. Chicago Heights was another 
town that got a bad name, for the same reason. The State's 
attorney and the sheriff were the big law-enforcers in these 
county villages. The villages were the worse for it. 

As the game grew fiercer, the territory larger, and the stakes 
higher, the gangsters seemed jto acquire all sorts of exhibition- 
ist traits. They fgted the butchery of an enemy with theater- 
parties, dances, and banquets to the last-named were fre- 
446 



quently bidden gentlemen elected to catch or hang murderers. 
The gang generals and colonels swaggered about hotel lobbies 
and dance-hall floors and boulevard promenades; they ap- 
plauded Pagliacd and Rigoletto; they filled night-clubs they 
and their women, adorned in correct but overexpensive cos- 
tumes, with platinum wrist-watches, and flashing rings, and 
necklaces, and tiaras, which made visitors from Keokuk or 
Pleasant Prairie crane their necks. 

They did not mind publicity; they loved it. Some of them, 
instead of slugging editors after an expose, posed for their pic- 
tures. They loved especially to be arraigned in court, sur- 
rounded by their nicely dressed wolves, and to hear the music 
from the bench, "Dismissed for want of prosecution." 

4 

However, no Golden Age can last forever, and for some of 
the swaggering booze-lords doubling as dear boys who loved 
their mothers a season of a falling market was near. 

Police and Federal men were active. They kept many of the 
gangsters running to court, hunting bondsmen, hiring batter- 
ies of lawyers even calling in the renowned Clarence Darrow. 
Warrants flew; injunctions fell. The booze-traffic went right 
on, but its managers were forced to give up part of their valu- 
able time to "extraneous matters." 

In the Federal Building sat a dark, curt judge named James 
Wilkerson. In 1924 he enjoined a brewery operated by Drug- 
gan, Lake, and company. The confident boys thought they 
could get beer out of the place anyway, so they bullied employ- 
ees of a railroad to back box-cars up to the huge, gloomy 
building, and these were run, full of beer, down to shrouded 
trucks on a siding* A prohibition-squad arrived at the crucial 
moment. There was a shooting ; the beer was abandoned. Drug- 
gan and Lake were taken before the judge, to whom they told 
a story that the stuff was only near-beer, and the night's ad- 
venture just a hoax. Wilkerson responded to this by giving the 

447 



boys a year in jail for contempt, and they lost an appeal to a 
higher court. Lake began serving his sentence almost at once, 
but Druggan blithely set out on a trip to California. "Nailed" 
in San Francisco because, said the excited dispatches, he was 
"tossing $1,000 bills around, 55 he was brought back, and in 
November he actually, literally, and in his own person entered 
the "grim portals." 

"Large numbers of reporters, police, and lawyers," says a 
newspaper account, "were waiting at the county jail when he 
arrived. He studied his highly polished shoes, made certain 
that a ride from Joliet in a limousine had not wrinkled his 
sharply creased trousers, smoothed out the folds of his Prince 
of Wales overcoat and puffed at a cigarette through an amber 
holder a foot and a half long. 'Talk to my lawyers, 5 he said. 55 

This de-luxe pair were charmingly housed in the jail. After 
some months it developed that Druggan, while generally an- 
swering jail roll-call in the daytime, was allowed liberties at 
night, to "see his dentist. 55 The truth was, he went to his hand- 
some apartment on Lake Shore Drive, or wherever he liked. He 
was out fully ninety times. It also developed that he paid heav- 
ily for the privilege ; $1,000 a month, or twice that, to certain 
officials. The sheriff and jailer had their careers ruined by this, 
whereas the beer-lords went on to liberty, increased riches, 
more race-horses, and the ownership of a fine stock-farm. In a 
little income-tax argument of recent date it was shown that in 
1924 Druggan 5 s net income-tax was no less than $25,000 and 
Lake 5 s not less than $37,000 and probably that was not all. 

Four months after the Valley boys were sentenced to jail, 
O'Banion fell before the onset of "dark men 55 supposedly 
agents of the Genna brothers. What lent color to this was that 
in a reprisal warfare Gennas began toppling, one after the 
other. There were seven brothers, all but one of whom were in 
"the racket. 55 Four out of those six met death within a few 
months. The other two returned to their native land, routed by 
superior cruelty though once the family had been powerful 
enough to stage a $5,000 banquet attended, among others, by 
448 



State's Attorney Crowe, a Superior Court judge and various 
"notables," crushed into dress suits. 

The apparent end of Torrio's reign was also at hand. There 
was a police raid on a thriving brewery. The "big boss" was in- 
dicted, with thirty-seven others. When about to enter on his 
sentence he was shot down by a group of killers said to have 
included Hymie Weiss, George Moran and Vincent Drucci 
of whom only Moran remained alive three years later. Torrio 
was not killed, but he was deeply discouraged. Upon recovery, 
he went meekly to jail, served his term (not without stories that 
he enjoyed occasional outings), and when released vanished 
from Chicago's gangland. His "ghost" reappeared at times in 
cables from Italy or dubious rumors from New York. 



Mayor Dever, worried by elusive crime and by the stream of 
politicians protesting against his policies, went right on trying 
to govern the city. 

He tried to put all-night cabarets under control. He revoked 
licenses of some "black-and-tan" dives. He sought laws to deal 
with disorderly dancing in the small hours. He said, "While I 
am anxious to please the people, they have no right to make a 
law-breaker out of me or any other man." Again he confessed, 
"They are saying my political career is ruined," and with a 
smile, "I believe it!" 

Dever had retained in office as health commissioner Dr. Her- 
man N. Bundesen, a former army medical man and health- 
department subordinate whom Thompson made head of that 
great branch of municipal service. Bundesen had become na- 
tionally known for making health popular, for educating moth- 
ers in the care of children, and for plucky warfare in purify- 
ing the milk-supply. The death-rate, already low, went down 
steadily. 

Mayor Dever thought of other things, too. He urged an in- 
crease of recreation-centers although the city, even then, had 

449 



more than three thousand of them. He tried to stimulate the 
city's interest in good painting, music, and reading, its normal 
life, its love of beauty. Before he passed out of office he ap- 
pointed a Civic Commission to study the problem. It died with 
his successor. 

He reorganized the Board of Education, in line with his 
pledge to civic groups, and then, according to the best evi- 
dence, he "kept his hands off." The Board, for this brief hal- 
cyon period, was able to do business without so many threats 
or lick-spittle appeals from political schemers. And it was dur- 
ing this regime that William McAndrew was brought on from 
New York to run the schools and help fend off their perils. 

There remained, always chief among a mayor's problems, 
the traction question. After some two years of the usual jockey- 
ing and fruitless talk, Mayor Dever gave his support to a new 
plan based upon municipal ownership. In general, it provided 
that the city was to have a lien on the traction properties and it 
was to issue certificates in exchange for the mortgage bonds, 
etc., outstanding against the companies. A rate of fare suffi- 
cient to guarantee prompt payment of interest and sinking- 
fund charges was to be imposed. The city was not to under- 
take operation of the lines until it could pay off a majority 
of the certificates. An impartial municipal-railway board was 
to be established. 

When the plan went to the voters, in the Spring of 1925, 
it roused every hornet's nest and political jealousy that "trac- 
tion" had always roused. The three former mayors, Harrison, 
Dunne and Thompson, formed a triumvirate, Mayor Dever 
declared, to defeat the Dever plan which was not really his 
at all, but the invention, mainly, of an alderman named Ulysses 
Schwartz. On the stump Dever slammed his predecessors, with 
the words, "Out of a million voters the only three men who 
ought to be silent are now vocal . . . For twenty-four years I 
have watched these men perform with pretended efforts to solve 
the traction-problem." 

(He might have said this just as well of several hundred citi- 
450 



zens, including aldermen, traction-chiefs, lawyers, and a few 
editors.) 

The opponents shook the rafters with speeches about mu- 
nicipal-ownership pretense, about traitorous aldermen, about 
city officials who were tools of the traction-combine and the 
press. Thompson's friends, who like himself, had dangled a five- 
cent-fare will o' the wisp before the straphangers for years, 
did so again ... A subway was mentioned . , , 

The Mayor appealed : "For the love of this city, leave out- 
side the polls every personal, political, factional, prejudice 
. . . Consider the welfare of future generations . . ." 

No use. The voters downed the "solution" by 100,000. A 
rail-spike was driven into the political coffin of the well-mean- 
ing Mayor. 



Sheltered by a conspiracy of silence which baffled the smart- 
est policemen, and cheered continually by the ease with which 
one hoodlum after another had "escaped the rap," the big 
chauffeurs of gangland drove their terrible machines on to- 
ward the worst tragedy of the series. 

After dinner, one April evening in 1926, a twenty-six-year- 
old Assistant State's Attorney, noted for his success in getting 
"hanging verdicts," left his home for an automobile ride with 
two friends. They were, all three, sons of policemen. They had 
been in school together. But while young McSwiggin went one 
route in life, becoming a clever lawyer, the other two had earned 
a right to be listed with beer and tough politics. 

No evidence ever came out to prove why McSwiggin took 
this ride, which led him and his companions toward a territory 
forbidden to the last two Cicero, the haunt of Capone and 
his men. No conclusive facts ever solved the mystery of what 
happened after they crossed the line. 

The three they were joined by two others, say some ac- 
counts are known to have driven to the block where a saloon 
was kept by a friend of theirs, arriving at about 8.30 P.M. 

451 



They stepped out to the curb. In a twinkling there echoed 
along the street a stream of shots. The only eye-witness, a 
woman living over the saloon, testified later : 

"It was daylight still, and I saw a closed car speeding away 
with what looked like a telephone-receiver sticking out of the 
rear window and spitting fire." 

The object that she saw was, undoubtedly, one of the new 
type, extra-handy weapons which, by the year of our Lord 
1926, were being especially made for such murderers. They 
were not military machine-guns, but "shoulder-guns," with 
magazines from which could be fired one hundred shots a min- 
ute. Their price was quoted at $250 each. 

Within a few seconds after the first shot, not only the men 
on the sidewalk, but walls of buildings, even a small tree near 
by, were punctured by bullets. The sedan from which the shots 
came vanished into the dusk. Then, nearly an hour later, it 
seems, one of the three friends was found on the street dead ; 
another was picked up and taken to a hospital, where he died. 
Young McSwiggin's fate was equally tragic, but clouded in 
new mystery by a story told by two of the bootlegging O'Don- 
nell brothers. They related on oath how the mangled body of 
McSwiggin with whom, apparently, they had been riding- 
earlier in the evening was carried to their home ; how one of 
them cried, "My God, get him out of here I" how the body was 
bundled into a waiting car; and how they fled, alarmed for 
once. 

A real fright spread through gangland. A new horror met 
the ordinary man with his morning paper. Before, the gang- 
sters had butchered each other. This time an official of the 
State, a "hanging prosecutor," had fallen, either by accident 
or plan. "One of Crowe's own men, 35 ran the comment from 
group to group. 

And the grisly question, "Who killed McSwiggin, and why ?** 
became part of the everyday talk of Chicago, just as there had 
been questions, years before, like "Where were you on the night 
of May 4?" and "Who killed Dr. Cronin?" 
452 



Everyday talk was all it came to. 

The angry forces of law and order, the voluble but impo- 
tent members of civic groups, the committeemen from big clubs, 
demanded action, demanded punishment. Trouble whirled about 
the head of State's Attorney Crowe. It was cited with new ef- 
fect that during the four months just gone there had been 
twenty-nine gang-killings, and during the four years before, 
more than two hundred. A special grand jury was called for; 
Crowe fought this idea by having one of his own appointed. 

Other grand juries ... an inquest that began bravely, 
halted, adjourned, adjourned interminably . . . columns of 
theories, and bushels of interviews . . . demands to arrest this 
one and that one ; arrests after those sought had learned good 
alibis from expensive lawyers . * . a story that McSwiggin 
had gone to Cicero to get back a bullet-proof vest loaned to a 
friend . * . a story that he had $40,000 on him when he died 
. . . claims by his father and others that they "knew" . . . 
everything at length denied, scouted, thrown out of court. 

The scar-faced Capone, having toured the country until the 
public pulse went down, gently yielded himself to officers at the 
Indiana state-line. Safe in jail, he awaited the certain dis- 
missal of a warrant against him for the murder. The fingers of 
suspicion pointed to him ; there were a flock of damaging facts ; 
his gunmen had been flatly accused in print. 

When Capone was all ready to go, the Assistant State's At- 
torney admitted that the State was unable to produce any 
legal proof. Police were called to protect "Scar-face" from the 
"crowd of several hundred persons gathered about the jail en- 
trance." 

The elderly father of the slain boy was there to see Capone 
walk away. 

"They pinned a medal oti him and turned him loose," said 
the father. 

"Sic semper" in 1926. 

453 



CHAPTER XXV 



A 



YEAR passed. By the time it had flown, Thompson had ac- 
complished his return to the mighty office of mayor. Dever had 
retired to private life to the milder field of finance. 

Chicago, in large part, was amazed at itself. It had dis- 
pensed with a mayor who, clearly enough, was building at least 
some things like a capable workman. It had recalled to its high- 
est place the man whom it had seen go into the shadows, whom 
it knew perfectly well as a magnetic talker and a bad per- 
former. 

But voters are too proud to admit regret. As they looked 
back upon the Dever administration they said many really 
impartial people said that the good Irishman had been too 
honestl They remembered that he had sometimes been slow to 
make up his mind. It was mentioned that he had been "so 
straight he leaned over backwards" ; he would not compromise 
at all not at all. On the other hand, there were cynical refer- 
ences to the "hand of Brennan. 53 

However, no one, not even his opponents, not even the knif ers 
in his own party who helped defeat him, ever proved that 
Dever was a politician more than he was a citizen. 
454 



Before he let go, before the Spring campaign in which he 
tried to win by cool facts while Thompson insulted King 
George's "snoot" and roared threats against McAndrew 
months before this, Mayor Dever had a good day. 

The troubles and quarrels of office fled for a few hours. 
Down Michigan Avenue from the old water-tower rolled the 
procession. Behind the police band, in a big open car, came the 
Mayor with his trusted associates ; and there trailed out for a 
couple of miles flag-draped automobiles, decorated floats, all 
the components of a modern motorized parade. 

They crossed the broad two-level bridge, with its majestic 
pillars that awaited the sculptured memorials, in place today. 
Looking to the left, they could see the river's mouth, where, in 
the mists and smoke, the vague reaches of the lake began. And 
to the right, shaped by the westward and southward angles 
created in unrecorded years when the little stream cut its way 
among sand-flats, stretched the great work all this company 
had come to dedicate. 

It was a truly splendid boulevard of concrete and steel ; no 
mere crust upon earth, but a structure that had swallowed 
more building-material than a skyscraper. Deep, eighty, ninety 
feet deep, down through the ooze to bed-rock had been sunk 
the caissons upon which the new street rested. There had been 
cave-ins, and battles with quicksands. And through all weath- 
ers when cement would pour, crews of men, working, it was 
said, with twice the ordinary zeal, had toiled away at this giant 
effort which meant the crystallizing of another dream. 

Below, at the very edge of the leaden river for it was a 
gray, forbidding day one who looked down could make out a 
level for heavy traffic, and dock-space where boats could dis- 
charge cargo. Above, the pleasure-drive stretched white and 
broad. 

In a plaza made at the junction with two other streets, on a 

455 



temporary raised platform, stood Mayor Dever, who had just 
clipped a ribbon holding back the throbbing motors. 

He looked about at thousands of people, sheltered in their 
cars, or swarming along the quay, or peering down from the 
multiple windows of the creamy Wrigley Building. And as he 
cried at the top of his lungs phrases like, "The greatest im- 
provement of its kind in the world's history," he may have been 
thinking that a carnival like this, a triumph like this, compen- 
satesas there must be compensation for the ugly and bitter 
aspects of life in a great civic family. But he said nothing of 
that ; he went on speaking, citing the revered name of Burn- 
ham and that of Charles H. Wacker, who had moved steadily 
and urbanely through all the fuss of years. 

The boulevard had already been named Wacker Drive it 



was. 



Here was an end of one of the roads that led far back to 
that day when a handful of soldiers began a fort and much 
farther. 

The crowd shivering on the river promenade that October 
afternoon could see the actual water-course up which Mar- 
quette's crew had paddled, which Joliet and La Salle had used 
more than once, and which, before their day, generations of 
Indians had called their own. 

If spades had dug a few feet down, they might have un- 
earthed fragments of the prehistoric Chicago which clung to 
the sands. (Indeed, there was presented to Mayor Dever a 
gavel shaped from walnut timber that came to light while the 
boulevard was building.) Just at hand, these new Chicago 
crowds could identify the spot where the log walls of the orig- 
inal Fort Dearborn were raised one hundred and twenty-three 
years earlier. And on the other bank, near where motors rushed 
from the bridge into the glittering street beyond, was marked 
the site of Kinzie's Mansion. 

Then, another era could be imagined : the time of a navigable 
456 



river, deepened by primitive dredging, and its mouth shifted so 
that it emptied straight into the lake. Those were the days when 
schooners crowded the docks, their masts like a flock of knit- 
ting-needles ; and when, up and down the broadening streets, 
there was sailor-life and a swagger and gabble something like 
Gravesend. And with all this came the big, clumsy grain-ele- 
vators, a clustering group of factories, rails laid along the 
quays, rumbling of drays and trucks, lines of freight-cars the 
river itself, gray-brown and foul, more like cess-pool than like 
stream. 

On the south bank, a few buildings became many. To the 
first log huts, the first hotels, succeeded low structures creating 
the first actual mercantile street in Chicago. They were con- 
sumed like paper boxes in the Great Pire. On the charred 
ground new lines of construction, mostly brick, went up. And 
from time immemorial, as Chicago time goes, in that South 
Water Street the jolly produce-men, with red, weather-worn 
faces and a great flapping of stained aprons, had felt and 
smelled of the vegetables or fruit brought in creaking wagons 
at sunrise. It was a cheery, chaotic, bartering street, often ut- 
terly jammed with wagons or traders. It blocked off bridge- 
heads. It slowed up carlines. Pedestrians squeezed between 
wagon-wheels, stepped over planks laid from barrels. 

A silly old street for a great city. Yet every one half loved 
it ; and the traders loved it devotedly. 



So when the Chicago Plan reached to that point, and there 
was talk of moving the South Water Street merchants away, 
sentiment rose and threatened to defeat the whole idea. 

"They want to stay where Nature put them, here on the old 
water-front," cried one of the champions of the produce-men. 

And beside emotion, there was a vast property-right to con- 
sider. Little musty buildings along that street sat on lots worth 
a thousand such buildings. The city had to get to work, back 

4*57 



in the early 1920s, to apply the ax of condemnation in some 
places, to coax other owners into paying tall assessment-bills. 
The usual tempestuous debate went on : on the one side, the 
argument that "the street" was a mess, an unhealthy mess, a 
place where goods rotted and money went to waste; on the 
other the claim, "We were here first; we belong here and have 
no place to go." 

The last-named plea was knocked out by finding a place for 
the produce-mart on the southwest side lots of room, and good 
transportation. 

Then the city went into legal grips with the more stubborn 
of the merchants. During the siege it had to spend $80,000 in 
court-costs to defeat 8,000 property-owners who protested an 
assessment of $14,000,000 or thereabouts. There was a sort of 
civil war among the merchants ; one group brought an injunc- 
tion suit, but lost. They clung to their old places like squatters 
holding to the last slice of land. Some trooped to Mayor Dever's 
office, and stormed for better terms. 

But the Mayor met them with his jaw up and he said: 

"I'll see you in hell before I'll let the city be sandbagged into 
unreasonable agreements," 



Now, all that was over. The "street" or most of it had 
moved. 

That long, crooked array of sorry brick relics awaited the 
wrecker. Indeed, the backs had been torn away from those on 
the north line to make way for the hundred-foot boulevard. 
There could be foreseen a mighty rampart of towers in irregu- 
lar outlines along the course of what had once been hardly 
more than a trickle from the meadows. There would come a 
chain of those skyscrapers in fact, ten were begun within 
eighteen months in the new architectural beauty that dis- 
pensed with cornices and thrust toward the sky receding, spin- 
dling peaks of an unquestioned American pattern. The land, 
458 



in a few years, would have an added value estimated, modestly, 
at sixty-five million dollars. It was proposed that Wacker 
Drive continue along the river, to the place where now the new 
Daily News building and the Civic Opera stand opposite each 
other. 

And if there were any who really understood what a picture 
the "new river 55 would make, even they must have felt that 
their visions were not enough as they crossed the Link Bridge 
at night. 

There were Chicagoans of the humblest sort who strolled 
westward along the promenade of Wacker Drive, looking to- 
ward the left, where ir credibly tall monuments rose into the 
purplish sky, or toward the right, where streaks and darts of 
light threw gold upon the black water, where tugs slid along 
like huge Venetian gondolas, where yachts, with gleaming win- 
dows, passed. 

With this, and with the rolling stretches of park along the 
lake-front, where speckled ribbons of light shone after dark, 
Chicago came into its best days as a spectacle. 

But immediately, with the perversity no analysis can fully 
explain, it also achieved its worst in self-government. 



459 



CHAPTER XXVI 



W HEN Thompson for the third time became general man- 
ager of that great business, the city government, he was near- 
ing the age of sixty. 

All of his physical and mental traits were now intensified, 
swollen, conspicuous. The athlete of years before, only threat- 
ened with flesh, weighed 245 pounds. He was a six-foot 
Falstaff, swaggering and clowning in some of the best circles 
as well as in others. During the campaign there was a scene 
that might have come out of Shakespeare or Moliere, when the 
ladies of a Gold Coast society invited him to tea and cakes. 
He made them one of his hoarse but adroit speeches. They 
crowded around him with cries of "Isn't he a darling?" 

His health now figured in political rumor, and there were 
physicians who made long-distance and privately uttered diag- 
noses unfavorable to him. Yet he seemed to have inexhaustible 
physical reserve. He could plunge about among issues, make 
speeches, take long trips, and sit up nights with the boys, with- 
out breaking down. As for his brain, it conceived more startling 
paradoxes, madder humors, cruder publicity-stunts, than ever 
before. (Like the comedy he staged at a theater, displaying 
two rats, Fred and Doc.) Underneath all this could be discerned 
the remnants of shrewdness, combined with a real knowl- 
460 



edge of that pliable instrument, the heart of the "average 
voter." 

Politically, he was far from bankrupt* The somersaults of 
the years just gone had cost Thompson the services of his 
shrewd counselor, Lundin. That abler and saner politician had 
in fact tried to beat him in the election just held, backing 
Thompson's former health commissioner, bearded "Doc" Rob- 
ertson. (The Doc of the rat show.) Relations of the City Hall 
with Governor Small had become strained, too. But although 
lacking the counsel of those astute Lorimerites, Lundin and 
Small, the Mayor still had the friendship and the advice of a 
returned sage who but Lorimer himself? That old-timer, 
grown gray and reminiscent, sought a quiet return to "life" 
by whispering to his boy Bill. Within a year, he was to creep 
back to obscurity. 

Thompson had the counsel also of old friends like the wealthy 
Eugene Pike and George Harding, and, of course, of his cor- 
poration counsel, Samuel Ettelson, the "link with Insull," His 
larger political alliance, however, was now with two slippery 
and supremely selfish potentates: the business-like and never 
demonstrative Homer Galpin, and the blunt, stormy, dangerous 
Bob Crowe. 

Galpin in 1920 had roasted Thompson publicly for a trifle 
of breaking campaign pledges. Crowe, in 1921, had remarked 
that if he gave Thompson support he would be "ashamed to go 
home to my wife." In 1927 the three were hyphenated together. 

Thus ran the political merry-go-round, watched at long 
range by a crowd of impotent voters, who had paid admission 
to the booth, but could not get in. 



The mood of the better citizens was at first one of courageous 
resignation. Those faithful to the factions headed by Senator 
Deneen and Edward J. Brundage (corporation counsel under 
Busse, president of the County Board, attorney-general, etc.) 

461 



were aware that the two chiefs had, "for the solidarity of the 
Republican party," backed Thompson in the primaries. So 
had Attorney-General Oscar Carlstrom, who in a moment of 
high emotion begged a mass-meeting of war veterans to sup- 
port "Big Bill the Builder, who loves the little children and 
got them playgrounds; Big Bill the American, who stands for 
America First. God bless you all! Fight, fight till next Tues- 
day !" (Tuesday was election day.) 

The citizens needed all their philosophy when Bill was re- 
turned to power by 83,000 out of a vote of 990,000. The 
newspapers that had tried to reelect Dever joined in making 
the best of it. Said the Tribune: "If Thompson will be on the 
square with the city's interests and do what he can for them, 
the Tribune will not bring the eight bad years up against him." 
And a lot of "representative business men," some of whom had, 
without apparent anger, watched Chicago punish Dever for 
trying to administer mustard plasters, said to each other: 
"Well, Bill's in again; we must get around him and try to see 
that the city is run right." 

However, if any of these numerous caretakers really thought 
they could make the trumpeting pachyderm stand quietly in its 
zoo quarters, they were disillusioned at once. The creature ran 

wild! 

Thompson had made some campaign-pledges, to be sure ; and 
they were not all concerned with matters like "traction" and 
"building Chicago." (The traction-ordinances had expired in 
February and "something had to be done.") The task immedi- 
ately on his mind was the dismissal of Superintendent McAn- 
d rew i n disgrace, if that were possible. McAndrew had of- 
fended the organized teachers. 1 The teachers had helped 
Thompson regain office. A return lead was obvious to that 
mayoral mind which and the fact is not as trivial as it seems 
could do pretty well in a game of bridge whist. 

And so, while the Mayor's advisers, official or not, stood all 
ready to help him earn his soubriquet of Bill the Builder, he 

i See School and Society in Chicago, by George S. Counts, p. 275. 

462 



applied himself to the important civic project of ousting Mc- 
Andrew. That educator, regrettably enough, had an unexpired 
contract. He must, therefore, be found guilty of something. 
What should it be? Some of the lawyers who had wrestled with 
the subject thought an insubordination-count would "work." 
Other counselors had feared that such a legalism would not 
"go" with the citizenry ; it would be weak in publicity-value. 

Thompson, he of the loud horn and the political vaudeville- 
act, endorsed an assault that would draw applause from the 
ten-cent seats. It might even bring him attention from the 
smug East. It might for the earnest words of his evil geniuses 
still rang in his ears put him in the race for the Presidency 
of the United States. 

It was unlike Thompson to act slowly ; so he had no sooner 
taken the oath than he ordered the McAndrew matter opened. 
At the same time he got two other subjects started: the ques- 
tion of water-meters, and that of the Mississippi Waterway, 
The former was a complex local issue going back to the gov- 
ernment's desire to control flow from the Jake. Dever had de- 
veloped metering. Thompson was against it, and he fought the 
War Department until, the next year, business men called him 
off. In boosting the waterway Thompson was again following 
the lead of Lorimer. Both men doubtless felt something of the 
grandeur of the project, which had dwelt in Chicago's heart 
for a hundred years. It was over such a thing that both could 
be visited by genuine constructive motives. Therefore the 
charges of "grand-stand play," hurled after the ship on which 
Thompson journeyed South that spring, were considered only 
half- justified. It will be recalled that the Mississippi States 
hailed him like another La Salle. 

But upon his return there were renewed outbreaks of chau- 
vinism which, by the way, Lundin (after their quarrel) 
loudly declared he had himself taught to Thompson back in 
1918, The way Lundin told it was not without humor, whether 
true to fact or not. Fred said he told Thompson it was a shame 
the way American money was going abroad to help King Peter. 

463 



"What Peter?" Thompson asked. "Why, the King of Serbia!" 
And Bill countered with, "Serbia? what part of the country 
is that in?" 

It may have been from this hint that America First was 
born. Thompson had great hopes of it. He claimed that it 
had, or soon would have, a national membership of 700,000, 
and it would make certain that the United States "stayed out 
of Europe." 

Thompson adopted George Washington almost as an ances- 
tor. Perverting the first President's policy as many another 
politician has done he built heavily on the "entangling alli- 
ances" paragraph, and, with a mangled cigar depending from 
his lips, declared, "What was good enough for George Wash- 
ington is good enough for Bill Thompson." And those history 
books in the schools! They horrified him. With patriotic fury, 
and with an all-inclusive sympathy for Germans, Poles, and 
Irish voters past and prospective whom it was easy to con- 
vince that some of their great national heroes were slighted in 
modern texts, Thompson thundered away. The actual charges 
against McAndrew were, however, something else again. They 
involved at first the desire of the Superintendent to test the 
law placing "extra teachers" under civil service; and a ques- 
tion of the "compatibility" of certain acts with his duty, added 
to charges of "insubordination." 

The School Board's lawyers, wrenching the covers off law- 
books, labored to make such accusations stick, while J. Lewis 
Coath, the president, presided after the manner of a modern 
and rather ungrammatical Judge Jeffreys. 

Sessions dragged on for months. The workaday Chicagoans 
read of them, and swallowed the Mayor's references to Nathan 
Hale, Von Steuben, Kosciusko, et al. 9 wishing they knew more 
about history. 

McAndrew, gray-bearded, sardonic of eye, sat yawning 
through most of his "ordeal." Toward the end he simply stayed 
away. 

The Mayor turned his hot gaze on the Public Library and 
464 



named one of the members of the Library Board, a hearty, 
two-fisted but not exactly cultured theater-manager named 
U. J. (Sport) Hermann, to clear the shelves of "tainted" his- 
tory volumes. Hermann, in a hasty interview, said something 
about making a bonfire on the lake-front. At once, in a hun- 
dred newspaper dispatches, which went clicking eastward, west- 
ward and across the Atlantic, the threat was attributed to 
Mayor Thompson, who was deeply embarrassed, but never 
caught up with the yarn. He was now world-famous, exciting 
all the curiosity and all the magazine-farrago even a Holly- 
wood star could have desired. Journalists rushed to Chicago to 
interview him. London papers having American correspondents 
cabled their men to "investigate this phenomenon." They came, 
approached the Mayor's office in the Hotel Sherman with 
trepidation, but went away charmed. "Not a bad fellow after 
all," was their verdict at lunch, after they had laid their thou- 
sands of words on the groaning wires. A few writers perceived 
the irony which Thompson overlooked of an anti-English 
attack on the very same public library that had been reclaimed 
from the ashes of '71 by British help; by Queen Victoria, 
among others, 
' It was all very funny, but alas, Chicago's reputation ! 

As for the court martial of Mr. McAndrew, Coath and the 
lawyers managed to prolong it until after the expiration of 
his contract. He was then solemnly "fired" (in absentia) . But 
the explosion was somewhat like the fizz of a damp firecracker. 

3 

All this could not have been very reassuring to the Mayor's 
Advisory Committee of citizens, who had so willingly taken up 
the burden of keeping Bill at work. 

Occasionally some citizen outside of this circle, or some news- 
paper independent of its influence, asked what had become of 
city and county government. 

The chill, brutal facts were available. There was govern- 

465 



ment for and by the politicians, and not much else. The 
Thompson-Crowe-Galpin merger had attained, by patient con- 
struction-work, and by succeeding elections frequently call- 
ing for recounts and even for grand juries a control of Cook 
County offices which almost passed belief. They held a voting 
majority in, or ruled by threats of defeat "next time," all the 
police power, all the machinery of prosecution, a string of 
judges, both municipal and State, most of the bailiffs, mem- 
bers of taxing bodies, a slice of the County Board, and another 
slice of the Sanitary District Board. 

The machine ran over partisan lines. It was so powerful that 
to keep his end up George Brennan perceived that he must be 
nice to the Republican Caesars. For some of the elections, 
therefore, slates were contrived which included Republicans ap- 
preciated by Brennan, and Democrats not repugnant to 
Thompson-Crowe-Galpin. Such "bi-partisan alliances, 55 some- 
times bringing a semblance of harmony, were shown later on 
to have made more certain the garrotting of the taxpayer. 

It got so a business man, preyed upon by a City Hall 
grafter, dared not "squawk 55 for fear of having his taxes raised. 

Very soon after the McAndrew trial, it became clear that 
Thompson had said too much. This time he had evoked such 
loud laughter as to send him up stage instead of to justify en- 
cores. The personality and dictatorship of Crowe then came into 
the foreground. Pugnacious, flat-nosed, capable alike of threat- 
ening a calm editor like Lawson with jail or of hurling abuse 
upon murderers (such as those two victims of mordant philoso- 
phy, Leopold and Loeb), he had been a public figure for nearly 
eight years. In his first term, he had won the long-continued 
support of some business interests by convicting labor offi- 
cials of misdeeds. But in the onset by bootleggers and gang- 
sters which came after, his energy as prosecutor subsided in a 
manner few could explain and no one overlook. Through it all, 
his power increased. Political volleys were hurled at his head. 
He was the direct or indirect target, through a half-dozen 
years, of charges pertaining to the alliance of crime and poli- 
466 



tics. To these he replied just as hotly, during most of his reign; 
but later he came to resemble a bulldog retired into a kennel, 
only emerging now and then to snap at an unusually overt at- 
tack. He turned into a figure of mystery, such as reporters love 
to create ; avoiding his office until late in the day, issuing some- 
times an order or a defiance from his favorite "hang-outs," but 
always a person whose field of dominance was unmistakable, 
dour, and widening. 

There need not be quoted any of the oblique charges which 
sought to connect Crowe with the beer-syndicates, and the 
Capone crowd particularly, nor any of the myriad whisperings 
that followed the murder of his assistant, McSwiggin. Facts 
reposing in public records are, however, another matter. Some 
of these carefully collected show clearly the state of public 
justice in Cook County in 1920 et seq. In 1924, for instance, 
when Crowe was reflected over two rivals, Michael Igoe, Demo- 
crat, and Hope Thompson, independent, the thing was well 
canvassed. Thompson, a conscientious man about facts, showed 
that court-convictions fell from 2,309 in 1921 to 1,344 in 1923. 
He showed that murders in Cook County rose from 190 in 
1920 to 350 during 1924. 1 Crowe could, and did, maintain that 
this horrible record was due to the beer-wars and to the paraly- 
sis of the police. But it was harder to account for a thing 
like the enormous number of felony cases which were brought 
before the Municipal Court, and went no farther. In 1923 
alone 23,862 such charges were dropped or modified neces- 
sarily with the consent of Crowe's representatives in the city 
courts. The large and expensive staff sent only 1,959 to the 
penitentiary in that year. 

A story goes the rounds that in one city court where cases 
were often "fixed," the judge and bailiff had an ingenious sys- 
tem. The bailiff, in an inner room, would accept money from a 
defendant, and, when the case was called, rap on the wall of the 
court-room. The judge and prosecutor would then realize that 

i The score for 1928 was 899. 

467 



the defendant was a "right guy," and dismissal of the case 

would follow. 

How far such things were done could not be proved, but one 
thing was sure; crime increased, and punishment fell off. Even 
the Crime Commission, a civic body formed some years before 
for scientific work on the subject, and warm toward Mr. Crowe 
for some time, was bound to note the trend. 

The lay citizen only knew that he was unsafe. 

4 

On clattered the machine to the top of the hill The bosses 
controlled payrolls running into millions, and treasuries run- 
ning into hundreds of millions. Annual budgets, combined, 
would have financed many a European kingdom for a war. 

Payrollers formed a slave army numbering tens of thou- 
sands. At election time they were hurled into critical spots on 
the battle-front, and told to "do their duty." 

To these mercenaries were added others even worse the 
gunmen and sluggers. In fast automobiles they rushed about, 
"helping" here and there. They had no ambitions, no hopes, 
except to collect pay at a rate about half of what lawyers 
charged to keep them free. 

The "regular" payrolls were swollen at election times, or in 
legislative crises, to twice, thrice the normal ; and to much more 
than the law allowed. After election the names of scores of sup- 
posedly reputable lawyers, real-estate men, and so on would be 
erased again but not always quickly enough. 1 

In this era of colossal selfishness, anti-patriotism, and battle 
for still more power, the work of part of the judiciary as well as 
that of the City Council reached the dregs. Some judges, listen- 
ing to a 'phone call from the State's attorney office, would, like 
a lot of marionettes, appoint men Crowe told them to; others, 
still more conscienceless, would hold night-courts or home- 

i The statements here made are derived not from political speeches, but 
from court records. 

468 



sessions to release salaried thugs, seized during elections by 
thoughtless police. Aldermen truckled to the machine, while 
Thompson assailed the Municipal Voters 9 League, that had 
innocently aided his political debut. 

It was no longer a case of political gratitude. It was tyr- 
anny, and it was desperation. Oh, there must have been times 
when the bosses themselves were tired of it all! But they had 
tackled so much that they must go on with it, tighten the sys- 
tem everywhere, resort to worse and worse insults to law, or 
the whole structure of plaster and blood would collapse. 

So, in this time when the nations were shocked by Chicago, 
when the sputter of its machine-guns was heard around the 
world, when Broadway hotel clerks smiled as they saw a Chi- 
cago man writing his name on the register, when old ladies 
shuddered as the porter brushed them off at the Indiana line 
in this midnight of Chicago, there was no kind of corruption, 
brutality, dictation, or ballyhoo that the bosses would not at- 
tempt. 

Every vice, every parasite, every swindle, came back. The 
city lived through again diseases thought cured, but now more 
malignant. 

Gambling, both mild race-betting and de-luxe games such as 
roulette, flourished almost as openly and on a richer scale than 
in the "naughty '90s." 

Prostitution once more became open, in many sections. It 
was not segregated, but it now paid the politicians better when 
dispersed. De-luxe "beer-flats" were the best "pickings" in 
history. 

The city had a commissioner of police named Michael 
Hughes, who had been chief of detectives. An excellent thief- 
catcher, he; a real lover of the thrill of chase. He retired, 
broken (like nearly all the chiefs) after his reign had become a 
tragedy of enforced misfeasance. A grand jury that sat months 
later reported: "Witnesses testified to the existence of a syn- 
dicate controlling the operations of gambling-houses and dis- 
orderly houses and the wholesale distribution of beer during 

469 



the period that Michael Hughes was commissioner of police." 
But the syndicate was not new. The jury declared it had ex- 
isted for the greater part of four years. Owners of "joints" 
had no fear of the law, but rather "an amazing contempt." 
Beginning about June 1, 1927 (two months after Thompson's 
return), two syndicates went to work. In November the Mayor 
ordered the "lid" on. In January it was lifted again. A series of 
bombings followed thus reported the grand jury. 

Hughes had inherited this state of things. Seemingly he was 
not allowed to stop it if he cared to. 

What price a chief of police? 



Yes, everything came back. Builders and architects fought 
extortionists far greedier and cleverer than in 1900 or 1920. 
Small contractors paid spot cash to get jobs in school- 
buildings. 

Owners of small businesses found themselves preyed on by 
gangsters organized into what they called "unions," much to 
the disgust of the great body of honest labor-men. The owners 
had to unite, and to fight attacks which ranged from threaten- 
ing letters to "pineapples." The manufacture of these loud, 
but seldom deadly, weapons had now become almost as method- 
ical as the research in university laboratories a few miles away. 
The day after blackmail failed, an order for bombs could be 
placed and the order delivered on an exact date- The bombs 
could be hurled on a schedule worked out in advance. 

The cost? Well black powder "pineapples," $100 each. 
Dynamite jobs, $500 to $1,000. For blowing up gambling or 
"alky" joints, $1,000 (minimum). The income of a good 
racketeer was seldom less than $25,000 a year, usually more. 
They had the best of cars and coffins. 

The word "racket" entered the language with a new conno- 
tation. It meant anything and everything, but usually it stood 
for crimes against business so many now that not even the 
470 



dictionary could keep up. An employers'-association report 
declared that Chicago paid a cost of $100,000,000 annually 
for such crimes, and another $100,000,000 for bootlegging, 
gambling, and pandering. It was stated that 10,000 men were 
engaged in destructive employment instead of in production. 
The internal revenue department had a list of racketeers and 
bootleggers numbering 200, every one of whom was said to 
have an average annual income of $25,000. 

With no means of checking such statistics, which almost 
exceeded belief, the average man yet knew that the city was 
in a desperate state. He knew it, for one thing, because its 
frightful reputation, the country over, could not be wholly un- 
earned. And again, he knew it because, once a year, he received 
a tax-bill. And this bill, a blow in itself, told him that some- 
where in the immense and ludicrously tangled array of offi- 
cials to whom he had given the power to tax him, some one was 
wasting public funds and passing the buck to him. Frequently 
he ran to a "fixer," who knew how to save him dollars through 
influencing "somebody." 

The money was dripping from the City Hall eaves, and run- 
ning down a score of ingenious chutes out of other treasuries. 
Thompson and his crowd, half in earnest for public improve- 
ments, and half driven by their satellites, had, the year before, 
rushed upon the Legislature and got more bonding power 
through the simple device of a law increasing the rates of as- 
sessed valuation from one-half to the full value. The effects of 
this move now began to be more than rumored ; and men like 
Crowe, the Napoleon with a flat nose and horn-rimmed spec- 
tacles, must have begun to hear the surf beat upon St. Helena. 



Just as in all the years, the throng now 3,000,000 in Chi- 
cago proper toiled, loved, produced, played, and dreamed, in 
a sort of frenzy over all those things, and in a corresponding 
lethargy about much else, 



Were they satisfied to be exploited, or were they awaiting a 
day of revenge? Or did they need a great leader? What did 
they need? And what would they do? 

The Spring of 1928 came mincing in, amid the slush, bring- 
ing an answer. 



472 



CHAPTER XXVII 



O 



N one of those Spring days a Venerable Citizen stood gaz- 
ing from a corner window of his office in one of the great Loop 
skyscrapers. 

A stripling at the time of the Great Fire, he had picked his 
way about the empty, blackened streets ; he had seen the city 
recover, rebuild, and prosper again. 

As a man nearing forty, deep in Chicago's affairs, he had 
gazed understandingly upon that mirage of an ideal city, the 
World's Fair. Then he had watched the black side of the old 
home-town come uppermost ; and he had seen the battle of new 
social ideas to conquer ancient evils. 

He had seen Yerkes routed. 

He had seen the Sanitary, Canal completed, and the yearn- 
ings to reach the Gulf by water takiiig form. 

With the passion of a citizen who loved to have his city beau- 
tifully adorned, he had followed the Chicago Plan ; and he had 
rejoiced when the paper patterns were turned into majestic 
public improvements. He had lived to see born an ambition for 
great airplane landing-fields, and to find work begun on 
straightening an eccentric curve of the river which blocked 
important streets. 

During his career, he had found the position of the laborer 

473 



and the "white-collar man" steadily growing better. He now 
saw comfort wide-spread; slums banished, in large part, by 
the march of industry; the immigrant more scientifically dealt 
with; nearly everybody easier in mind, and with better chance 
of pleasure. 

2 

The Venerable Citizen loved to think of these things, but 
they did not hide from him the shortcomings, the shocking 
lapses, the blind and stupid moods, of Chicago, his city. Some- 
times he looked at brilliant, vivacious movements of its life, and 
the phrase, "The best of all possible worlds," came^ to him. 
Then again he saw with what pitiful carelessness, with what 
ignorance of many basic things, the city plunged along. 

It was hard to understand why all these people, who were, 
after all, the rulers of the kingdom, did not unite and get 
everything everything that they ought to have. 

"The traction-question," he mused, "the muddled old trac- 
tion-question . . . the need of a subway . . ." 

A record of hundreds of motor-car deaths each year. 

And the smoke! Here was scientific invention at its peak, 
mighty problems of speed, of light, of production, reduced to 
nothing; yet a thing like soft-coal smoke could shroud the new 
palaces, could still blacken the lungs of the people, and keep 
Chicago, in that one respect, anyhow, in the dark ages. 

Another thing: that puzzle of overlapping local govern- 
ments, contributing to tax inequalities and made strong, like 
the grip of Springfield upon the State's largest city, by politi- 
cal discord. 

Crime? The Venerable Citizen shook his head. Were things 
really worse? Yes. That is, they were mostly the same things, 
but grown more ghoulish and more elephantine with the growth 
of everything else. And what about this "alliance of crime and 
politics"? Had its like ever been seen? 

How could it be that these millions of people, most of whom 
appreciated security, a smooth path to their dream, and -as 
474 



typical Americans decency, would let themselves be scandal- 
ized and hindered, if not directly hurt, by so many things that 
were due to office-holders turning traitor? Just as remarkable 
was the fact that, with such weights about their necks, taxed to 
the limit, always likely to be cheated out of police protection, 
or street-cleaning, or first-class schools, and even in business 
often subject to blackmail or worse, this mighty mass of city 
dwellers could still build, still achieve, still win. 

The Venerable Citizen beat his fist on the window-sill, and 
cried inwardly "What a lot of fools ! But what an unbeat- 
able lot!" 

3 

Many another citizen shared the old man's wonder as April, 
1928, arrived. There was to be a primary election "just an- 
other election," it might have been said. But hardly a soul in 
Chicago failed to realize that this contest was vital. 

Thompson had been mayor, altogether, nine years. Crowe 
had held his place for seven and a half. For the same length 
of time, Governor Small had sat in Springfield, with a strangle- 
hold on the State, and on Chicago, when the interests of the 
two came in contact. These men could point to the prosperity 
and progress of Chicago as evidence that they had not harmed 
it. They could not easily answer complaints that it would have 
done better without them. 

The strategy now had some new aspects. For one thing, 
Thompson was asked to hush his horn. For another, the peril 
of those tax-bills, swollen by the waste as well as the normally 
greater use of public funds, had to be skirted. The delivery of 
the bills threatened to be almost simultaneous with election 
day. They were held back, George Harding, county treasurer, 
raged when he was asked if he was delaying them purposely. 
He "could not get the books," But anyway, the bills were slow 
and the suspicion of the voters grew. 

There was a murmur in the air ; a vibration, earthwise, which 
cool politicians could feel when they put their ears to the 

475 



ground. It was like the warning of a tempest, or like the ap- 
proach of an army. The clouds grew dark with prophecy. 
Crowe-Thompson bosses scanned those clouds, listened to the 
crescendo note of "something going to happen," guessed, and 
tried to smile. They said that the turmoil, the now clearly dis- 
tinguishable tread of a million advancing voters, meant "a tri- 
umph for our ticket. 55 Leaders in the war against the hyphen- 
ated machine were comparatively silent. So were the voters. 

The city, outwardly, was just the same. Its processes went 
on; its people worked or idled; its elevators rushed up and 
down ; its long trains bore their thousands toward home at dusk. 

To persons who, like the Venerable Citizen, turned upon this 
urban mechanism an inquiring and wistful eye, it made no re- 
sponse. It revolved as sleekly, and as unemotionally, as one of 
those huge turbines you see through the windows of a power- 
plant. 

But behind its whirring there was still that deeper note . . . 

4 

John A. Swanson was the man who had been "put up to beat 
Crowe." 

He was a citizen lacking every spectacular quality that 

Thompson and Crowe had. He could not divert an audience, 

like Thompson, by tricks such as the manager of performing 

seals plays to help the "act." He could not roar a jury deaf, 

like Crowe, nor fish out of a Celtic vocabulary hot, salty bits 

of speech. He was not a Celt, but a Swede, and one after the 

heart of his chief backer, the equally untheatrical Senator 

Deneen. Swanson was deliberate, measured in phrase, slow in 

moving his big shoulders, tall and heavy. There was a husky 

force in his voice, as though he were born of a race of northern 

ship-captains. His father, however, was not a seaman, but a 

tailor* After 1 his death, the boy worked at humble indoor jobs; 

worked eleven hours a day, played very little; he "studied law 

nights"; went into politics; reached the Cook County bench. 

476 



In spite of hard brain-work, he grew to be a six-footer looking 
like an out-door man rough fists, big chest, wide-open blue 
eyes. 

A plain man in ideas, very plain. Nothing to make ladies 
cry, "Isn't he a darling?" Nothing on which to drape publicity- 
stunts which would adorn his seriousness and his share of the 
quality often so dangerous to reveal to voters of common 
honesty. 

The campaign worked up no great superficial heat until its 
last few weeks. In the midst of those calmer days a noted West 
Side character, Diamond Joe Esposito, met a violent death. 
He was one of those unmoral (from an Anglo-Saxon view- 
point) and socially winning types, one part menace and three 
parts kindliness, that have for years upon years found Chicago 
agreeable. "Big Tim" Murphy, fatally shot a few weeks later, 
was of that sort too ; a "back o* the yards" boy, a frank rack- 
eteer who blustered more than he plotted. 

Smart slumming parties always loved to go to Diamond 
Joe's cafe "so Italian, you know" as they had enjoyed 
Colosimo's. There was little on the surface to suggest a link 
with the underworld. But Esposito was what he was: cheery, 
open-handed, loved by grateful beshawled mothers and quite 
blandly a law-breaker "the power behind the Gennas," some 
said. Also, he was a Deneen Republican leader, which fact 
stuck out after he had been shot down near his home. While 
he walked between two body-guards streams of bullets were 
pumped into him from shotguns. He fell, "clad in his best 
clothes and with his $5,000 ring on his finger." It was then 
revealed that he had been told, "Get out of town or be killed," 
but whether or not this was done to erase him from the slate 
as ward committeeman was not proved. 

The speech-making and organizing, the pouring out of 
money, the talk at women's committee meetings, proceeded. 
That rumble of trouble, however, could now be plainly heard. 

Then on March 26, a couple of "pineapple squads" made a 
serious political mistake. It was such a horrible blunder sup- 

477 



posing the squads were in the employ of anti-Swanson, anti- 
Deneen forces that it almost seems as though the two crews, 
excited by whiskey or cocaine, must have gone to the wrong 
addresses. A bomb-thrower, however, seldom errs in that way, 
when he has time enough. The well-paid scientists of that 
March midnight, who traveled in a handsome car and doubtless 
lived in "swell" flats with porcelain bathtubs, dropped their ex- 
plosive "calling-cards" in the yard of the Swanson home, and 
under the porch of the roomy, old-fashioned dwelling of Sena- 
tor Deneen. The Senator was on his way to Washington (as 
the bombers must have known) , and only his sister and a maid 
were in the home. Judge Swanson, however, had passed the 
spot of "his" explosion a few seconds before: so that it was 
theorized, not too convincingly, that the bombers had tried to 
kill him. 

More choice reading for the Chicagoan and for the dweller 
in hundreds of cities gratified by "Chicago's shame !" (There 
had been sixty-two bomb-throwings since the previous October, 
several of them damaging the homes of Thompson-Crowe poli- 
ticians.) 

The audacity of this election attack! 

"Why -er the damn fools actually tried to blow up Swan- 
son and Deneen I" gasped many a man, sometimes following 
this with a smile; for there were people who never could get 
over the idea that bomb-throwers were a sort of D'Artagnan 
or Porthos. 

Crowe's excitement must have been far greater than that 
of the public. "Be lost his head, Bob did," explained one of 
his supporters later On. Whether in panic or due to sheer high 
blood-pressure, the nee astute boss, in a public statement of- 
fering $10,000 ,of his own money for Conviction of the bomb- 
ers, declared: * 

"I am satisfied that these two bombings are the result of a 
conspiracy upon the part of a few Deneen ieaders to win the 
primary election April 1$.*' 

Thompson, "through Ms semi-official E^uth-piece/' said; 
478 



"I think Bob Crowe has the right slant on what is going on." 
So spoke the two leaders. Like Richard III, they blurted, "A 

thing devised by the enemy." And, like Richard, they went into 

the fray beaten men. 

5 

Both sides took the battlefield at last, with a frightful clamor 
of brass bands out of tune, with ear-splitting jangle of electric 
music-machines enclosed in red-painted placards, with meetings 
which dull-eyed voters packed, in sweating ranks, to hear 
somebody "razzed," no matter who. 

Speakers bawled a medley of allusions to the past and of 
insulting names. Edward Litsinger, who in 1927 had been 
beaten for the mayoralty nomination by Thompson, earned the 
oratorical prize with his characterization of the Mayor as hav- 
ing "the carcass of a rhinoceros and the brain of a baboon." 
He produced also the phrase, "Crack King Len and Wilhelm 
der Grosse in the snoot, and watch crime go." 

Thompson, justly stung, said in one of the few meetings he 
was permitted to address that Litzinger had lived "back of 
the gas-house," but when he moved to the North Side he "left 
his poor old mother behind." Shouts of "Liar!" Retorts hot 
and tearful from Litsinger. 

Roars by Crowe, "putting over" the history of Senator 
Deneen as a machine-builder. Repetition of the charges that 
Deneen men ordered those bombs and a cloudy allusion to the 
John Hill of 1905. 

Carefully wrought speeches by Otis Glenn, running against 
Frank L. Smith for the senatorial nomination, in which he 
charged Samuel Insull with a deal to elect Small, and espe- 
cially Smith. He recited the recent Senate scandal * and, natu- 

i It will be recalled that the Reed Committee had developed the fact that 
Mr. Insull had paid some $150,000 to the Smith campaign-fund in 1926. The 
gift not only resulted in Smith's debarment, but for a long time incensed many 
people against the super-power man. It came to be admitted that financial aid 
for a candidate who was at the same time head of the State commission in 
control of public utilities was a "bad error" on Mr. InsulPs part His action, 
it is stated "with authority," was taken r^her to work off an old grudge 

479 



rally, pointed to Corporation Counsel Ettelson as an Insull 

lawyer. 

Presses grinding out coils upon coils of libels, on cheap 

paper smeared by cheap ink. 
The gun crews waiting . . . 
A Chicago election. 

6 

The marching feet came nearer. 

The day dawned; the booths were opened in the cold Spring 
half-light. Upon the polls, all the way from battered, spittle- 
tarnished barbershops in the poor districts to clean light rooms 
in the suburbs, descended the tremendous swarms of voters. In 
parts of the county they stood in quiet lines, with the same 
grim non-committal look they had worn for many weeks. In 
other parts, and especially in the wards where famished or 
greedy or totally illiterate owners of votes could be bought or 
bulldozed, there were scenes suggesting that the great Ameri- 
can franchise had gone into the depths. Every trick of short- 
pencilling and stuffing of ballot-boxes, taught to one genera- 
tion of heelers after another by their kind of political-science 
faculties, was played under the eyes of police and watchers. 
Votes were jammed into boxes by hundreds, by bales. In one 
instance sixteen ballots were credited to one address which 
proved to be a stable containing only that many horses. (Hence 
the derisive saying of 1928, "Every horse voted.") The job 
was so raw that in some precincts every single anti-Crowe vote 
was thrown away. Nor were the State's attorney's followers 
alone in the huge fraud; a silk-socked hoodlum named John 
("Dingbat") Oberta, on the other side, had friends who 
"stuffed" cheerily for him. 

Not only was there rank and open cheating, but in at least 
one ward, the 20th, ruled by Morris Eller, Thompson's city 
collector and Crowe's friend, there were kidnaping- and mur- 

against William McKinley, Smith's opponent in 1926, than to make Smith any- 
greater friend of the utilities than he already was. 

480 



der-gangs sweeping up and down the streets, openly armed and 
with America First stickers on their cars. Volunteer watchers 
were dragged from the polls, cruelly beaten and hauled to a 
cheap flat, where they were shut up for hours. 

Eller, according to court testimony later, had boasted that 
"the police are with us." It seemed to be true. He had also, it 
was testified, told some of his "militia" where their armory 
could be found. 

After the polls had closed, more anger raged, more poison- 
ous whiskey flowed, until a respectable negro named Octavius 
Granady, candidate for ward committeeman against Eller, was 
"spotted" riding rapidly along one of those squalid streets 
with an automobile-load of friends. A trio of cars gave chase. 
Firing from the seats or from the running-boards, that un- 
usually expert gang of murderers picked off Granady like a 
blackbird on the wing and this particular unit in a negro 
migration that had come to Chicago full of trust fell dying. 
His was the only life lost, queerly enough, in all the uproar 
and anarchy of that day. 

The murder, the frauds, the terrorism, were all futile to save 
the machine. In every ward, in every country town, in the 
really big cities just across Chicago's line ranking as suburbs, 
showers of votes like a Nebraska snowstorm fell upon the 
Crowe-Thompson combination and buried it fathoms deep. For 
a score of reasons, not simply one, not solely because of the 
Swanson-Deneen bombs, the majority of voters proved that 
they were through, for the time being, anyhow, with the oli- 
garchs in the Criminal Court Building and the City Hall. 

Darkness shrouded the machine-headquarters that night. 
Janitors, humming irrelevant tunes, swept up basketfuls of tat- 
tered America First pamphlets. 

When the reporters sought the oligarchs, they could not find 
them. 



481 



CHAPTER XXVIII 



rxLONG the deck of a steamer returning from the West In- 
dies, in the final weeks of that campaign, strolled a Venerable 
Citizen not unlike the one imagined in the preceding pages. 

He returned to Chicago as quickly as he could get ashore, 
and whipped off his coat. His grave voice was heard here and 
there in the clamor. His shrewd but benignant face, long-nosed 
and olive-tinted, his hair almost white like the features of an 
ancient follower of Charlemagne or those of a European bishop 
>was seen on platforms. 

Not everybody knew him, by any means. Gallery crowds 
nudged each other with, "Who's the old guy?" 

They learned that he was Frank J* Loesch. 



A figure from Chicago's past had stepped into the bizarre 
and troubled scene of new Chicago. 

His career reached back to the days of Joseph Medill, of 
Judge Gary and Julius Grinnell (the nemeses of the 1886 an- 
archists ) s of Adolf Kraus, Lyman Gage, George Cole, Barney 
Eckhart, and dozens of other fierce fighters for Chicago's wel- 
fare. The Great Fire, the Pullman strike, the desk-smashing 
482 



and "Hang him!" scenes at Springfield in 1897, the successive 
political upheavals and social convulsions he knew all these 
as an eye-witness and as a participant. He had been a school- 
trustee and a special prosecutor of election frauds, but had 
never held elective office. Coming to Chicago as bookkeeper for 
a telegraph-company, he had "studied law nights," and while 
in his middle thirties (1886) he had become attorney for a 
railroad, the Pennsylvania, which never let him go. 

There was a reason why, in 1928, he still looked the part of 
a fighter, though outward gentleness had come with age: his 
mother's father had been one of Napoleon's soldiers, and his 
father had served in the army of the Grand Duke of Baden. 

Of various tasks which fell to him, leadership of the Bar 
Association and what not, the one to which he was elected early 
in 1928 proved to be that which returned him to the political 
bull-ring. It was the presidency of the Chicago Crime Associa- 
tion, whose equipment of records and whose fluency in reports 
was unsurpassed, but whose influence as a corrective stopped at 
somewhere about that point. Mr. Loesch took hold in a manner 
which recalled to some minds the old Municipal Voters League 
motto ; "If men were knaves, why, people called them so." 

The primary campaign soon came on. One day Mr. Loesch 
issued on behalf of the commission a curt public statement de- 
manding the defeat of Crowe, It was decidedly a reversal of the 
commission's attitude. It was also, some people said, a signal 
to the young hoodlum-realm that old-time Chicago meant to 
be heard from. 

After the desperate and bloody primaries the Chicago Bar 
Association, which had watched a bit overlong, some com- 
plained for a chance to help in the dry-cleaning of Justice, 
came to the fore through its president, Carl R. Latham. As- 
sisted by Attorney General Carlstrom (who had contributed to 
Republican harmony by leaving the primary race for governor 
to Louis Emmerson) the Bar leaders fought through the legal 
thicket until a special grand jury was appointed, 

Mr. Loesch was named chief of the staff of special prose- 

483 



cutors, and thus became, at seventy-six years of age, the head 
of the column marching against the retreating brigade of 
bosses, murderers, lawyer-fixers, and bombers. 

It was a command not without its discouragements nor with- 
out dangers. As they retired behind the breastworks of law- 
books filled with clever statutes that protect criminals, and of 
defense-funds collected from miserable tribute-payers of the 
underworld, the scared but smartly-dressed gang spoiled the 
route as best they could. Crowe's friends on the County Board 
blocked an appropriation for the clean-up. Citizens then raised 
$150,000. Threats and trickery confronted investigators. Mor- 
ris EUer, who had weathered the primary, sat frowning in the 
innermost stockades, and watched his picked men become 
harder and harder pressed. A group of them were finally in- 
dicted and convicted but a yawning jury let them off with 
fines. 

All this was, on the whole, to the good, not only in its show 
of fight against wolves long immune, but in keeping voters 
awake until the November election a task something like 
walking the floor at night with a patient full of narcotics. 

Other citizens, including "Al Brunker's young men," got 
behind the Swanson movement. There came into the pic- 
ture, characteristically, the broad-chested, weather-worn, but 
vigorous figure of James A. Patten, the great wheat-trader. 
Long a believer in Crowe, because the latter had prosecuted 
labor-grafters and helped the Landis Award fight, he was now 
convinced that racketeering must be driven out by a new prose- 
cutor. Sitting in a small conference one day, 1 he listened for 
some time, with his cigar-stump rolling in his mouth. And then 
he said these words : 

"I'll give $20,000." 

It was a "Patten speech." It was his way of "getting in." 

At the polls November 6 the "last-ditchers" among the 
Crowe-Thompson candidates, EUer himself, Coroner Wolff, 
i He died about two months later. 

484 



and two or three others, were beaten badly, unable to ride to 
victory even in a general Republican triumph. And finally, 
quite as symptomatic, quite as delightful to leaders who had 
cried "Split your ticket !" for years, the former Health Com- 
missioner Bundesen, discarded by Thompson before his third 
term had gone very far, was elected coroner on the Democratic 
ticket by the largest plurality polled by anybody. 

A story is told that Bundesen's dismissal as health chief came 
of a trivial incident. At a football game, as his friends relate 
it, he went out on the field to see if everything under his au- 
thority was taken care of. A burst of applause greeted him 
for he was a popular man. Mayor Thompson, sitting in a box, 
turned dark when he heard those cheers. And within a day or 
two Bundesen was beheaded. 



That Summer and Autumn when the racketeer army began 
to be pushed back saw a darkness, a silence, a kind of mys- 
tery, shroud the once radiant figure of the Mayor. 

A twilight year for Thompson 1928. 

He passed, with a suddenness that made people mutter their 
wonder, into a state which apparently paralyzed his activity 
and stifled his voice. Such a startling stillness in the quarter 
from which loud promises and spurts of defiance had so long 
issued ! It was like having the bass-horn player absent from the 
overture to Meistersinger. It was like having a superheterodyne 
radio turned off during a speech by a brazen-voiced announcer. 

Was Big Bill crushed by the defeat of the hyphenated ma- 
chine? Not so much by that, perhaps; the men on that ticket 
were rather Crowe's and Galpin's friends than his. 

But something else, very .awful to observe, had happened in 
that same election the debacle, not only of America Pirst, but 
of that still more precious policy expressed in the slogan Bill 
the Builder. Bond issues for public improvements, a long, long, 

485 



string of them, had been submitted to the voters on what was 
humorously called a "little ballot.' 9 This man and that man 
had loaded up the list Thompson himself insisting on a West 
Madison Street item helpful to the family estate until it to- 
taled nearly $78,000,000. That staggering sum, opposed by 
every civic student in town, by such strong bodies as the 
City Club, the Citizens Association, and the Civic Federation, 
turned voters green, whether they read the protests or not. The 
bond issues fell to earth. The mighty Chicago Plan, now con- 
ducted by James Simpson, since Wacker had retired, was 
stopped in its tracks. A terrific groan went up from hordes of 
politicians, deprived of one of their habitual sources of income 
the public-improvement funds. Bewilderment seized the real 
builders of the city. 

And Thompson, knowing well that this calamity spelled the 
people's suspicion not only of his brusque Mike Faherty but 
of himself, went into the rim of an eclipse. 

Almost at once, a judge named Hugo Friend struck him an- 
other and shrewder blow. The Tribune, several years before, 
had brought a suit for restitution of "experts' fees" on public 
improvements. The case came to a decision in the June follow- 
ing the primaries. Calling for the return of some $2,500,000 
to the city treasury, the decision held liable Thompson, Hard- 
ing, Faherty, and such of the experts as had not already made 
restitution. Thompson had no such sum. He and Harding car- 
ried up an appeal, and were forced to give bond for the full 
amount. While Harding was easily able to schedule his share 
about $2,000,000 Thompson had to call upon his wife, his 
brothers, and his sister, to "hock" property and so save him. 
They all came loyally to his aid. The ancestral estate, or much 
of it, went into the pot. Mrs. Thompson gave up her dower 
rights and even her homestead rights. 

Thus, threatened with impoverishment on top of unpopular- 
ity, a condition even worse, perhaps, for such a lover of praise, 
Big Bill entered his twilight summer. People who saw him said 
he was haggard, gloom-ridden. He flitted in and out of town 
486 



like a ghost. Pursued to Summer resorts, he stared at his tor- 
mentors and said nothing. 

He seemed to be seized, now with a complete lethargy, now 
with spasms of management as when he sent from some dis- 
tant place an order to his cabinet to retrench. 

It was too late for much of that. The corporate fund, 
budgeted at over $59,000,000 out of a total 1928 appropria- 
tion of more than $243,000,000, faced a deficit. So with the 
water fund, nearly a dozen million to the bad, and the vehicle 
tax fund. In school finances there was chaos ; emergency action 
to pay teachers 5 salaries was necessary. And the sanitary dis- 
trict, not a city hall department but cursed by the machine's 
influence and by bi-partisan membership, was about to be ex- 
posed as the medal-winner in padding pay-rolls, wasting funds, 
and awarding crooked contracts. To such a pass, a Mud Lake 
of scandal, had come the great sanitation effort of a genera- 
tion. Such was the offset to stunning accomplishments such as 
the $30,000,000 sewage disposal plant, finished that very year. 

The city, ninety years old, faced problems like that of the 
traction franchises, like those of finishing boulevards, of re- 
locating rail terminals, of adequate airports and lake harbors. 
But Chicago wavered, floundered, argued peevishly, hopeless 
of leadership in the city hall. 



As that hot and dreadful Summer waned, there came to Big 
Bill committees of friends or single advisers, who dared to 
suggest that he resign. 

"Quit! 5 ' he cried with all his remaining force. "What re- 
sign I" 

He beat back the idea. They pointed to the tall city and the 
wreaths of destiny about its towers ; they spoke of great plans, 
now halted; of the Chicago Plan, everybody's pride. 

But Thompson would not yield. He would not give up even 
the head of Mike Faherty. He held fast to his old ideal of 

487 



loyalty to his friends, and in private he cursed his enemies, 
spoke of the "lying newspaper attacks," and demanded the 
chance to "come back. 55 

And since there was no law to force him out nor even a 
stern desire to do so, perhaps, he clung to his office, as very 
likely any other virile person would have done. 

The smiles stole back to his face. He reappeared in public 
in the Autumn. He looked well, though thinner. There was a 
new chief of police now, a busy special grand jury, a proposal 
that a business men's board "straighten things out," gushes of 
reform emotion. Perhaps they would let him, Bill, have a hand 
in it. People forget . . . And, anyway, he knew that among 
thousands he was still liked ; liked for his boisterous humor, his 
"booster" tradition. Crowe and Galpin could disappear and no 
one care. Thompson was "human," 



But there must have been times when his memory returned 
to the "great days" those of 1915, of 1919, even of 1927 
the days, and still more the evenings, when he sat among pals 
in hotel rooms through whose windows he could hear crowds 
going stark mad with enthusiasm for him. 

There must have been memories of parades, of the Pageant 
of Progress, when he rode high up, the sirens hooting, the tiers 
of windows emptying spirals of carnival-paper upon his head. 

Those days of cowboy hats all about of dipping airplanes 
with his name painted on them . . those uproarious trips to 
California, to the South, to Washington, when the storming up 
of sycophants to shake his hand made him feel himself already 
in the White House. 

He was sixty. It was too much to expect that his days of 
glory would return. 



488 



CHAPTER XXIX 



FEW weeks went by; weeks of a Winter that piled ram- 
parts of ice upon the lake shore, that made snow-drifts at the 
feet of skyscrapers. Cold winds tore at the corners of the city 
hall, in which sat officials gnawing their thumbs and staring at 
gloomy columns of figures. 

The talk was all of prosecutors closing in on political 
miscreants. The "clean-up" was going along. Scarcely an 
echo came from Gangland, whose designs seemed smothered 
by reform, just as city grime lay concealed by fresh-fallen 
snow. 

A day in February. . . . Noontide sun glancing from the 
face of the towers and lighting the curls of smoke from chim- 
neys. ... A city reassured, cheerfully occupied, in a mood 
to hang upon bridge rails and watch the river current, or to 
feed the flocks of pigeons upon "L" platforms. 

Suddenly there was flung into this serene hour a horror that 
passed all horrors. There began to stream into the streets thou- 
sands of newspapers displaying the word, "Massacre." Some 
of them flaunted a photograph showing six corpses on the floor 
of a garage ; six limp, contorted forms, their heads flattened to 
the oil-soaked concrete floor, blood oozing from the shattered 
skulls. These men, with a seventh, had been stood against a 

489 



wall and "executed" by a firing-squad including two in police 
uniforms. 

In this crime many people read for the first time the true 
story of gang war. They saw it no longer as grand opera, nor 
even as a movie scenario, with humorous subtitles and "love 
interest." They simply shuddered before the disclosure of a 
horrible efficiency and heartlessness, even more shocking, for 
the moment, than the implied sneer at law. 

Then the people pursued long columns of print, telling how 
this slaughter of the Moran gang was "probably" reprisal for 
the murder of Tony Lombardo, "Capone's pal," in the Loop 
the Autumn before ; how the latter assassination "presumably" 
meant, in turn, the revenge of Dean O'Banion's fellows for his 
death in 1924. Other theories followed fast; Detroit men were 
suspected; police were blamed. The machinery of investigation 
was cranked up, and State's Attorney Swanscm, taking com- 
mand of the city as well as its environs, forced a police order 
to close all saloons, "speakeasies," and beer flats a repression 
more severe than that attempted by Mayor Dever. It was 
charged that the killings could be "traced right to the city 
hall." Not a word of retort came from "Big Bill," back there 
in his twilight. Business men spoke out. The Association of 
Commerce, in a wrathful statement, pictured the crime-politics 
alliance in "a position of confident self-assurance that threat- 
ens the foundations of society itself." 

Chicago groaned. Where was its newborn security? What 
could be done? What would happen next? 

And think of it ! its reputation ! 

2 

But the city took up its tasks and went on. It had to plunge 
ahead ; for so it was made. It had to struggle on, trying to for- 
get how the world once more rang with accounts of its wicked- 
ness, turned with aversion from its very name. It had to push 
forward in its great commune of activity, and, knowing itself 
490 



better than other cities knew it, comfort itself with the bedrock 
truth that it could not be dominated long by any set of men, 
that it must and could stop the private warfare that mocked 
its whole endeavor. It was under too great momentum to be 
halted. Four and a half million people, counting themselves 
part of metropolitan Chicago, were going somewhere and in- 
tended to get there. They faced the fogs and danger signals of 
the advancing year with the same old spirit, as the picture of 
those pitiable corpses faded. 

They drove toward the future with all their might, impa- 
tient of advice, still more impatient of restraint. They battled 
mainly for results, real, practical, capable of being expressed 
no less definitely than in stone towers or prodigious revolving 
mechanisms. 

"Build, build, build I" they cried. They were willing not only 
to spend, but to squander, if only they could plant upon the 
precious sands something more colossal than a hundred pyra- 
mids. 

It was a kind of religion. 

3 

A metropolis? Yes but still in adolescence. 

It liked to play with blocks, and with lead soldiers. It was 
outwardly calm, well-poised, sure of itself. But it would laugh 
at almost nothing. It could weep hysterically. And sometimes 
its voice, which should have been a big bass, cracked into the 
treble. 

If it liked any one, it made that person a Hero* and would 
very reluctantly give up the illusion. 

It did not often pause to reflect, "Where are we going?" 
"What's this all about?" or "Is it worth while? 55 In other 
words, it was a long way from the philosophic state of mind. 
It had possibly a thousand philosophers among its millions. It 
had a few hundred scholars of absolutely first rank, and a hun- 
dred thousand inhabitants who could neither read nor write. 

491 



It had small groups of men who toiled in the dusky chambers 
of pure research ; and immense communities of people who la- 
bored to produce things which, in no time at all, the rest of the 
city would wear out or throw away. 

It had not, so far as any one knew, produced a painter or a 
sculptor whose work would be forever treasured by the human 
race. It had never brought forth a novelist, all its own, who 
deserved admission into a restricted international hall of fame ; 
nor a musical composer who would share immortality with the 
great Germans, Russians, or Italians. But its people had be- 
come passionate patrons of all the arts, and in a place where, 
for example, 14,000,000 books were lent annually from the 
Public Library, a place whose stimuli had evoked Carl Sand- 
burg's poems, a creative future seemed certain. 

Four winners of the Nobel prize scientists all had done 
part of their work here; none of them, however, were natives of 
Chicago. And Chicago, speaking generally, scarcely knew 
their names. On the whole, the city's universities contained the 
best productive intellects it had. But for the most part, the 
self-centered, prosperous, pleasure-loving mob, producing 
everything else under heaven aside from intellect, cared not a 
hoot whether they had any universities at all. 

Not one person picked at random in a list of ten thousand 
knew the complete truth about his own city, certainly not about 
its structure or its government, nor even about his own self. 



But what joy in life ! What vigor in reserve for emergencies, 
for the shocks and strains of building and operating a city ! 

What a power to. cry, "Forget it! What does it matter? On 
to the next thing . , . Toss your troubles in the lake . . 
Come on, boys, let's get this done !" 

And what mighty urges, scarcely identified, quickening the 
pulse before they revealed themselves, brightening the eye long 
before the idea itself had form. . . . What dreams I 
492 



Two thousand men sit hypnotized as a speaker sketches the 
future of this Central West and its capital, as he sounds the 
old symphony note of "the waterway," as he pictures the vast 
plains full of houses, and highways leading everywhere, and 
power, super-power ! 

Two thousand more listen to the resonant sentences of ora- 
tors telling them they shall have another World's Fair. It shall 
be an island heaven this time. That universal idyll, that thrill- 
ing, lovely and passionately loved work of nature, Lake Michi- 
gan, is thrust before the imagination of these luncheon guests. 
They are to forget the discords, the scandals, the failures, of 
the years past ; go on to another dream ; fashion another splen- 
did exhibition of art and progress. 

Tremendous cheers. . . . 



Aspiration is the plot of the romance. Bloody quarrels, con- 
spiracies to wreck fortunes or take lives, slaughter in the 
streets, are casual episodes. Their red outlines have grown 
larger and larger in the fancy of a sensation-seeking world. 
Europe, even Asia, have imagined Chicago boulevards drenched 
with gore. But those who have come and seen the city at its 
normal tasks, who have discerned the best motives of its com- 
plex soul, embodied in beauty, go away again very much com- 
forted. 

Where the mixture of humanity seethes so fiercely, where 
aliens have been working out friendships and hates in such 
disregard of Anglo-Saxon conventions, and where, it may be 
added, well-meaning folk are trying to force reluctant individ- 
ualists into pleasing but commonplace patterns, murder will 
happen, whether it "out" or not. No one need expect a placid 
or a conformist Chicago for centuries if ever. But it has been 
through anarchy, not once but many times, and has rejected it. 

There are a possible ten thousand criminals listed among the 
four and a half million. 

493 



The murder rate has risen, but the visitor's fear of "street 
shooting" is absurd. Of the homicides, even in these bad years, 
nearly one-third have involved no gun-play at all. Whatever 
underlies the crater, on the surface as on Aetna's slopes 
people thrive and are happy. 

Through the turbulent years, civic diseases, fevers of preju- 
dice and passionate folly, battles of human groups over money, 
wages, dividends, have repeatedly risen, fallen, been forgotten. 
Political bosses, mayors, chiefs of police, have pridef ully seized 
power and have been thrown down. All are now erased . . . 
In their graves, mostly . . . The very lingo of stupid efforts 
like theirs has passed out of the Chicago language. 

Always the mass, the million, the three million, the four mil- 
lion, pressing on. 

"For God's sake," says busy Chicago, "what does it matter 
who sits in the City Hall?" 

Dreams matter. . . * The future; that's it. And the red 
blood in our veins. And the keen, quick actions into which our 
lake-winds urge us. And the strength to "put things across." 
We'll all be philosophers and scholars some day ; but now it's 
too early. Right now we work, and we tackle the impossible. 

What did "Our Carter" say? 

"The audacity of Chicago has chosen a star and knows 
nothing that it cannot accomplish." 



494 



SOURCES 



Centennial History of Illinois. Illinois Centennial Association, Spring- 
field, 1919. 

History of Chicago, Alfred T. Andreas. Andreas, Chicago, 1884. 

History of Chicago, John Moses and Joseph Kirkland. Munsell, Chi- 
cago, 1895. 

Chicago: Historical and Statistical Sketch, Elias Colbert. Chicago, 
1868. 

History of Chicago, William Bross. Jansen, McClurg, Chicago, 1880. 

Chicago: A History and Forecast, edited by William Hudson Harper. 
Chicago Association of Commerce, Chicago, 1921. 

Chicago: Its History and Builders, J. Seymour Currey. Clarke, Chi- 
cago, 1912. 

Chicago: Past, Present, and Future, John Stephen Wright. Western 
News, Chicago, 1863. 

Chicago and the Great Conflagration, Elias Colbert and Everett 
Chamberlain* Vent Company, Chicago, 1871. 

Great Conflagration: Chicago, Its Past, Present, and Future. James 
W. Sheahan and George P. Upton. Chicago, 1871. 

History of the Great Fire in Chicago and the West, E. J. Goodspeed. 
Goodspeed, New York, 1871. 

Story of Chicago, Eleanor Atkinson. Little Chronicle, 1911. 

Chicago Antiquities, Henry H. Hurlburt. Rudd, Chicago, 1881. 

Chicago and the Old Northwest, Milo Milton Quaife. University of 
Chicago Press, Chicago, 1913. 

Chicago Highways, Old and New, Milo Milton Quaife. Keller, Chi- 
cago, 1923. 

Discovery and Conquests of the Northwest with History of Chicago, 
Rufus Blanchard. Cushing, Thomas, Chicago^ 1881. 

495 



Bygone Days in Chicago, Frederick Francis Cook. McClurg, Chicago, 

1910. 

Chicago and Its Suburbs, Everett Chamberlain. Chicago, 1894. 
Fergus Historical Sketches of Chicago. Fergus, Chicago, 1876-1896. 
Wan Bun, Mrs, John H. Kinzie. Rand, McNally, Chicago, 1901. 
The Great Revolution, M. L. Ahern. Lakeside Publishing Co., Chicago, 

1874 
Drainage Channel and Waterway, G. P. Brown. Donnelley, Chicago, 

1894. 
Illinois and Michigan Canal, James William Putnam. University of 

Chicago Press, Chicago, 1918. 

Our Inland Seas, James Cooke Mills. McClurg, Chicago, 1910. 
History of the Navigation of the Great Lakes, Ralph G. Plumb. Gov- 
ernment Printing Office, Washington, 1911. 
Reminiscences of Early Chicago, Edwin O. Gale. Revell, Chicago, 

1902. 

History of the Great Lakes. J. H. Beers, Chicago, 1899. 
Yankee of the Yards, Louis F. Swift. Shaw, New York, 1927. 
History of the Chicago Police, John J. Flinn. Flinn, Chicago, 1887. 
Carter Henry Harrison I, Claudius O. Johnson. University of Chicago 

Press, Chicago, 1928. 
Life of Carter H. Harrison, Willis J. Abbott. Dodd, Mead, New York, 

1895. 

Autobiography of Gurdon S. Hubbard. Lakeside Press, Chicago, 1911. 
History of World's Columbian Exposition, Rossiter Johnson. 
Cyrus Hall McCormick, Herbert N. Casson. McClurg, Chicago, 

1909. 

Railroads of Chicago, John E. Murphy. (Pamphlet.) Chicago, 1911. 
Trends of Population in the Region of Chicago, Helen R. Jeter. Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1927. 

Story of the Pullman Car, Joseph Husband. McClurg, Chicago, 1917. 
Reminiscences of Early Chicago, Introduction by Mabel Mcllvaine. 

Lakeside Press, Chicago, 1912. 
President's Report of World's Columbian Exposition, Harlow N. 

Higinbotham. 

History of World's Columbian Exposition. Chicago Record, 1894. 
Inter-Ocean History of Chicago. Chicago, 1910. 
// Christ Came to Chicago, William T. Stead. Laird and Lee, Chicago, 

1894. 
Twenty Years at Hull House, Jane Addams. Macmillan, New York, 

1910. 
Eugene V. Debs: Authorized Life & Letters, David Karsner. Boni and 

Liveright, New York, 1921. 

Chicago Strike of 1894, Edgar A. Bancroft. (Pamphlet.) 
Chicago Sanitary Canal, Isham Randolph. (Pamphlet.) 
jStory of the University of Chicago, T. W. Goodspeed. University of 
Chicago Press, Chicago, 1925. 

496 



University of Chicago Biographical Sketches, T. W. Goodspeed. Uni- 
versity of Chicago Press, Chicago,, 1922. 

What of the City? Walter D. Moody. McClurg, Chicago, 1919. 

Testimony Before Commissions on Chicago Strike, George M. Pull- 
man. 1894. 

Social Evil in Chicago. Official report of Commission. Chicago, 1912. 

Negro in Chicago. Report of Commission on Race Relations. University 
of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1922. 

Italians in Chicago, G. Schiavo. Italian-American Publishing Com- 
pany, Chicago, 1928. 

School and Society in Chicago, George S. Counts. Harcourt, Brace, 
New York, 1928. 

Daniel Hudson IBurnham, Architect, Planner of Cities, Charles Moore. 
Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1921. 

Great Chicago Theater Disaster, Marshall Everett. Chicago, 1904. 

Captain George Wellington Streeter, Everett Guy Ballard. Emery, 
Chicago, 1914. 

American Orchestra and Theodore Thomas, Charles Edward Russell. 
Doubleday, Page, New York, 1927. 

Story of Architecture in America, Thomas Tallmadge. Norton, New 
York, 1927. 

Eugene Field's Creative Years, Charles H. Dennis. Doubleday, Page, 
New York, 1924. 

Chicago, George E. Plumbe. Chicago Association of Commerce, 1912. 

Hull House Maps and Papers. Crowell, New York, 1905. 

Negro in Chicago, F. H. Robb. Chicago and Washington Intercol- 
legiate Club of Chicago, Chicago, 1927. 

Fifty Years a Journalist, Melville E. Stone. Doubleday, Page, New 
York, 1923. 

Magazine articles concerning Chicago referred to in the text include : 
Atlantic Monthly, March, 1867, James Parton. 
Century, July, 1928, Edgar Lee Masters. 
Western Monthly, December, 1870, W. A. Croffut. 
Harper's Monthly, Charles Dudley Warner. 
Scribner 9 s, September, 1875, anonymous. 
Chautauquan Monthly, January, 1891, J. S. Ridpath. 
Forum, Vol. XV, Franklin H. Head. 
Cosmopolitan, Vol. XVI, Paul Bourget. 
Cosmopolitan, Vol. XVI, Lyman J. Gage. 
Scribner's f Vol. XII, Franklin MacVeagh. 
Scribner's, Vol. XII, Joseph Kirkland. 
Harper's Monthly, Vol. LXXXVII, Julian Ralph. 
New Review, Vol. X, W. T. Stead. 

Files of The Chicago Record, Chicago Daily News, Chicago Tribune, 
Chicago Times-Herald, Chicago Herald, Chicago Inter Ocean, New 
York Times, etc., were consulted. 

497 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Abolitionists, 87, 91 
Academy of Design, 117, 143 
Academy of Music, 112 
Academy of Science, 117, 216 
Addams, Jane, 166, 206, 217, 236, 302 
Ade, George, 231 
Allen, Lizzie, 99 
Altgeld, John P., 166, 205, 224 
American Medical Association, 326 
Anarchism, 155-67, 381 
Anderson, Sherwood, 327 
Arbeiter Zeitnng, 155, 159, 160, 162 
Armour, Joseph F., 144, 174 
Armour, P. D., 144, 174, 216, 218, 256, 

287 

Arnold, Isaac N., 103 
Arrington, A. W., 103 
Artingstall, Samuel, 270 
Art Institute, 143, 216, 327 
Astor, John Jacob, 18 
Atwood, Charles B., 184, 186 
Auditorium, 173, 190, 427 

Bad Axe River, 24 
Bailey, J., 31 
Balatka, Hans, 332 
Balestier, Joseph, 33 
Barnes, Clifford, 329, 348 
Barrows, John Henry, 213 
Bartzen, Peter, 301 
Bates, Edward, 48 
Beaubien, Alexander, 31 
Beaubien, Jean Baptiste, 31 
Beaubien, Mark, 30-1 
Beaubien, Medore, 27 
Beecher, Henry Ward, 74. 



Bell, Edward Price, 243 

Bertche, Barney, 314 

Billings, Frank, 420 

Bismarck, 113 

Blackhawk, 24 

"Black Road, The," 153, 156, 159 ' 

Blaine, Mrs. Emmons, 326 

Blair, C. B., 140 

Board of Trade (Chicago), 95, 157-8, 

256-7 

Board of Trade (Toronto), 74. 
Bohemians, 172 
Boldenweck, William, 269 
Bonfield, Inspector, 160 
Boone, Levi D., 72, 73 
Bootlegging, 437, 444 
Bourget, Paul, 203 
Bowen, Mrs. Joseph T., 305 
Boyle, Mike, 407 
Boyle's Chop House, 252 
Bradley, Hezekiah, 18 
Breckenridge, John C., 85 
Brennan, George E., 443, 466 
Brentano, Theodore, 238 
Bross, William ("Deacon"), 62-6, 70, 

74, 120, 121, 131, 136-8, 142, 174 
Brown, John, 103, 157 
Browne, Lee O'Neil, 358 
Brundage, E. J., 461 
Brunker, Al, 484 
Brunswick-Balke Company, 175 
Bryan, Thomas B., 249 
Bryan, W. J., 257, 356 
Buckingham, J. S., 42 
Buffington, L. S., 183 
Bureau of Charities, 330 

501 



Burke, Robert E. ("Bob"), 257, 274 
Burnham, Daniel H. (Sr.) 

Director of construction, 182 

World's Fair Work, 183, et seq. 

Helps Symphony Orchestra, 332 

Lake Front Plan, 311 
Burns, John, 303 
Burnside, Gen, Ambrose E., 102 
Busse, Fred A., 313-5, 339, 341, 343 
Butler, E. B., 317 

Cable cars, 191, 310 

Calhoun, John, 31 

Capone, Al, 350, 433, 453 

"Carbarn bandits," 277 

Carleton, Will, 114, 118 

Carlson, Anton J., 420 

Carlstrom, Oscar, 462 

Carpenter, Philo, 31 

Carr, Clyde M., 313 

Carson, Pirie Scott and Company, 175 

Cass, Lewis, 22 

Caton, John D., 27 

Chance, Frank, 310 

Cheney, Bishop, 158 

Chesbrough, E. S., 264 

Chicago 

Alton R. R., 108 

Area, 95, 171, 323 

Art Institute, 143, 216, 327 

Association of Commerce, 325, 405, 
490 

Attempted "kidnapping" of city by 
Wisconsin, 45-6 

Burlington and Quincy R. R., 108, 
116, 153 

Charter problem, 423 

Church membership in 1910, 328 

City Club, 329, 486 

Club, 143, 358 

Commercial Club, 312 

Crime Commission, 468, 483 

Elevated railroads, 216, 241 

Elevation of city's streets and 
houses, 67-8 

Financial panic of 1893, 215-6 

First detective, 156 

First election, 37 

First health officer, 96 

First horse cars, 79 

First labor union, 150 

First mayor, 37 

First packing of meats, 43 

First railroad, 55-8 

First railroad connection with the 
East, 59 

First shipment of wheat, 40, 69 

First ward ball, 340 

First water system, 69 

502 



Chicago (con.) 

Forest preserve, 322, 427 
Freight tunnels, 265 
Harbor, 29 

Health record, 196, 273 
Historical Society, 74, 129, 216 
Housing conditions, 229 
Incorporated as a city, 36 
Incorporated as a town, 30 
Lake tunnel and crib system, 96-7 
Later commercial growth, 416-9 
Literary Club, 143 
Metropolitan area, 421-3 
Milwaukee and St. Paul R. R., 60, 

115 

Motto adopted, 37 
Movies, 425 
Municipal court, 308 
Municipal Pier, 405 
Music development, 425 
Northwestern Railroad, 60, 109, 115 
Origin of name, 4 

Percentage of foreign-born, 117, 171 
Plan 

Appointment of commission, 315 
Beginnings, 312-322 
Blocked in 1928, 486 
Development after World War, 

399-406 

Statement of scope, 319 
Population, 42-3, 54, 60, 74, 92, 117, 

171, 286 

Port statistics, 40, 69, 70, 75, 111 
Portage, 5, 7, 19, 22 
Public Library, 136, 216, 327, 464 
Public schools, 302, 328, 442 
Rivalry with Cincinnati, 93-4 
Rivalry with New York, 203 
Rivalry with St. Louis, 107-113, 

141, 189, 269 
River, 4 

Big modern improvement, 455-9 
First reversal of current, 114-5 
Improvement of harbor, 28 
Second reversal of current, 271 
Rock Island and Pacific R. R., 60, 

108, 115 

Site becomes part of Illinois, 20-2 
Site obtained from Indians, 7, 8 
Small parks, 334 
Sports, 334, 428 
Surveyed as town, 28 
Symphony Orchestra, 331-2, 426 
Track elevation, 196, 197 
Traction problem, 298, 314, 423, 450 
Water supply, 40, 66, 94 
Woman's Club, 279, 304, 340 
Chicago Commons, 266, 443 
Child Labor Law, 194 



Christopher, Dr. W. S., 302 
Cicero, town of, 117, 171, 446, 451 
Citizens' Association, 270, 486 
Civic Federation, 169, 219, 235, 243, 

486 

Clark, George Rogers, 6 
Cleveland, Grover, 196, 205, 224 
Cliffdwellers' Club, 327 
Clinnin, John V., 386 
Clybourn, Archibald, 31 
Cobb, Henry, 108-9 
Cobb, Silas B., 29-30; 199 
Cobden, Richard, 80, 136 
Colbert, Elias, 67, 119 
Cole, George E., 244-8 
Colosimo, James, 350, 403, 432 
Colvin, Harvey D., 148 
Comiskey, Alderman, 89 
Comiskey, Charles A., 310 
"Conley's Patch," 98, 125 
Connelly, Frank, 99 
Cook, Daniel P., 35 
Cooke, Jay, 140 
Cooley, Lyman, 198 
"Copperheads," 102-4 
Corwin, Tom, 48 
Costello, Nellie, 100 
Coughlin, Big Dan, 259 
Coughlin, John ("Bathhouse"), 244, 

246, 340-1 
Craig, Andy, 307 
Crane Company, 175 
Crane, Walter, 195 
Crerar, John, 174; Library, 327 
Cronin, Dr., 259-60 
Crosby's Opera House, 114, 118 
Crowe, Robert E., 441, 461, 467 
Cubs, ball team, 310 

Daily News, Chicago, 151-2, 154, 156, 

356 

Daily News, London, 114 
Dalrymple, James, 302 
D arrow, Clarence, 226, 283, 314, 447 
David, Joseph B., 219 
Davis, David, 81 
Davis, George R., 200, 207, 209 
Davis, Jefferson, 28 
Davis, Nathan S., 326 
Dawes, Charles G., 333, 362 
Dearborn, Fort, 25 

Erection, 10 

Destruction, 14-16 

Rebuilding, 18 
Dearborn, Gen. Henry, 9 
Debs, Eugene, 222 
Deep Waterway, 272-3, 463, 473 
Delano, Frederic A., 320 
De Lee, Joseph, 420 



Democrat, Rushville (Indiana), 135 
Democrat, Chicago, 31, 44, 79 
Democrat Press (Chicago), 118 
Deneen, Charles S., 299, 355, 375, 476 
Depew, Chauncey, 200, 360 
Dever, William E., 250, 443-451 
"Dexter," 100-1 
Dick, George H., 420 
Dick, Gladys, 420 
Doble, Bud, 100 
Donnelley, T. E., 408 
Douglas, Camp, 91, 102, 105 
Douglas, Stephen A., 28, 44, 58, 59, 

64, 87-90 

Dowie, John Alexander, 276-7 
Driving Park, Chicago, 100-1 
Druggan and Lake, 435-6, 447-8 
Dunne, Edward F., 298-303 
Dunne, Peter F., 231, 253 
Du Sable, Baptiste Point, 8 

Ebersold, Chief, 161 

Eckhart, B. A., 269, 482 

Edson, Keith and Company, 175 

Egypt, 89 

Eller, Morris, 480 

Ellsworth, Elmer E., 91 

Ellsworth, James W., 184, 233, 312 

Emancipation Proclamation, 102 

Engel, George, 155, 161-6 

Erbstein, Charles E., 359 

Erie 'Canal, 42 

Esposito, "Diamond Joe," 477 

Ettelson, Samuel, 384, 416, 461 

Evarts, William, 81 

Evening Mail, Chicago, 118 

Evening Post, Chicago, 118 

Everleigh, Ada, 99 

Everleigh Club, 346 

Everleigh, Minnie, 99 



, 368 

Fairbank, N. K., 175, 262 
Fallen Timbers, Battle of, 7 
Fallows, Samuel, 233 
Farwell, Arthur Burrage, 338, 341 
Farwell, J. V. (Jr.), 312 
Farwell, J. V. (Sr.), 153, 234, 290 
Farrell, James H. } 258 
Federation of Trades Unions, 156 
Ferber, Edna, 327 
Field and Leiter store, 129, 153 
Field, Eugene, 231 
Field, Marshall, 167, 175, 203, 226, 

235, 290-3 
Field Museum of Natural History, 

226, 328, 405 
Fielden, Samuel, 155, 158-66 

503 



Fifer, Joseph, 191 
Fire, Chicago, 122-39 

Contributions to recovery, 133-4 

Statistics of loss, 130-1 
Fisher, Adolph, 155, 161-6 
Fisher, Walter L., 314, 329 
Fisk, Jim, 142, 154 
Flower, Lucy L., 305 
Foreman, Milton, 251 
Forgan, James B., 258 
Fortnightly Club, 143 
Foy, Eddie, 280, 281 
Frear, Alexander, 127 
Free Press, Atchison (Kansas), 109 
Friedman, I. K,, 627 
Frost, Edwin B., 243 
Fugitive Slave Law, 87 
Fuller, Henry B., 232 
Funk, C. S., 360-1 

Gage Brothers, 175 

Gage, Lyman J., 140, 166, 169, 184, 

235, 244 
Galena and Chicago Union R. R., 55, 

58, 115 

Galpin, Homer, 461 
Gambler's Row, 99, 101 
Gambling, 236-7, 254, 336, 469 
Gang warfare, 431, 440, 447-53 
Garland, Hamlin, 232, 327 
Gary, Joseph E., 162 
Gaston, Lucy P., 338 
Gates, John W,, 255 
"General Butler," 100, 101 
General Thornton (steamship), 53 
Genna Brothers, 434, 436 
Germans, 71-3, 86, 147-151, 172, 285 
Gilbert, Hiram T., 308 
Goodspeed, T. W., 287, 290 
Gould, Jay, 142, 154 
Graham, Ernest R., 184 
Grain shipments, 95 
Grand opera, 264, 300, 427 
Grand Pacific Hotel, 177 
Grand Trunk R. R., 116 
Greeley, Horace, 48 
Green, William H., 90 
Greenberg, Louis, 306, 308 
Greenville, Treaty of, 7 
Gross, S. E., 275 
Gunther, Charles R, 248, 251 
Guthrie, Ossian, 269 

Haines, Mayor John C., 77 
"Hair Trigger Block," 100 
Hall, Frank, 258 
Hamilton, Alice, 420 
Hamilton, Colonel, 7 
Hand, "Johnny," 280 

504 



Hanecy, Elbridge, 355 

Harlan, John Maynard, 248, 249, 298 

Harper, Lon., 98 

Harper, William R., 192, 199, 293-4, 302 

Harris, N. W., 328 

Harris, Paul, 330 

Harrison, Benjamin, 191 

Harrison, Carter H. (Jr.), 250, 254, 
279, 283, 322, 372, 404 

Harrison, Carter H. (Sr.), 73-4, 158, 
160, 167, 178, 205, 214 

Harrison, William Henry, 12-14 

Harvey, T. W., 220 

Haverly, Jack, 258 

Hayes, S. S., 103 

Haymarket Riots, 160-166 

Hawkins, John, 40 

Heald, Commandant, 14-16 

Healy, G. P. A., 35 

Hearst, William Randolph, 299 

Heath, Mayor Monroe, 152 

Hektoen, Ludwig, 420 

Helm, Mrs., 16 

Henrotin, EUen (Mrs. Charles), 279, 
343 

Herald of the Prairies 4 , 63 

Hesing, A. C., 148 

Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett and Com- 
pany, 175 

Hickson, Dr. W. J., 309 

Higgins, Judge Van H., 103 

Higinbotham, Harlow N., 200, 205, 
208, 216 ' 

Hines, Edward, 361 

Hoge, Joseph, 45 

Holabird, William, 183 

Hopkins, Albert J., 355 

Hopkins, John P., 237, 242 

Horton, D. H., 132 

Hough, Emerson, 327 

Houghteling, James L., 245, 429 

Hoyne, Maclay, 351, 393 

Hubbard, Gurdon S., 18, 19, 23, 36, 
173, 174 

Hughes, Michael, 469 

Hughes, Thomas, 136 

Hull, Charles J., 166 

Hull House, 166, 225, 230 

Kurd, Harvey B., 270, 304 

Hutchinson, B. P. ("Old Hutch"), 256 

Hutchinson, Charles L., 256, 404 

Hyde Park, 114, 171 

Illinois Central R. R., 58-9, 66 
Illinois and Michigan Canal, 28, 42, 
54, 55, 96 

Abandonment, 173 

Dedication, 36 

Inauguration of "shallow cut," 53 



Illinois and Michigan Canal (con.) 

Opening of, 53 

Opening of "deep cut," 115 

State grant of land, 33 

Suggested by James Madison, 19 
Illinois, State of 

Admitted as territory, 20 

Admitted as State, 20 

In Civil War, 22 
Illinois Schooner, 29 
Immediate municipal ownership, 298 
Immigrants, 193, 195, 229, 284-5 
Immigrants' Protective League, 345 
Ingersoll, Robert J., 149 
Insull, Samuel, 412-6, 479 
Irish, 71-3, 86-90, 102, 148, 172 
Irish Brigade, 89-91 
Iroquois Club, 143 
Iroquois Theater fire, 280-3 
Italians, 172, 280, 434 

Jackson, Andrew, 20, 46 

Jackson Park, 182, 184, 428 

Jaxon, Honore Joseph, 168-70 

Jennison, Colonel, 103 

Jenny, W. L. B., 183 

Jews, 91, 229 

John Crerar Library, 327 

John Worthy School, 305 

Joliet, Louis, 5 

Jones, Fernando, 198 

Journal, Chicago, 118 

Journal, Jacksonville (Illinois), 111 

Judd, Norman B., 83 

Juvenile Court, its development, 304- 

6 

Juvenile Detention Home, 305 
Juvenile Protective Association, 305 

Kaskaskia, 7 

Keeley, James, 356 

Kenna, Michael ("Hinky Dink"), 218, 
246, 299 

Kent, William ("Blind Billy"), 248, 
289 

Kent, William (civic leader), 299 

Kerfoot, W. D., 138 

Kilfoil, Jimmy, 98 

King, Hoyt, 245, 246 

Kinsley's Restaurant, 185, 253 

Kinzie, John, 9, 15-18 

Kinzie, John H., 37 

Kipley, Joseph, 339 

Kipling, Rudyard (comment on Chi- 
cago), 257 

Kirk, James, 175 

Knights of the Golden Circle, 104 

"Know Nothings," 72, 147 

Kohlsaat, H. H., 258, 357, 360 



Kraus, Adolf, 236 
Kuppenheimer, B., 175 

Labor unions 

Building trades war of 1900, 265 

First organization in Chicago, 150 

Strikes, 151-67, 406-8 
Lake front development, 404-5 
Lake Shore R. R., 116 
Landis> K. M., 407-8 
Lane, Albert G., 302 
Lane, Henry S., 83 
La Salle, 56 
Latham, Carl, 483 
Latrobe, Charles J., 34 
Law and Order League, 147, 148 
Lawson, Victor F., 152, 356, 397 
Leiter, Joseph, 256 
Leiter, Levi Z., 152, 256 
Leland, Warren, 253 
Le Mai, Joseph, 9 
Libby, McNeil and Libby, 145 
Lincoln, Abraham, 16, 81-5, 102, 103, 

157 

Lingg, Louis, 155, 161-6 
Litsinger, Edward R., 479 
Loesch, Frank J., 482-3 
Logan, John A., 89, 90, 158 
Long, Major, 22 
Lorimer, William, 244 

Battle for Senate seat, 353-364 

Bank fails, 363 

Adviser of Thompson, 461 
Louisiana Purchase, 8 
Lowden, Frank O., 382, 387, 397 
Luckhardt, Arno, 420 
Lundin, Fred, 365-8, 442-3 
Lyon and Healy, 175 

McAndrew, William, 450, 462, 464 
McClurg, A. C., 175 
McCormick, Cyrus H. (Jr.), 236, 361 
McCormick, Cyrus H. (Sr.), 44, 45, 

49-53, 92, 93, 120, 174 
McCormick, Harold, 333 
McCormick, Medill, 356 
McCormick Reaper Works, 153, 156-7, 

159 

McCormick, Robert R., 250, 356 
McDevitt, John, 131 
McDonald, "Mike," 89, 236 
McDowell, Mary, 279 
McFeely, Otto, 178 <*M 

Mclnerney, Mike, 248 *' 
McKeaver, "Driver," 101 
McKim, Charles H., 184 
Mackinac, 18 

McLaughlin, Catherine, 122 
McLaughlin, Patrick, 122 

505 



MacMonnies Fountain, 204 
MacMonnies, Frederick, 185 
McSwiggin murder, 451-3 
MacV.eagh, Franklin, 175, 203, 236, 

Madden, Martin B. (Congressman), 

246, 249 
Madden, Martin B. (labor leader), 

266-7 

Madison, James, 19 
Mandel Brothers, 175 
Marquette, Pere Jacques, 5, 6 
Martineau, Harriet, 32 
Mason, Roswell, 126 
Mason, Dr. William, 75 
Masonic Temple, 190 
Masters, Edgar Lee, 5 
Medill, Joseph, 118, 138, 147 
Merriam, Charles E., 346, 404 
Miamis, tribe of, 12, 15, 16 
Michelson, A. A., 419 
Michigan Central R. R., 59, 116, 152 
Michigan City, 28, 41 
Michigan Southern R. R., 59, 116 
Millet, Frank D., 185 
Milwaukee, 28 

Missouri Democrat; 112, 113 
Missouri Pacific Railroad, 109 
Missouri Republican, 108, 111 
Mitchell, John J., 208, 324, 326 
Monroe, Harriet, 200, 327 
Monroe, James, 21 
Moody, Dwight L., 233, 234 
Moody, Rev. Granville, 135 
Moody, Walter D., 317, 400, 401 
Moody, William Vaughan, 232 
Moody and Sankey tabernacle, 153 
Moreau, Pierre, 6 
Morgan, J. Pierpont, 299 
Morris, Nelson, 144, 145 
Morton, Levi P., 191, 200 
Mulligan, James A., 89 
Municipal Art League, 264 
Municipal Voters' League, 244-51 
Murphy, "Big Tim," 409, 477 
Murphy, Dr. John B., 420 

Nation, Carrie, 149 
Neebe, Oscar, 155 
Negro problem, 388-397 
Newberry Library, 173, 216, 32? 
Newberry, Walter L., 34, 173 
Nockels, Edward, 267 
Northwestern University, 149, 253, 
262, 326 

O'Banion, Dean, 438-40 
Ogleshy, Gor. Richard, 165 
O'Hara, Barratt, 351 



O'Leary, Mrs. Patrick, 122, 123 
O'Leary, Patrick, 122, 123 
Olmstead, Frederick L., 184 
Olson, Harry, 308, 349, 371 
Otis, Philo, 348 
Ouilmette, 9 

Packing industry, 43, 93, 94, 143-6, 

309 

Paderewski, Ignace J., 209, 233 
Pageant of Progress, 379 
Palmer, Honore, 322 
Palmer, Mrs. Potter, 200, 205, 226 
Palmer, Potter, 114, 192, 288-9 
Palmer, Thomas W., 200, 205 
Parmelee Transportation Company, 

125 

Parsons, Albert, 150-2, 158 
Parton, James, 48, 66, 67, 112, 115 
Patten, James A., 256-7, 326, 408, 484 
Patterson, Joseph Medill, 299, 356 
Patterson, Robert W., 356 
Patti, Adelina, 191 
Payne, John Barton, 404 
Peck, Ferdinand W., 190 
Peck, P. F. W., 31 
People's Party, 148 
Fettle, 9 

Pinckney, M. W., 343 
Pinet, Pierre, 6 
Pinkerton, Allan, 156 
Pinkerton, William, 157 
Pinkeswaws, 12 
Pittsburgh and Fort Wayne R. R., 

116 
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and St. Louis 

R. R., 116 
Plank roads, 56 
Plant, Rogers, 97-8 
Police scandals, 278, 469 
Polish immigrants, 285 
Polk, James, 46, 48 
Pond, Allen B., 404 
Pontiac, Chief, 6 
Poole, William F., 174 
Pope, Nathaniel, 20-1, 46, 85 
Pottawattomie, tribe of, 9, 14-6, 23, 

26, 27 

Powers, John, 218, 244 
Prairie farmer, 61, 63 
"Praying Women," 14S 
Pugh, James A., 365-6, 371, 380 
Pullman, George M., 68, 116, 286 
Pullman, model town, 221 
Pullman strike, 221 

Race riot of 1919, 394-7 

Rackets, 470 

Railroad riots of 1877, 151-5 



Railroad strike of 1894, 222-226 

Ralph, Julian, 191 

Rand, McNally and Company, 175 

Randolph, Isham, 270 

Ream, Norman B., 208 

Ridpath, J. C., 172 

Republican, Chicago, 118 

Reynolds, George M., 258, 324 

Reynolds, Gov. John, 90 

Rice's Theater, 74 

Richmond Hotel, 82 

River and Harbor Convention, 47- 

8 

Robertson, John Dill, 461 
Robins, Raymond, 302 
Rockefeller, John D. (Sr.), 198, 326 
Root, John W., 183 
Rosenwald, Julius, 175, 187, 343, 389- 

390, 397 

Rosenwald, Lessing, 404 
Rotary Club, 330 
Routzgang, Andy, 98 
Ruggles, S. B., 139 
Rush Medical College, 43 
Ryerson, Martin, 233 

Sabbath Convention, 71 

Saltis, Joe, 436 

Sandburg, Carl, 328, 431, 492 

"Sands," 76-7, 130 

Sanitary Canal (the second) : 

Construction, 267 

Ground broken, 197 

Effect upon health, 273 

Opening, 269-70 

Original cost, 272 

St. Louis objections, 269 
Sanitary Fair, 92, 129 
Sauganash Tavern, 30, 81 
Scammon, J. Young, 57 
Scandinavians, 72, 172, 286 
Schaack, Captain, 161 
Schnaubelt, Rudolph, 161 
Schneider, George, 140 
Schoolcraft, Henry Roe, 22 
Schwab, Michel, 155, 166 
Scott, Winneld T., 25 
iScribner's Monthly, 142 
Sears, Roebuck and Company, 175 
Seliger, William, 161 
Seward, William H., 82, 83 
Shaffer, John C., 333 
Sheridan, Philip H., 113 
Sherman House, 104, 253 
Simpson, James, 801, 486 
Skyscrapers 

Building record after "World War, 
410 

First built in Chicago, 183 



Skyscrapers (con.) 

In 1892, 190 

Number in 1910, 324 
Small, Len, 368, 441 
Smith, George, 37 
Smith, Goldwyn, 80 
Smith, Gipsy, 342 
Smyth, John M., 175 
Sons of Liberty, 104-6 
Spies, August, 155, 158, 159-66 
Spoor, George K., 232 
Staats-Zeitung, 118 
Standard Club, 143 
Stanton, Edwin M., 93 
Starr, Ellen Gates, 166 
Stead, William T., 219 
Stevens, Alzina, 305 
Steward, Leroy T., 340 
Stewart, A. T,, 51 
Stock, Frederick, 332, 426 
Stock yards "clean-up of 1906," 309 
Stock Yards, Union, 94, 139 
Stone, Melville E., 151-2; 356 
Storey, Wilbur F., 118 
Streeter, George W. a 260-3 
St. Cyr, Rev., 32 
St. Gaudens, Augustus, 185 
St. Louis, 108-13, 141 
Sullivan, Alexander, 260 
Sullivan, Daniel, 123 
Sullivan, Roger, 243, 248, 373 
Sullivan, John L., 197 
Sumner, Walter T., 343 
Sunday Evening Club, 329 
Sunny, B. E., 413 
Swanson, John A., 476, 478, 490 
Swearingen, James Strode, 9 
Sweitzer, Robert M., 372-4 
Swenie, Denis, 258 
Swett, Leonard, 165 
Swift, Gustavus F., 144-6, 287 
Swift, Harold H., 348 
Swift, Louis F., 145, 288 

Taft, Lorado, 185 

Tanner, John R., 249, 271 

Taylor, C. A., 175 

Taylor, Graham, 21T, 236, 266, 343, 

443 

Teachers' Federation, 302 
Tecumseh, 11-5, 17, 24 
Tenskwautawa ("The Prophet," "The 

Open Door"), 11-4 
Thomas, Battle of, 17 
Thomas, Hiram W., 233 
Thomas, Theodore, 117, 118, 209, 233, 

332 

Thompson, Hope, 467 
Thompson, Jacob, 105 

507 



Thompson, Lydia, 118 

Thompson, William Hale (Colonel), 

175, 365 
Thompson, William Hale, Mayor 

Adherent of Lorimer, 362 

First election, 377 

First enters politics, 251 

His "twilight," 485-8 

Second election, 393-5 

Temporary retirement, 443 

Third term, 461 

War policy, 383-387 
Times, Chicago, 80, 102-3, 118, 151, 

150 

Times, London, 79, 136 
Tippecanoe, 13, 14 
Torrio, John, 350, 432, 449 
Tremont Hotel, 34, 68, 81, 84, 353 
Tribune, Chicago, 76, 77, 94, 98, 103, 
117, 118, 119, 129, 138, 156, 353, 
486 

Trumbull, Lyman, 103 
Trussell, George, 100-1 
Trussell, Mollie, 100-1 
Tuley, M. F., 103, 245 
Turner, George K., 335 

Ullman, Henry J., 131 
Underground Railroad, 87 
Union League Club, 104, 143, 405 
University of Chicago, 91, 117, 198, 
326, 430 , 

, ^,V f \v i*^'' 

Vanderbilt, Commodore, 142, 154 
Vice Commission (appointed), 343, 

(its report), 344 
Vice resorts closed, 349 
Victoria, Queen, 113, 136, 465 
Vincennes, 7, 12 
Volks-Zeitung (Chicago), 118 

Wacker, Charles H., 316-7, 456 
Wacker Drive, 455-9 
Walsh, Charles, 105-6 
War Widows, 100 
Ward, Montgomery, 176, 320-1 
Warner, Charles Dudley, 79 
Washburne, Hempstead, 200 
Watson, Carrie, 98 
Watterson, Henry, 196, 200 
Wayman, J. E. W., 346, 348-9 
Wayne, "Mad" Anthony, 7 
Webster, H. K, 327 
Weed, Thurlow, 48 



Wells, Captain William, 15-6 

Wenter, Frank, 198 

Wentworth, John, 16, 31, 44-5, 47, 76, 

77, 104, 115, 120, 130, 174 
Whistler, Capt. John, 9 
Whistler, James Abbott McNeil, 9 
White, Charles A., 358 
White Sox Team, 310 
"Wide Awakes," 84 
Wight, J. Ambrose, 63-4 
Wigwam, 81-5 
Wilde, Oscar, 177 
Willard, Frances, 149, 233 
Williams, Benezette, 270 
Wilkerson, James, 447 
Wilson, Walter H., 315 
"Winnebago Scare," 23 
Wolcott, Alexander, 23 
Woman's Club, 279, 304, 340 
Women's Christian Temperance Union 

of Illinois, 149, 233 
Workingmen's Party, 150, 157 
World's Columbian Exposition 

Buildings burn, 226 

Chicago Day, 213 

Close, 214 

Congresses, 213 

Construction work, 181-8 

Dedication, 199-201 

Effect on Chicago Plan, 312 

Midway Plaisance, 205 

Music controversy, 209-10 

Names of architects, 186 

Notable exhibits, 211-13 

Opening day, 204 

Projected, 177 

Sunday closing issue, 208-9 
World's Fair (proposed new), 493 
World War, 369, 381-3 
Wright, John Stephen, 44-5, 60-6, 71, 

109, 120-1, 132-3, 379 
Wyandots, tribe of, 12 

Yates, Richard (Jr.), 355 

Yates, Richard (Sr.), 91 

Yerkes, Charles T., 233, 240, 241, 

295-6, 358 

Yerkes Telescope, 243 
Young, Ella F., 318 
Y. M. C, A., 329 
Y. W. C. A., 329 

Zeublin, Charles, 203 



508 



1 36 258