John Joseph Flinn.

The standard guide to Chicago online

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branch office 846 Root st., (Yards 772) ; American Express Co., branch office
295 35th st. (Oakland 129) ; National Express Co., main office, 138-140 Adams
st., (Main 5133) ; Northern Pacific Express Co., main office, 138-140 Adams st.,
(Main 5133)1 Northern Pacific Express Co., 5th ave. and Harrison St., (Main
1081); Pacific Express Co., 89 Washington st., (Main 2023); United States


Express Co., 89 Washington St., (Main 2023); United States Express Co.. V.
President and General Manager, 205 87 Washington, (Main 3970); United
States Express Co., branch 227 La Salle St., (Main 1288); United States
Express Co., branch 876 W. Madison, (West 591) ; United States Express Co.,
239 31st., (South 177) ; Wells Fargo & Co., 156 Dearborn st., (Main 2662).

Fire of 1871. The fire of 1871 broke out on Sunday night, October 8th.
There had been on the previous evening an extensive conflagaration in the
West Division, involving a heavy loss of property in the lumber district.
The firemen had worked upon the blaze for many hours, finally succeeding
in subduing it. The department, however, was pretty well exhausted when
an alarm was sounded at 9 o'clock on the following Sunday evening. The
fire was caused by the upsetting of a little lamp, in a stable, in the vicinity
of DeKoven and Jefferson sts., west of the river and south of Van Buren st. ;
whether the lamp was kicked over by a cow belonging to a Mrs. O'Leary is a
question that has never been satisfactorily settled. The fire first crossed
the river at Van Buren st., and soon enveloped the old gas works on Adams
st., where the Moody & Sankey Tabernacle afterward stood, and where
stately wholesale houses now tower toward the sky. From that moment
the business section of the city was doomed, for the wind blew a perfect
gale and every moment added to the heat and fury of the conflagration,
which marched steadily on, devouring granite blocks with the same ease as
it destroyed wooden shanties. About one o'clock in the morning it had
reached and wiped out the Chamber of Commerce building; shortly after-
ward it had swallowed up the Court House, whose bell tolled to the last
minute. Then in one column, it pursued its furious course eastward, laying
Hooley's Opera house, the Times building, Crosby's fine opera house and
many other noble structures in ashes. Then it moved toward the northeast,
and then attacked the wholesale district at the foot of Randolph st., carry-
ing away the Central Depot, the ruins of which are still standing. Then it
formed a junction with another branch of the main column after the latter
had demolished the Sherman house, the Tremont house and other magnifi-
cent buildings in its path. Then there was a general onslaught upon the
city's center from the left column which laid low all the buildings lying
west of La Salle st., including the Oriental and the Mercantile buildings, the
Union bank, the Merchants' Insurance building, where Gen. Sheri-
dan had his headquarters, the Western Union Telegraph office, and
the solid and magnificent blocks of commercial houses that lined
La Salle st. in those days. By morning there was not one stone
upon another in this great business center. The right column of the fire is
described as having started from a point near the intersection of Van Buren
st. and the river, where some wooden buildings were ignited by brands from
the West side. This column had the advantage of a large area of wooden
buildings, say Colbert and Chamberlin, "on which to ration and arm itself
for its march of destruction." It gutted the Michigan Southern depot and
the Grand Pacific hotel, and destroyed other handsome structures in the
vicinity. Passing along the Post-office, the Bigelow house, the Honore
block, Me Vicker's new theatre, the Tribune building, Booksellers' row, Pot-
ter Palmer's store, occupied by Field & Leiter, and all the smaller or less
conspicuous structures on the road, it branched off and destroyed the
handsome residences and chiirches on Wabash ave., and was finally stayed
in its southward course at Congress st. The fire crossed over to the North
division about half-past three in the morning, and among the first buildings
to go down was the engine-house of the water works, which, foolishly, had
been roofed with pine shingles. The fire was carried here by burning brands
which must have traveled a mile and a half in advance of the conflagration.
"This was the system," say Colbert and Chamberlin, "by which the North
side was destroyed : Blazing brands and scorching heat sent ahead to kindle
many scattering fires, and the grand general conflagration following up and
finishing up." The North side was left a mass of blackened ruins by morn-
ing. Only at the lake and the northern limits of the city was the fire stayed
The district burnt over was bounded on the north by Fullerton ave., on the
west by Halst^d st. to Chicago ave., and from that point south on Clinton st.,


on the south by Twelfth st., and on the east by Lake Michigan. The total
area burned over was nearly three and a third square miles; number of
buildings destroyed, 17,450; persons rendered homeless, 98,500; persons
killed, about 200; loss, not including depreciation of real estate or loss of
business, estimated at $190,000,000; recovered by insurance, $44,000,000. One
year after the fire many of the best business blocks in the city were rebuilt;
five years after the fire the city was handsomer and more prosperous than
ever; ten years after the fire nearly all traces of the calamity had dis-

Fire of 1874. The second great fire in Chicago occurred on July 14, 1874.
This conflagration swept over a district south of Twelfth st. and east of
State st., which had escaped the fire of '71. Although eighteen blocks or
sixty acres were burned over, and although 600 houses were destroyed and
the loss was close to $4,000,000, the calamity was never as deeply regretted as
it would have been had the district been a safe one near the heart of the
city. The houses were nearly all wooden, and were a continual menace.
This district was soon rebuilt in a more substantial manner.

Fire Relics. The most interesting and ornamental monument of the fire
is the " Relic House," well known to North-siders and Lincoln Park visitors.
In 1872, when the " leavings" of the fire could be had for the asking or the
trouble of picking them up, a man named Rettig conceived the idea of build-
ing a small cottage out of such material as a melted mixture of stone, iron
and other metals. The queer structure was built at North Park ave. and Cen-
ter st. Ten years ago it was removed to its present site near the junction of
Clark st. and North Park ave. (take N. Clark st. cable line), Philip Vinter
becoming the proprietor. Four years afterward the " Relic House "passed
into the hands of its present owner, William Lindemann, who has added a
refreshment parlor to the saloon and made quite a rustic spot out of the relic.
The Chicago Historical Society has a large collction of fire relics, some
from the ruins of the society's building, which was then near the corner of
Ontario st. and Dearborn ave.,but most of the relics are donations from Maria
G. Carr, Mrs. E. E. At water, and various business firms who were burned out.
The Historical Society also has the key to the vault-door in the office of the
assistant treasurer of the United States, at Chicago, which was destroyed,
together with $1,500,000 in currency and the books and vouchers in the office.
The key was presented by Henry H. Nash, cashier. Large oil paintings of
General Grant, J. Young Scammon and Miss Sneed (the woman who, Napo-
leon thought, was the most beautiful in the world), which were saved from
the fire, adorn the walls of the society's rooms. Mrs. Carr's collection is a
curious one, among the burned, melted, scorched and twisted things being
a bunch of forks, a mass of type, bunch of tacks, pack of cards, a lot of
knitting-needles, a spool of thread from Field, LeiterA Co. 's dry goods house
at Madison and Franklin sts; hooks and eyes, a package of buttons, three
jews-harps, thimbles, marbles, a bundle of melted glass, a piece of glass
from Bo wen Bros., Lake st. ; an old-fashioned clay pipe, china doll's head,
three crucibles, a door bell, pen-knives, one being found under the site of a
pulpit; a package of glass beads from Schweitzer & Beer's store, a bundle
of screws, a walking cane without head or ferrule; necks of glass bottles
from Jasper's place, and a package of slate pencils from the Western News
company's place. In Mrs. Atwater's collection is a lump of black stuff
which was coffee once upon a time, labeled, " Browned too Much;" rem-
nants of the stock of a toy house, china dolls and playthings, a bundle of
hairpins, scissors, rosaries without the crucifix, glass beads, and a jet neck-
lace well preserved; a box of charred biscuits from the ruins of Dr. Rice's
church ; a lot of stained and plain window glass from various city clmrches,
and a variety of blackened cups and saucers from the ruins of crockery

Fishing and Summer Resorts. There are magnificent fishing groimds
and beautiful summer resorts within easy reach of Chicago by the Chicago
& North-Western, Chicago, Milwaukee <fe St. Paul, Wisconsin Central, and
Chicago, Great Western Railways. Lake Geneva and the Fox Lake dis-
trict are within a few hours of the city. [See " Railroads."]



Foreign Coin, Value of, in United States Money. The United States
Government in 1893 declared the following statement of the value of foreign
coin in United States money as official. Foreign visitors in Chicago may
exchange their national coin at any of the leading banking houses or money
brokers' offices at a small cost for exchange.







Gold and Silver.




Crown ... .



Gold and Silver.





Boliviano.. .



Gold .








Gold and Silver.





( Shanghai....
\ Haikwan . ..




| (customs)


CUBA . .

Gold and Silver.











Gold . .

Pound (100
piastres) ....







Gold and Silver

19 3



Mark .





4 86 6*4

Gold and Silver

19 3


Gold and Silver






ITALY . ... ....

Gold and Silver.



Gold and Silver.

v ( Gold..




) Silver.




Dollar , ..



Gold and Silver.






1 01 4














Gold and Silver

Ruble J12-



Gold and Silver

a J Gold.






Gold and Silver




Mahbub of 20






Gold and Silver

19 3


Foreign Consuls in Chicago. ARGENTINE REPUBLIC, 83 Jackson st. ;
AUSTRO-HUNGARIAN, 78 and 80 Fifth ave. ; BELGIUM, 167 Dearborn st. ; DEN-
MARK, 209 Fremont st. ; FRANCE, 70 La Salle st. ; GERMAN EMPIRE, Borden
block, Randolph, N. W. Cor. Dearborn st.; GREAT BRITAIN, 72 Dearborn st. ;
ITALY, 110 La Salle st. ; MEXICO, 126 Washing-ton st. ; NETHERLANDS, 85 Wash-
ington st. ; RUSSIA, 70 La Salle st. ; SWEDEN AND NORWAY, 153 Randolph st. ;
SWITZERLAND, 167 Washington st. ; TURKEY, 167 Dearborn st.

Fort Dearborn. The site of old Fort Dearborn is now covered by the
wholesale grocery hovise of William M. Hoyt & Co., 1 to 9 River st. On a slab
placed in the wall of the building this fact is commemorated. The old fort
itself has long since disappeared.

Fulton St. Market. The greatest wholesale meat market in the world ;
located on Fulton st., between Gi'een and Peoria sts., West side. Take West
Lake st. cars to Green st., and walk north to Fulton. This is one of the
most interesting sights in the city, and the foreigner or American visitor
will be repaid by a visit to it. Here may be seen the manner in which meats
are distributed to the retail dealers of Chicago and vicinity. The cleanli-
ness, the neatness and the perfect business management of the great
exchange will command attention and admiration.

Generous Chicagoans. Among the Chi^agoans who have contributed
vast sums toward charitable and educational institutions are: Phillip D.
Armour, Walter L. Newberry (deceased), John Crerar (deceased), Marshall
Field, D. K. Pearson, George M. Pullman, Cyrus McCorrnick, Sr. (deceased),
Cyrus McCormick, Jr., Thomas B. Bryan, N. K. Fairbank, Sidney A. Kent,
George M. Bogue, Charles L. Hutchinson, Charles J. Hull (deceased), Eli
Bates, (deceased), H. H. Kohlsaat, Matthew Laflin, William Bross(deceased),
John V. Farwell, Chas. B. Farwell, Daniel A. Jones, Charles T. Yerkes, C.
K. Billings, W. H. Ryder, Charles Schwab, Martin Ryerson (deceased), Mar-
tin Ryerson, Jr., George A. Walker, William B. Ogden (deceased). Many of
the above have contributed amounts running into the millions, some
amounts touching the hundreds of thousands. The list of those who have
contributed to charitable institutions amounts from $5,000 to $50,000 would
be too long for publication here.

Goose Island. Located on the north branch of the Chicago river, covered
with immense manufactories, lumber yai'ds, etc., ami surrounded by docks.
It is becoming one of the most valuable centers in Chicago. An effort has
been made to change the name from Goose to Ogden Island, but this was
defeated and the historic appellation retained. It derives its name from its
shape which resembles the body of a goose. [See " Guide."]

Grain Elevators. The greatest grain elevators in the world are to be
found here, and they are more numerous than in any other city on earth.
A few figures in relation to one of them will serve as a description of all. A
grain elevator of the first-class costs about $500,000. 12,000,000 feet of lum-
ber is consumed in its construction; the outside brick wall is 16 inches
thick ; a fire wall two feet thick usually divides the building in the middle,
the height is about 155 feet; length 155 feet. As a protection against fire,
iron ladders run this entire height and on all floors there are p\ish buttons
communicating with annunciators in the engine room, and in the latter de-

gartment there is also a fire pump with a capacity equaling that of four steam
re engines. Two hundred barrels of water, each accompanied by a couple
of iron pails, are scattered all over different floors, and twenty-two chemical
fire extinguishers are placed at convenient places throughout thestructure ;
forty -five-fire plugs to each of which is attached one thousand feet of two
and one-half inch rubber hose, together with fourteen fire alarm boxes
about complete the precautional measures for combating fires. The super-
intendent and chief engineer are located at opposite extremities of the bulky
framework, the one in a separate brick office building with an instrument
within reach, by which he is enabled to converse with the heads of depart-
ments, and the other in a large two-story fire-proof brick building. Once
every week a fire drill is ordered, the time of turning in an alarm tor which
is known only to the watchmen in charge. When the alarm is sounded,


every man takes his place, but no water is thrown. It requires 100 employes
to run a grain elevator. To move the ponderous machinery) a one thou-
sand horse-power compound Corliss engine is required, making 56 revolu-
tions per minute, without varying one revolution in a day's run. This engine
cost $50,000. The chimney of the elevator has a fourteen foot base and a
height of 154 feet. The visitor will be interested in the process of handling
grain. One visit to a grain elevator will do more toward giving the stranger
an intelligent idea of the methods employed than columns of description.
The grain elevators are located along the river sides and railroad tracks
principally. They may be visited at any time.

Great Clocks of the City. in the old days before the building was des-
troyed everybody's time was regulated by the Court house bell, and it is
said that for some time after the fire there were no two watches or clocks
in town that agreed. It is only within the last few years that public time
pieces have appeared. People down town in the vicinity of the custom
house consult the clock in the Board of Trade tow r er and the custom house
clock. The largest clock in the city is that in the tower of the new Grand
Central Depot, Harrison st. and Fifth ave. There are also great clocks at
the North- Western and Rock Island. The Central Music Hall has a fine
clock, so has the Inter- Ocean building, the Toby Furniture company build-
ing, McAvoy's Brewery, the North Division railroad office, and the Jesuit
church on Twelfth st. The Manasse chronometer in the Tribune building is
consulted more than any in the city, but there are innumerable clocks
regulated by electricity throughout the city now. These are operated from
the Western Union telegraph office.

Harbor. The harbor of Chicago is in charge of the United States Gov-
ernment and is an inclosure of 270 acres, with connecting slips along the
lake shore covering 185 acres, making a total of 455 'acres. This harbor is
not complete and is entirely independent of the river harbor. The Govern-
ment piers, so called, extend along the lake front and may be visited on
l?.ttle excursion steamers and yachts from the foot of Van Buren st.

Haymarket Massacre. Night of May 4, 1886. Take W. Randolph street
car and alight at the Police Monument. The title is a misnomer. The
tragedy recalled to mind by the name in reality occurred on Desplaines st.
between the Haymarket and the alley which runs east from Desplaines st.,
south of Crane Brothers' manufacturing establishment. The wagon from
which the anarchist speakers addressed the mob stood directly in front of
Crane Brothers' steps, about eight feet north of this alley. The bomb was
thrown from the mouth of the alley, and exploded between the second and
third companies of policemen, as the six companies were halting close to
the wagon.

Haymarket Square.^-That portion of W. Randolph st. between Desplaines
and Halsted sts., West side. Take Randolph st. cars. Near the east end of
the square for many years stood the West Side Market house, a part of which
was occupied as a police station. The square is -now enti*ely open, the
police monument which stands at the intersection of Randolph and Des-
plaines sts. being the only obstruction in the broad thoroughfare. To the
north of the monument, on Desplaines st., the bomb was thrown on the
night of May 4, 1886. [See "Haymarket Massacre."]

Hell Gate Crossing. By far the most dangerous street intersection in
Chicago is at Randolph and La Salle, where all cars of the North and West
side cable system pass, two of the tracks curving around corners and the
ringing of bells by the gripmen making a din bewildering to pedestrians.

Horse Market. Take train at Van Buren st. depot, Van Buren aud Sher-
man sts., State st. cable with transfer to Thirty-fifth st., or S. Halsted st.
car line. There is no more interesting feature of the Union Stock Yards
than the horse market. At the head of Exchange ave., the main thorough-
fare leading into the yards, a row of brick stables extends to the left along
the west side of a blind alley. The narrow way is thronged with a motley
crowd of cattle-buyers, horsemen, speculators and spectators. The scene
resembles very much that around the public square in some Western town.


Stable-men, wearing hickory shirts and faded trousers, are leading bunches
of horses out of the barns and down Exchange ave. to the railroad tracks.
The horses wear their tails done up in red flannel and a tag marked " sold "
flutters from their halters. The Horse Exchange has grown to be one of the
main factors in the business at the yards. It was first established in 1866,
in which year there were 1,553 horses received and but 162 shipped. [See

Inter-state Expositi on.^ Occupied an immense building on the Lake
Front, from 1875 to 1892, when the structure was torn down to make room
for the permanent Art Gallery. Expositions were given annually which
attracted thousands of strangers, and for a time were quite popular with
residents. Fat stock shows, etc., were also held here. Some of the greatest
political conventions ever assembled in this country were held here. The
building in its later days became an eye-sore to the public.

Jail Diet. The sheriff of Cook county is allowed 25 cents per diem for
the dieting of all prisoners in the county jail.

Lager Beer Riot. Occurred on April 21, 1855, diTring the administration
of Mayor Levi D. Boone. Brought about by an attempt of the " Native
American" or "Know Nothing" party to enforce the liquor, Sunday and
other laws obnoxious to the foreign element. The mayor, in attempting to
close the saloons on Sunday, had arrested a large number of saloon keepers
for defying his authority by keeping open. While their cases were being
heard in the old court house, a mob came over from the North side and was
met by the police on Clark st., between Randolph and Lake sts. Here a
collision took place. Only one man, a German rioter, was killed, but a
large number were wounded. The rioters, although defeated, in reality
were victorious, for the obnoxious laws fell into desuetude.

Lemont Stone Quarries. When the county of Cook built the "old original
Court House," in 1851 and '52, it was decided by the people and the wise
rulers of the county that there was no suitable stone material in the vicinity
of Chicago for the purposes of permanent building. After looking the coun-
try over it was decided that Lockport, N.Y., furnished the most desirable
and conveniently accessible material, and the stone for this building and
the wall around it was actually transported over 500 miles. But the building
growth of Chicago was not to be retarded for the want of durable and acces-
sible cheap building matei'ial, and certain of her enterprising citizens who
had been connected, or were familiar with the construction of the Illinois &
Michigan canal, notably among whom being A. S. Sherman and H. M. Singer,
concluded to open up the deposits of stone at Lemont, which the cutting
through of the canal had developed. From these small beginnings has
grown up one of the largest, most important and prosperous industries of
the city: These quarries have not only contributed largely to the material
growth of the city by furnishing an accessible building stone for all pur-
poses, from the foundation stone to the roof coping, besides flagging, curb-
ing and rubble stone for sidewalk and street improvement, but coarser
material for riprap, from which the government, the Illinois Central rail-
road, and all other breakwater works in this vicinity have drawn their
supplies. A corporation known as "The Western Stone Co." now controls
the output of these great quarries.

Littte Hell. At the time of the great fire the region west of Larrabee st.
was almost unoccupied as far down as the river, and when the relief work
began this tract was suggested as a good place for the building of houses
for the people whose property had been destroyed. So a lot of small cottages
and one long, low building with a room for each family in it were erected.
The long, low building was called "The Barracks." It stood on the west
side of Crosby st., just across from the gas works, and it was the center of
ail the glorious doings that made " Little Hell " historical. The citizens of
the " Hell " were comfortably fixed for social enjoyment. Their food and
lodgings, and much of their clothing, came from the Relief and Aid Society.
Work \vas plenty arid labor was lTi<rh. They found themselves each week

Online LibraryJohn Joseph FlinnThe standard guide to Chicago → online text (page 45 of 70)