Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mary Todd Lincoln - In the midst of the Chicago Fire.

After the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and his passing on April 14, 1865, Mary Todd Lincoln (Abe's wife) departed Washington by train to Chicago to live with Tad (son) in the Tremont House. Later Mary moved to the Hyde Park Hotel, but in 1866 she purchased a home at 375 W. Washington in Chicago. This home was located between Willard (later known as Ann) and Elizabeth Streets. 
In May of 1867 Mary rented her home and moved to the Clifton House at the southeast corner of Wabash and Madison. Later in the same year Mary moved back to her old neighborhood and lived at 460 W. Washington, across the street from Union Park. Again in 1868 Mary stayed at the Clifton House. 

In May of 1871, after spending several years in Europe, Mary and Tad returned to Chicago and lived with son Robert at his home at 653 South Wabash Avenue (today's address on the 1200 block of South Wabash Avenue). She soon moved out and was back at the Clifton House. Tad died in the Clifton House on Saturday morning, July 15, 1871, after a long illness he contracted in Europe. 

Mary Todd Lincoln was staying at Robert Lincoln's house on Wabash when the Chicago Fire began on October 8, 1871. Roberts house was one block south and two blocks east of the burnt area. Robert was home with her, although he left to rush to his law office at 154 Lake Street, Chicago in the Marine Bank Building, which was destroyed by the fire, to try to save what he could (including some of his father's letters).

Because of all the smoke the neighborhood panicked and rushed to the lakefront to avoid the smoke and fire burning just a block away. It's unclear if Mary stayed at home or if she when with neighbors to the lakefront. Both Mary and Robert survived as did Roberts house.

In 1874 Mary was living at the new Grand Central Hotel on LaSalle, St. On April 6, 1874, she sold her old home on Washington Street.
NOTE: All addresses in this story are before the 1909 & 1911 Chicago street renaming and renumbering. See all three original documents in the Digital Research Library of Illinois History®. 

2 comments:

  1. Why did she move so much? I've heard the stories of mental health issues. I wonder if any of these houses still stand today.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes she did have mental issues. In fact I j6st gathered info for a post.

    ReplyDelete

The Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal™ is rated PG-13. Please comment accordingly.
Comments not on the posts topic will be deleted as will advertisements.