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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
LOTS OF NEW BOOKS AND DOCUMENTS IN OUR DIGITAL LIBRARY.
http://livinghistoryofillinois.com/

Feedback and suggestions would be helpful.
Welcome to the Digital Library of the Living History of Illinois and Chicago® Community.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
LOST TOWNS OF ILLINOIS: Town of Brownsville, Illinois


The Town of Brownsville, Illinois, was established in 1816. Doctor Conrad Will "Father of Jackson County" offered to donate twenty acres near his salt works on the Big Muddy as a town site. His offer was accepted, thus Brownsville was founded. It was not a favorable location for a town being that it was off the main trail and difficult to reach. Nevertheless, regardless of this handicap, it was a lively place for years. Brownsville was said to be the third largest town in Illinois.

Brownsville was the first county seat of Jackson County from 1817 until 1843 when the Brownsville’s court house burned down on the night of January 10, 1843, the twenty-seventh anniversary of the birth of the county. Very few records were saved from the flames. This is the reason that so few records of Brownsville’s pioneer days exist.
Brownsville continued to flourish until about 1835, when it began to decline. There were several reasons for this. Doctor Will, its leading citizen, died the previous year and his various enterprises ceased operation. People began settling in the northern and western portions of the county and they demanded a more central county seat.

After the destruction of the court house in 1843, Doctor Logan offered to donate twenty acres as an inducement to relocate the county seat on his farm in Shieldsboro, Illinois (which change names to Murphys Borough), now where Murphysboro stands. His offer was accepted and the new town was started. Many citizens of Brownsville moved to Murphysboro, some of them razing their buildings and moving them to the new location. Other buildings were bought by various persons and removed from the Brownsville location.
Thus, in a few years the town had vanished.

By referring to a map of Jackson county, it will be noted that the Big Muddy river swings northwestward at Murphysboro, flowing in that direction some two or three miles, then swerves slightly to the southwest for a considerable distance. It was on this stretch of the river that Brownsville was located, on the north bank of the stream, on the dividing line of sections two and three, Sand Ridge township, about five miles west of Murphysboro. Route 149 now passes within a short distance of the historic spot.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
LOST TOWNS OF ILLINOIS: Village of Tessville, Illinois.

Potawatomi originally settled this wooded area, but vacated the land after the Indian Boundary Treaty of 1816. Rural development proceeded slowly on treacherous plank roads along present-day Milwaukee and Lincoln Avenues. Johann Tess, for whom the village of Tessville was originally named, and his family came from Germany in 1856, purchasing 30 acres of barren land in the area. Population slowly increased, and the first commercial establishment, the Halfway House Saloon, was established in 1873.

The agrarian population grew after the establishment of a Chicago & North Western Railway station in nearby Skokie in 1891 and the completion of the North Shore Channel in 1909, which made the easily flooded prairie land manageable. More saloons and taverns soon appeared, specifically along Crawford and Lincoln Avenues. Because only organized municipalities could grant liquor licenses, 359 residents incorporated in 1911 and named the village Tessville.

Tessville annexed land throughout the 1920s, finally stretching to Central Avenue on the west and Kedzie Avenue on the east. During Prohibition, Tessville became a haven for speakeasies and gambling facilities. Tessville was long reputed for drinking and gambling until the 1931 election of its longest-serving mayor, Henry A. Proesel, a grandson of George Proesel, one of the original American settlers. In 1932, Lincoln Avenue, formerly a plank toll road, became a state highway. Proesel then worked with the federal government's Public Works Administration and hired the community's entire unemployed workforce to plant 10,000 elm trees on the village streets. Most important, the community passed a liquor license law in1934 that limited the number of licenses allowable within the city limits and became a model ordinance for other communities. Proesel finally changed Tessville's image when he renamed the village “Lincolnwood” in 1936.

Today, Lincolnwood, Illinois is a two-and-a-half-square-mile suburb of Chicago.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
Cicero, Illinois race riot of 1951
Be sure to read the news clipping image.

The Cicero race riot of 1951 occurred July 11–12, 1951, when a mob of 4,000 whites attacked an apartment building that housed a single black family in the neighborhood.

In early June 1951, Mrs. DeRose, who owned an apartment building at 6139–42 W. 19th Street in Cicero, got into a controversy with her tenants and was ordered to refund a portion of the rent. Afterwards, out of anger and/or profit, she rented an apartment to Harvey E. Clark Jr., an African-American World War II veteran and graduate of Fisk University, and his family in an all-white neighborhood. A high Cicero official learned that an African-American family was moving into a Cicero apartment and warned Mrs. DeRose that there would be "trouble" if he moved in.

At 2:30 pm, on June 8, a moving van containing $2000 worth of Clark's furniture was stopped by the police. The rental agent was ushered out with a drawn revolver at his back. A jeering crowd gathered and Clark was told by the police to get out or he would be arrested "for protective custody." A detective warned Clark that, "I'll bust your damned head if you don't move." At 6:00 pm, Clark was grabbed by 20 police officers. The chief of police told him, "Get out of here fast. There will be no moving into this building." Clark was hit eight times as he was pushed towards a car which was parked across the street and was shoved inside the car. The police told him, "Get out of Cicero and don't come back in town or you'll get a bullet through you."

A suit was filed by the NAACP against the Cicero Police Department on June 26, and the Clark family moved in.

With the Clarks now living in the apartment, word was passed along that there would be "fun" at the apartment. On July 11, 1951, at dusk, a crowd of 4,000 whites attacked the apartment building that housed Clark's family and possessions. Only 60 police officers were assigned to the scene and did little to control the rioting. Women carried stones from a nearby rock pile to bombard Clark's windows. Another tossed firebrands onto the window and onto the rooftop of the building which 21 family members fled before the rioting. The mob also destroyed a bathtub, woodworks, plaster, doors, windows, and set fires to the place. Most of the whites who joined in the rioting were teenagers. Firemen who rushed to the building were met with showers of bricks and stones from the mob. Sheriff's deputies asked the firemen to turn their hoses on the rioters, who refused to do so without their lieutenant, who was unavailable. The situation appeared to be out of control and County Sheriff John E. Babbs asked Illinois Governor Adlai Stevenson to send in the Illinois National Guard. As troops arrived at the scene, the rioters fought with them. Armed with bayonets, rifle butts, and tear gas, the troops ended the riot by setting a 300-yard perimeter around the apartment block in which the rioting was in progress. By July 14, most of the violence had ended. When the riot was over, $20,000 in damage had been done to the building.

The Cook County grand jury failed to indict any of the accused rioters, instead indicting Clark's attorney from the NAACP, the owner of the apartment building, and the owner's rental agent and lawyer on charges of inciting a riot and conspiracy to damage property. The charges were dropped after widespread criticism.

A federal grand jury then indicted four Cicero officials and three police officers on charges of violating Clark's rights in connection with the race riots after the United States Attorney General launched an investigation of the incident. Charges were dropped against the fire chief, whose firefighters refused to direct their water hoses at the rioters when requested by the police, and the town's president. The police chief and two police officer were fined a total of $2,500 for violating Clark's civil rights. The federal prosecution was hailed as a courageous achievement, since it was rare that civil rights in housing had stirred action by federal officials.

The Cicero Race Riot of 1951 lasted several nights, involved two- to five thousand white rioters, and received worldwide condemnation. It was the first race riot to be broadcast on local television. Most viewed the rioting in Cicero from the comfort of their living rooms on television sets before they read it in the papers. The press in the 1940s Chicago housing attacks was largely ignored, but when the eruption occurred in Cicero in 1951, it brought worldwide condemnation for the first time and a dramatic climax to an era of large-scale residential change. The black population continued to increase in Chicago despite the incident, and the Chicago Housing Authority reported a decrease in the number of black families requesting police protection. Although the housing assaults did not end, they became less frequent than in the immediate aftermath of World War II.
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Lenny Miles's profile photoGloriadean Colvin's profile photo
 
I grew up in Cicero never heard of a race riot.
thanks for the post.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
Photographs of the May 2, 2015 Lincoln Funeral Re-enactment in Springfield, IL.

I attended the 2015 Lincoln Funeral Re-enactment in Springfield, Illinois today. The funeral precession began at the current Amtrak Station on Third Street with the replica of the coffin of President Lincoln and the replica hearse.

Arriving early, I was able to gain entry to the staging area, after a bit of explaining, allowing me to take some photographs away from the crowds. In order to be historically accurate, all military participants will be in Union uniforms. Re-enactors from the Confederate States may attend but they were asked to come as Union soldiers, or to portray civilians. Special permission was needed to portray an historical-person.

There must have been at least 10,000 people, both re-enactors and civilians. I spoke with a gentleman who has a late 1800s stereoscopic antique camera to produce stereoview cards. I gave him my card when he agreed to send me some of the photos he took. His picture in also included.

NOTE: There is a photo in front of the hearse with all the people who built it. The Staab Family Livery of Springfield, IL, in association with lead builder and re-creation craftsman Jack G. Feather, of Tombstone Hearse Company, Tombstone, AZ, has gathered together historians and expert craftsmen. Together they recreated this historic vehicle, a centerpiece of the 150th Anniversary commemoration of Abraham Lincoln’s entombment and celebration of his life and legacy.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
Vienna Sausage Manufacturing Company:
1. Horse drawn delivery wagon. 1908
2. Retired their horse drawn wagons for new motorized fleet. 1928
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
Swede Town Neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois
Later: Little Sicily "Little Hell" Neighborhood, Chicago.
Later: Cabrini-Green Neighborhood of Chicago.

Chicago's first Swedish settlement emerged in 1846, when immigrants destined for the Swedish religious colony in Bishop Hill, Illinois, decided instead to settle in Chicago. The boundaries indicated for the oldest Swedish district seem very narrow. The examination of the census lists and city directories indicates that nearly all of the 27 Swedish families which, in the summer of 1850 when the census was made, had their homes in the 7th ward on the city's north side, lived within an area near the river bounded by Erie street on the north and Franklin street ("the east part of the river branch") on the east. Swedish settlers in the river area were given notice of eviction by the real estate owners in 1853 or 1854. It has not been verified, but it seems credible in view of the industrial and commercial development of Chicago at that time. The areas along the river banks became quite important because of the city's growing industries, particularly after the opening of the Illinois-Michigan Canal, and of the first railroad, Galena-Chicago Union, in 1848.

Many of these earliest settlers came to work on the Illinois & Michigan Canal. Although the Swedish settlement remained small for the next two decades, reaching 816 people in 1860 and 6,154 in 1870, it represented the largest single cluster of Swedes in the United States. During the 1870s, the Swedish population in the city doubled, outnumbered only by the German, Irish, and British immigrant groups.

As the Swedish settlement moved, the area north of the Chicago River on the Near North Side became known as "Swede Town". It was bounded by La Salle Street on the east, Division Street on the North, Chicago Avenue on the South and the Chicago River to the west. A second, smaller Swedish area developed on the South Side in Douglas and Armour Square. The third grew on the West Side in North Lawndale. Smaller settlements also emerged in West Town and the Near West Side.

Swedes began leaving "Swede Town" after the devastation of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The process accelerated in the 1880's as more and more folks left these initial neighborhoods of settlement for less dense surroundings as the community became increasingly prosperous and worked its way up Chicago's economic ladder. By 1920 Swedes dominated North Side neighborhoods such as Andersonville (also sometimes referred to as "Swede Town"), Lakeview as well as areas such as Grand Crossing and Englewood to the south. The nickname would reemerge in these new Swedish-dominated districts as the original "Swede Town" became Little Sicily also known as "Little Hell" and later still the Cabrini-Green Neighborhood.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
Chicago Loop's Cowpath - since 1844.

One of the odder pieces of real estate in Chicago's Loop belongs not to the bulls, or the bears, but to the cows. Much of the Loop we know today was once part of the William or Willard Jones (depending on the source) farm. As the city expanded from its roots around Fort Dearborn (Michigan Avenue at Wacker) he sold off patches of his property to developers. Though this could have made him the city's first real estate mogul, he remained a farmer at heart and needed to make sure his cows has a place to graze. So in 1844 as part of one of his sales, the contract included an easement for cattle to pass from his farmstead to a pasture where the Chicago Board of Exchange was.

Jones kept one strip 10 feet wide, 177 feet long and 18 feet in hight to be used to take his cows from stable to pasture.  Of course, neither the farm nor the field exist today, but the cattle path does. In the early 20th century a court ruled that the easement is still legally binding, even though the cows have moved to greener pastures, and thus there are building in the Loop which are build astride, along, and even above this cow trail. The “cowpath” is located at 100 W. Monroe, Chicago. It’s behind black metal doors but not open to the public.
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Chris Carlson (Gunnar70)'s profile photoJean Miller's profile photoSteve Black's profile photoPaul Ivsin's profile photo
 
What a great story! I'd never heard of this one and I love the photo identifying the location of the cow path!
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
Allan Pinkerton (of Pinkerton's National Detective Agency), Chicago

Allan Pinkerton (1819-84), founder of Pinkerton's National Detective Agency, was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on August 25, 1819. Pinkerton emigrated to the United States in 1842 and eventually established a barrel-making shop in a small town outside of Chicago. He was an ardent abolitionist, and his shop functioned as a "station" for escaped slaves traveling the Underground Railroad to freedom in the North.

Pinkerton's career as a detective began by chance when he discovered a gang of counterfeiters operating in an area where he was gathering wood. His assistance—first in arresting these men and then another counterfeiter, led to his appointment as deputy sheriff of Kane County, Illinois, and, later, as Chicago's first full-time detective.

Pinkerton left his job with the Chicago police force to start his own detective agency. One of the first of its kind, this predecessor to Pinkerton's National Detective Agency, provided an array of private detective services—specializing in the capture of train robbers and counterfeiters and in providing private security services for a variety of industries. By the 1870s, Pinkerton's growing agency had accumulated an extensive collection of criminal dossiers and mug shots that became a model for other police forces.

In 1861, while investigating a railway case, Pinkerton uncovered an apparent assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln. It was believed that conspirators intended to kill Lincoln in Baltimore during a stop along the way to his inauguration. Pinkerton warned Lincoln of the threat, and the president-elect's itinerary was changed so that he passed through the city secretly at night.

Union General George McClellan later hired Pinkerton to organize a "secret service" to obtain military information in the Southern states during the Civil War. Pinkerton sent agents into Kentucky and West Virginia, and, traveling under the pseudonym "Major E. J. Allen," performed his own investigative work in Tennessee, Georgia, and Mississippi.

After McClellan was replaced as the commander of the Army of the Potomac in 1862, Pinkerton resumed the management of his detective agency. The agency expanded after the Civil War, opening offices in New York City (1865) and Philadelphia (1866). As his business grew, Pinkerton drew public attention to its work by producing a series of popular "true crime" stories.

In time, because Pinkerton's Agency was often hired by industrialists to provide intelligence information on union-organizing efforts, Pinkerton guards and agents gained notoriety as strikebreakers. Notable confrontations between Pinkerton agents and laborers include the 1886 Haymarket Riot and the 1892 Homestead Strike, both of which occurred after Pinkerton's death in 1884.
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POSTING AND COMMENTING RULES FOR: LIVING HISTORY OF ILLINOIS AND CHICAGO® community. **Please Read This >>BEFORE<< Posting or Commenting** Our Digital Library: http://LivingHistoryOfIllinois.com Illinois History Store®: http://IllinoisHistoryStore.org 1. To protect the enjoyment of the group, we have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy for racist, anti-Semitic, ethnic, and religious or LGBT slurs and pornographic material. Criticism of administrators, disrespectful comments, members who start an argument, fight, affix blame, instigate, make trouble, political or religious bashing, people that are belligerent, post nasty or hateful comments, disseminate their twisted point of view (even in jest), or use profanity, will be banned immediately. 2. If you are too lazy to READ THE ENTIRE post and the comments, this is not the group for you. Your question may already be answered in someone else's comment. 3. Your own personal photos, one (1) family photo [with a history], Internet discovered pictures* (no smartphone/tablet screen captures), videos*, and non-sexual comments are welcome as a posting. 4. This is a STATEWIDE history group. You are expected to: - a. Present/write the history about the photo you post; - b. Post the location including the city because some members don't know. - c. Posting with no comment is a "Hit-and-Run" and will be deleted. 5. Links are NOT ACCEPTABLE as the MAIN POSTING in this group (i.e. no links to Websites OR other Facebook groups, walls, timelines OR other photo albums like Flickr, OR file sharing sites like Google Docs, etc.). >> BUT... if you post a photo (not a photo link), you may include a URL link in the posts body. >> TO TEST<< Click on the image presented. If it takes you to a website or another Facebook group or page, it is not posted properly for this group. >> Video links and PDF files ARE ALLOWED with a text description. 6. As a Comment; Website links (Non-sexual. Non-adult) are allowed except for other Facebook groups, pages, walls, or timelines. They will be deleted. 7. NO mentions of or links to any other Google+ Communities are allowed (unless approved). Other groups do not reciprocate links. Web links and photos ARE ALLOWED in the comment, except for Google+ links. 8. Administrators may remove a post that has already been posted recently to avoid duplication. 9. Thread comments must be on the posted topic. Comments not on topic will be removed. 10. The group is not a quiz show, trivia game or a request line and those types of posts will be removed. Search Google for your answers or photos requests. 11. Who remembers and personal journal type posts will be removed. 12. Group Get-togethers are not sanctioned. 13. Only posts about Illinois are allowed. *Copyrights to photographs/videos belong to their owner. Plagiarism may occur in this open, public forum, but it's not a crime. This group displays images and text for historical presentations only.

Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
The Flanagan House, Peoria, Illinois

The Judge Flanagan House illustrates, through it furnishings and decorations, life in the Midwest immediately preceding the Civil War. The house and its objects tell the story not only of the Flanagan family but also of Peoria.

When the elder John Flanagan (Senior) died around 1834, John C. Flanagan (Junior) was called to Peoria from Pennsylvania to settle his father’s estate. Part of his father’s estate included a 650 acre tract of land. Entranced by the beauty of the Illinois River Valley and the prospects of frontier living, John moved his mother, Jane, his brother, James, his sisters Louise and Letitia, as well as Letitia’s husband, David Maxwell, to make Peoria their home. He built this house on the East Bluff overlooking the river. In 1837, it was probably the largest house in Peoria.

John Flanagan practiced law for a short time in Peoria gaining for himself the honorary title of “Judge” for his contributions and participation in the community affairs of Peoria. He spent much of his time dealing in area real estate. He was a staunch Democrat and was a supporter of politician Stephen A. Douglas, Democratic Senator for Illinois, who was a guest in the house many times. He was very active in the development of the city of Peoria and founded the Old Settlers Union, an organization that is still in existence today. He never married. According to the History of Peoria County edited by David McCullouch, Flanagan felt it to be his lifelong duty to devote himself to the care of his invalid sister, Louise. He died in 1891 and is buried in Springdale Cemetery.

After Judge Flanagan, the house was occupied by his sisters. His niece, Louisa Williamson, later inherited the house and then sold it out of the family in 1902. It was subsequently occupied by various families until 1962 when it was purchased by the Peoria Historical Society.

The Flanagan House is the oldest standing residence in Peoria. It was continuously occupied from its construction in 1837 until 1962 when it became part of the Historical Society.

The house was dedicated “Historical Museum and Harry L. Spooner Memorial Library of History” in 1963, and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975.

Take a tour of the Flanagan House. The Peoria Historical Society has an Open House every first Sunday of the month from 1:00 to 4:00 pm.
via Peoria Historical Society.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
Edith Spurlock Sampson (1901-1979)

Edith Spurlock was born in Pittsburgh on October 13, 1901. She grew up in a working class family, one of seven children, and attended Pittsburgh’s Peabody High School. Upon graduation, she married Rufus Sampson, a field agent for Tuskegee Institute.

After working briefly for Associated Charities in Pittsburgh Sampson decided to enroll in the New York University School of Social Work. One of her instructors, George W. Kirchwey, a Columbia University Law School professor, suggested she pursue a career in law after he noticed her doing exceptionally well in his criminology class.

Sampson and her husband moved to Chicago to care for two children left by her deceased sister. She attended evening classes at the John Marshall Law School and earned a law degree. She then enrolled in Chicago’s Loyola University Law School. In 1927 she became the first woman to receive a Master of Law degree from Loyola University.
Sampson went to work for Cook County in 1927. She worked as a probation officer and then assistant referee in juvenile court, a post she held for eighteen years. In 1934, Sampson established her own practice and became one of the first women to argue before the U.S. Supreme Court. By 1947 she was appointed assistant state’s attorney (prosecutor) for Cook County.

Sampson was also affiliated with the Chicago Professional Women's Club, the Afro-World Fellowship, and the Women's Progressive Committee, serving for a time as president of each organization. She worked with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the League of Women Voters, the National Council of Negro Women, and the Chicago Urban League.

In 1950, Edith Spurlock Sampson became the first African American named to the permanent United States delegation to the United Nations. While working at the UN, Sampson went on several international lecture tours and held membership on the U.S. delegation to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In 1962, at the age of 61, Sampson was elected a judge on the Chicago Municipal Court. With that election she became the first black woman in the United States elevated to the bench by popular vote. Edith Spurlock Sampson retired from the bench in 1978 and died one year later in Chicago.
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Gloriadean Colvin's profile photo
 
Fun fact and very interesting. Look Bobbie Wiggins what I found.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
owner

Photographs & History  - 
 
The Clarke House - Chicago's Oldest House - 1836

Clarke and his wife Caroline, along with three children and a servant, moved to Chicago from upstate New York in October 1835, even before the outpost was incorporated as a city (1837). They purchased 20 acres of land two miles south of town, the borders of which are now 16th and 17th Streets, State Street on the west and Lake Michigan on the east. The only way to reach the remote property was by an old Native American trail – now South Michigan Avenue – which cut through the Clarkes’ land.

Henry and Caroline, well educated and upper-middle class, had witnessed the fortunes made out east with the 1825 opening of the Erie Canal. They expected that Chicago would enjoy the same prosperity when it opened its planned canal, linking the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River.

Reflecting their aspirations, the Clarkes chose to build their home in the Greek Revival style; a type of home familiar to them in New York. Popular in America in the mid-19th century, the style speaks to democratic and elevated ideals of ancient civilization. Writer James McConkey described the attraction of Greek Revival in the young republic as, “a dream of order and proportion set down in rude wilderness.” Clarke House would be a big – and sophisticated – house on the prairie.

Pattern books for Greek Revival houses were available, but the Clarkes wanted something better – and larger. They hired experienced finish carpenter John Campbell Rue to customize their Greek Revival mansion. Erected in 1836, Clarke House is an especially fine example of the style. Balanced and symmetrical, the east and west facades feature identical porticoes. Each portico is composed of a wide stair and a classical pediment atop four Doric columns. The main floor plan was typical of the style: two large parlors on each side, bisected by a grand main hall. The house has been returned to its original sandstone exterior paint color.

Although the Clarkes could have utilized the new Chicago innovation in building construction – “balloon” framing, which was fast and cheap, using boards and machine-made nails with no need for skilled labor – they chose, instead, the older method of timber construction, with carefully crafted mortise and tenon joints. This sturdy construction would serve the house well in its subsequent moves… and mishaps.

Henry Clarke was enjoying success in Chicago with his hardware and banking concerns when the Panic of 1837 hit and caused him to declare bankruptcy. Construction on the house came to a halt by 1838. Clarke turned to farming and hunting to survive and support his family. The family took in boarders to make ends meet. Of this period, one of the boarders described in her journal how the unfinished south parlors were used for meat storage. She writes of rooms filled with “half a dozen deer, hundreds of snipe, plover, and quail, and dozens of prairie chickens and ducks.”

The economy recovered by the late 1840s and Chicago entered a major boom phase. The Illinois & Chicago Canal finally opened in 1848. The first railroad line from Chicago was completed that same year. Prosperity was returning. But cholera also came to the city in 1849 and claimed Henry Clarke as one of its victims.

Now a young widow with six children, Caroline decided to sell the majority of their increasingly valuable land. With the proceeds from the sale of 17 acres, the family would be secure financially. And, finally, the house could be finished.

But Mrs. Clarke did more than complete the 1836 structure. She remodeled it inside and out with the most up-to-date 1850s features. Inside, the south parlors (formerly meat lockers) were transformed into an elegant Victorian double parlor.  She added gas service to the house, which meant fine new light fixtures.  And for the crowning touch, an Italianate cupola (or belvedere) was perched atop the house, accessed via a winding stair from the second floor, which added light and air circulation to the entire structure.

Caroline Clarke died in 1860 and a number of her children continued to live in the house, the elder ones caring for the younger ones. In 1872 they sold the house and the three acres of land to separate buyers. The Chrimes family purchased the “Widow Clarke House” and three generations of their family would inhabit and lovingly care for the home.

But first, they decided to move the house three miles south to 4536 South Wabash Avenue. In the move, the two porticoes of Clarke House were removed and those prominent Greek Revival elements were lost. A porch and double-doored entrance was added and it appears the structure was painted in contrasting hues.

After unsuccessfully attempting to convince the City of Chicago to purchase the home for conversion to a public museum, the family found a preservation-minded buyer in Bishop Louis Henry Ford and his congregation, the St. Paul Church of God in Christ. (Bishop Ford was the leader of his some eight-million-member national church body and has a portion of I-94 named for him.)

The church became the third owners of Clarke House in 1941 and over the years used it for a community center, parsonage, offices, and schoolrooms. They loved the house and each year hosted a birthday tea to celebrate its construction. During a time of rampant “urban renewal” thinking, Ford and his congregation fought off demands to raze the house to make way for new development. The only way they would eventually sell is if they knew the home would be preserved.

And finally in the 1970s the City of Chicago was ready for Clarke House. The City had purchased land near Clarke House’s original location and the new site (Prairie and Indiana Avenues, 18th and Cullerton Streets) was adjacent to the newly designated Prairie Avenue Historic District.

Now, to move Clarke House one more time! There was one formidable obstacle: the elevated tracks. Many schemes to accomplish the move were entertained, but finally it was decided to use hydraulic lifts to raise the 120-ton structure over the tracks. It was a bitter cold December night in 1977 when the “L” trains were temporarily stopped to allow for the passage of the house over the tracks. All was well until it came time to lower the house. The hydraulic lifts were frozen. Clarke House would remain suspended in the air for a full two weeks!

Eventually, the house made it to its new home on South Indiana and was set down on its new foundation – only a few blocks from its original location at 17th and Michigan Avenue. The City, with the expertise of Joseph W. Casserly and Wilbert R. Hasbrouck, set about restoring it to its original Clarke family-era appearance. Paint and finish analysis was performed and colors and wallpapers reproduced. A photo believed to be from the 1850s (shown above), after Caroline Clarke’s renovations, proved to be helpful.

Clarke House was opened to the public in 1982. Further restoration work was done in 2004 by Gunny Harboe, notably: adding the west portico. The house is owned by the City of Chicago, furnished by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Illinois, and operated by neighboring Glessner House Museum.

Today, those visiting Clarke House get a detailed look at early Chicago life and marvel at the story of a house that exists today in large part because of the love, care, and far-sighted preservation it has known for 179 years.

[VIDEO OF THE MOVE]
https://vimeo.com/4888169

[TOURS]
City of Chicago - http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/clarke_house_museum.html
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Maunak Rana's profile photo
 
This is a fascinating account about one part of our city's history. Enjoyed it!
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
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Photographs & History  - 
 
In 1933, at the Chicago Century of Progress exhibition featuring fully electrified houses, General Electric Company introduced the “Talking Kitchen” as this:

“There are no attendants in this kitchen, but … a voice from an unseen source announces that this is the last word in kitchen equipment. As if by magic the door of the electric refrigerator opens and the voice, coming apparently from the refrigerator, relates how the refrigerator saves money for he owner. Then a spotlight falls on the electric range, the oven door lowers,’ and a voice explained its operation, and so on through the rest of the appliances. By eliminating the attendant, the company seemed to say that the kitchen worked by itself.”
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
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Photographs & History  - 
 
The First 'Ferris' Wheel in Catlin, Illinois, Kills a Girl (1876).

The first Ferris wheel [1] ever exhibited made its appearance on the Old Catlin Fairgrounds in 1876. It was without power and was operated by men who pushed the cars around as they came to them. The directors of the fair were afraid the “contraption,” as they termed it, was unsafe and refused to give the owner permission to operate it on the fairgrounds.

The man who had charge of the wheel placed it just outside the fence which enclosed the fairground and on the first day an attempt was made to operate it --- it collapsed. One person, a young girl, was killed and several other persons were injured. The owner escaped by mounting a horse and riding swiftly away. He was never apprehended and escaped facing a charge of manslaughter.

[NOTE] The first fair was a one day event organized in 1850 and held on the site of the First Presbyterian Church. It was moved the third year to Butler’s Point [2], and continued there for 40 more years without profit.

Source: Danville Morning Press; Sunday, November 16, 1919, page 1 & 7.

[1] The author wrote this article in 1919 and uses the term "Ferris wheel" (aka: Observation Wheel), which was 1st coined at the Chicago World's Columbian Exposition in 1893, is for the benefit for the readers visualization.

[2] James Butler settled on land which lay just to the west of Catlin in 1819 and the area became known as Butler's Point. When a railway station was built where Catlin is now located, trade and residences drifted to the better facilities, and Butler's Point was lost in Catlin. This village was named Catlin on account of that being the name of one of officers of the Wabash railroad.

Special thanks to Molly Shoaf for providing the story details.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
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Photographs & History  - 
 
Chicago River Tunnels

The low bridges crossing the Chicago River were frequently opened for the passage of masted vessels, cutting off street traffic to the North and West Sides. City officials began discussing tunnels under the river as early as 1844. The 1,605-foot Washington Street tunnel opened January 1, 1869. North Side access was made easier with construction of the LaSalle Street tunnel (1869–71), 2,000 feet long. The tunnels were a valuable escape route during the fire of 1871, which quickly consumed the wooden bridges. These first two tunnels served private vehicles and pedestrians; they carried no horse-car lines. However, in the 1880s the cable car companies took over the two tunnels, because cables could not cross drawbridges, and in 1891–92 built a third street railway tunnel just north of Van Buren Street, 1,514 feet long.

Although the tunnels had been some 18 feet under the riverbed when built, reversal of the Chicago River in 1900 exposed them. They were closed with the end of cable car operation in 1906. Wider, deeper replacements were built underneath the original tunnels and opened to electric streetcar service in 1911–12. To avoid steep grades at either end, the new LaSalle Street tunnel was built in dry dock, of steel plate, and lowered into a trench in the riverbed.

The Van Buren Street tunnel was closed to regular traffic in 1924. The LaSalle Street tunnel closed in 1939 to allow subway construction, and the Washington Street tunnel was closed in 1954.
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Neil Gale (Ph.D.)
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Photographs & History  - 
 
Spiegel Inc., Chicago, IL

Joseph Spiegel emigrated with his family from Germany to the United States in 1848, when he was eight years old. In 1865, Spiegel started a home furnishings store in Chicago. A 1903 merger with another furniture company created Spiegel, May, Stern & Co. In 1905, Joseph and his son Arthur Spiegel started a large-scale mail-order business; mail-order sales for 1906 totaled about $1 million.

By 1910, the company employed about 300 people at its offices on West 35th Street. In 1912, the company began to sell women's clothing. Thanks to its mail-order operations, Spiegel grew rapidly during the 1920s, as annual sales rose from $4 million to $24 million. Sales dropped during the first part of the Great Depression, but Spiegel grew between 1933 and 1937 (when its name became Spiegel Inc.) by offering installment buying plans and pursuing a strategy of high-volume discount sales. Business slowed during World War II, when the company experimented unsuccessfully with operating retail stores. After shedding these stores in 1953, Spiegel reached $200 million in annual mail-order sales by the end of the 1950s.

In 1965, Spiegel was acquired by the Beneficial Finance Co., another mail-order company, which moved Spiegel into the field of high-priced designer clothing. By the early 1970s, when annual sales reached about $400 million, Spiegel employed about 5,000 people in the Chicago area. In 1982, Spiegel was acquired by Otto-Versand, a German catalog company. Under the new ownership, Spiegel expanded. In 1988, when orders placed by telephone accounted for the bulk of its business, Spiegel purchased the “Eddie Bauer” clothing chain and brand from General Mills Inc.

At the beginning of the 1990s, Spiegel, based in suburban Downers Grove, still employed about 2,200 people at its catalog warehouse on Chicago's South Side, but this facility would soon close. During the 1990s, when Spiegel mailed as many as 340 million catalogs a year and operated about 350 Eddie Bauer stores worldwide, annual sales rose to $3 billion. At the turn of the new century, when the Otto family of Germany still controlled Spiegel, the company employed about 1,600 people in the Chicago area. The economic recession of the early 2000s hit the company's catalog and credit card divisions hard. Spiegel entered Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy in early 2003.

In June 2009, Spiegel became a Lynn Tilton company focused on women's style and fashion products.
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