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C. Dean.

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one or two others will collect money enough to
finish it. ' The house was in a very mean part
of the town large, noisy railroad shops just
opposite it; but it was very near a large lake
[Michigan] and could get plenty of fresh air,
and, what is more, it gave a chance to grow,
* * * and from eighteen beds there could be
an advance of forty-four beds and two private
rooms for which charges would be made. "

The rector-president, Rev. Clinton Locke,
had charge of a large parish besides the infant



ST. L UK&S HOSPITAL . 229

hospital for which he worked and prayed. But
the great fire of 1871 made this institution
memorable, as the beds were in great de-
mand. The great disaster aroused charitably
disposed people all over the land, and money
was donated liberally, so that it was able to
pay off its indebtedness and supply many
wants in its equipment. Wealthy people were
inspired to do something for it, such as the
endownment of beds. The Churchman raised
$3,000 for one, a benevolent lady collected
$3,000 for another, and a stranger to every
one connected with the hospital left $4,000 in
his will to found another. A few bereaved rel-
atives supported a bed as a memorial, and the
public became more interested in its success
on account of its record.

The management is intrusted to a board of
twelve trustees, who are elected on St. Luke's
day by the rector and vestries of the different
parishes of the city, and by all who subscribe
$25 during the year. The bishop of the dio-
cese is visitor, and a city rector president.
The president practically manages the hos-
pital, and is responsible to the trustees. He
is assisted by a board of directors consisting



230 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

of ladies, representing all the parishes in the
city, who meet once a month to hold consulta-
tions regarding the interests of the hospital.
The medical board, whose services are given
free of charge, is appointed by the trustees.

The resident chaplain has the care of the
religious work and supervision of the library.
There is no distinction of creed; the Jew and
the Romanist have the same rights as the
Episcopalians. Any one who is sick and des-
titute is provided for if there is room.

It was during its struggles that Mr. Fair-
bank gave $25,000 toward the repair of this
institution, and has ever since contributed
toward its support. One of the wards was
endowed by him, and he has been for many
years a member of the board of trustees. The
hospital now rests upon a substantial basis,
although in the report of 1891 the following
statement is given: "The false idea prevails
that we are rich because some large sums have
been given us. We hear this everywhere, and
it has told greatly on our receipts. The large
sums given us all go into our endowment.
They cannot be taken for our current expenses,
only their income, and at the present rates of



ST. L UK&S HOSPITAL. 2 3 1

interest it takes a very large investment to
produce sufficient income."

In the report of 1890 is the following state-
ment: "The invested funds of the hospital
amount to about $100,000, and it owns land
worth $50,000, and there is no debt on the
building and the land which it occupies. It
gets an income from the investments of about
$3,800 a year, It earns some $14,000 from
private patients. Several large railways send
all their injured to us, and pay for them
and are thankful besides. It had twenty-six
beds supported this year by payment of $300
each. In each parish on Advent Sunday, ap-
pointed by the bishop as Hospital Sunday, a
collection is taken up. A good deal of money
is obtained by getting people to pledge on
cards so much a month, and having it every
month collected by volunteers. People not
churchmen contribute largely."

A large apartment building is now erected
upon the land owned by the hospital. Endow-
ments funds were used for the purpose, in or-
der to increase the income. It is anticipated
that it will add about $13,000 to the yearly
revenue. Although free patients are taken in



232 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

as readily as pay patients, it is acknowledged
that if it were not for the latter the institution
could not be supported. There are forty beds
in private rooms, some of them beautifully fur-
nished. The rates for these rooms range from
$10 to $25 per week, and if a private nurse is
provided, the charge is $15 extra per week.
The number of patients admitted to the hos-
pital in 1891 was i, 172, a little more than half
being free patients. Such has been the strug-
gle of St. Luke's Hospital; but it has survived
the trial and is now triumphant. A training
school for nurses is established in the hospital,
and a complete and well furnished diet kitchen
and cooking school, where all the nurses are
thoroughly taught the art of cooking for in-
valids. Of the whole number of patients
treated in 1891 only seventy-eight died; the
plurality of the number was caused by shock
from railroad accidents.

There are now a score of hospitals in the
city, all of which are private enterprises except
the Cook County Hospital, maintained by the
public. The importance of these institutions
cannot be over-estimated, especially those that
are sustained by private enterprise. But there



ST. L UK&S HOSPITAL. 233

are objections to all undertakings of reforma-
tion; and to quote from one who has looked
the situation over, it may be observed that the
negative side is not altogether imaginative.
One of England's celebrated physicians makes
the following comments upon the abuse of
hospitals:

1. "The crowding together of such a vast
number of diseased persons, and the germs
derived from such accumulations of every
form, are dangerous to the community, poi-
son the air with their exhalations, and ex-
change microbes.

2. "They foster habits of improvidence in
the poorer classes.

3. "Competition of the hospitals is ruinous
to medical practitioners.

4. ' ' The absurd restrictions which exclude
from the hospital staffs many of the men best
fitted to hold these appointments."

The first two objections are only worthy of
notice because they point directly at the social
fabric.

The care and attention these unfortunates
get in the hospital outweigh all dangers of the
first named objections. St. Luke's hospital



234 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

is immaculate in its appointments. Cleanli-
ness and order reign in every ward. Young
healthy, intelligent nurses are in constant at-
tendance and physicians with no incentive but
the desire for successful results quickly per-
formed, are always at hand. The second ob-
jection is a question of mental and moral
strength pertaining to the poorer classes, who
demonstrate their weakness by being, per-
haps, willing to be taken care of free of
charge. But this infirmity is not confined to
the one class, for it exists in a much more
harmful form in a portion of the wealthy
class who have amassed wealth by taking ad-
vantage of the laborer, who gets his surplus
reward in charity. Such is the manifestation
of energy, in one it dominates in the muscles,
and in the other it shows its power in its
brainy resources which may be directed for
good or evil.

Although hospitals are generally founded as
institutions of charity, provided and main-
tained by benevolent citizens, they are often
patronized by the well-to-do, who are glad to
have the privilege of such a haven, with the
assurance of the best professional attendance,



ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL. 235

for reasonable remuneration. Hospitals are
also a great assistance to the medical frater-
nity, furnishing a field for observation and
annotation to the physician or surgeon, and
to the student a means of education.

Those who may be inclined to find fault
with the hospital enterprise, may look in vain
for something better at this stage of civiliza-
tion, and in the present environment of intel-
ligence. So long as there is so much strife in
the world for riches, the superior force must
provide for the weaker, when sickness or
misfortune come upon them, rendering them
helpless. To a sensitive spirit it seems de-
grading to accept such assistance without
recompense ; but it is only from a purely phil-
anthropic mind of keen sensibilities that a
remedy, for such humiliating dependence,
may be suggested.

The Prussians have adopted a system of
insurance against sickness that is very com-
mendable and, it is said, effects a vast amount
of good. The Contemporary journal of 1890
gives the following account of it:

"By the Prussian law of June 15, 1883,
all workmen are compelled to insure against



236 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

sickness. They can do so either through the
general office of their town or district, through
the local office of the parish in which they live,
through the private society organized by the
firm or factory where they are employed,
through a guild or public society, or through a
private office registered under the Act.

"All these offices are under the immediate
control of the local authorities, who act for the
State. Private offices may make rules for
themselves in matters of detail, but in all es-
sential points they must conform to the pro-
visions of the law in question. The amount
of insurance is i^ per cent, of the wages
earned. Of this, one-third is defrayed by the
employer, the remaining two-thirds being de-
ducted by him from the workman's wages
before they are paid.

' 'When a workman falls ill, he is entitled from
the beginning of his illness to free medical at-
tendance, with medicine, an allowance of money
and, if necessary, spectacles and various sur-
gical appliances. If he has no one to look
after him, or if he cannot be properly nursed
at home, he is admitted to the hospital, and
while he is there, if he has a family dependent



ST. LUKE'S HOSPITAL. 237

upon him, part of the money allowance is paid
over to them. If he is out of work, he is
assisted for a certain time with money from
the insurance fund. If he dies, burial money
is paid to his relatives. All these regulations
apply to women.

"Discretionary powers are vested in the
local authorities to increase or diminish,
under certain circumstances, the amount
of insurance paid, the amount of assist-
ance allowed, and the length of time during
which it is given. Contractors who employ
a large number of men, whether tempo-
rarily or permanently, in making railways,
canals and roads, in river or dyke works, in
building fortresses, etc., are obliged to estab-
lish an insurance fund. If they fail to do so,
they are compelled to pay out of their own
pockets to such of their workmen as fall ill the
amount of assistance prescribed by law, and
burial money to the families of those who die.

' 'Employers who do not carry out the obliga-
tions imposed on them by the law, or who use
their private insurance offices to exact from
their workmen more than is due, or put pres-
sure on them, are liable to fines. Between



238 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

8,000,000 and 9,000,000 male and female
workers are insured under the law of June 15,
1883.

"In its main features the above plan re-
sembles the system of benefit clubs by which
so many English working men provide against
the day of misfortune, with the radical differ-
ence that the latter is optional, and the former
compulsory, and therefore universal. The
German system is open to the objection that
it amounts to state socialism; but many who
have witnessed the misery caused by improv-
idence would be glad to see it prevented, even
at the cost of a slight infringement of the
Briton's hereditary privilege to do as he
likes."

Mr. Fairbank has no special hobby that he
rides, ignoring everything else ; for every pub-
lic enterprise in the city records his name as
one of its liberal patrons. The Art Institute
is one of his beneficiaries, and the Chicago
Club owes its fine building to the force of his
efforts. Many individuals have also been
bridged over difficulties by his encouragement
and assistance. His social instincts are strong,
and his love of friends is of such a nature that



NATHANIEL K. FAIRBANK. 239

their bereavment or loss would cause his sym-
pathies to be intensely aroused. He has a
fine substantial residence on Michigan avenue
near Eighteenth street, where his family, con-
sisting of his wife and seven children, enjoy
the privileges of wealth and the care and sym-
pathy of a kind protector.

Mr. Fairbank has traveled quite extensively,
and has viewed the wonders of the old world
with enjoyment. An old citizen of Chicago
says: "Of all Chicago's millionaires, Mr. Fair-
bank appreciates art and literature more than
any of them. " The two forces, concentration
and diffusion, are manifested in such a char-
acter; for he knows the limit of the first, and
he has demonstrated the benefit of the latter.
Although interested in public affairs, he has
never had any ambition for political power.
Colonel H. A. Wheeler, who is Mr. Fair-
bank's private secretary, is a witness to the
refutation of that old saying, that familiarity
breeds contempt. He has full charge of the
affairs of his employer, and, in a measure, of
the man; guarding him from the applications
of those who are seeking after means to de-
velop some great scheme, which, when viewed



240 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

with a cool head, shows only the visionary
conception of ambition without ability; but
always ready to assist in helping on a worthy
cause.

When a man gathers riches or knowledge
for the purpose of bestowing benefits upon his
fellow creatures, he makes himself famous;
but when he gathers wealth for the purpose of
ownership, he makes himself notorious.




POTTER PALMER.



CHAPTER IX.

POTTER PALMER.

"The ashes of a burnt up city are still smoking when the in-
defatigable Yankees begin to rummage amqng them, in order
to lay foundations of new brown stone palaces with marble
facades, and six stories high, all warranted fireproof." Satur-
day Review.

It is said that years ago it was commonly
thought that in whatever trade any one had
failed, there were two callings which were still
left for him. He could open either a school or
an inn. But, with the progress of civilization,
the requirements of the teacher and that of the
proprietor of a hotel, have developed from
limited qualifications to a broader gauge of in-
telligence. The teacher of these times must be
conversant with many branches of knowledge,
and the hotel proprietor must understand nearly
all branches of trade in order to succeed.

According to all records on the subject Pot-
ter Palmer was successful in his business pur-
suits before he built his big hotel, and, after
twenty years' experience, it may be observed

that he has made a most extraordinary success.

241

16



242 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

in the last enterprise. ' ' Pluck, plodding
and incessant work characterize every step, "
says a contemporary journal, in reviewing
Potter Palmer's career. ' ' One of the
secrets of his success is that there never
was any work in his establishment to which he
did not turn a hand, the same as a hired
man, when occasion demanded it. The story
they tell about his enacting the role of cham-
ber girl when his help went on a strike is true,
says the same correspondent, all of which
prove the truth of the statement made by a
citizen who has known him for years, that:
' ' His success was due to his quick recognition
of the fact that he could not do too much for
his customers. He was the first merchant in
Chicago who put up a placard in his store an-
nouncing that goods bought in his place could
be exchanged for other goods, or the money
refunded. A placard to that effect went with
every article of goods sold, and it gave people
confidence in him." This custom is now in
practice in all reputable dry goods stores in
Chicago.

The profits of a good business soon reaches
great proportions which should be utilized;



THE PALMER HOUSE. 243

consequently Mr. Palmer invested his large
surplus in real estate in Chicago. But the
great fire of 1871, which made so many human
beings homeless, destroyed all his buildings
and left him with an interest exceeding $200, -
ooo to pay, and no income. The ship-load
of iron which he bought in Europe for his
new hotel had just landed when the fire broke
out. In the first excitement caused by his
losses he tried to sell the iron at a sacrifice,
but there was no demand for it. Finally a re-
action of the mind which is always sure to come
at such times, strengthened his courage, and
instead of selling his iron he constructed the
hotel, which the writer in the Saturday Review
must have had in mind when he wrote the
paragraph given at the commencement of this
chapter.

Now, it may be put down as an alleged fact
that every one who has ever heard of the
World's Fair city has also heard of the Palmer
House; for its fame is both national and inter-
national. This hotel is located at the corner
of State and Monroe streets, with an entrance
from each street, leading to the grand hall and
to the rotunda, which is in a separate building



244 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

in the interior court. It is operated upon both
the American and European plans, at the op-
tion of the guest, who may rent a room and
pay for his meals separately, or settle for
room and board in the same bill. For those
who prefer the former, a restaurant is located
in the interior court, connected by a long hall-
way with the rotunda.

A stranger from the rural districts may at
first be somewhat bewildered by the rich
effects of material and design used in the inte-
rior of the building, but when he settles down
as a guest, receiving the consideration of the
attendants, who are well trained in courtesy
and service, he will note the beautiful and
graceful symmetry of the apartments so pleas-
ing to the eye. The floor, wainscoting and
stairs are of marble, designed in the most
elaborate and substantial manner. The wain-
scoting throughout the house is constructed of
thirty-four different kinds and colors of mar-
ble, brought from as many different parts of
the world. The grand stairs, which extends
from the basement to the upper floor, is con-
structed of Italian marble, each step and plat-
form cut from a solid block, and fitted together



THE PALMER HOUSE. 245

so as to form a strong combination that is
novel and curious in its mechanical device.
The balustrade is brass, ornamented to corre-
spond with the walls. It is said that there is
but one stairs in the world constructed in this
manner, and that is the one leading to the
whispering gallery in the dome of St. Paul's
cathedral in London. Its marble posts on the
first floor are surmounted by huge griffins in
bronze.

The dining hall of the Palmer House is
heavily decorated, making the effect somewhat
gaudy rather than artistic. The ceiling is sup-
ported by two rows of massive gilded columns,
the walls corresponding in detail. Three side
doorways connect this room with small dining
rooms the supper room, breakfast room,
ladies' ordinary and children's dining room.

In August, 1874, Lord and Lady Dufferin,
of Canada, visited Chicago, stopping at the
Palmer House. Lady Dufferin, who was
highly pleased with the modern city, described
her experience in the dining room as follows:
"Such a breakfast! No wonder Americans
despise our efforts in the way of hotels. Be-
ing out of the dominion, we arranged to have



246 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

our meals in the public rooms, so we went
into breakfast in an enormous hall and sat at
a small table. There were two smaller rooms
off rilled with tables, and quantities of black
waiters to attend upon the people, and a
lengthy bill of fare to select from. I must say
that everything was very good of its kind
tea, coffee, milk, eggs, and cooking all of the
very best, and it was amusing to see how it
was all managed. "

The linen used in the dining rooms is woven
in Ireland expressly for the Palmer House,
with the design of the building and the name
Chicago woven in the center of each table-
cloth. The china is of the best ware and
variety, in fact every appointment is compara-
ble to an elegant home ; except that the good
fare is provided without forethought or super-
vision; the servants are seen only when on
their best behavior, and no thought or care
may be given to economy of food or of service.
The servants do not expect to be fee'd; and if
guests are stupid enough to do so they will not
gain much by the practice, for everything is
systematically arranged, no one giving special
attention to the single guest.



THE PALMER HOUSE. 247

The millionaire, or citizen of local promi-
nence, may register at the Palmer House or
any other large hotel and find himself just one
of the numerous guests, receiving no more at-
tention than the commercial traveler, who is
now one of the most conspicuous of patrons,
and one of the connoisseurs in epicurism.

In the organization of service the manager
of this hotel recognizes only his staff of super-
intendents, which are the head clerk, steward,
head waiter, housekeeper, chef, head porter,
and head laundress. Each of these officials
engages his or her assistants, and is responsi-
ble for their efficiency and conduct. In this
way confusion is avoided and mistakes are
easily rectified.

The great kitchen where food is pre-
pared for the table is a very interesting feat-
ure of the Palmer House. The proprietor
gave this department his special attention,
consulting with the best authorities upon the
subject. It is a large building located in the
interior court, and has perfect ventilation
through shafts at the top of the roof, in order
to carry off all steam and odors arising from
cooking. An artesian well supplies pure water



248 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

for cooking. The cooking is performed over
an immense coal range, which requires the
attention of a fireman. Food is kept warm
by the means of steam pipes; and a sur-
prising feature of the whole management, is
that there is very little waste of the material
provided, after guests have been served.
Dishes are washed in the old-fashioned way;
each dish handled separately without the use
of a machine. Everything seems to be in its
place, and every servant busy with his or her
own duties.

The drawing room is sixty-two feet in
length and twenty-six feet wide. It is fur-
nished comfortably, with the aim of conven-
ience for guests. However, there is much
decoration combined with mere comforts. The
walls are adorned with strong paintings, and
the windows are hung with gorgeous laces,
satins and velvets. The mantle is massive,
and, with its different colors of marble artistic-
ally arranged, is an agreeable sight to the
guests, especially when they are seated near
the bright coal fire beneath it. The tables are
Florentine, and the upholstery is heavy and
rich in texture.



THE PALMER HOUSE. 249

The Egyptian parlor, which opens into the
grand drawing room, is called the gem of the
Palmer House. In all its appointments are
traces of Egyptian representations; the sacred
stork, the sphynx, and the hieroglyphic em-
blazonry are copied on the furniture which is
made more attractive by modern upholstery.
The horoscopic clock on the mantel and the
candelabra all remind one of that country. It
is evidently the work of an artist who studied
the relics, as preserved, of the builders of the
Pyramids.

One of the so-called bridal chambers opens
into the Egyptian parlor. It is not so richly
furnished as has been represented, and is used
by commercial travelers for a sample room as
often as by the bridal pair. The bed is of the
French style, with a canopy of plush drapery.
A closet and bathroom are attached, and a
grate with ornamental mantel, writing desk,
easy chairs and comfortable settees make up
the contents of this apartment. Although
there are other rooms furnished more ele-
gantly and in more modern style, this room is
given prominence on account of its being one
of the prime characteristic features of the



250 THE WORLD'S FAIR CITY.

Palmer House, when it was first built, in 1871.
The daily use of furniture makes constant re-
pair necessary, and shabbiness is not tolerated
by the manager, who claims that although an
upholsterer is often employed, the framework
of the furniture is not displaced, nor the orig-
inal features changed.

The bar and billiard room, which is reached
from the rotunda by a short flight of marble
steps, is finished in the same style of marble


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Online LibraryC. DeanThe World's fair city and her enterprising sons → online text (page 13 of 27)