The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Chicago

Edition of 1879. See also Chicago on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.

CHICAGO, the principal city of Illinois, capital of Cook county, the commercial metropolis of the northwest, and the fifth in population of the cities of the United States. It is situated on the W. shore of Lake Michigan, 18 m. N. of the extreme S. point of the lake, at the mouth of the Chicago river, 715 m. in a direct line W. by N. of New York, 590 m. N. W. of Washington, D. C., and 260 m. N. N. E. of St. Louis. Dearborn observatory, 3½ m. S. and ¾ m. E. from the court house, is in lat. 41° 50' 1" N., lon. 10° 33' 40.8" W. from Washington. The site of the business portion is 592 ft. above sea level, and 14 ft. above the lake; it was originally much lower, but has been filled up from 3 to 9 ft. since 1856. It is an inclined plane, rising toward the west to the height of 28 ft., giving slow but sufficient drainage. The city stands on the dividing ridge between the basins of the Mississippi and St. Lawrence, and is surrounded by a prairie stretching several hundred miles S. W. and N. Within the city limits the W. shore of the lake extends nearly N. and S. One eighth of a mile N. of the court house a bayou, called the Chicago river, extends westward about five eighths of a mile, then divides into the North and South branches, which run nearly parallel with the lake shore about two miles in each direction. The South branch turns S. W. and then W. The river and its branches, with numerous slips, afford a water frontage of 38 m., of which 24 are improved, without including the lake front, on which an outer harbor is now (1873) in process of construction. Connected with the South branch is the terminus of the Illinois and Michigan canal, which extends to the Illinois river at La Salle. Formerly this connection was by means of a lock; but recent improvements have effected a continuous flow of water from the lake through the river into the canal. The city extends N. and S. along the lake about 8 m., and westerly from the lake about 5 m., embracing an area of about 35 sq. m. The main river and its branches divide the city into three natural parts, legally known as the North, South, and West divisions, which are connected by 33 bridges, and by two stone tunnels under the river bed. The South division embraces the territory S. of the main river and E. of the South branch, 5,363 acres; the North division comprises 2,533 acres N. of the river and E. of the North branch; while that portion of the city W. of the two branches, comprising 15,104 acres, extending from the N. to the S. extremity of the city, constitutes the West division. Great improvements have recently been made by dredging the river and constructing docks, wharves, and slips for the accommodation of vessels. The harbor, at the mouth of the river, is commodious, but has required frequent dredging and several extensions of the north pier to keep out accumulations of sand brought down by a N. E. to S. W. lake current, which have made fully 100 acres of new land on the N. side of the pier. Extending E. into the lake, on the N. side of the river, is a pier about 3,000 ft. long, at the extremity of which is a lighthouse. There is also a pier extending into the lake on the S. side of the river. Along the shore of the lake, S. of the river, extends a magnificent line of breakwater more than two miles long, constructed by the Illinois Central railroad company. The inside line of the works S. of Randolph street, for about a mile, was originally about 400 ft. from the shore; but most of that space has since been filled in, and the great union depot was built on a portion of the space thus reclaimed. Other great harbor improvements, to afford increased facilities for commerce, are now (1873) in progress. The improvement of the North Chicago dock company, begun in 1867, comprises a breakwater 500 ft. long, extending N. from the north pier. From the N. extremity of this breakwater another will run W. 1,500 ft. to the shore. The space thus closed will be devoted to commodious ship channels and docks. By means of an appropriation by congress the construction of a breakwater was begun in 1870, extending from the south pier 900 ft. E. into the lake, as far as the north pier, leaving a passage of 500 ft. between the two piers for entrance to the harbor. From the E. extremity of this breakwater another line 4,000 ft. long extends S., connecting with still another line running 3,400 ft. W. to the breakwater of the Illinois Central railroad. The basin thus enclosed comprises 275 acres, the entrance to which will be by an opening 600 ft. wide in the N. side.—The first census of Chicago was taken in 1837, when the city contained 4,170 inhabitants. The population, as reported by the federal census, has been: in 1840, 4,853; 1850, 29,963; 1860, 112,172; 1870, 298,977. Of the total population in 1870, 154,420 were of native and 144,557 of foreign birth; 295,281 were white and 3,696 colored. Of the foreigners, 52,318 were born in Germany, 39,988 in Ireland, 10,027 in England, 4,197 in Scotland, 565 in Wales, 6,374 in Norway, 6,154 in Sweden, 1,243 in Denmark, 1,226 in Switzerland, 1,418 in France, and 9,648 in British America. There were 59,497 families, with an average of 5.03 persons to each, and 44,620 dwellings, with an average of 6.7 persons to each. The number of persons engaged in all classes of occupations was 112,960, of whom 533 were engaged in agriculture, 42,063 in personal and professional services, 29,806 in trade and transportation, and 40,558 in manufactures and mechanical and mining industries. According to a local estimate, the population was 334,270 in 1871, and 364,377 in 1872.—The climate of Chicago is highly favorable to comfort and health. The prevailing wind for the year, and especially during the summer, is S. W. The mean temperature for the eleven months ending with September, 1872, was 46.7°, and the total rainfall 33.71 inches. The death rate per thousand inhabitants in 1872 was 27.6, while that of New York was 32.64, Philadelphia 25.34, Boston 30.89, Cincinnati 20.3, New Orleans 30.6, and San Francisco 16.9. The rate for Chicago, however, was higher than in any preceding year except 1866, when it was 32.22. It was 24.53 in 1870, and 21.46 in 1871.

AmCyc Chicago - before the Fire.jpg

Chicago before the Fire.

—The city is regularly laid out, with streets generally 80 ft. wide, and many of them from 3 to 7 m. in length, crossing each other at right angles. The principal thoroughfares extend N. and S. In 1872 there were 534 m. of streets, of which 94 were improved; 72 m. were paved with wooden blocks, 5 with cinders, 7 with gravel, 2 with stone, and 6 m. were macadamized. The streets are well lighted with gas and supplied with 161 m. of sewers. Chicago was formerly noted as being a city of wooden buildings and very low site. About 60 brick structures were erected previous to 1852. The bricks were made from excavations in the river and slips; 25,000,000 were used in 1854, and 50,000,000 in 1856. About the same time a beautiful stone was introduced from Athens, 20 m. distant, on the canal, since called Athens marble. It was extensively used, being nearly white, soft when cut, but hardening by exposure. In the great fire of 1871 this marble crumbled before the fury of the flames, and since then many of the business structures are built of less beautiful but more durable sandstone. Iron is now much used, and the fire limits include all the more settled portions of the city, within which no wooden buildings may be erected. After the filling-in process was undertaken, the principal buildings were raised to the new grade, whole blocks being lifted up at once by numerous jackscrews, and kept to the required height by solid masonry laid while the buildings were in mid air above the workmen. Before the fire, a strip of land along the lake shore, from a quarter to three eighths of a mile wide and 11 m. long, embraced the finest residences of the city and the suburbs, Lakeview and Hyde Park. Nearly the whole of this section was covered with costly residences and grounds. Michigan and Wabash avenues were especially devoted to the homes of the wealthy. The business portion was in the South division, and extended from the river S. to Harrison street, embracing an area of about three fourths of a square mile. Here were nearly all the banks, the principal hotels and theatres, the leading wholesale establishments in every branch of trade, and many large manufactories, chiefly of clothing and boots and shoes. Along the river and its branches were extensive lumber yards, with immense quantities of lumber, lath, and shingles; docks covered with coal and wood; extensive depots, grain elevators, and flouring mills; toward the north were distilleries, slaughter houses, and ship yards, and toward the south numerous packing houses. For a distance of about a mile and a half S. from the harbor were numerous railroad tracks for the accommodation of three important lines, centering in the great central depot at the foot of Lake street. W. of the junction of the two branches of the river were extensive founderies and machine shops. The principal buildings of the city having been destroyed by the fire, their renewal is now (1873) in progress. The custom house and post office will cost about $3,500,000, and the new court house about $2,000,000, both exclusive of the ground.—Chicago has a magnificent system of public parks, authorized in 1869, and laid out and partially improved previous to the fire, after which the work proceeded more slowly. There are six parks, aggregating nearly 1,900 acres, which are connected by a cordon of boulevards 250 ft. wide, extending around the three land sides of the city, with a drive on the lake shore. These give 33 m. of straightforward driving, besides the roadways around the park. Within the northern limits of the city is Lincoln park, containing 230 acres, with a broad front upon the lake. From the N. end of this park a boulevard 3½ m. long extends W. to Humboldt park, which contains 193½ acres, lying 1½ m. N. and 3½ m. W. from the court house. About 2 m. S. of Humboldt park, connected by a similar boulevard, is Central park, an irregular tract of land nearly a mile long from N. to S., and containing 171 acres, the middle line of which lies on Madison street, 4½ m. from the court house. From this park the Douglas boulevard runs S. three fourths of a mile and E. seven eighths of a mile to Douglas park, which contains 171 acres. From this another boulevard runs S. 4½ m., thence E. 4¼ m., to the northern of two parks in the South division. The South park system comprises 1,055 acres. The Northern or Western park contains 372 acres, lying between 51st and 60th streets. From the S. end of this park an avenue of great breadth extends eastward a mile to the E. division of another park embracing 593 acres, with a frontage of 1.6 m. on Lake Michigan. The South park system embraces about 14 m. of interior drives and 30 m. of walks. The scheme comprehends the extension of a pier into the lake about 1,100 ft. to protect a harbor on the south which will connect it with a series of meandering lakes in the interior. The parks of the South division are outside the city limits, in the towns of Hyde Park and Lake. The three parks near the W. limits of the city are supplied with water from artesian wells. Besides those included in this system, there are several smaller parks.—Chicago has water communication with a vast area. The lakes alone have some 3,000 m. of coast line. Steamers and vessels of the largest class trade with all ports on Lake Superior, bringing in copper and iron ores from the rapidly developing mines of that region. The Welland canal, between Lakes Erie and Ontario, admits vessels from Lake Michigan to Montreal, where they connect with steamer lines to Europe. Other canals give communication with New York and the interior of New England. It is also proposed to construct a canal for vessels of 1,000 tons burden from the head of Georgian bay to Toronto, which would materially facilitate the lake commerce of Chicago. In the summer of 1856 the Dean Richmond was loaded with wheat at Chicago, which she discharged at the docks in Liverpool; and several other vessels have since made direct connection with European ports; but this operation was seldom profitable, owing to the great difference between the requirements of fresh and salt water navigation. Transfer at Montreal to ocean-built vessels is found to be much cheaper; and the long cherished idea of European traffic without transfer is now abandoned. The Illinois and Michigan canal connects Chicago with La Salle, at the head of navigation on the Illinois river, which falls into the Mississippi. Work on this canal was commenced July 4, 1836, and finished in 1848, after a suspension of two years due to financial embarrassments. It is 96 m. long, with 15 locks; the highest level was 12 ft. above the lake. During 1866-'70 the canal was deepened by the city of Chicago, at a cost of $3,251,621; the highest 26 m. being cut down to 8½ ft. below the ordinary water level of Lake Michigan. This gives improved navigation, and also carries off the sewage of the city toward the Illinois river at the rate of a mile an hour, and draws with it enough water from the lake to keep the current clean. The canal is usually navigable from the middle of April to the latter part of November.—The first line of railroad (toward Galena) was commenced in 1847. In 1850 there were 42 m. of connecting line. In 1852 the city was connected with the east by the Michigan Southern in February, and the Michigan Central in May. It now has railroad communication with all parts of the continent by four trunk lines to the east, six to the west, bridging the Mississippi and connecting with the Pacific states, two southward to the gulf of Mexico and the southwestern states, and two northward to the Lake Superior region. In addition to these, with numerous branch lines and connections, a dozen other roads are now seeking admission to the city. More than 10,000 m. of railroad are directly tributary to Chicago, with annual gross receipts of nearly $100,000,000, and annual profits of $40,000,000; while 350 trains enter and leave daily, giving 700 arrivals and departures. The principal lines entering the city in 1873 were as follows: the Chicago and Northwestern; the Illinois Central; the Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific; the Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy; the Chicago and Alton; the Michigan Central; the Lake Shore and Michigan Southern; the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago; the Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis; and the Chicago, Danville, and Vincennes. The railroad depots were formerly much scattered; but the policy of reconstruction leans toward the concentration of the railroad business into three grand union depots—one on the lake shore, one on the south side near the river, and the third in the West or North division, with a circular railroad on the outskirts, connecting all the lines that enter the city. Ample facilities for communication between different parts of the city are afforded by three lines of street railroads in the principal thoroughfares, and numerous lines of omnibuses. Until recently intercourse between the three divisions of the city was effected only by 33 bridges, which span the river at intervals of two squares, and swing on central pivots to admit the passage of vessels. These bridges, however, were a serious impediment to navigation as well as to vehicles and pedestrians. To obviate this inconvenience, a tunnel was constructed in 1868 under the South branch at Washington street, by which an uninterrupted communication was established between the South and West divisions. It is 1,608 ft. long, with a descent of 26 ft., has a double roadway for vehicles and a separate passage for pedestrians, and cost about $400,000. In 1870 another similar tunnel, with a total length of 1,890 ft., including approaches, was constructed under the main river on the line of La Salle street, connecting the North and South divisions. Its cost was $549,000.—Chicago is the great commercial centre of the northwest, and in commercial importance ranks next to New York among the cities of the United States. Formerly there was but half a league of portage for canoes from Chicago river to Illinois river, which is tributary to the Mississippi; and at high water the Indians passed from one to the other without portage. This, and the fact that Chicago river was then the only good harbor near the head of lake navigation, suggested it as the terminus of a canal to connect the two great watercourses. Its commercial importance was thus established, and grew rapidly with the development of the country westward. The mercantile trade of the city is very important, as it supplies most of the region from which produce is received. In 1852 the commerce was estimated at $20,000,000; in 1856 at $85,000,000; in 1860 at $97,067,617; in 1870 at $400,000,000; in 1872 at $450,000,000. The following were the leading items for the 12 months succeeding the fire, counting only the cost at first sale: breadstuffs, $49,321,000; live stock, $70,546,000; provisions received, $9,455,000; wool and hides, $14,818,000; tea and tobacco, $16,526,000; lumber, &c., $13,166,000; other produce, $13,125,000; groceries, $59,000,000; dry goods, $40,000,000; boots and shoes, $10,500,000; hardware, &c., $9,500,000; clothing, hats, &c., $6,000,000; jewelry, $5,750,000; paper, &c., $5,000,000; drugs, &c., $5,000,000; millinery, $4,500,000; books and newspapers, $3,500,000; crockery, $3,100,000; music and musical instruments, $2,250,000; other sales, $104,000,000. The leading articles of commerce are exhibited in the following statement of the aggregate receipts and shipments for two years:

ARTICLES. 1871. 1872.

 Receipts.   Shipments.   Receipts.   Shipments. 

Beef, bbls. 53,289  89,451  14,512  89,911 
Butter, lbs. 13,231,452  11,049,867  14,574,717  11,497,537 
Coal, tons 1,081,472  96,833  1,398,024  177,687 
Grain and flour reduced to bushels  83,518,202  71,800,789  88,426,812  83,364,224 
Hides, lbs. 25,026,084  22,462,864  32,387,995  28,959,292 
Lard, lbs. 17,662,798  61,029,853  19,911,797  86,040,785 
Lead, lbs. 18,845,101  5,994,751  20,235,635  10,842,717 
Liquors and highwines, bbls. 120,969  171,031  163,991  169,564 
Lumber, feet  1,039,328,375   541,222,543   1,183,659,280   417,827,375 
Pork, bbls. 68,949  149,724  121,023  208,664 
Provisions and cut meats, lbs. 30,150,899  163,113,891  48,256,615  238,727,484 
Salt, bbls. 708,717  450,138  606,673  513,850 
Seeds, lbs 20,284,146  14,213,989  44,755,412  22,358,542 
Shingles, number 647,565,000  558,385,350  610,824,420  436,827,375 
Wool, lbs. 27,026,621  24,361,524  28,181,509  27,720,089 

Chicago is a port of entry, and has an extensive commerce with Canada. The total value of domestic produce exported to Canada by lake in 1872 was $5,251,539. By the act of congress of 1870 merchandise from foreign countries may be shipped direct to Chicago by being transported in bond from the port of first entry. This enables direct shipments to be made between Chicago and foreign countries, the transfer between Chicago and the seaports of the United States being made in bonded cars. As early as 1854 it was announced that Chicago was the greatest primary grain depot in the world, collecting more grain from the producers than even the Russian ports. Since then the city has become also the greatest grain market in the world, her produce forming the basis for speculation, as stocks and gold do in New York. The following tables show the growth and extent of the trade, flour being reduced to its equivalent in wheat in the totals:

1855. 1860. 1865. 1870. 1872.

Wheat, bushels  7,585,097  14,927,033  9,266,410  17,394,409  12,724,141 
Corn, bushels 8,582,377  15,862,394  25,952,201  20,189,775  47,366,087 
Oats, bushels 2,947,188  2,198,889  11,659,080  0,472,078  15,061,715 
Rye, bushels 68,166  318,976  1,194,834  1,093,493  1,129,036 
Barley, bushels 201,895  617,619  1,774,139  3,335,653  5,251,750 
Flour, barrels 240,666  713,348  1,134,100  1,766,037  1,532,014 

Total, bushels   20,367,702   37,235,027   54,950,114   60,432,574   88,426,842 
1855. 1860. 1865. 1870. 1872.

Wheat, bushels 6,298,155  12,402,197  7,614,881  16,432,585  12,160,046 
Corn, bushels 7,517,625  13,700,113  25,437,241  17,777,377  47,018,552 
Oats, bushels 1,188,538  1,091,698  11,142,140  8,507,735  12,255,577 
Rye, bushels 19,326  156,642  999,289  913,629  776,805 
Barley, bushels 92,011  267,449  607,484  2,584,692  5,032,308 
Flour, barrels 163,419  698,132  1,293,428  1,705,977  1,361,328 

Total, bushels 16,632,750  31,108,759  52,268,181  54,745,903  83,364,224 

The grain is received and shipped in bulk. It is lifted into elevators from railroad cars by buckets running on an endless chain, and operated by powerful steam machinery, and emptied through spouts into the holds of vessels. In 1873 there were 15 elevator warehouses, with an aggregate storing capacity of 12,800,000 bushels, in addition to several smaller storehouses. The capacity of the largest is 1,500,000 bushels; of the smallest, 200,000. Most of these elevators can each receive and ship 100,000 bushels per day. The business is supervised, and the grain graded, by inspectors appointed by the state, and an accurate record of receipts and shipments is kept by a state registrar. Of the total receipts in 1872, 8,017,865 bushels came by the Illinois and Michigan canal, 173,971 by lake, and the remainder, nine tenths of the whole, by railroad. The various lines by which the grain is sent to market are indicated in the following statement of shipments for 1872:


To Buffalo 140,344  5,511,143  31,989,979  4,502,729  2,235,059 
To Oswego 19,828  287,292  1,068,456  48,090  16,185 
To Erie ........  300,390  154,587  645,012  ......... 
To Ogdensburgh 6,795  2,020  496,397  56,214  ......... 
To other American ports 55,863  209,547  2,670,091  1,003,328  76,779 
To Montreal 627  256,814  449,585  .........  ......... 
To Kingston ........  1,483,329  2,162,477  .........  ......... 
To other Canadian ports ........  581,335  2,597,936  115,411  2,500 

Total by Lake 223,457  8,831 870  41,589,508  6,370,784  2,330,523 
Illinois and Michigan Canal 1,201  206,010  .........  7,064  ......... 
Chicago and Northwestern Railway 21,262  119,675  27,928  18,962  45,249 
Illinois Central Railroad 39,528  111,144  .........  1,240  68,976 
Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad 9,872  203,728  5,714  1,018  50,266 
Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy Railroad 7,346  80,402  .........  .........  13,897 
Chicago and Alton Railroad 14,552  157,877  .........  1,850  57,560 
Michigan Central Railroad 181,850  834,660  2,066,722  2,953,791  558,815 
Lake Shore and Michigan Southern Railway 132,249  423,921  1,971,132  1,646,272  597,184 
Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne, and Chicago Railway  472,185  544,518  1,200,150  763,400  947,3?0 
Pittsburgh, Cincinnati, and St. Louis Railway  236,684  560,711  150,398  489,856  354,038 
Chicago, Danville, and Vincennes Railroad 21,142  85,530  2,000  1,300  8,440 

Total shipments 1,361,328  12,160,046  47,013,552  12,255,537  5,032,308 
In store Dec. 31, 1872 25,582  1,047,633  1,595,252  844,669  307,039 
City consumption, or unaccounted for 364,772  807,001  1,870,920  2,700,082  439,332 

Total  1,751,682   14,014,780   50,479,724   15,800,288   5,778,679 

There were also shipped 1,429,076 bushels of rye, chiefly by railroad. In 1872, 563,617 bushels of wheat and 388,970 of corn were shipped direct to foreign countries, chiefly to Great Britain and Ireland, on through bills of lading.—The total number of vessels owned in the district of Chicago in 1872 was 654, with an aggregate tonnage of 99,403. Among these were 268 schooners, 245 canal boats (including 17 propelled by steam), 54 tugs, 34 scows, 31 barks, 8 propellers, 7 barges, 6 brigs, and 1 steamer. The number of arrivals and clearances for a series of years has been:


 YEARS.   Vessels.   Tonnage.   Vessels.   Tonnage. 

1862 7,417  1,931,692 7,270  1,915,554
1863 8,678  2,172,611 8,457  2,161,221
1864 8,938  2,172,866 8,824  2,166,904
1865 10,112  2,106,859 10,067  2,092,276
1866 11,084  2,258,572 11,115  2,361,520
1867 12,230  2,588,527 12,140  2,512,676
1868 13,174  2,984,591 13,225  3,020,812
1869 13,730  3,123,400 13,872  3,149,946
1870 12,739  3,049,265 12,433  2,983,942
1871 12,330  3,096,101 12,312  3,082,235
1872  12,824   3,059,752   12,531   3,017,790 

In 1872, 12,622 vessels in the coasting trade, of 3,001,538 tons, arrived, and 12,064 cleared; 152 foreign vessels, of 43,802 tons, arrived from and 150 cleared for foreign ports; 50 American vessels, of 14,412 tons, arrived from and 317 cleared for foreign ports.


 Live.   Dressed.   Total. 

1857 208,902  35,433  244,345  48,524 
1858 416,225  124,261  540,486  140,584 
1859 188,671  82,558  271,224  111,694 
1860 285,149  107,715  392,864  117,101 
1861 549,039  126,863  675,902  204,259 
1862 1,110,971  237,919  1,348,890  209,655 
1863 1,606,818  350,055  1,956,873  304,448 
1864 1,285,871  289,457  1,575,328  338,840 
1865 757,072  92,239  849,311  330,301 
1866 933,233  358,093  1,286,826  384,251 
1867 1,696,689  260,431  1,987,120  329,243 
1868 1,706,592  281,923  1,988,515  323,514 
1869 1,661,869  190,518  1,852,382  403,102 
1870 1,693,158  260,214  1,958,372  582,964 
1871 2,380,083  272,466  2,652,549  543,050 
1872  3,252,623   235,905   3,488,528   684,075 

 Live.   Dressed.   Total. 

1857 110,070  18,498  128,568  25,502 
1858 159,181  32,832  192,013  42,638 
1859 87,254  22,992  110,246  37,584 
1860 191,981  35,233  227,164  97,474 
1861 216,982  72,112  289,094  124,145 
1862 446,506  44,629  491,135  112,745 
1863 752,151  110,039  862,190  201,066 
1864 561,277  98,115  659,392  253,439 
1865 575,511  69,034  644,545  301,637 
1866 484,798  91,306  576,099  268,723 
1867 760,547  156,091  916,638  216,982 
1868 1,020,812  226,901  1,247,718  217,897 
1869 1,086,305  199,650  1,285,955  294,717 
1870 924,483  171,188  1,095,671  391,709 
1871 1,162,286  169,473  1,331,759  401,927 
1872 1,835,594  145,701  1,981,295  510,025 

—As a market for live stock Chicago is the most important centre in the United States. The vast live stock trade is transacted at the union stock yards, situated near the S. limits of the city, and connected with all the railroad lines. They were opened Dec. 25, 1865, comprise 345 acres, of which 100 are in pens, and have 31 m. of drainage, 7 m. of streets and alleys, 3 m. of water troughs, 10 m. of feed troughs, 2,300 gates, and cost $1,675,000. They have capacity for 21,000 cattle, 75,000 hogs, 22,000 sheep, and 200 horses. Water is supplied for the use of the yards from artesian wells. The foregoing tables exhibit the receipts and shipments of cattle and hogs for a series of years. The total value of the live stock received in 1872 was estimated by the board of trade at $75,475,000, including cattle valued at $41,000,000, hogs $33,500,000, sheep $950,000, and horses $250,000. Since 1862-'3 Chicago has held the supremacy in extent of pork-packing, having in that year distanced Cincinnati in this respect. Of the total number (4,885,910) of hogs packed in the west in 1871-'2, 1,225,236 were packed in Chicago and 717,816 in Cincinnati. The growth of this industry in Chicago is shown in the following statement:

 SEASON.  Number
 of Hogs 

1851-'52  22,036 
1852-'53 44,156 
1853-'54 52,849 
1854-'55 73,694 
1855-'56 80,380 
1856-'57 74,000 
1857-'58 99,262 
1858-'59 179,684 
1859-'60 151,339 
1860-'61 271,805 
1861-'62 505,691 
1862-'63 970,264 
1863-'64 904,659 
1864-'65 760,514 
1865-'66 507,355 
1866-'67 689,332 
1867-'68 796,226 
1868-'69 597,954 
1869-'70 688,140 
1870-'71 919,197 
1871-'72 1,225,236 
1872-'73  1,456,650 

The details of the packing for two seasons are:

 1871-'72.   1870-'71. 

Packed in October 10,350  48,917 
Packed Nov. 1 to March 1:
Live 1,107,885  750,040 
Dressed 107,001  120,240 
Total for winter 1,214,886  870,280 
Total for year 1,225,236  919,197 
Average net weight, lbs. 23,254  22,524 
Yield of lard, average lbs. per hog  4,377  3,713 
Total tierces of 300 lbs. 167,592  114,972 
Barrelled Pork:
Mess, bbls. 126,059  99,301 
Prime mess, bbls. 19,933  40,837 
Extra prime, bbls. 3,048  3,593 
Total bbls. 149,040  143,731 
Short clear, lbs. 24,923,980  12,559,866 
Short rib, lbs. 31,7?0,039  30,084,065 
Long clear, lbs. 18,302,005  6,809,832 
Cumberland cut, lbs. 6,235,424  6,278,349 
Rough sides, lbs. 1,730,603  4,114,816 
Shoulders, lbs. 31,827,752  21,962,831 
Hams, lbs.
Bulk, green, lbs.  27,702,599   18,500,007 
Sweet pickled, tierces 25,478  31,370 

The packing of 1872 was performed by 27 principal firms and a number of small houses. One firm alone packed 373,725 hogs in the four winter months. The work is very expeditious. The hogs are driven up an inclined plane to a pen in the upper part of the packing house. A chain or cord attached to a pulley in a sliding frame near the ceiling is slipped over one hind leg, the hog is jerked up, his throat cut, the body lowered into a long vat of boiling water, lifted out, scraped, disembowelled, and hung up to cool. When cooled the bodies are cut up into “meats” or pork, and salted, the irregular pieces being thrown into huge tanks, where they are steamed into lard. A large proportion of the product is shipped to Europe during the winter months. Beef packing is also an important branch of trade, but there has been a decline in this industry in consequence of the increase in the number of cattle packed in the southwest where they are raised. The number of cattle packed in 1860 was 51,606; the maximum (92,459) was reached in 1865. Since that date the number has decreased, being 21,254 in 1871, and 16,080 in 1872. The following statement exhibits the details of this business for four years, the packing being done chiefly by four packers:

 1868-'9.   1869-'70.   1870-'1.   1871-'2. 

Cattle packed 26,950  11,963  21,254  16,080 
India and India mess made, tierces  9,183  2,849  6,442  6,502 
Extra mess beef, made, tierces 7,258  4,120  5,351  4,296 
Prime mess beef, made, tierces 12,638  4,465  11,040  5,902 
Mess beef, made, tierces 13,583  9,018  9,685  5,163 

—The lumber trade of Chicago is a very prominent item of its commerce. The city takes a very large proportion of the produce of Michigan and Wisconsin, and distributes it by railroad and canal all over the northwest, much of it being manufactured in the city before shipment. The following are the statistics of this commerce for several years:



1852 147,816,232  77,080,500  70,740,271  55,851,038 
1853 202,101,078  93,483,784  88,909,348  71,442,550 
1854 228,336,783  82,061,250  133,131,872  92,506,301 
1855 306,547,401  108,647,250  215,585,354  134,793,250 
1856 456,673,169  135,876,000  243,387,732  115,563,250 
1857 459,639,198  131,830,250  311,698,793  154,827,750 
1858 278,943,000  127,565,000  242,793,268  150,129,250 
1859 302,845,207  165,927,000  226,120,389  195,117,700 
1860 262,494,626  127,894,000  225,372,340  168,302,525 
1861 249,308,705  79,356,000  189,379,445  94,421,186 
1862 305,674,045  131,255,000  189,277,079  55,761,630 
1863 413,301,818  172,364,875  221,709,330  102,634,447 
1864 501,592,406  190,169,750  269,496,579  138,497,256 
1865 647,145,734  310,897,350  385,353,678  258,351,450 
1866 730,057,168  400,125,250  422,313,266  422,339,715 
1867 882,661,770  447,039,275  518,978,354  480,930,590 
1868 1,028,494,789  514,434,100  551,989,806  537,497,074 
1869 997,736,942  678,166,000  581,533,480  638,317,840 
1870 1,018,998,085  652,091,000  583,490,634  666,247,775 
1871 1,039,328,375  647,595,000  541,222,543  558,385,350 
1872  1,183,659,280   610,824,420   417,827,375   436,827,375 

The lumber trade is transacted by a lumber exchange, while the transfer of other produce is chiefly effected by the board of trade. The stock of lumber on hand Jan. 1, for three years, has been:

KINDS. 1873. 1872. 1871.

Sawed pine lumber and timber, feet   321,943,282   233,871,527   295,124,252
Hewn pine timber, feet 660,000  567,000  3,628,716
Shingles, number 40,301,000  70,970,000  22,702,000
Lath, pieces 27,751,520  17,550,340  33,082,564
Pickets, pieces 706,039  1,049,666  1,322,738
Cedar posts, number 107,309  129,710  155,985

—In 1850 the manufactures of Cook county, of which Chicago forms nearly all, were returned at $2,562,583, on a capital of $1,068,025, employing 2,031 hands. In 1860 the productions were worth $13,555,671; capital, $5,571,025; hands, 5,593. In 1870, and for the years succeeding the fire, the values of products of Chicago alone were as follows:

PRODUCTS. 1870.  Oct. 9, '71, to 
Oct. 9, '72.

Pork packing $13,000,000  $18,650,000
Beef packing 1,000,000  750,000
Iron and steel 4,000,000  6,500,000
Founderies, &c. 3,658,000  6,800,000
Flour, &c. 2,830,334  1,620,000
Distilling and rectifying 6,068,221  8,200,000
Brewing 3,000,000  2,800,000
Furniture 1,277,388  1,400,000
Agricultural implements  2,003,000  1,950,000
Carriages and wagons 1,369,000  1,100,000
Printers' materials 250,000  250,000
Printing, &c. 3,000,000  3,250,000
Boots and shoes 1,500,000  1,000,000
Clothing 1,000,000  700,000
Lumber and planing 9,700,000  14,600,000
Brick 750,000  4,100,000
Lime 290,000  500,000
Tanneries 2,230,000  2,500,000
Sundries 19,922,000  26,800,000

Total $76,843,000  $103,470,000
Add buildings 12,000,000  44,100,000

Total  $88,843,000   $147,570,000

The manufactures of 1872 include 353,000,000 bricks, and $6,500,000 worth of iron, Bessemer steel rails, sheet iron, and boiler plate. The iron manufacture employs 1,200 men in four establishments, which in 1872 used 100,000 tons of ore, mostly from Lake Superior, 300,000 tons of bituminous coal and coke, and 25,000 tons of charcoal iron, on an aggregate working capital of $4,500,000. Chicago produced more Bessemer steel in 1872 than any state outside of Illinois, except Pennsylvania; and the iron industry promises to become much more important in the future. Prior to the great fire the manufacture of flour was extensively carried on. There were then 15 mills, which produced 732,479 barrels of flour in 1868, 543,285 in 1869, 443,976 in 1870, and 327,739 in 1871. In the last named year six of them were destroyed by fire, and the remainder produced 186,968 barrels of flour in 1872. The manufacture of highwines has increased from 3,744,000 gallons in 1860 to 7,082,364 in 1870, and 7,209,347 in 1872. There are also manufactures of cotton and watches. About 50,000 persons are employed in manufactures, and nearly one third of the commerce of the city is based upon the productions of these workers. The manufacturing business is yet in its infancy, except in agricultural implements, pork and meats, boots and shoes, and leather, for which the city is famous. Ship building is carried on to some extent. During the year ending June 30, 1872, six sailing vessels of 926 tons and two barges of 193 tons were built in Chicago. The banking business of Chicago is enormous. The first bank was a branch of the second of the state of Illinois, established in Chicago in December, 1835; it suspended specie payments in 1837, and closed in 1841. The next was established in 1853. At the close of 1872 there were 21 national banks, with a total capital and surplus of $11,044,885, and $23,060,507 deposits. There were also 18 savings banks (some being connected with other banks), with $12,013,000 deposits; 8 state-chartered commercial banks, with capital and surplus of $2,926,000, and $3,055,627 deposits; one foreign branch bank, and numerous private banks.—Chicago is divided into 20 wards. The government is vested in a mayor, chosen every two years, and a board of 40 aldermen, two from each ward, also elected for two years. The mayor has little power beyond the veto, and makes nominations to be confirmed or rejected by the council. The board of supervisors is a county organization, to which one member from each ward and two from each division of the city are elected. The board of fire and police commissioners consists of three members, elected by the people, and has full authority over the fire and police departments. The board of public works consists of three members, nominated by the mayor and confirmed by the council; they have control of the streets, public buildings (except schools), bridges, &c., with power to make assessments on property, subject to the approval of the council. The board of education comprises one member from each ward, appointed by the council; they have charge of school buildings, appointment of teachers, choice of text books, and general school regulations. Sanitary regulations are intrusted to a board of health and a sanitary superintendent. There are two boards of park commissioners. Besides the county courts, there are three police courts, one for each division. The United States circuit and district courts for the northern district of Illinois are also held here. The police force consists of a superintendent, 3 captains, 16 sergeants, and about 500 patrolmen. For police purposes the city is divided into 12 precincts. The total number of arrests during the year ending March 31, 1872, was 21,931; value of property reported stolen, $64,449, of which $40,187 was recovered; total amount of fines, $123,475. The charges on arrest were: assault with a deadly weapon, 242; burglary, 160; drunk, 4,397; drunk and disorderly, 3,700; disorderly, 5,684; forgery, 26; highway robbery, 22; keeping disorderly house, 135; keeping gaming house, 63; keeping house of ill-fame, 302; larceny, 2,123; murder, 3; riot, 141; robbery, 157; vagrancy, 881. The nationalities of those arrested were: 8,167 Irish, 7,646 American (including 652 colored), and 3,379 German. The cost of the department during the year was $498,247, of which $229,652 was for salaries. The fire department comprises a force of 201 men, including officers, fire wardens, and the fire alarm telegraph corps. The apparatus in use includes 16 steam fire engines with an attending hose cart to each, and 26,150 ft. of rubber and 9,100 ft. of leather hose. The apparatus used for elevating hose can be raised to the height of 84 ft. without contact with any building or other support. It is used for the purpose of elevating firemen with hose to the upper stories of high buildings, in order to throw a stream more effectively upon a fire, and to save life and property. The estimated value of property in use, including real estate, is $639,050. During the year ending March 31, 1871, there were 489 fires and 44 false alarms. The total amount of loss was $972,800; amount of insurance, $745,000; total amount of insurance on property more or less injured by fire, $1,246,224. These figures do not include the great fire, an account of which is given hereafter. In the preceding year there were 669 tires, with losses amounting to $2,447,845; insurance, $2,183,498; total amount of insurance on property injured by fire, $4,416,690. There is a very efficient fire alarm and police telegraph system, established in 1864, and much improved since the fire, having in 1872 234 signal boxes in different parts of the city, each connected by electric wire with the police stations and engine houses. The expenses of the fire department for 1872 were $512,520.—The system of water supply for Chicago has been called one of the wonders of the world. A nearly cylindrical brick tunnel, 62 inches high and 60 wide, extends two miles under the lake, lying 66 to 70 ft. below the lake surface. The water descends through a grated cylinder enclosed in an immense crib, on which a lighthouse is to be constructed. At the shore end it is pumped up an iron column 130 ft. high, inside a stone water tower, and thence flows to all parts of the city. The engines can pump 72,000,000 gallons daily, and the tunnel can deliver 57,000,000 gallons daily. The tunnel was commenced March 17, 1864, and finished Dec. 6, 1866. Water was first supplied to the city through it March 25, 1867; it is always pure, and the supply has never been interrupted except a few days by the great fire. The city is now (1873) constructing another tunnel 7 ft. in diameter to the same crib, to extend under the city, to give an independent supply to the southwestern quarter. An abundant water supply has recently been also developed in artesian wells, of which there are now about 40. The depth varies from 650 to 1,646 ft., the lowest reaching the sandstone. The flow averages about 200 gallons per minute, and no diminution is observed from sinking adjacent wells. The water is variously supposed to come from Rock river and from the region of the Mississippi; it is reasonably pure, containing 70 grains of solid matter per gallon, while lake water has 8 grains. It is chiefly objectionable because it contains 24 grains of sulphuric acid, while lake water has less than one third of a grain. In 1872 there were 309 m. of supply pipes and 1,667 fire hydrants. The amount of water daily supplied in 1872 was 23,464,877 gallons, or 72.8 to each inhabitant. The total cost of the water works to Jan. 1, 1873, was about $5,225,000. A site for the new water works, consisting of 3½ acres of land, has been purchased in Ashland avenue, near 22d street. A tunnel 7 ft. in diameter and 4 m. in length will pass under the central portion of the city, connecting the old and the new works. It will be capable of conveying 100,000,000 gallons of water daily, and will afford a central supply of water for use in case of fire, independent of that furnished by the pumps and water mains.—The bonded debt of Chicago, Jan. 1, 1873, was $13,546,000. The receipts into the treasury for the year ending April 1, 1872, amounted to $12,936,581, and the expenditures to $14,112,957. The chief items were:

Receipts.  Expenditures. 

Board of public works appropria'n  $269,969  $983,529 
Certificates of debt 252,763  38,935 
Fire department 146,598  352,660 
Interest fund 131,328  258,097 
Lamp districts ......  169,140 
Licenses 187,631  2,385 
Police fund 228,402  490,685 
River improvement fund 488,264  669,986 
School tax fund 54,974  462,136 
Sewerage fund 3,309,273  3,600,772 
Sewerage tax fund  3,021,234   3,119,839 
Special assessments 1,397,299  1,887,312 
Taxes 2,209,958  ...... 
Tunnel fund 94,748  180,963 
Water fund 655,960  774,836 
Water tax fund 111,648  322,942 

The total valuation of real and personal property in the city for the purposes of taxation, with the amount and rate of taxation and the bonded debt, has been as follows:

 YEAR.   Total Valuation.  Rate of
per ct.
 Total Tax 
 Bonded Debt. 

1841 1,667,445  6-10  10,004  ........ 
1842 1,530,213  6-10  9,181  ........ 
1843 1,570,490  11-20  8,637  ........ 
1844 2,861,041  6-10  17,166  ........ 
1845 3,165,025  7-20  11,077  ........ 
1846 4,521,659  7-20  15,825  ........ 
1847 5,188,290  7-20  18,159  ........ 
1848 6,300,449  7-20  22,051  ........ 
1849 6,676,684  9-20  30,045  ........ 
1860 7,222,999  7-20  25,280  ........ 
1851 8,562,717  ¾  63,385  ........ 
1852 10,463,414  ¾  76,962  $126,035 
1853 16,841,831  ¾  135,662  189,670 
1854 24,392,239  9-10  199,081  248,666 
1855 26,992,893  7-10  205,982  328,000 
1856 31,736,084  11-10  396,558  435,000 
1857 36,335,281  1½  572,046  535,000 
1858 36,189,932  1 1-10  430,190  ........ 
1859 36,553,380  1 3-10  513,614  1,885,000 
1860 37,053,512  9-10  373,050  2,336,000 
1861 36,352,380  1 2-10  550,968  2,362,000 
1862 37,139,845  1 4-10  564,038  2,028,000 
1863 42,667,324  2  853,346  3,422,500 
1864 48,732,782  2  974,655  3,544,500 
1865 64,709,177  2  1,294,183  3,701,000 
1866 85,953,250  2  1,719,065  4,369,000 
1867 195,026,844  1 3-10  2,518,472  4,757,500 
1868 230,247,000   1 4-10  3,223,458  6,484,500 
1869 266,024,880  1½  3,990,373  7,882,590 
1870 275,986,550  1½  4,139,798  11,362,726 
1871 289,746,470  1     2,897,464  14,108,000 
1872 284,197,430  ......  4,262,961  13,546,000 

The actual value of property in 1871 was about $620,000,000.—The public school system takes high rank for efficiency; it gives instruction to the children of citizens free of charge. The total number of schools in 1872 was 32, including 1 high, 1 normal, 19 grammar, and 11 primary schools. These occupied 45 buildings and 412 rooms. There were 476 teachers, of whom 445 were females. According to the school census of 1872, the school population, including those between 6 and 21 years of age, was 88,219. The whole number of different pupils enrolled was 38,035. The average number belonging to the high school was 512; normal, 63; grammar and primary schools, 23,964; total 24,539. The course of study in the high school is four years. Of the 476 teachers employed in 1872, 221 were graduates of the normal and high schools. German and music are extensively taught in the public schools, the number of pupils studying the former in 1872 being 4,533. The total amount expended for the support of schools was $479,349, including $359,588 for teachers' salaries. The total cost for each pupil, including 6 per cent. valuation upon school property, was $15 97 on the number of pupils enrolled, $24 75 on the average number belonging to the schools, and $26 41 on the average daily attendance. The total income for school purposes amounted to $395,289, including $303,802 from school tax fund (at the rate of 24100 mills per dollar), $30,487 from state fund, and $61,003 from rents and interest. The value of school buildings was $1,071,100; land, $1,194,452. There are also many private academies, and several schools sustained by the Catholics. The Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, and Roman Catholics have flourishing colleges and institutes for training ministers, all moderately well endowed, but suffering heavily from the fire. The Baptist denomination is identified with the university of Chicago, founded by the efforts of and partially by gift from Stephen A. Douglas. Connected with it are a very efficient law institute and the Dearborn observatory, which contains a very fine equatorially mounted refracting telescope, of 23 feet focal length and 18½ inches aperture, made by Alvan Clark and sons, and set up in 1864, then being the largest and best in the world. The city also contains six medical colleges, one of which is open to women. The academy of sciences, established in 1857, lost a valuable collection of 18,000 specimens by fire in 1866, and again lost all in 1871, though in a “fireproof” building. It is now in a new building, and is slowly gathering a new museum and library. The Chicago historical society, established in 1856, lost in the fire 60,000 bound volumes and 150,000 pamphlets, besides files of newspapers, valuable MSS., fine paintings, and numerous war relics. It has not been revived, but its place is being taken by a public library, the nucleus of which was contributed by English authors and publishers in 1872. It will occupy the custom house and post office of 1871, the walls of which were left standing. The Christian union has a library, reading room, gymnasium, &c., and evening classes in languages, art, and science; the total expense to each member being $1 per year. The young men's Christian association, organized March 28, 1858, will probably soon erect a new building, to take the place of their magnificent Farwell hall, burned down in 1871.—The newspaper press of Chicago has wide circulation and influence. The first was the “Democrat,” established in 1833 by John Wentworth, which in 1861 was merged in the “Tribune,” established in June, 1847, originally whig, afterward republican, now free-trade independent. The “Evening Journal,” protectionist republican, was established in 1844; the “Times,” free-trade democratic, in 1854; the “Evening Post,” free-trade republican, in 1865; the “Inter-Ocean,” protectionist republican, in 1872, succeeding the “Republican;” the “Evening Mail,” independent, in 1869; and the Staats-Zeitung, German, republican, in 1846. There are two other German dailies, several secular weeklies, four religious weeklies (“Advance,” “Interior,” “Northwestern Christian Advocate,” and “Standard”), one scientific, three literary, and several medical monthlies. The total number of dailies, weeklies, and monthlies is about 80, not including mere advertising sheets, programmes, and circulars.—Since 1860 the city has been a prominent art centre. Several galleries and the academy of design were burned in 1871; the latter will be reëstablished. Before the fire Chicago was liberally supplied with places of amusement. Of first-class theatres, McVicker's and Hooley's are rebuilt; Aiken's, the academy of music, and Myers's are new. The magnificent opera house, erected in 1864, and the museum, in 1868, had not been reproduced in 1872. The board of trade is an influential commercial body of nearly 1,400 members, organized in 1850. It meets daily in the chamber of commerce. Chicago had three taverns in 1830, and not less than four hotels in 1835; the oldest now existing is the Tremont, built in 1834. Since then the city has been noted for the extent of its hotel accommodations. Nine extensive hotels have been rebuilt since the fire, at a cost of more than $8,000,000, which, with 12 or 15 smaller ones, more than restore the original accommodations for travellers. All are much superior in appearance and comfort to those destroyed, most of them containing fewer rooms and better furniture.—The following countries are represented by consuls in Chicago: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland.—Chicago, almost equally with Brooklyn, is entitled to be called a city of churches. The Methodists were the pioneers in worship. They were represented there by the Rev. Jesse Walker; the first quarterly meeting was held in the autumn of 1833, and the first regular class was formed the following spring. The first Presbyterian church was organized June 26, 1833, with the Rev. Jeremiah Porter as pastor, 25 members from the garrison and 9 citizens. Other churches began as follows: Baptist, Oct. 19, 1833; Roman Catholic (built), 1833-'4; Episcopal, 1834; Unitarian, 1836; New Jerusalem, 1843; Jewish, 1847; Universalist, 1850; Congregational, 1851. The following were the structures the day before the fire; the congregations were widely scattered by the calamity, but most of the church edifices destroyed have since been rebuilt, and the membership is probably greater now than then: Baptist, 20 churches, 8 missions; Christian, 4 societies, 2 churches; Congregationalist, 18 churches, 2 missions; Episcopal, 15 churches, 4 missions; Evangelical, 17 churches; Independent, 1 church, 5 missions; Jewish, 5 synagogues; Lutheran, 6 churches, 1 mission; Methodist, 21 churches; Presbyterian, 19 churches, 8 missions; Roman Catholic, 25 churches, 12 convents and schools; New Jerusalem, 2 churches, 2 missions; Unitarian, 3 churches and one other society; Universalist, 3 churches and a fourth society; Friends, 2 societies; miscellaneous, 4 churches. Total, 156 structures, a large proportion of which were fine stone edifices, 36 Protestant missions or societies not owning buildings, and 12 Catholic convents or schools. Total attendance, 150,000; number of Sunday school scholars, 57,000; value of church property, with lands, $10,850,000, or an average of $69 to each attendant on church worship.—Long before the site of Chicago was visited by a white man, it was a favorite rendezvous for several Indian tribes in succession. The earliest recorded were the Tamaroas, the most powerful of many tribes of the Illini (whence the name Illinois). The word Chicago is Indian, probably corrupted from Cheecaqua, the name of a long line of chiefs, meaning “strong;” also applied to a wild onion that grew plentifully on the banks of the river. The first geographical notice occurs in a map dated Quebec, Canada, 1683, as “Fort Checagou.” It was first visited by Marquette, a French Jesuit missionary, in 1673, who returned and camped near the site during the winter of 1674-'5. It was visited about the same time by Joliet, and subsequently by Hennepin and La Salle, and other French explorers. The first fort was probably built by the French, and abandoned when Canada was ceded to Great Britain. Fort Dearborn was built in 1804 by the United States government, on the south bank of the river, near its mouth. When the war with Great Britain broke out in 1812, the government ordered the fort to be abandoned, fearing it could not be held. On Aug. 15 Capt. Heald marched out with the garrison and others, and when a mile and a half from the fort he was attacked by the Pottawattamie Indians, who killed 26 regulars, 12 militiamen, 2 women, and 12 children, and then destroyed the fort. In 1816 Capt. Bradley rebuilt the fort, which was occupied by the United States till 1837, and then abandoned, as the Indians had removed beyond the Mississippi Oct. 1, 1835. The fort was demolished in 1856, but one of the outbuildings remained till it was burnt down in the great fire. On March 2, 1827, congress granted to Illinois every alternate section of land on each side of the line of the proposed Illinois and Michigan canal, to aid in its construction, to connect Chicago with the head of navigation on the Illinois river. On Jan. 22, 1829, the state organized a board of canal commissioners, with power to lay out towns along the line. Under them James Thompson surveyed the town of Chicago, his first map being dated Aug. 4, 1830; it embraced an area of three eighths of a square mile. In 1831 it contained about 12 families, besides the garrison in Fort Dearborn. The town of Chicago was organized Aug. 10, 1833, with 5 trustees; it contained 560 acres, 550 inhabitants, 29 voters, 175 buildings, and property valued at $60,000; the taxable valuation was $19,560, and the first year's taxes were $48 90. On Sept. 26, 1833, 7,000 Pottawattamies assembled there in council, and signed a treaty to remove beyond the Mississippi; they ceded some 20,000,000 acres to the United States for $1,100,000. Chicago was incorporated as a city March 4, 1837. The first election under the charter was held May 1 following, when W. B. Ogden was chosen mayor. The first census was taken July 1, 1837, when the city contained a population of 4,170. The rapid growth of Chicago in population and commercial importance is without a parallel; while the energy of the citizens is attested by the many gigantic public improvements that have been successfully completed at immense cost.

AmCyc Chicago - after the Fire.jpg

Chicago after the Fire. (Scale, 1 inch to the mile.)

—In October, 1871, Chicago was the scene of one of the most destructive conflagrations of modern times. There had been several unusually large fires on previous days, but on Sunday evening, Oct. 8, the great fire originated in a small wooden barn in De Koven street, in the southern part of the West division, near the river, from the upsetting, as is supposed, of a lighted kerosene lamp. The buildings in that quarter were mostly of wood, and there were several lumber yards along the margin of the river. Through these the flames raged with great fury, and were carried across the South branch by the strong westerly wind then prevailing, and thence swept into the South division, which was closely built up with stores, warehouses, and public buildings of stone, brick, and iron, many of them supposed to be fire-proof. The fire continued all day Monday, and crossed the main channel of the Chicago river, sweeping all before it in the North division, which was occupied mostly by dwellings. The last house was not reached till Tuesday morning, and many of the ruins were still burning several months afterward. The total area burned over, including streets, was 2,100 acres, or nearly 3½ sq. m.; number of buildings destroyed, 17,450; persons rendered homeless, 98,500; killed, about 200. Among the buildings were the court house, custom house and post office, chamber of commerce, gas works, 8 railroad depots, 9 daily newspaper offices, 32 hotels, 10 theatres and halls, 8 public, schools and several branches, 41 churches, 5 elevators containing 1,642,000 bushels of grain, and all the national banks but one. The loss on buildings was $50,000,000, and on personal property and merchandise $140,000,000; total, $190,000,000, of which about $44,000,000 was recovered on insurance. Including depreciation of real estate and loss to business in consequence of the fire, the grand total of pecuniary damage has been estimated at over $200,000,000. The property in the city before the fire was valued at $620,000,000; the loss, therefore, was about one third of the entire property. The total losses by insurance companies amounted to $96,533,721 of which about $6,000,000 was sustained by foreign companies, and the remainder by companies of the United States. In consequence of their losses 57 of these companies were forced to suspend payments. The suffering occasioned by the fire was very great, and elicited prompt expressions of sympathy and otfers of material aid from all parts of the United States, and from various cities of Europe. A relief and aid society was immediately formed to receive and distribute the supplies and funds contributed. According to a report of the society, published Nov. 7, about one month after the fire, $3,500,000 had then been subscribed, of which $2,050,000 had been paid; the society was then aiding 60,000 persons. The legislature of Illinois was promptly convened in extra session, and adopted measures of relief for the city. The whole amount contributed in money, provisions, and clothing for the relief of the sufferers reached nearly $7,000,000. The business of the city was paralyzed but a short time. Before winter many merchants were doing business in extemporized wooden structures, and the rest in dwellings; while the sufferers who could not procure other homes were cared for in board barracks. In a year after the fire a large part of the burnt district had been rebuilt, at an expenditure of $40,500,000, and $4,000,000 worth of buildings were erected outside the fire limits; while the mercantile business and produce movements were much larger than ever before. The work of rebuilding is now (1873) advancing almost as rapidly as in 1872; and scarcely a trace of the disaster will be left in three years from the date of the occurrence, except in the improved character of the new buildings over those destroyed.