Sunday, June 26, 2022

CHICAGO: The Hotel Langham Destroyed by Fire on Saturday Evening, March 21, 1885.

At 8:00 o'clock in the evening of March 21, 1885, fourteen fire engines poured water on the Hotel Langham, at the corner of Adams Street and Wabash Avenue, which was engulfed in flames. The fire originated in one of the tower rooms. At the time, the house's restaurant contained about 100 guests, who were at dinner, and as many more were in their rooms. The people in the restaurant had no problem getting out, but several persons in the upper rooms had very narrow escapes.

The fire spread with uncommon speed, and flames were bursting through the roof before a second alarm was rung. A general alarm was given half an hour after the broke out, but all the engines which could be brought couldn't get the fire under control. 

Mrs. Belknap, an elderly lady, committed suicide by jumping from the fourth story and landing in the alley. Subsequently, a cry was raised that the walls were falling and that Bullwinkle's Fire Insurance patrolmen were inside the building. A portion of the south wall was seen to totter, and it came down with a crash. 
Patrolman John Walsh
Two Bullwinkle's Fire Insurance patrol members barely escaped the tumbling bricks and falling timbers. Two others were pinned fast, but after strenuous efforts, were finally extricated. The legs of both men were severely bruised. Patrolmen Edward Jones, 30, and John Walsh, 32, are believed to have suffocated beneath the walls. 

Policeman Marks saw two domestics at one of the second-story windows after it was supposed all the guests had been rescued. He rushed up a burning staircase and a few moments later appeared, dragging out both women, who had been rendered unconscious by smoke inhalation.

The firemen never ceased their efforts to rescue the two missing patrolmen. In about four hours, they were found in the basement of the building next to the hotel. They were buried under broken flooring and fragments of the fallen wall. They were taken out alive and survived their injuries.

The escape of Mrs. J.A. Murray and the child was almost miraculous. The lady occupied a room on the fifth floor and was unaware of the danger until it was too late to attempt to descend the stairway. She reached the fire escape but at each floor found the hole in the grating too small to admit the passage of herself and her infant. Therefore she was compelled four times, with the flames swirling around her, to lay her baby on the platform, lower herself over the edge, and reach up for the baby. Mrs. Murray reached the ground without assistance and, a quarter of an hour afterward, had wholly recovered from the effects of her traumatic experience. 

The hotel was a total loss and was erected immediately after the great fire. While substantial looking on the outside, it had been called a fire trap. It was formerly known as the Burdick House, the Crawford, and finally, the Hotel Langham.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Saturday, June 25, 2022

Negro owned Chicago repair and gunsmith shop, 1899.

The only Negro owned gunsmith shop in the U.S., in 1899, was located at 2933 South State Street, Chicago, Illinois.
The Negro owner is in front of the counter.
Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Mathon's Fish and Seafood Restaurant, Waukegan, Illinois.

Mathon's Seafood Restaurant was at 6 East Clayton Street in Waukegan, Illinois, at Lake Michigan's shoreline. Mathon's, owned by Mathon Kyritsis, was the only restaurant in Illinois operating their own fishing boats, gathering fresh fish daily for their restaurant. Personally, I loved the restaurant until the last couple of years before they closed. My favorite dishes were the fresh catch of the day, cooked on wood planks.

Fishing is a sport that many residents of Waukegan enjoy at the mile long pier. In it's heyday many residents would arrive in the early mornings of July and August to fish for perch, which were plentiful and always a success at local Friday fish fries.

Many people would see Mathon Kyritsis and his tug boat leave the harbor (4 to 5 am) for the early catch of the day. 

The fresh-caught fish was served at Mathon's restaurant, a block away from the lakefront next to a bait shop and the coal yards which were profitable ventures in their day.

The rail would bring people from other Lakeshore communities along the Sheridan road line to enjoy the fare at Mathon's restaurant. Always packed on Fridays. Residents of the harbor town, and persons that are not native Waukegans, have reported seeing ''the Mathon tugboat'' leaving the harbor in the early mornings and also seen by other boating and fishing enthusiasts.

The name of the tug is visible on the boat, white on a dark background. The tugboat whistle can be heard as the tug puts out to the lake waters to fish. When it vanishes quickly, some boaters and fishermen have reported it's quick disappearance to the local police, thinking that something had happened to the tug, since it vanishes so quickly. Sightings have been reported to the coast guard and local police, several times, over the years.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Herm's Palace vs. Big Herm's, Hot Dog Joints in Skokie, IL.

Herman Gelfond owned both Big Herm's and Big Herm's East (later changed to Herm's Palace, then Herm's Hot Dog Palace), across the street from each other, on Dempster Street, Skokie, Illinois. Herman died at 64 years old in 1986.

In 1974, Rick and Marla Shane bought Herm's Palace from the original owner. Since then, they have passed the daily duties of running the family business onto their sons, Scott and Craig Gelfond.

Is it a myth about the Gelfond brothers being in a feud causing them to split?

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Big Herm's vs. Herm's Palace, Hot Dog Joints in Skokie, IL.

Herman Gelfond owned both Big Herm's and Big Herm's East (later changed to Herm's Palace, then Herm's Hot Dog Palace), across the street from each other, on Dempster Street, Skokie, Illinois. Herman died at 64 years old in 1986.
In 1974, Rick and Marla Shane bought Herm's Palace from the original owner. Since then, they have passed the daily duties of running the family business onto their sons, Scott and Craig Gelfond.

Is it a myth about the Gelfond brothers being in a feud causing them to split?

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

President Lincoln signed Proclamation 102; a call for help in protecting Washington, D.C., on June 15, 1863.

Throughout June 1863, Confederate General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia was on the move. He had pulled his army from its position along the Rappahannock River around Fredericksburg, Virginia, and set out on the road to Pennsylvania. Lee and the Confederate leadership decided to try a second invasion of the North to take pressure off Virginia and to seize the initiative against the Army of the Potomac. The first invasion was on September 17, 1862, but failed when the Federals fought Lee’s army to a standstill at the ‘Battle of Antietam’ aka ‘The battle of Sharpsburg’ in Maryland.

Lee later divided his army and sent the regiments toward the Shenandoah Valley, using the Blue Ridge Mountains as a screen. After the Confederates took Winchester, Virginia, on June 14, they were situated on the Potomac River, seemingly in a position to move on Washington, D.C. Lincoln did not know it, but Lee had no intention of attacking Washington. Lincoln knew that the Rebel army was moving en masse and that Union troops could not be sure about the Confederates’ location.

On June 15, Lincoln made an emergency call for 100,000 troops from the state militias of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Ohio, and West Virginia. Although the troops were not needed, and the call could not be fulfilled in such a short time, it indicated how little the Union authorities knew of Lee’s movements and how vulnerable they thought the Federal capital was.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

By the President of the United States of America
A Proclamation

Whereas the armed insurrectionary combinations now existing in several of the States are threatening to make inroads into the States of Maryland, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, requiring immediately an additional military force for the service of the United States:

Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy thereof and of the militia of the several States when called into actual service, do hereby call into the service of the United States 100,000 militia from the States following, namely: From the State of Maryland, 10,000; from the State of Pennsylvania, 50,000; from the State of Ohio, 30,000; from the State of West Virginia, 10,000—to be mustered into the service of the United States forthwith and to serve for the period of six months from the date of such muster into said service, unless sooner discharged; to be mustered in as infantry, artillery, and cavalry, in proportions which will be made known through the War Department, which Department will also designate the several places of rendezvous. These militias are to be organized according to the rules and regulations of the volunteer service and such orders as may hereafter be issued. The States aforesaid will be respectively credited under the enrollment act for the militia services rendered under this proclamation.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the city of Washington, this 15th day of June, A. D. 1863, and of the Independence of the United States.

By the President:

Friday, June 10, 2022

A Primer About Illinois Highways & Routes.

Illinois was an early leader in providing a numbered highway system. First authorized in 1918, only Wisconsin preceded Illinois, and only by a few months. Michigan followed soon after that.

The original Illinois state highways were simply numbered in order of origination and consisted of little more than numbers placed on poles of existing trails. Before that, important routes had names, such as the "National Home Trails" or the "National Road." 

It wasn't until 1926 that a nationwide system was established. In the first 20-25 years of the 20th Century, several "Auto Routes" or "Trails" were marked by private auto and bicycle clubs and civic organizations. These Trails were inefficient because the roads were routed to and through the towns or businesses that paid to be included on the route.

In 1918 the state legislature let a series of bonds that paid for individual highways between city pairs. While some roads already existed partly, this was the first time an organized road system was built in Illinois. The 1918 "State Bond Issue Routes (SBI)(SBI 1 thru 46) were laid out in somewhat of a regional pattern. SBI 1, 2, and 3 were N-S roads that ran pretty much the length of the state, 4 was a diagonal road from Chicago to St. Louis, and Routes 5 thru 20 were E-W roads throughout the state. The rest (21-46) mainly were connector or regional roads of some importance.

Later, in 1924, another set of bonds was issued, from 47 thru 185. These were used for fill-in routes, connectors, and roads to satisfy local politicians to ensure that every community was well served. As the bonds were let and purchased, the roads were built, and the State Bond Issue number was used to designate the road. The first Illinois Route Marker was a simple state outline with the 1 or 2-digit number inside. There was also a batch of lettered routes, mostly "A" but a couple "B's" and "C's" and one set of "N" and "S" roads. These letters were added to the marker below the number. These letter appended routes were spurs from the main road; the N-S roads were on opposite sides of a local river.
Soon it became necessary to reroute roads, change numbers and add new ones. While the SBI numbers remained the backbone of the route numbering system, there were enough changes to split it into two systems. The SBI numbers were retained as an inventory of roads initially financed from them. While keeping many SBI numbers, the State highway numbering system evolved, grew, and eventually retracted.

Neighboring states also had their numbering systems. While Wisconsin preceded Illinois by a few months, other Midwest states followed suit and established procedures. Michigan followed Illinois in short order, and Indiana was not far behind.

It took the Feds a few years to get into the act. By 1926 many states had their own systems, and occasionally state numbers crossed over the border and were retained by the next state. Most of the time, however, a route that crossed state lines usually changed numbers as it did. The state highway departments and the US Department of Transportation (then called the Federal Highway Administration) cooperated on a standard numbering system that we now know as US Highways. It was referred to as Interstate highways, not to be confused with the modern-day Interstate Highway System. The US Route System is not a federally built, financed, or controlled system, and it is merely a standard numbering system for specific state highways.

US Routes appeared on Illinois roads in 1927 after being approved by the state in 1926. They first appeared on official Illinois maps in 1928. 

Since Illinois and other Midwest states already had an excellent (for the times) paved road system, most US route numbers were just applied to existing State highways as additions to the existing state number. Some of the numbers were changed before posting, most notably US Route-66. Initially set to be US-60, it was altered before being published but not before many maps were printed.
In Illinois, several of the new US Routes were posted. US-66 replaced, for the most part, IL-4 from Chicago to St. Louis, US-40 replaced IL-11, US-30 replaced IL-6, and so on. Mainline US Routes in Illinois were US-6, 12, 14, 20, 24, 30, 32 (replaced mostly by 34), 36, 40, 41, 45, 50, 51, 52, 54, 60, 62 (60 and 62 were and are only in IL for a matter of blocks), 66 and 67. There were several 3-digit US routes, most of which did not survive the 1930s. Illinois probably had more 2-digit US routes than any other state with 21. While US-66 is gone and a couple has been contracted (most notably US-54), the rest remain where they were.

Over the next decade, the redundant state numbers mainly were removed from the newly minted US highways. Other roads were renumbered by extending a different route number to replace a shorter route. It was not uncommon for state numbers to be reused after they were pulled. Later some state highway numbers were changed to avoid conflicts with newer US and Interstate numbers. For example, in 1941, IL-20 was changed to IL-120 since US-20 was built a few miles to the south. The original IL-120 in the Mason City area was changed to IL-119 in 1937 as that road was extended. In turn, that became US-136 in 1956.
On Harlem Avenue near Irving Park Road in Chicago, there was a Rt 42A sign with the route number within an outline of the state. These signs were around in the 1950s and perhaps into the early 1970s. The Rt 42A signs were eventually replaced by square Illinois Rt 43 signs.

In the 1950s, the Interstates were being planned. Now known as the Eisenhower Interstate System, Illinois was a nexus for these new super-highways. While there were already several controlled access roads around the state, including parts of the Illinois Tollway system, most of the Interstates were newly built. Mostly, they replaced US highways, I-55 replaced US-66, I-94 replaced US-41, I-70 replaced US-40, etc. Except for US-66, the US route usually remained on the old road, but most traffic moved to the new facilities.
Two-digit Interstate numbers denote main routes, with even numbers running East-West, and odd numbers running North-South. This rule is not absolute; look at I-94 in Illinois. While I-94 runs N-S in Illinois, it runs East-West in the US as a whole.

Three-digit Interstates are 'loops' (if the first digit is 2,4,6,or 8) or 'spurs' (first digit 1,3,5,7,9) of the main route.

After the Interstate system was nominally complete in the early 1970s, the state cleaned up the route systems and shortened many numbered routes, both US and State. This "Great Purge" removed irrelevant numbers by shrinking the numbered routes or dropping some numbers altogether.

The state route numbers and their history played a big part in the regulated trucking industry. Before being deregulated in the 1970s and 80s, companies were given the right to serve specific areas and use specific roads to get there. The route they served would not change if the highway's number did, so they had to know what roads existed to maintain compliance. The Central Motor Freight Association held an extensive list of the routes in Illinois to assist their members in abiding by their regulated routes.

Unlike Wisconsin, Illinois did not have a coordinated County road system. While many counties use the "National Association of Counties (NACo)" pentagram marked and numbering system, this is a more recent development over the last 20 years.
In the larger metro areas, county roads usually are named and fairly indistinguishable from local roads. Many county roads are named in rural regions on geographic terms, with numbers such as 200N or 450E. These indicate hundredths of a mile from the county line in the direction noted. CR 200N would be an E-W road about 2 miles north of the county line, and CR 450E would be an N-S road 4.5 miles east of the county line. Obviously, most of these numbers would change from county to county.
The NACo system uses letters and numbers, with the lowest designators being in the far NE corner of the state (for E-W roads) and the SW corner of the state (for N-S roads). Lake County, for example, has route 1A, as could any other county on the far north edge of the state. Some counties that use the blue pentagram marker do not use the NACo numbering system; instead, they use whatever numbers they elect.

Illinois Highways Page
Edited by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Monday, June 6, 2022

John R. Hughes, Murder Victim - Podcast

Tackling the 1976 Chicago murder of John R. Hughes. The cold case should have been an easy case to solve — but instead, it became a puzzle that baffled authorities for decades.

There was a dust-up between Italian and Irish teens at a party. Nothing unusual about that, in those neighborhoods of old feuds. “The Italians and the Irish. Bridgeport and Canaryville. Oil and water. It went back as far as anyone could recall,” Jeff Coen, a Tribune editor writes. “It was the same with their fathers and in prior generations.”

These feuds usually erupted in the form of fisticuffs but not on this night, as some from a house party gathered in a neighborhood park to cool off. A green car cruised by and a shot was fired. It hit a 17-year-old named John R. Hughes, the “tall, good-looking football player and member of the student council. … He had college on his mind. He was going places.”

The place he went that night, the last place he would ever go, was Mercy Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 1:20 am on May 15, 1976.

This one-hour audio story is a fascinating look into this cold case. I'm confident you'll enjoy this.

Edited by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Monday, May 30, 2022

A 1905 Advertisement; Lincoln Park Hospital, 500 La Salle Avenue, Chicago, Ill.

Lincoln Park Hospital, located at 500 La Salle Avenue (1332 North La Salle Street today), three blocks south of Lincoln Park, is the finest residence part of the North Side of Chicago, and in its construction, equipment, furnishings, and sanitary environment is unexcelled. The building is a four-story brick and stone structure, rebuilt for its present use, after years of hospital experience, and has a capacity of fifty beds for patients.
Lincoln Park Hospital, 500 La Salle Avenue, Chicago, Ill. 1905
Long Distance Telephone, North 1934

The most exacting surgical cleanliness is maintained at all times and through all parts of the house. The rooms are newly finished, and the building is completely detached on all sides, giving perfect light and ventilation in every room. A new steam plant has been installed. All floors are hardwood, and there are baths on every floor with modern plumbing throughout. Since being completed, the hospital has been inspected by a large number of professional and non-professional men and women, and their criticisms have been those of approval and approbation. Any physician may bring cases here, have full charge of his patients, and prescribe his own treatment.

RATE—Private rooms with general nursing $15, $20, $25, $30, $35 ($1,150 today) per week. Wards with general nursing $8, $15 per week. Special nurse $15 per week. Nurse for cases outside the Hospital graduates $25 per week. The Hospital has equipped an X-Ray and Electro-therapeutical laboratory to aid physicians and surgeons who patronize the Hospital in making or confirming their diagnoses of doubtful cases.

B. S. Henderson, M.D., President
J. A. Raithel, M.D., Sec. and Treas.

Chicago Medical Directory, 1905 Advertisement.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

Lost Towns of Illinois - Brownsville, Illinois.

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

Brownsville was the first county seat of Jackson County from 1817 until 1843 when Brownsville’s courthouse burned down on the night of January 10, 1843, the twenty-seventh anniversary of the birth of the county. Very few records were saved from the flames. This is the reason that so few records of Brownsville’s pioneer days exist.

Brownsville continued to flourish until about 1835 when it began to decline. There were several reasons for this. Doctor Will, its leading citizen, died the previous year and his various enterprises ceased operation. People began settling in the northern and western portions of the county and they demanded a more central county seat.  

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

Thus, in a few years, the town had vanished.

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

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

The Bagel Nosh Deli unlox their new restaurant in Chicago's Rush Street area. (1978-1984)

The Bagel Nosh began in New York City in 1976.

Al Marcus and Sanford Adams co-owned the franchise rights for Illinois and opened the company's 41st restaurant in 1978 at 1135 North State Street in Chicago. They hoped to woo the Rush Street drinking crowd and affluent people living in Chicago's wealthy Gold Coast neighborhood.
1135 North State Street, in the Gold Coast neighborhood of the Near North Side community of Chicago.

The interior was chic-rustic with large circular windows (replaced), lots of thick, rough-cut wood walls, bentwood chairs, industrial steel light fixtures, butcher block tables, and plenty of live hanging plants. A very calming environment with the whole 2nd floor for additional seating for about 60 people. 

They did a bang-up take-out business. The line never stopped, or so it seemed. Customers would line up northbound on State Street, then the line would turn east on Elm Street. Once inside, customers waited in a cafeteria line, finally being confronted with a ceiling-high wall menu that would turn old-time deli owners pickle-green with envy.

The "water" bagels were made behind a glass wall next to a deli counter that customers passed while in line, making the entire area viewable. The bagels were made with high gluten flour. The dough was formed into its doughnut shape by machine, refrigerated until needed, boiled for 30 seconds, and then baked in batches of 35 for 17 minutes at 500° F. The result was a larger, chewier Bagel with a crunchy outside.

Bagels (plain, salt, onion, poppy seed, sesame seed, garlic, cinnamon raisin, pumpernickel, and rye) at 15¢; lox or Nova, and smoked sturgeon sandwich at $3.25; corned beef, roast beef, hot pastrami, tongue, brisket, and turkey sandwiches on your choice of bagel at $2.45; cream cheese, chive cream cheese, vegetable cream cheese, lox cream cheese, whitefish salad, shrimp salad, baked salmon salad, chopped liver, gefilte fish, herring in wine sauce with onions, potato knishes, cheese blintzes, and 'homemade chicken soup' (Yiddish: khoummeyd hindl zup) ...

I was interested in finding out how much a 15¢ bagel in 1978 would cost now. The Inflation Calculator says 15¢ in 1978 is worth 67¢ today. So I called three popular Delis for the cost of one bagel:
    • New York Bagel & Bialy in Lincolnwood charges $1.10 per bagel.
    • Manny's Cafeteria & Delicatessen in Chicago charges $1.50 per bagel.
    • The Bagel Restaurant and Deli in Chicago charges $1.50 per bagel.
The average between the three Delis I called is $1.37. From 15¢ to $1.37 is an increase of 813.33%. 

The lox, Nova lox, and Belly lox (about 1/4 to about 1 lb. of belly lox per salmon, depending upon the size and salmon species) were premium quality flown in weekly from an old fish house in Philadelphia. The same fish house provided smoked fish including sturgeon, sable, chubs, and whitefish.

The food was cooked in view of the customers on one 6-foot, 6-burner flat top, and one 4-foot, 4-burner flat top. One person could handle about 15 egg orders on the 6-foot grill at a time, and on the other grill was a big pile of onions grilling and fresh-cut seasoned hash browns. It was like a fast-paced cooking show with people watching you cook over your shoulder. 

Al Marcus told me why they placed the grills in the front of the restaurant, as the Bagel Nosh does in New York. The grill would be the last point before the customer pays, guaranteeing the customer the hottest food before finding a table or taking the food to go. He also quoted Steak' n Shake, whose famous slogan is "In Sight, It Must Be Right," from the 1930s.

In the first week, thousands of noshers consumed or bought 200 pounds of lox, and 150 pounds of hand-sliced lox. 
Most deli countermen never got the hang of slicing lox this thin. Since lox is sold by weight, slicing it paper-thin would nearly guarantee a customer's return.

Also sold the first week was 300 pounds of corned beef, 130 pounds of pastrami and hot pastrami, 90 pounds of roast beef, 100 pounds of chopped liver, 500 pounds of coleslaw, 600 pounds of cream cheeses, 1,500 pickles, and 16,000 bagels, which were made in the traditional method of boiling first, then baking them.
Lox, Egg, and Onion Omelet.
The best breakfast seller was a 3-egg Lox and Onion omelet or scramble with a bagel and cream cheese, and a lox and cream cheese bagel sandwich during the weekend late-night hours. 

A second Bagel Nosh opened at Plaza Del Prado at Willow and Pfingsten roads in Glenview, Illinois.

When the Bagel Nosh opened, I was working at Wally's Deli in the Milk Pail in Lincolnwood, Illinois, part-time evenings in High School. Al Marcus knew Wally and called him to see if he knew someone who wanted a part-time, 16-hour, weekend job. Wally asked me if I'd like a Saturday and Sunday breakfast and lunch job at the Bagel Nosh, and I would get paid under the table and get free meals while working. 

The hours changed shortly after the Bagel Nosh opened. They opened at 5 am Friday and didn't close until Sunday at 10 pm due to the crowds on Rush Street during the weekends.

After a couple of weekends, I was taught grill cooking and order management. It took me about 150 eggs, but I learned to break four eggs at once with two hands cracking them straight on the grill.

One day one of the countermen handed me a raw cinnamon raisin bagel. "Neil, drop this into the deep-fryer for about 4 minutes, until medium-deep brown. Flip and cook the other side for the same amount of time, then remove and let drain and cool for a minute." I buttered mine... 
WOW... It's Phenomenal. 
deep-fried cinnamon raisin bagel.
I asked Marcus why the deep-fried cinnamon raisin bagel wasn't on the menu. It was on the menu the very next weekend. In my Illinois history group, a few people mentioned just how awesome those deep-fried cinnamon raisin bagels were! 

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

A Discovery of an Indian Effigy Mound in the Lake View Community of Chicago, May Date Before 1,000 AD.

Effigy mounds are sacred burial places built by Indians between 800 AD and 1,000 AD. They are extensive earthworks made from soil, usually about 3 to 7 feet high, forming shapes that can be seen from overhead. Some look like bears, and others resemble lizards or turtles.

Map of American Indian trails and villages of Chicago and of Cook, DuPage, and Will counties in 1804 was drawn by Albert F. Scharf 1900, a surveyor and cartographer who took an interest in Chicago’s 19th-century geography.
We'll look for evidence that a lizard-shaped effigy mound existed in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood, who built it, and why it disappeared. The answers to these questions illustrate how racism among early archaeologists prevented them from getting to the bottom of the effigies’ origins.
Scharf’s map shows the text 'LIZARD' (an “Effigy Mound"), located in Chicago's Lake View neighborhood. Effigy mounds are large earthworks made from soil that form shapes that can be seen from overhead.
Archeologists haven’t confirmed the existence of the effigy mound in Lake View, but there is some archival evidence of its location. 

The Scharf map reconstructed a landscape that had been vastly transformed from an area with a few villages and trails to a major city with several outlying suburbs and roads. Scharf relied on accounts from Chicagoans old enough to remember the area before 1833.

His source for the location of the lizard effigy mound was likely an artist and amateur archaeologist named Carl Dilg, who was obsessed with Chicago’s archaeological history and on a personal quest to document the ancient sites of Chicago. As he wrote in a private letter, Dilg wanted to make sure Chicago’s history was not “smothered and killed.”
The Chicago History Museum (formerly the Chicago Historical Society) has an extensive collection of Dilg’s papers, including notes he made from dozens of excursions to archaeological sites around Chicago in the 1880s and 1890s. They contain multiple references to a mound in Lake View, which he referred to as a “lizard” or a “serpent.” Dilg made several sketches of artifacts found near the mound and a map of the area now known as Lake View, showing the exact location of the mound, which you can see on his map.
In Dilg's sketch of the side profile of the lizard mound,
he compares it to another archaeological site in California.
But Dilg didn’t include a precise description of the mound’s length, width, or makeup.

Still, there seems to be significant circumstantial evidence that he’d actually seen it. For one, his depiction of the mound shows the head facing south and the tail facing north, as though the creature was walking south. This is consistent with other water spirit effigies that archaeologists have found in places like Wisconsin. Dilg’s sketches and notes also show the lizard-shaped mound had another round-shaped mound built adjacent to or directly on the “lizard.” This is consistent with the Potawatomi burial practice: The Potawatomi typically constructed conical burial mounds on the site of older effigy mounds. Finally, effigy mounds have been documented as close to Chicago as Aurora, so it’s possible effigy builders’ could have made it to Chicago.

But we know that there’s no lizard mound in Lake View today, so if it did exist, then what happened to it?

About 15 years after Dilg made his sketches, Charles Brown, a distinguished archaeologist from Wisconsin, visited Chicago to review Dilg’s extensive work. Brown wrote about Dilg’s observations, including one sentence about the Lake View effigy mound:

“A ‘lizard mound’ of doubtful origin was located on Oakdale Avenue and Wellington Street, under the present elevated station,” Brown wrote.

Brown’s notes suggest there was some kind of mound that was probably destroyed by the construction of the elevated train line that eventually became the Chicago Transit Authority’s Brown-Line. His use of the phrase “of doubtful origin” suggests Brown, a leading expert on effigy mounds at the time, doubted the mound in Lake View was a true effigy mound like those 800 to 1,200-year-old mounds in Wisconsin.

But archaeologist Amy Rosebrough says Brown has “been known to be wrong.” Brown’s doubt may simply reflect his own disdain at Dilg’s amateur approach to archaeology or his belief that Chicago was not part of the effigy mound builders’ territory, Rosebrough says.

Without a more complete record, Rosebrough and other archaeologists cannot verify if the Lake View mound was an authentic effigy mound or merely a lump of earth that Dilg’s romantic imagination transformed into an ancient sculpture.

If we assume Dilg was correct and the Lake View mound was, in fact, the same kind of effigy mound found in Wisconsin, that raises another critical question that scholars and archaeologists have been asking for 200 years: Who built it?

Early American archaeologists believed the mounds may have been built by a mysterious “lost race” of “mound builders,” sometimes thought to be an earlier Native American civilization connected to Mayan, Aztec, or Incan cultures. Some have theorized the mound builders weren’t indigenous to the Americas, but instead, they were a lost tribe of Israel or a traveling culture, like the Phoenicians or Egyptians.

These hypotheses, which range from unlikely to absurd, reveal a bias common among white Americans in the 19th century: They didn’t believe contemporary groups like the Ho-Chunk, Potawatomi, or Ojibwe, who all lived in areas with effigy mounds, were sophisticated enough to build them.

Richard C Taylor, a writer who traveled through Wisconsin in the 1830s, was typical of the time. He wrote:

“But to a far different race, assuredly, and to a far different period, must we look when seeking to trace the authors of these singular mounds. … But who were they who left almost imperishable memorials on the soil, attesting to the superiority of their race?”

This prejudice made archaeologists slow to accept the idea that these mounds were built by the ancestors of the Indians who lived near the mounds. But eventually, beginning in the early 1900s, American archaeologists began a more deliberate effort to talk with Native Americans about effigy mounds. Charles Brown and Paul Radin, two Wisconsin-based archaeologists, documented extensive conversations with Ho-Chunk people (then known as the Winnebago tribe).

The current consensus among archaeologists is that the mounds were built by several tribes or groups who might have been closely related and treated mound building as a ceremony. Archaeologists believe the Ho-Chunk of Wisconsin is one of several tribal groups descended from people who built effigy mounds, including the Iowa and Winnebago of Nebraska.

Over the years, the Ho-Chunk have claimed to be the descendants of effigy mound builders. In an interview with the Portage Daily Register in 2016, Bill Quackenbush, the cultural resources officer for the Ho-Chunk, said he prefers not to explain the significance of the mounds to outsiders. He said people should try to appreciate the mounds rather than analyze and understand their exact meaning.  
Digging into effigy mounds was a popular pastime during the late 19th century.
“The culture we live in today and society 100 years ago, they tried to do that,” he said. “They dug through them, took screens out there, shook the dirt, and looked for every little piece of information found. They couldn't find what they were trying to get. They had a preconceived notion in their heads already.”

So early settlers destroyed hundreds if not thousands of ancient sculptures, along with the historical record. They plowed under mounds to farm the land or leveled them and built homes on the sites. In some cases, early settlers claimed to have asked local Native Americans about the origins of the mounds without receiving a clear answer.

John Low, a Potawatomi Indian, and professor of American Indian studies, says he’s suspicious of these accounts, given that they took place during a power struggle over land.

“The natives may have said that because they aren’t going to share with people, they regard as the enemy, the specialness they know about a site.” Or, Low suggests, the white settlers may have displayed selective memory.

“We may have been written out of the narrative,” he says. “If the knowledge the natives have about these sites had been transcribed, gosh, that sounds like the natives have more of a claim, and it sounds icky to walk them out to Kansas or Oklahoma.”

By the late 1800s, when Indians were no longer seen as a threat to westward expansion, white Americans became interested in many aspects of their culture, including effigy mounds. But that interest was not necessarily respectful, especially considering mounds often contain human remains, and archaeologists felt free to dig through burial sites and take home human remains for display. Amy Rosebrough describes the popular pastime of “mounding”:

“You take a family out on a picnic and give the kids a shovel and bucket, and they would dig into a mound and see what was there.”

Unless we find new evidence in an archive somewhere (perhaps missing pages from Carl Dilg’s manuscript), Lake View's “lizard effigy” will remain a mystery. That’s because so much of the historical record was lost when the mounds were destroyed, says scholar and Potawatomi Indian John Low. As a Native American, he feels like the destruction of the mounds represents a desecration and willful disrespect of his culture. But he also sees a universal human tragedy.

“It’s something we should all feel sad about when they’re lost,” he says. “Like when the acropolis is lost. Or the pyramids. Or Stonehenge is lost. These, too, are part of the human record of achievement. What a shame.”


The Chicago Claim Company Restaurant, Chicago, Illinois.

The story of the Chicago Claim Company goes back to 1973. 
Created by Jim Errant at Clark and Belden on Chicago's Northside, the restaurant became an instant hit, known throughout the area for two new restaurant concepts: the build-your-own gourmet burger and the Salad Saloon. The decor followed a southwestern theme, perfect for a restaurant where the burger came to be called the "Motherload."
An actual Miners Pan Menu from The Chicago Claim Company Restaurant signed by artist James Hribar. Depicts a Miner with his pan and a donkey behind him. It has the award sticker dated 1974. 16" diameter 4" deep.
Who's up for a food challenge? Can you eat a 3½ pound burger and the [house-made] chips? In 45 minutes?

In 1979, the Claim Company put down stakes in the suburbs, opening in the relatively new Northbrook Court shopping center in Northbrook, Illinois. Designer Spiro Zakas created a futuristic version of the Chicago restaurant's southwestern concept. While the Northbrook location was much larger than the Chicago restaurant, the new site was still not large enough for the crowds. 
Since the mid-1970s my "Regular" at the Chicago Claim Company: A hamburger cooked medium, with cheddar cheese on an onion roll with sauteed onions, tomatoes, and Teriyaki. Plus a side of Teriyaki.
From My Personal Collection.

In 1981, the Claim Company headed West to the Oakbrook Center. The Claim Company was the group's largest restaurant yet, and it quickly became a hot spot.

Jim Errant's success attracted national interest, and in 1994 he sold the Claim Company to an East Coast company with plans to expand outside the Chicagoland market. The Claim Company continued to thrive during the 1980s and into the 90s. The buyers' expansion plans never came to fruition, and the Claim Company closed its doors in 1998.

Loyal customers mourned its loss as did the former owner. In the autumn of 2009, they opened a new version, named "The Claim Company," dropping Chicago from the name, in Northbrook Court. In designing the new restaurant's look they drew inspiration from the restaurant's previous three locations. In a way, stepping through the doors should feel like a homecoming. The Claim Company is open in Vernon Hills, Illinois, too.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Monday, May 9, 2022

Lost Towns Of Illinois - Daggert, Illinois.

Daggert, Illinois, (Daggett [1]) was a small community in Carroll County located approximately 5 miles south of Mt. Carroll on the east side of today's Illinois Route 78. Daggert existed as a town briefly in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, reaching a peak permanent population of 25 around 1910. In its heyday, the town had a post office, a church, a railroad depot, a one-room schoolhouse, a blacksmith, a hand full of small stores, and a church, all serving the surrounding Salem Township farmers. By the early 1960s, the town had disappeared.

Adam Daggert, his family, and some friends arrived in Carroll County in the early 1830s. He settled near what is now Timberlake and Daggert roads [Satellite Map], listed today as in Mt Carroll, sometime in the 1830s. He built a house on the homestead and began farming the land.

Daggert donated some property for a church; today it's the lot that Trinity Lutheran Church now occupies. He platted a small lot to build a cemetery and buried the three wives he outlived and his Kin.

The Adam Daggert Cemetery in Mt. Carroll, Carroll County, Illinois, holds nine Daggert family members, sorted by year of death:

Anna Katharina Weitzel Daggert (Sep 8, 1817 – July 12, 1849)
    Anna Elisa Daggert (Aug 1819 – Feb 1866)
       A William Daggert (May 1, 1868 – Nov 19, 1868)
          John B Daggert (Nov 20, 1869 – Apr 19, 1872)
             Adam Daggert (Aug 24, 1809 – May 2, 1879)
                Margaretha Daggert (May 1823 – Mar 1879)
                   John Daggert (Dec 29, 1842 – Mar 4, 1920)
                      Clara K Daggert (Dec 27, 1879 – Jun 19, 1939)
                         Katherine A Daggert (May 30, 1877 – Jun 21, 1956)

Adam built a one-room schoolhouse to educate his five children. The Daggert School remained active, according to Carroll County registration records, through at least 1948. 

Upon Adam's death in 1873, his two oldest sons divided the property. Walter, the younger son, kept the parcel with the family house on it while Henry, the older son, took the western half of the property.

Henry's land was adjacent to a trail that ran to Mt. Carroll, the county seat, five miles north. The big, ridged hill in the northwest corner of the farm, with several creeks cutting through it, reduced the amount of arable land (capable of being plowed and used to grow crops). Henry cleared part of the hilltop to open access to another field. He built a house on the homestead along a road running along the northernmost property line, a short walk away from his brother's farm.

In the mid-1800s, with a sturdy teem carriage, on a dry day and with the road in good shape, it would take around an hour to get to Mt. Carroll from Henry's homestead. Mt. Carroll was the nearest post office and the county seat. With a railroad connection and college, Mt. Carroll was home to several merchants and small manufacturing firms. But most Salem Township residents couldn't afford a fine carriage, and most walked or drove farm wagons into town when they could. A trip to Mt. Carroll could easily take an entire day during the winter and spring thaw if mother nature allowed it.

Before Rural Free Delivery (RFD) [2], which first appeared in 1896, it was common for contractors to arrange for mail pick up for a fee. The contractor would bring the mail to his place, sort it, and notify the recipient when they had packages or letters to pick up. This service would save many miles for communities far away from the U.S. Post Office. 

Adam Daggert had done this starting in the 1830s. Before founding the Mt. Carroll post office, he would pick up mail from Polo, Illinois, the closest office at the time. Adam did not read English, so he would leave the mail and packages in a pile for his neighbors to sort out. Henry also supplemented his farm income with mail contracting and running a small local store.

Meanwhile, hundreds of miles away, and without his help, events would change Henry’s store into something much bigger. The Pacific Railway Act of 1862 (for building the transcontinental railroad) defined three cross-country rail corridors, starting on the West coast and ending at a major mid-continent river. The Act was written for a world where river traffic was king, but by the late 1860s, all three lines needed a rail connection to the east. The Union Pacific built and bought lines for a connection to Chicago. The Southern Pacific met the Mississippi at New Orleans, which already had connections to Chicago and the East. But the only connections available to the Northern Pacific, completed in 1883 and ending at the Mississippi in Minneapolis, were via one of two competing railroads, both able to adjust pricing to rout freight and passengers over their own lines bypassing the Northern Pacific.

The Northern Pacific needed a route to Chicago to avoid being isolated from eastern markets. Northern Pacific took control of the Burlington railroad (Chicago, Burlington, and Quincy) to build a route from Aurora to Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Burlington consolidated smaller railroads they already owned in Illinois, and other lines on the east side of the Mississippi into the Burlington & Northern Railroad were purchased. To close a nearly ninety-mile gap between the Chicago area railroads and the river, they built a line in 1886 across northwestern Illinois, from Rochelle to the Mississippi River at Savanna, Illinois. From conception to completion, the construction took a little over a year. With no time for fancy engineering, the new route ran along river valleys and flatlands next to East Johnson Creek in Carroll County. The new railroad cut diagonally through Henry's property, following the creek near the base of the hill where he lived.
This photograph of Daggert Station was taken around 1900. The gentleman in the foreground is identified as Henry Daggert.
The railroad agreed to build the “Daggert Station.” Henry plotted a village at the high point overlooking the tracks, and he even marked the exact location for his future store.
An 1893 map of Salem Township showed the location of the shops and the Daggert station in Daggert. In exploring the property in the late 1960s, I found several old, shallow foundations in the area marked "Stores" The triangular slice of property containing the town still exists.

Henry's application for a Daggert Post Office was granted, with Henry Daggert named the first postmaster. The Daggert train depot housed the post office.

When the Burlington & Northern line opened in 1886, Daggert was a regular stop for four passenger trains daily, two eastbound and two westbound, connecting it with Chadwick, Rochelle, and Chicago to the east and Savanna, Illinois, and Minneapolis, Minnesota to the west.

This 1893 map shows Daggert's property with a road running east from today's Highway 78, leading to Henry's homestead and connecting to the road to his brother's home. Close to today's highway, the map is labeled "Stores" along the route. In 1969 I lived on the property, and while exploring behind my house, I found several shallow (18 inches deep) 10x10 foot foundations, some rock-walled, lining both sides of a clear broad path in this same area. I believe they were remnants of the town's shopping and residential area.

Census data from the period suggests that Daggert reached its peak population shortly after the turn of the 20th century. The town itself was never clearly broken out from Salem township data. A review of occupations in the enumeration district shows that the number of non-farm workers peaked in the 1910 census, most of them counted in the area near Henry's farm that corresponded to the town of Daggert. There appear to have been two merchants (one was Henry's son John), a milliner, a teacher, two ministers, a doctor, two lawyers, a banker, a real estate agent, and a blacksmith. About a dozen railway employees were listed, primarily laborers, although one was a railway telegrapher. A resident self-identified as a hotel clerk, suggesting there must have been some lodging.

The decline of Daggert from this point on is told by the railway's schedules and timetables and explains how Daggert disappeared.

In 1909 the trains that stopped at Daggert were cut to two per day. Later, the route was demoted to Chicago to Savanna mixed line, passenger and freight, and ending direct trains to Minneapolis and the west. In 1915 the schedule was cut to one train a day, and by 1924, Daggert was reduced to a flag stop.

As late as 1927, there were still two general merchandise stores in the town. On November 26, 1927, the Thomson Illinois Review reported that Daggert's store was held up by two "yeggs" (a burglar) the previous Saturday night at closing time, and their take was $12.00 ($200 in 2022).

In the early 1930s, Burlington realigned their right of way, moving it to a newly laid track on the property's north boundary, shortening the route. The old right of way was abandoned, and the Daggert depot was not moved to the new tracks. Although it appeared for years in Burlington's list of stations, Daggert was no longer an actual Burlington stop. The creation of the new tracks doomed Henry's farm.

Census data also marked the town's decline. The number of non-farm occupations decreased from the 1910 census and all the censuses that followed. By 1940, only one merchant, a general storekeeper, was listed. The rest of the residents were non-farm occupations, except for a teacher and a minister, who had apparently left the area.

In 1907, just before rural free delivery (RFD) started in Illinois, the Daggert post office was merged with Mt. Carroll's post office, and the Daggert office was closed.

Henry passed away in 1912. Of his ten children, only one daughter had ever married. The remaining sons and spinster daughters soldiered on, but when they were gone, the farm was gradually disassembled with no progeny (descendants), and the land sold piecemeal. John, the merchant, passed in 1935.

A triangular 13-acre parcel of land was defined by Illinois Route 78 to the west, the new Burlington right of way to the north, and the old right of way to the south containing an old country store and some old foundations was all that was left of Daggert.

One store continued, run by the Hartman brothers, continued business through at least the 1950s. Henry's leveled field north of the building, which he turned into a baseball field in an attempt to make Daggert a destination and, by the late 1930s, became the first lighted baseball field in northwestern Illinois. Eventually, the property was sold to a gentleman from Thomson, Illinois, who converted the building for residential use.

The triangular property that was once the site of Daggert's has been redeveloped into a more extensive private residence. After nearly collapsing in the early 1970s, the old store building was rebuilt and painted, and the structure was stabilized. A new house was built behind it, in the area where I had found the old foundations. The streams in the back of the property have been dammed, creating an artificial lake. The old baseball field is green, mowed, and young trees and a garden were planted.

Author's Note: In the late 1960s, I taught elementary school in a rural area south of Mt. Carroll. I rented the old store building and the associated property as my residence. While living there, a close friend and former roommate living in the area, John MacDevitt, introduced me to the local farmers, some of them descended from the original settlers. They were the ones who first told me about the old town that once had existed at the site where I lived. Their stories, some verifiably true, others quite fantastic, started me on a lifelong interest in documenting Daggert's history.

By Ken Molinelli, amateur historian, storyteller, and former Daggert resident.
Edited by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

[1] "Daggett" - The Burlington Railroad misspelled the station name as "Daggett" in its original train schedule, an error that was carried forward from 1886 until the station was abandoned.

[2] Rural Free Delivery (RFD) service began in the United States in 1896 to deliver mail directly to farm families. Before RFD, rural inhabitants had to pick up the mail themselves at sometimes remote post offices or pay a local private express company to pick up their mail and packages from the post office and deliver it to their door.