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of vast forests, and mountains of stone, there were used sixty-two millions of brieks, made from the clay strata underlying the prairie.
The growth of the population of Chicago may best be illustrated by the following census enumerations :
Some idea may be gained of the vast increase and volume of business here from a statement of the sales made by the wholesale dealers and manufacturers. The amounts of such sales were as follows:
The great fire of October, 1871, was one of the mos terrible visitations which any Christian city ever endured. Late on Sunday evening (October 8), as the citizens were going home from their churches, a fire broke out in a cow-stable, in a squalid quarter of the city, probably resulting from some unrevealed act in a drunken frolic which was going on in an adjacent Irish hut. For many weeks a drought had afflicted all this region, and for thirty-six hours a strong south-west wind had been blowing, which drove the flames direct forward to and through the very heart of the city. This lane of death, not more than eighty feet wide, cleft its way with startling rapidity, and the eddies caused by the intense heat spread new disasters on every side. Showers of burning brands were borne onward by the stormy wind, and fell among the buildings beyond the river; and the contest was transferred from a region of wooden houses and lumber-yards to the splendid hotels, shops, and offices of the central section. It was no longer an affair of a single fire-a score of blocks, widely separated, were in flames at once. The destruction was aided by the wooden side-walks, then in common use, along which the fire ran from street to street, levelling everything in its course. The mastery gained by the baleful element was absolute; its manifestations were unspeakably terrible. The roaring red columns shot high into the night air, and then bent forward to strike buildings far in advance, while showers of sparks fell everywhere.
The firemen were provided with powerful steam-engines, and faced their work without blenching, but so rapid was the advance of the enemy that they were driven back from point to point, and several of the engines were destroyed before they could be withdrawn. The great alarm-bell in the Court-House dome tolled heavily, until that building sank under the red
The prisoners who had been confined in the cells below were released, and trooped through the streets in dangerous freedom. Feeling that the city was doomed, thousands of men were working to save furniture and goods, but these also were melted down on the streets and squares where they had been piled. At last it became a question of saving their own lives, of preserving their wives and children. The streets were massed with flying myriads
THE GREAT FIRE.
women and children bewailed their lost estate, while swept along they knew not whither,the ponderous engines rushed through the crowds to take up new positions, and the roar and crackle of the advancing flames were overborne, from time to time, by the booming of gunpowder, where houses were being blown up in the hope of staying the fire by offering it a worse desolation. At three in the morning the destroyer leaped across the main stream of the Chicago River, and took possession of that extensive district known as the North Division, which had been considered secure from its advance. Then the terror of midnight deepened into a wild panic, a pitiless débandade. The bridges were choked with wagons and passengers entangled in hopeless masses, and scores of people were precipitated into the dark stream below. Others were beaten down by the flying brands, or were smothered under clouds of dense hot smoke. There was a belief in the minds of many that the Day of Wrath itself had
The better classes were stupefied with terror and grief—the dregs of society, the depraved and criminal classes, maudlin with liquor, and wild with excitement, attacked what the fiery sea had spared. Robbery and ribaldry were in full carnival. Fireproof buildings, entirely of stone and iron, crumbled and fell in chaotic heaps under a surrounding heat like that of a blast-furnace; the great gas-works exploded ; 98,000 homeless people were scattered on the prairie ; and finally the water-works themselves, the only means by which the fire might be stayed, were swept away, and left Chicago entirely defenceless.
Thousands of people on the North Side fled far out on the prairie, but other thousands, less fortunate, were hemmed in before they could reach the country, and were driven to the Sands, a group of beach-hillocks fronting on Lake Michigan. These had been covered with rescued merchandise and furniture. The flames fell fiercely upon the heaps of goods, and the miserable refugees were driven into the black waves, where they stood neck-deep in chilling water, scourged by sheets of sparks and blowing sand. A great number of horses had been collected here, and they too dashed into the sea, where scores of them were drowned. Toward evening the Mayor sent a fleet of tow-boats, which took off the fugitives at the Sands.
When the next day dawned, the prairie was covered with the calcined ruins of more than 17,000 buildings, including seventy-five churches and ecclesiastical buildings, valued at £600,000; nearly all the newspaper offices; nine theatres; the Academy of Design, with 300 paintings; the priceless collections of the Academy of Sciences; much of the shipping in the river; seventeen breweries, valued at €100,000; seventeen hotels; six great railway termini; 1,631,000 bushels of grain; 80,000 tons of coal; 50,000,000 feet of lumber ; and vast quantities of other stores; and nearly all the public buildings pertaining to the city and the nation. On the ruins of Booksellers' Row, where more than a million books were held in stock, but one fragment of literature was found—a charred leaf of a Bible, on which were the words (Lamentations i. 1, 2):
“ Ilow doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! how is she become as a widow ! ” “ She weepeth sore in the night, and her tears are on her cheeks.”
This was the greatest and most disastrous conflagration on record. The burning of Moscow, in 1812, caused a loss amounting to £30,000,000; but the loss at Chicago was in excess of this amount. The Great Fire of London, in 1666, devastated a tract of 136 acres, and destroyed 13,000 buildings; but that of Chicago swept over 1,900 acres, and burned more
than 17,000 buildings. The loss of property amounted to £39,000,000; and 250 human brings were destroyed in the flames.
But there was no folding of the hands in grief, no waiting for languid tears, on the part of the men of Chicago. The danger of distress from hunger and nakedness was averted by the generous charities of American, Canadian, British, and German cities, which flowed in with a deep and rapid current, until over £1,400,000 had reached the stricken community. New York gave £200,000; Boston, £83,000; London, more than £60,000; and even Canton, in China, sent her relief contribution. Meantime, ten thousand busy workers were planning and beginning the re-construction ; and the bricks from the fallen walls were not allowed to cool before they were piled in new foundations and façades. The amount of insurance on the ruined district was £19,000,000, but the strain was so sharp and sudden that many companies were forced to fail, and only £7,600,000 were paid over to the sufferers by fire. One year after the Great Fire, there had been rebuilt, in the South Division alone, 637 structures, valued at more than £9,000,000. Meantime architects swarmed at every corner, and labourers poured into the city so rapidly that its population was perceptibly increased. The buildings then crected constitute the external figure of New Chicago, and worthily shelter the great industries and commerce of the city. In the beginning brick was universally used, as a better defence against fire; and all the constructions in the first four months were of this durable but plain material. Afterwards, more ornamental materials were used—the marble of Joliet and Athens, the fine sandstones of Ohio, and stone from the quarries of Lake Superior.
The commerce of this port exceeds that of any other city on the Great Lakes, although Milwaukee, Detroit, Cleveland, Buffalo, and Toronto also are very large and important shipping points. The number of vessels arriving here annually is nearly 12,000, with a tonnage of 4,000,000; and the clearances are of equal magnitude. The Chicago River is about forty miles long. At one mile from its mouth the stream divides into two forks, cach almost at right angles with the part flowing into the lake, and the navigable channels of these, deepened and widened at considerable cost, form a great ditch, six miles long, 150 feet wide, and ten to fifteen feet deep, and nearly parallel with Lake Michigan. The mile-length of the main stream, flowing eastward into the lake, divides the easterly part of the city into the two great divisions known as the North Side and the South Side ; and the remaining wards lying to the westward, across the two forks, are called the West Side.
The thirty-six bridges which cross the river within the city limits are so constructed as to swing on pivotal piers built in the centre of the channel, in order that vessels can pass them easily. But so nearly unbroken is the current of commerce flowing along these narrow waters, that communication between the different parts of the city was often cut off for long periods, and the streets leading to the bridges were blockaded by lines of delayed carriages and people. This great and growing evil was happily relieved by the excavation of two tunnels under the river, the one connecting the South Side and the West Side (in 1869), the other from the North Side to the South Side (in 1871). Each of these contains double roadways for vehicles, and a broad side-walk for pedestrians, and is kept well lighted. The length of these tunnels is something less than a third of a mile each. In earlier times, the only conveyances across the river were the bark-canoes of the Indians.
Afterwards, floating bridges were built, but these excited the ire of the sailors,
VIEWS IN CHICAGO. 1, Court-House ; 2, State Street N., from Madison Street ; 3, Interior of Chamber of Commerce ;
4, Chamber of Commerce; 5, Custom-House and Post-Offc.
and sometimes were deliberately eut in two by vessels running before a free wind. The present system of swinging bridges is unsatisfactory, mainly because they are so often open for the passage of vessels that communication between the trans-fluvial districts is impeded for long periods. Sometimes, after long adverse winds on Lake Michigan, hundreds of vessels pass into the river in a single day, making an almost unbroken procession. The citizens lok forward hopefully to the day when the last of the bridges shall have been removed, and when a series of tunnels shall underlie the harbour-stream.
The straight lake-front of the city is deroid of docks and piers, and all the shipping is obliged to load and discharge in the narrow river. There is, however, a capacious outer harbour, or nadstead, formed by a Government breakwater, more than a mile long, parallel with the shore This structure breaks the main force of the heary gales which sweep over the lake, and potats the anchorage off the mouth of the river. At the harbour-mouth stanis a tall iron lighthouse, to guide in belated reseals on the lake. The immens Niets which sail back and forth upon these in and sas are manned by a hardy and virus rave of mariners, for the fnqueney of strong gates makes navigation often dheut and dangen us, and there is always a lee-shor not far awar. Vaar of the vessels wah nare the blue xas ar ką wn as “canalles," being so constructed as to carry the last poble amount of fight with which they can pass tånagh the Weland Canal. Tie awkwani arks Labour heavily in a nehen, and sometimes founder in the