the lifting of chicago:
rough notes. junk. misc. anthropophagi
chicago daily tribune, december 28th, 1850, page three, column two.
IV. Improvements by Individuals.
BUILDINGS.—The buildings erected by private enterprise during the year 1850, have been on a scale of greater magnificence, and attended with a larger aggregate cost than those of any preceding year. […] We shall attempt to give a very brief notice of some of the most notable.
The Tremont House has precedence of all others. It is one of the chief ornaments of the City, and reflects great credit upon its proprietor, Mr. Ira Couch. The Tremont fronts 120 feet on Lake, and 180 feet on Dearborn street. It is five and a half stories high. […] There is perhaps no Hotel in the Union superior to it in any respect. The cost of the building was about $75,000. J. M, Vanosdel [sic] architect and superintendant, C. & W. Price masons, Updike & Sollett builders. […]
↳ this long piece lists a number of other new buildings that were later raised to grade, such as wadsworth's "substantial block of fire proof stores on the corner of South Water and Franklin streets, fronting 80 feet on the former and 133 feet on the latter. The building is four stories high, and cost about $16,000." … and others besides.
may 28th, 1853, page two, column three.
Chicago.
Mr. Harris of the Cleveland Herald, one of the best papers in the Union, lately visited our city, and has written several letters respecting us, valuble for their extended and correct statistics, and excellent for their style and tone. If able we should publish them in full. We give a few sentences.
[…] Five years ago Chicago had never been roused by the tramp of the iron horse. Now she has over two hundred miles of Railroad completed within the state of Illinois, and is connected with the sea-board by two direct and popular routes. The trunk roads running directly in to the city, built or in progress, number twelve, making a total of 2,410 miles. The branch roads and extentions [sic] are sixteen, with a total of 1,300 miles. In two years it is expected that Chicago and Council Bluffs, and Chicago and St. Paul, will be in railway connection […].
The commercial position of Chicago is a very commanding one. At the head of a thousand miles of Lake navigation—connected with the Mississippi by Canal and the the Illinois river—and with "the rest of mankind" by railroads—Chicago may well lay claim to consideration and importance as the future great commercial centre of the Northwest. Draw a line from Chicago due west, and the vast country north of that line, which for salubrious climate, fertility of soil, lumber and mineral recourses [sic] has scarcely an equal on the globe, and which being rapidly settled and developed, must all pay tribute to the Garden City, and make her indeed "the Central Exchange of the Nation."
may 30th, 1853, page two, column four.
NEW PLANKING.—On Saturday, the planking of North Wells street, from the bridge to Kinzie street, was finished, and is unquestionably the best piece of work of that kind in the city. Immediate measures should be taken to extend it to Chicago Avenue.
september 9th, 1853, page three. sewer put down in north clark street.
september 12th, 1853, page one. hard lime stone, athens marble, 15 miles away, on the canal towards joliet.
march 7th, 1854, page three, column one.
THE MARINE BANK BUILDING.
[…] It is to be 60 feet on Lake, by 72 on La Salle street, and will be within six feet as high as the splendid building now being completed on the corner of Lake and Clark sts […].
↳ went from approx march2--14th in search of this, but found nothing. I think it was rebuilt taller a few years after this.
no papers between july 12th, 1854 (cholera editorial) and september. cholera still killing dozens, sept 4th, 1854, etc.
september 26th, 1854. metropolitan hall is 99x61x31 feet.
chicago daily tribune, friday morning, january 12th, 1855, page three, column two.
CITY DRAINAGE—THE MEETING THIS EVENING.
The Act in regard to the proper drainage of the city, was considered at a special meeting of the Common Council, held on Wednesday evening and after being amended, was passed by that body. It will now be submitted to the consideration of the citizens of Chicago, at a public meeting to be held for that purpose at the Council Chamber this evening. We trust that the meeting will be numerously attended, in order that a full expression of the sentiments of the people may be had, on this important subject.
↳ official announcement in next column, same page. next day, nearly four columns. this is where they "incorporate a board of sewerage commissioners".
january 30th, 1855. ogden writes in with some chicago flood/drainage history; corrections appear the following day.
chicago daily tribune, monday morning, may 28th, 1855, page three, column three.
THE NEW GRADE.
The effect of the new grade, if permanently established, may be seen at the Corner and Lake Streets. [sic, it turns out that they meant the corner of Lake and Clark streets, see letter in the Tribune, May 30, 1855.] The whole grading scheme is now simply monstrous; and seems to have been adopted with an utter disregard of the value of the property to be seriously injured by the great change that is proposed. Two millions of dollars will pay the damage that this mischievous project will inflict!
May we ask, does the new grade have any reference to the system of sewerage so much talked of? If not, why would it not be well that both systems—grade and sewerage—should be adopted—each with reference to the other; so that what is required for the one may not be fatal to the other? As we understand it, no sewerage surveys have yet been made. No plans have been decided upon; all is in the dark. Why then press the matter of the grade until we see what the Sewerage Commissioners will do! Why incur so heavy an expense as must be incurred to carry out the present plan; why damage so much property, until the necessity of that expense and damage is demonstrated. If a sewerage system can be put into operation that will be effectual, the streets retaining their present level, a new grade is useless—the streets in that event are high enough, and whatever makes them higher makes them worse. There is no necessity for haste in this thing—none whatever. Chicago is pretry [sic] well as she now is. The raising of every street in town, and every walk, would not make the city a whit dryer, a whit healthier, or, in the least degree more pleasant, if adequate sewerage were wanting. Wait, then, and let the Commissioners act first; for upon the results of their labor every thing depends.
chicago daily tribune, wednesday morning, may 30th, 1855, page three, column four.
THE NEW GRADES.
CITY TREASURER’S OFFICE,
May 28th, 1855.
MESSRS. EDITORS OF THE TRIBUNE:—The new system of grades, the ordering of which was the last Act of the retiring Council of 1854, seems to be not quite fairly understood by some of your recent correspondents. They base their judgement of it entirely upon its appearance at one corner, namely, that of Clark and Lake sts., where the difference between the present surface and the proposed grade is certainly very great.
But it should be borne in mind that by careful and repeated levels, the road way at this corner is two feet lower than at the corner of Clark and South Water sts., while for the purposes of sewerage and surface drainage, it certainly should be higher. The new grade raises Clark and Water only one foot, and then makes Ogden’s corner only three inches higher than that. This certainly does not appear monstrous. Any old citizen will confirm the statement that Ogden’s corner was formerly a slough, and much lower than the ground on either side, and it is so still.
You ask if the new grades are arranged with the contemplated sewerage of the city, and suggest that the adoption of any plan of grades should be deferred for action of the Sewerage Boards. In reply let me say that any further delay in fixing the grades was simply impossible or at least would have involved a much greater probable damage to property than that which is likely to be risked by the present plan. There are now building and to be built in the business part of the city, from fifty to one hundred permanent structures of brick or stone, for which it was absolutely necessary that a grade should be fixed at once, without delay. So important a matter could not be deferred for the uncertain action of a board which, when this was proposed, had not even been appointed.
But members of the Sewerage Board, who have recently been informally consulted, say that this scheme of raising the plane of the city, whether advisable in other respects or not, can hardly do else than facilitate the riddance of the surface waters, and will do much toward affording dry cellars by giving room for them above the impermeable clay which underlies our city, at the depth of from four to to [sic] six feet.
The new grades then will hardly interfere with any plan of sewerage likely to be adopted. It gives to the whole surface of the Original Town a double inclination, Northward to the main river and Westward to the South Branch, precisely as the present surface inclines, but somewhat higher. This raising will, if properly conducted, be neither troublesome nor very expensive, if compared with the advantages which will accrue from the greater dryness of the soil which is sure to follow it.
Respectfully,
SAMUEL S. GREELEY
↳ greeley was-or was to become-, the City Surveyor. link
chicago daily tribune, thursday morning, may 31st, 1855, page three, column four.
THE NEW GRADE.
Efforts will be made we learn to defeat the city authorities in the establishment of the new street grade, by injunction sued out of one of the Courts. It is contended that the city is responsible for all damages that may be done to private property by altering grades; and that, in this case the damage will be so large that the city will be unable to pay the demands that will necessarily exist, hence the parties aggrieved are about to take the step we have indicated.
june 14th, 1855, page three, column two. gross account of sewerage incident on the north side--torrent of blood and offal, etc. Work on clark, state and randolph streets outlined.
REPORT AND PLAN OF SEWERAGE FOR THE CITY OF CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, ADOPTED BY THE BOARD OF SEWERAGE COMMISSIONERS DECEMBER 31, 1855.
page 16:
[…] So far as any new grades have been adopted for the south district, they are sufficiently high for the proposed sewers. […].
chicago daily tribune, friday morning, january 4, 1856, front page, column six, (heading) "progress of chicago as shown in her real estate improvements", paragraph three.
[…] during 1854 […] a great number of costly buildings were built, such as the Church of the Holy Name, estimated to cost $100,000; the Marine Bank, $70,000; the Masonic Temple, $45,000; the Briggs House, $50,000; […].
↳ also, richmond house, michigan avenue & south water street 131x72(feet, presumably) "to be completed next may" six storeys, 82 feet high.
january 10th, 1856. central heating in tremont house.
january 12th, page three. street lights approved for north wells street.
chicago daily tribune, saturday morning, january 12th, 1856, page three, column two.
SEWERAGE PLAN.--The Council on Thursday night passed an order adopting the proposed plan of the Sewerage Commissioners, as published in the Tribune, after the same shall have remained in file in the City Clerks office, thirty days.
january 15th, 1856, page three, column three. proposal to fill up water street from clark to franklin.
january 28, page three, column three. chesbrough meets council, explains his plan to them.
january 29th, page three, column three. another meeting.
february 5, page three, column three. "proposals were read for filling and grading Randolph Street […]."
february 12, page three, column three. "J. D. Mahony, offering to do all the city grading and filling […]."
chicago daily tribune, wednesday morning, february 13th, 1856, page two, column one.
The Sewerage Question.
We can congratulate the people of Chicago upon the action of their Common Council, whereby a system of sewerage adequate to the city’s wants and capable of indefinite enlargement to meet future growth is at last made one of the certainties [sic]. Those who have the city’s interest most at heart—who have regard for her reputation for health and cleanliness, and for her future prosperity, will be gratified that this important step has been taken. It is a guaranty of the faith of Chicago in her own destiny, that ought to satisfy the incredulity of all croakers here or elsewhere.
↳ there is also a piece about the water commissioner's report in this day's trib.
chicago daily tribune, thursday morning, february 14th, 1856, page three, column two.
THE SEWERAGE QUESTION.--The Council at its last meeting approved of the plan for City Sewerage presented by the Commissioners, and the Commissioners authorized to issue bonds for a loan of $500,000, so that at last there is every prospect that Chicago will, as soon as possible, have a complete and effective sewerage.
The following is an official copy of the proceedings had by the Council in the matter:
On motion the following order was passed:
Resolved, That the Common Council approve of the plan recommended by the Sewerage Commission for the sewerage of the city, subject to such alterations in said plans as they shall deem necessary for the public good.
Ald. Long offered for passage the following order which was passed.
Ordered, That the forms of the Bonds prepared by the Board of Sewerage Commissioners of the City of Chicago, for the purpose of effecting a loan for carrying out the adopted plan of sewerage of said city and which forms are herewith submitted to the council, be and the same are hereby approved, and the said Board of Sewerage Commissioners, are hereby authorized to issue bonds in like form and in sums of one hundred to one thousand dollars in discretion, and bearing in part or in whole six or seven per. cent interest, payable semi-annually in New York, and having twenty five years to run to maturity, and said Board of Sewerage Commissioners are hereby authorized to dispose of such bonds to the extent of five hundred thousand dollars in accordance with the provisions of the Act of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, approved February 14, 1855, creating said Board of Sewerage Commissioners, and authorizing said Loan.
And the Mayor and Clerk of the city of Chicago are hereby authorized in compliance with the provisions of said act, to mark said Bonds “Approved, under their respective signatures, and under the seal of the city, to be affixed by them to each of said Bonds.
april 1st, 1856. page three, column two. proposals at council meetings for filling and grading.
april 4th, 1856. page three, column two. poulation "over ninety thousand."
april 29th, 1856. "the gay deceiver" wow.
chicago daily tribune, thursday morning, may 1st, 1856, page three, column two.
THE HOTELS.—[…] The buildings north of the Briggs House have been torn down preparatory to the extension of that hotel.
↳ also richmond house, six storeys apparently nearly built! huh? (yep, they tore it down and rebuilt it in 1860/61).
may 2nd, 1856, page three. water commissioner job up for election. also nice visitor's description of chicago streets.
chicago daily tribune, monday morning, may 5th, 1856, page three, column two.
HOUSE MOVING.--This is a necessary business, now that rents are so high and houses of every character so much needed for business and residence. Not a house should be torn down or destroyed in making room for the thousands of new structures. But as most of this house-moving is done on State, Clark, and other wide and planked streets, it proves very vexatious to omnibus drivers, draymen, and all those engaged in teaming thoroughfares. Would it not be well to confine this house moving to the unplanked streets? Certainly the interests of the greatest number would be considered by such a course.
chicago daily tribune, may 10th, 1856, page one. grading of streets mentioned in a chicago puff piece, "chicago in 1856"--NOT the same article as the one in putnam's.
chicago daily tribune, monday morning, may 12th, 1856, page three, column two.
IRON FRONTS.—One of our best known architects informs us that contracts have been made for the material for $80,000 worth of iron fronts for stores to be erected in this city this year. The fronts are to be manufactured in New York.
chicago daily tribune, monday morning, february 23rd, 1857, front page, column three.
NEEDS ATTENTION.--The planking at the corner of Randolph and Dearborn streets is in a dangerous condition, and unless speedily repaired the city will doubtless be compelled to pay, in the way of damages to horses and vehicles, ten times as much as the repairs would cost. Where is the Street Commissioner?
chicago daily tribune, tuesday morning, march 24th, 1857, front page, column three.
COMMON COUNCIL MEETING.—An ordinance was passed fixing the grade of East Madison street at 14 feet above the low water mark as fixed by the canal trustees, and ordering the superintendant to fix the necessary levels. […].
[…]
An order was passed directing the city surveyor to establish the grade of all streets in which sewers have been laid or are projected to be laid, at not less than ten feet above the bottom of the sewers. […].
chicago daily tribune, wednesday morning, march 25th, 1857, front page, column two.
ANOTHER CHANGE OF GRADE—THE SIDEWALKS TO BE RAISED STILL HIGHER.—In 1855 our city was all excitement over the proposed change of grade of the streets and many animated and angry discussions were had over the matter. The friends of the “new grade, as it was termed, finally carried their point and the change was made and everybody was congratulating his neighbor that the vexed question was finally disposed of and the grade of our streets determined for all future time. Possibly the grades of the streets are permanently fixed, but the sidewalks—those ingenious combinations of man traps and stairways, are about to be favored with another elevation. On last Monday evening the Council, upon motion of Ald. Long, passed the following:
Ordered, That the City Surveyor be instructed to establish the grades of the several streets in that part of the South Division in which sewers are laid or projected, taking for a basis the bottom of the sewers and establishing the top of the curb each side of the street ten feet above the same.
In order that the effect of this new rise in sidewalks may be understood and appreciated by our readers we have ascertained, from profiles in the Sewerage Commissioners office, that if this order was carried out, the top of the curb at the intersection of Randolph and Clark streets would be three feet above the street, at the intersection of Randolph and State streets two feet above, Randolph and Franklin streets, three feet above, Lake and Franklin streets three and a half feet above, South Water and Dearborn streets two and a half feet above.
We might add numberless results, but those we have cited are quite sufficient to illustrate the effect of the proposed change. In addition to this, we are informed by a gentleman who is familiar with the grade adopted by the sewers, that there are a number of places in the city where, under the operation of Ald. Long’s plan, the curbs would actually be below the grade adopted for the centre of the street.
We are unwilling to believe that the effect of this Order was fully comprehended by the Aldermen, and trust that the Mayor will return it to the Council for reconsideration. Our citizens, and strangers who visit us, have been already sufficiently incommoded by the stairways at almost every street corner, leading either down or up, from the street to the walk, and will be hardly disposed to quietly submit to having the evil permanently saddled upon them. If, however, it must be carried out we would suggest that iron railings be placed upon the outer edges of all side walks to prevent careless pedestrians from tumbling off and breaking their necks. The “Order is incomplete, unwise and unnecessary, and should be recinded.
chicago daily tribune, tuesday morning, march 31st, 1857, front page, column two.
DUST VS MUD.—Scarcely had the mud began [sic] to dry, in spots, before the dust campaign commenced. […].
↳ they finish up asking for water to be poured on the streets to quell the dust!
chicago daily tribune, tuesday morning, march 31st, 1857, front page, column three.
COMMON COUNCIL.—[…] The Mayor vetoed the order passed establishing the grade of sidewalks at ten feet above the bottom of the sewers. Sustained, The matter of the establishment of grades for streets and sidewalks was referred to the Committee on Streets and Alleys of the South Division, together with the City Surveyor, Superintendant and Sewerage Engineer[.] […]
april 9th, 1857. lake street about to be raised.
april 10th, 1857. runaway horse gets trapped in the mud on lasalle street.
chicago daily tribune, saturday morning, april 11th, 1857, front page, column four.
HOUSE MOVING.—There is no greater nuisance than the practice of moving miserable old buildings through our principal streets, to the great annoyance of the buisness portion of our people. If these buildings are to block up our streets the movers should be required to keep them in motion night and day.
↳ and on page two, a long whine about how grade changes will never cease, and that the council should pay damages to property owners.
april 14, 1857. common council proceedings--another long one. It appears the council reported in favour of the new grade. Fairly detailed coverage.
april 16. another big editorial about the street grade-maybe the common council having second thoughts.
april 17, page one column three. "HEALTH OF CHICAGO" they're happy here.
april 21, page one column four. account of (subheading) "common council proccedings" where detailed proposals for street grade raising are outlined. column three, very outraged editorial thereupon.
april 22, page four column four. "crawford and sackett" "iron block" 2 south wells street.
april 27, page one column three. bit of sewerage bond finance.
april 28, page one column three. street grade argy-bargy (and compromise) during the council meeting.
april 30
may 4, page one, column two. (subheading) "the grade question", another outraged editorial about the proposals for the re regrading: you're CHEATING!
may 5. council agrees to compensate owners of existing properties.
may 6, 1857. detailed plans. can't find any editorial flames though!
may 1857. absolutely tons of filling grading and finishing going on here.
may 23, page two. trouble with sewerage bonds.
aug 13, 1857 page one, column two. west lake street sewer, two years old, stinks!
aug 13, page one, column four. randolph street paving funded by property owners. Done almost to wells street-location of briggs house.
aug 18, front page. moan about the condition of randolph street.
aug 28. still paving randolph st.
oct 23, page one. state street from South Market Hall to Madison Street raised and bouldered.
dec 31, 1857, page one. “civil war commenced”!
february 17, 1858, page one, column three. "city items." "the new grade for the north division."
we publish below the proposed ordinance, introduced into the common council on last monday evening by ald. wahl, fixing the grades of streets in the north division. the report was laid over under the rule and ordered published. it will probably be acted upon at the next meeting of the council
… THEREFORE, IS THIS WORTH CONTINUING WITH? well, it was amended on feb 23rd.
february 25, 1858, page four. HUGE account (entire page, small print!) of city finance. could be v useful
chicago daily journal (50 dearborn street), march 8, 1858, page two, column eight. advertisement as follows:
Chicago Iron Works
NO. 84 TO 92 FRANKLIN STREET, CHICAGO, ILLINOIS
LETZ & CO.,
blah blah, nothing else, just that letz/setz thing.
march 9th, april 15th, the daily chicago times (NB, THERE ARE TWO OF THESE PAPERS!), 1858 $3m turnover for boyington, and hydraulic advert.
march 10, 1858, page one. water commissioners report.
march 16, 1858, page one. woodruff's sleeping car.
april 15th, see march 9th
may 6, 1858, page one, column three. "bad condition of west lake street". long whinge about untravelable major road. Page two, column one, recovery from the "hard times"--good article. Page three, column five, ad for brown & hillingsworth /eyeroll#2
august 30, 1858, page four. "sleeping cars" woodruff's patent, built by wason & co., springfield, mass.
chicago daily press and tribune, saturday morning, september 4th, 1858, front page, column four.
FALL OF HOUSES.—On Thursday afternoon, two two-story frame houses, a store and a dwelling, belonging to Mr. Beers, on the corner of Chicago avenue and North Clark street, while being raised to grade, were overturned and destroyed, the accident having been occasioned by the giving way of the supports. They had been elevated to a sufficient height, and the workmen were engaged in removing their apparatus, blocking, etc., when one of them slid backwards and the other sideways from their supports. The house which fell backwards was occupied by Mr. Beers for his dwelling, and his family and furniture were in it at the time of the crash. Happily no one was hurt. The other building was occupied as a storehouse. One side was broken off in the crash and fell against an adjoining house beyond. Two of the workmen were somewhat injured in the crash, but not seriously.
october 8, 1858, page one, column two. "the streets of chicago" "an alderman… has ascertained their length… streets… in the city, 386 miles…"
the *great fire* (!) of october 19th 1857--good front page write up on the first anniversary.
christmas eve 1858 interesting leader on choice of paving surfaces--locals having to choose surface without adequate guidance, susceptible to sales talk, crummy surfaces being laid in flash central locations. follow up on page two of dec 28th.
december 31, 1858, page one, column three. oct 1857's "lake street calamity" the worst for that year, "gave a loss of $750,000." *hard times* i presume.
the press and tribune (chicago), monday, april 18th, 1859, front page, column three.
HOUSE BLOWN DOWN.—In the gale on Thursday afternoon, a frame house on Wells street, belonging to C. R. Starkweather, and which was being raised to grade, was thrown from its temporary supports and overturned; Ten persons were in the house at the time, but none of them were injured.
may 2, 1859. "bottom dropped out"--floor collapses while building being raised; no real harm done.
june 7, 1859, page one, column three. mention of buildings being raised to grade (the 242 ft block?).
the press and tribune (chicago), wednesday, june 15th, 1859, front page, column three.
THE CITY
[…] Metropolitan Hotel is being altered to suit the grade. They are bringing down the second floor a few feet, which converts the former first floor into a basement, and brings the office nearer to the street. This, we think, will be found an advantageous change, as it will give to the office, reception room and parlors much higher ceilings than they formerly had.
july 11, 1859. gas street lights on state street.
july 13, 1859, page one, column three. some suggestion that trees were boarded around. interesting, not much to go on.
july 30, 1859, page one, column three. northern division house being raised to grade falls, house owner injured his leg. (timber? masonry?)
august 17, 1859, page one, pullman's car reviewed favorably.
check out harpers weekly for sept 9th 1859 - pics of chicago buildings therein?
mid february 1860, loads of city accounts published in tp&t.
the press and tribune (chicago), thursday, march 22nd, 1860, front page, column four.
FALL OF TWO BUILDINGS.
One Man Killed—Coroner’s Inquest.

A little after three o’clock yestrday afternoon, a large double wooden building on Franklin street, near the corner of Madison, which has been recently raised some eight feet to grade, and under which workmen were engaged in laying a foundation, fell to the ground with a crash, carrying with it in its fall a small one story building adjoining, on the corner of Madison street, as well as the sidewalk on both streets. The first building was owned by a Mrs. Wayman, and was unoccupied. The latter was owned by Henry Whitbeck, and was occupied by A. Reynolds, There were two men to work under the large building when it fell, and one of them, named Henry French, was instantly killed. The other man was knocked to the ground but escaped unhurt. French was an Englishman, formerly from London, and was some thirty-five years of age. He was a single man, having lost his wife and children. We understand that he has a brother in New York, and a letter to a sister was found in his pocket directed to Mrs. Jane Strutton, Bently Crescent, London, but he has no relations in this city.
Mr. Reynolds family were in their house when the accident occured, but were uninjured. Both houses were a complete wreck. The larger building was an old one, and neither were of much value. The building which first fell was raised some eight feet about six weeks ago, and set upon timbers 6 by 6 inches resting on the ground and steadied by side braces. Workmen were, at the time of the accident, engaged in building a brick foundation, four inches thick, inside of which were 2 by 6 inches joists for lathing, in placing which the braces were taken away, and the joists were not braced at all. There was a row of braced timbers under the center of the building, under the front, and under a shed in the rear; the rest of the building rested on the joists, none of which were braced, and we cannot but believe that the accident was caused mainly by this fact, and in the numerous raisings to grade, going on all over the city, the public will demand that the builders look to it, and by a little extra care see that this accident, which might easily have been more fatal, as several men were to work under the building but a few moments before, be not repeated.
The Coroner was apprised [sic] of the accident and proceeded to the scene of the disaster and held an inquest on the body of French. He was instantly killed, a large beam having fallen across his neck, dislocating it. A large cut on the nose and some slight bruises on the back were the only marks on his body. A number of witnesses were examined by the Coroner’s jury, who also made a personal examination of the premises, and the facts in relation to the building which we have already given, were elicited.
The jury then gave as a verdict, that “Henry French came to his death this, 21st day of March, 1860, by the falling of a building, near the corner of Franklin and Madison streets, and that it is the opinion of this jury that proper precaution was not taken in bracing the studding placed under the building.”
The body was taken in charge by undertaker Berry.
the press and tribune (chicago), wednesday, april 4th, 1860, front page, column two.
HOUSE MOVING EXTRAORDINARY—MARINE ITEM.—We are a great people, and are coming to have considerable of a city. On Lake street a block of first class business structures, three hundred feet long, is raised up to grade, and now we have to announce that we are actually shipping off two story dwellings to adjoining towns. Fact, sir. The tugs Rumsey and Dime went down the South Branch yesterday bound for Bridgeport, having in tow a two story frame dwelling taken from the corner of Kinzie and Dearborn streets, on the North Side, and placed on scows. It is a novel, but will be an entirely successful, feat. Will all the villagers on the canal and river take the hint and hurry in their ordes? We will send them any number of wooden buildings we are proposing to replace with brick and marble. Who takes ’em? Who has ’em? Villages and country towns supplied.
april 20, 1860. keep the buildings down at street level, rather than building/raising them above it.
april 21, 1860. all's well on lake street.
april 24, 1860. new paper "stimme des volks".
the press and tribune (chicago), april 30, 1860, page one. tearing down old buildings in order to replace them with the new sherman house: clark and randolph streets, and couch place. six/seven stories high above basement… (the new sherman was completed that year, see jan6,1862 trib, back page)
the press and tribune (chicago), saturday, may 12th, 1860, front page, column four.
THE TREMONT TO BE RAISED.—We learn that it is decided that the Tremont is to be raised to grade, and surveys for estimates are now being made.
the press and tribune (chicago), saturday, may 12th, 1860, front page, column four.
The Great Building Raising.
When Chicago shall have been for a decade or more of years up to grade it will come to be a marvel and a doubt in many minds that the wonder was ever accomplished of raising to grade the entire front of three hundred and twenty feet, at one and the same time, and that of first class buildings filled with tenants, stores and offices.
But Messrs. Brown & Hollingsworth, Pullman & Moore, and Ely & Smith, the contracting firms, between whom this work was accomplished, have wisely chosen to perpetuate the memory of their feat in beautiful lithograph, from the lithograph establishment of Edward Mendel, No. 162 Lake street. It was well and honorably done for Chicago, both the work itself and this its perpetuation.
may 17, 1860, page four. copies of mendel's lithograph available.
may 31, 1860. page one. tremont: to pull down or raise @ $12,000?
the illustrated london news, june 7th, pages 13&14 - grosvenor hotel, pimlico; 300ft by 50ft, "the height of the building will be upwards of one hundred feet from the pavement"
june 21, 1860, page one, column three. "The stone sidewalk on Wells street, adjoining the Briggs House, is coming up to grade."
the press and tribune (chicago), saturday, september 29th, 1860, front page, column five.
TREMONT HOUSE.—Extensive improvements are to be made in Tremont House next year of such character and extent as will still keep that popular establishment in the front rank of our hotels. It is to be raised and new iron fronts put in on both street fronts. An addition is to be made to the Lake street front, and in the area a new six story structure is to be erected, containing the dining hall, kitchens, and lodging rooms on the upper floors. The main hotel floor is to be re-modelled, and by the tearing down of several partitions, thrown into a noble rotunda. The work will occupy a large share of next summer, and on its re-opening the hotel will be refurbished throughout.
chicago daily tribune, monday, december 17th, 1860, front page, column four.
THE TREMONT HOUSE IMPROVEMENT.—The old and always popular Tremont, it is finally settled is to undergo a thorough system of internal and vital improvements before another season. The entire building is to be raised to grade, six feet, and the stores be entirely remodeled, with new and handsome fronts. The Lake street front is to be extended by an an [sic] addition of twenty-five feet, The structures in the area and the east wing are to be torn down and rebuilt in a substantial and first class manner, the wing to contain a very large dining hall, ordinaries and the cuisine department of the house. On the main hotel floor, the present range of rooms, comprising the office, barber’s shop and wash-room are to be torn away, and the whole space given to a wide and elegant hall. In the rear of the Dearborn street front a rotunda is to be built as a saloon. These improvements are to be most thorough, and are to cost $80,000, making the Tremont still in the front rank of hoteldom in the Northwest. Work is to commence in February, and will be completed in three months. The house is to be re-furnished throughout.
chicago daily tribune, tuesday, january 22nd, 1861, front page, column five.
The Tremont House Improvement.
The contracts for raising, building addition, and other alterations to the Tremont House has been closed, and work will be commenced about the 1st to the 10th of February, and be completed from the 1st to the 10th of May.
The following are the names of those associated with the architect in this sterling improvement: Wm. Cornelius Price, mason work; Jno. Solitt, carpenter work; Letz & Johnson, iron works; A. B. Cook & Co., stone work; Jno. Hughes, plumbing; Ely, Smith & Pullman, raisers.
The additions will consist of a new dining hall, fronting 40 feet on Lake street, running back 110 feet; height of ceiling 16 feet—making one of the largest dining halls in the northwest; also a large ordinary, fronting 60 feet on Lake street by 24 feet wide, to be used for ladies breakfast room and for 5 o’clock dinners; also, a small private dining room for small 28 feet by 24 feet wide, both opening into the large hall by folding doors; new carving room, 28 feet by 16 feet; kitchen 32 by 28 feet high, with high ceiling, 7 windows and a ventilator to carry off all the smoke, etc., arising from the kitchen, thus preventing any odor from entering the dining room, or other parts of the house; pantry room, 20 feet by 38 feet; baker’s room, 20 feet by 38 feet. The present office will be enlarged by taking out the back-office, barber shop, washing room, etc., making one of the finest rotundas in this country.
The present court is to be enlarged to double the size, making it 100 feet long by 60 feet wide, thus giving excellent ventilation and light. There is to be built in the court an exchange on the same style as the Astor House, New York, 40 feet in width by 60 feet long, to be lighted by handsome stained glass windows from top and sides. A spacious stairway will be made, leading from the rotunda into the exchange.
The new laundry will be 40 feet wide by 38 feet in length, with all the modern improvements for washing and ironing room. Ironing room 32 feet by 18 feet. An elevator will also be added to convey fuel, baggage, etc., to the different floors of the house. A 4-inch iron pipe will extend from the engine room to the top of the house, and a large steam pump can be attatched at a moment’s warning, and water carried to all parts of the house from each floor by fire plugs and hose.
The floors in the new dining room and new part of the House will be filled with mortar to deaden the sound, and also as a precaution against fire. The house will be raised six feet, handsome new iron fronts will be put in all the stores, with French plate glass windows, and fine basements be added under the whole house. Also a fine stone pavement running the entire block.
The house will be thoroughly painted outside and pencilled, and a magnificent main entrance on Dearborn street, will be made of massive marble, thirty feet in height. The entrance on Lake street will also be altered and will make a handsome appearance.
At the east end of the building there will be added another private entrance for ladies, where there will be a fine reception, writing and reading room for their use.
There will be an addition to the present house of sixty new rooms, all of which are to be 15 by 16 feet, with all the late improvements. Also six to eight parlors and bedrooms with water closets and bath rooms attatched, as also four baths on the third floor exclusively for ladies.
Adjoining the exchange will be a large and convenient oyster saloon and billiard room, into which the present house of David will be transferred.
The proprietors, Messrs. Gage, Bro. & Drake, intend refurnishing the house with the latest and improved styles of furniture, at a cost of $30,000, and when finished will challenge any hotel in the country for elegance, convenience and comfort.
chicago daily tribune, monday, march 4th, 1861, front page, column seven.
SEVERE FALL.—Mr. Allen Howes, a commission merchant on South Water Street, fell from the elevated sidewalk in front of the Tremont House, on Friday evening, and was severely hurt in his back and head. He was leaning against the temporary railing [uh-oh! - jr] of the walk when it suddenly gave way, precipitating him a distance of about eight feet, full upon a pile of stones and timbers. His escape from dangerous wounds was very narrow.
march 28, 1861, page one. the building of H. O. Stone (control f source page) - boyington running that show. also, new cornices at the tremont, evidence of change to facade appearance.
april 2, 1861. j y scammon & john l clark (corner of clark and lake streets) sued by city for unprotected raised sidewalk.
april 11, 1861. man killed raising his sister's one story cottage.
april 25, 1861, page four. m. m. gillett (only yesterday it was m. m. cullett!) attempts a tightrope walk from the roof of the metropolitan hotel to the (roof of, presumably) briggs house. the rope is described by the trib as being "about eighty feet above the pavement."
chicago daily tribune, saturday, may 4th, 1861.
The New Sherman House
A year ago on may 1st, work was begun tearing down the old Sherman House. The noble edifice that the interval has seen erected in its place is a very handsome and notable year's work. *check page/column location, and correct format*
chicago daily tribune, saturday, may 4th, 1861, back page, column one.
TREMONT HOUSE.—The handsome and substantial stone sidewalks on both the Lake and Dearborn street fronts of the Tremont House are, we are happy to see, open to the public.
june 6, 1861, back page. court decides that house mover mr welch, does not need a permit ($1.00) from the board of public works to move a house.
june 18, 1861, back page. tremont dining room complete, entire improvement to be finished by early july.
june 28, 1861, back page. portice erected.
july 16, 1861, melntire moves "large house".
july 18, 1861, lake street dug up and to be filled in again!
july 24, 1861, tremont "improvements being now entirely completed".
nov 1, 1861, much of lake street done after an acrimonious start. Back page, column one, lake st paving has reached clark street going west.
nov 16, 1861, back page, column one. CITY RAILWAY IMPROVEMENTS infrastructure built up to back war effort.
nov 18, 1861, back page, column one. lake street nicholson paved to middle of block between wells and franklin streets.
nov 21, 1861, back page, column one. s. s. greeley's wells street pine block (nicholson) paving--four years old--gets good review.
dec 4, 1861. canal enlargement.
dec 21, 1861, back page. s. s. greeley's (!) nicholson work on lake street should be finished to the bridge today.
dec 31, 1861, back page, column two. chicago is a healthy city.
jan 6, 1862, back page. new sherman house built, see entry for april 30, 1860 above.
jan 18, 1862, page4. chicago history going back to 1688!
jan 1, 1863. big article about filthy river.
jan 4, 1865, page four. the chicago river.
jan 6, 1865. another two big columns on the river.
jan 14, 1865, page four, column one. "We admit that smoking is a bad habit…" :-O
jan 15. the river.
jan 28. lake tunnel.
nov 25, 1865, page four, column four. two articles touching on sidewalks. uncomplimentary.
nov 27, 1865, page four, column one. a tunnel under the river ?!
dec 21, 1865, page four. tunnel under river--progress.
boxing day--the hand!! two items…
feb 8, 1866. corrections to previous day's report on briggs ownership.
march 6, 1866, page one, column one. short history of the matteson house: claims it was raised eight feet.
may 7, 1866. big whinge about house moving blocking streets.
june 14, 1866. accident, two story frame building falls while being raised to grade.
july 16, 1866. fall of a house.
sept 10, 1866, back page, randolph st exasperation!
sept 20, 1866, back page, fatal accident.
oct 22, 1866. shoddily built four storey brick building crashes (oct 25th, page three, let's not have inspectors please)
nov 28, 1866. e s chesbrough.
dec 8, 1866, back page. j v farwell's house move a few months ago damaged the pavement.
dec 14, 1866, column two. DINNER AT THE BRIGGS. A quotation from an after dinner speech (by one dr mcvickar who "spoke at some length" zzzzzzzzzz,snore) suggests that the briggs house had been raised. Alas the quotation is wordy, so i'm not copying it. Also, there are five *skating establishments* in chicago!
dec 20, 1866. big moan about streets.
dec 31, 1866. back page, two quarries at athens.
jan 28, 1867. *a glance at chicago*--very complimentary description of athens marble.
april 15, 1867. loads of stats here.
may 5, 1867. change in ownership of the briggs house.
cedar valley times, may 23rd, 1867: "…favorable known as the proprietor of tho [sic] Hotel Chicago has lately purchased WF Tucker Co's interest in the Briggs House of that City The Briggs has been recently raised to grade…" check this out.
david macrae, the americans at home: pen-and-ink sketches of american men, manners and institutions, volume two (of two), edmonston & douglas, 1870, pages 190-193, and reprinted by lost cause press, louisville, 1964.
X111.
THE LIGHTNING CITY
RETURNING from the West by the southern shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Erie, I spent a few days in Chicago—pronounced “Shikahgo. The growth of this city is one of the most amazing things in the history of modern civilisation. Forty years ago, The Indians roamed over the districts which are now covered with busy streets. As recently as 1830, the commercial strength of the place, then a mere Government outpost, consisted of 4 tavern-keepers, 1 merchant, 1 butcher, and 4 Indian traders, who carried on their business in log-huts. Chicago now has 300,000 of a population—has streets seven or eight miles long—has street railways traversing the city in all directions, annually carrying 7,000,000 passengers. The log-huts have made way for magnificent warehouses and palaces of marble; the little traders have become great merchants, some of them worth millions of dollars, and doing business on a scale of extraordinary magnitude. Farwell, who began as a poor clerk, is worth $2,000,000 and does dry-goods business to the amount of $8,000,000 a year. Field, Leiter, and Co.’s sales amount annually to $12,000,000, and have sometimes reached $80,000 in a single day.
The progress of Chicago in the grain and lumber trade has been even more amazing, and has already made her the greatest grain and lumber-market in the world. In 1831, three vessels were all that she attracted during the year. Now, 9000 vessels and propellors swarm annially to her port; and her lake tonnage has reached the enormous figure of two and a quarter millions of tons in clearances alone. In 1838, she made her first shipment of wheat, amounting to only 78 bushels; the year I was there she had shipped 66,000,000 bushels of flour and grain of all kinds, while her receipts in lumber amounted to 730,000,000 feet, not counting 124,000,000 pieces of lath, and 400,000,000 shingles. This trade was largely in excess of preceeding years, and was advancing in the same proportion. The railway across the Rocky Mountains, which places her now on the great highway between the Atlantic and Pacific, is likely still more to accelerate her progress.
It was early morning when I entered Chicago etc., etc.
united states. A compendium of the ninth census (june 1, 1870) (francis a. walker, comp.). washington: government printing office, 1872.
british visitor sara jane lippincott (macrae_mayer&wade_wtf).
"biographical sketches of the leading men of chicago writhhen by the Best Talent of the Northwest" chicago, 1868, page 192.
"journal of the american society of civil engineers" 15, november 1889, [page?] 161.
a.t. andreas, "history of chicago from the earliest period to the present time" chicago, 1884, >1:191.
soper, watson & martin, "a report to the chicago real estate board on the disposal of the sewage and protection of the water supply of chicago, illinois" chicago 1915, page 69 (so called CREB report).
"up from the mud: an account of how chicago's streets and buildings were raised" compiled by workers of the writer's program, w.p.a. in illinois for board of education, 1941.