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.

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.

The lox, Nova lox, and Belly lox (about 1/4 to 1 lb. of belly lox per salmon, depending upon the size and the 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 smaller grill were big piles of onions grilling and fresh-cut and 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, or 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! 

Copyright © 2022 by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D. 
#Jewish #JewishThemed #JewishLife

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. 

Saturday, May 7, 2022

Ora Snyder, Chicago's Candy Queen.

Since the late 1800s, Chicago was known as the "candy capital of the world."

Chicago has many ties to the chocolate industry. Charles "Carl" Frederick Günther, known as "The Candy Man," opened his own candy factory and store at 125 South Clark Street in Chicago in 1868. He originated and introduced caramels, a staple product of most candy factories ever since.

The World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 featured a chocolate pavilion, a cocoa mill, a 38-ft. chocolate statue, and German chocolate-processing machines on display and available for sale. Milton Hershey purchased one of these chocolate-making machines and used it to make chocolate back in his home state of Pennsylvania. The first Hershey bar was produced in 1900. Hershey's Kisses were developed in 1907, and the Hershey Bar with almonds was introduced in 1908.

By the early 1900s, Chicago was home to over one thousand candy companies. The National Confectionery Association and The Manufacturing Confectioner magazine were founded in Chicago.

Emil J. Brach opened “Brach's Palace of Sweets” on North Avenue and Halsted Street in Chicago in 1904 and sold mainly chocolate bars and an almond nougat confection. After World War II, Brach's had more than 1,700 product lines.
Brach’s Confections, "Brach's Palace of Sweets," Chicago.
Johnson’s Candy Company developed Turtles candy in 1918 when a traveling salesman showed a piece of candy to one of the chocolate dippers because it looked like a turtle. In 1923, the candy maker’s stores dropped the "Johnson’s" name and was renamed DeMet’s, Inc., located at 177 North Franklin Street, Chicago. DeMet’s immediately trademarked the name "Turtles."
The first Fannie May candy shop was opened at 11 North LaSalle Street in 1920 by H. Teller Archibald, a prominent Chicago racehorse owner. The business was booming—by 1935, it had grown to 48 retail shops in Illinois and surrounding Midwest states. Key to the company’s success was its collection of decades-old candy recipes that, over the years, it refused to update or modernize. In 1946, Fannie May created “Pixies,” their most popular product. Since 2017 the company is currently owned by "Ferrero SpA" in Italy.
The first Fannie May Candies store opened in 1920 at 11 North LaSalle Street in Chicago.

Ferrara Pan, a Chicago-based company’s claim to fame, was the introduction of Bit O’ Honey in 1924, a honey-flavored taffy product with bits of almond embedded throughout. 
Aurora “Ora” Henrietta Hanson was born in 1876 in Michigan City, Indiana. When she achieved renown as a businesswoman, her origin story appeared in dozens of newspaper and magazine articles: her mother died when she was 3 years old, leaving her and her siblings with their sea captain father. Not allowed to have store-bought candy, young Ora learned to make confections for the family.
Aurora “Ora” Henrietta (Hanson) Snyder.
She married William Allen Snyder in 1894 and had one daughter, Edith. In 1909, William became ill, leaving Ora to consider how she might support the family should he not survive. She got to work making candy at home to sell at a local school, and her reputation grew enough to seek out other opportunities to sell her candy in Chicago. In 1910, she rented a nine-foot-wide store in the Hamilton Club Building.

From the start, Snyder’s business model came from her personal experience: people buy what they like. She focused less on her competitors and more on who her customers were and what they wanted. She gave out free samples to entice sales.

Another keen observation was that men bought more candy than women and preferred chewier and saltier varieties. She expanded her commercial ventures by opening new shops, not in shopping districts but in male-dominated business areas such as the Board of Trade Building.
Mrs. Snyder’s Homemade Candies Brochure.
Mrs. Snyder marketed her brand to emphasize that she was a real person who cared about quality and her customers. Framed photographs of her hung in each shop with the message “Mrs. Snyder thanks you.” Early on, she recognized the benefits of pre-packaged candies and intentionally developed no-frills packaging.
Mrs. Snyder’s candy boxes bear her seal of approval and the words, “I can’t make all the candy in the world, so I just make the best of it!”

By the early 1920s, Mrs. Snyder’s had expanded to five locations, including a seven-story building at 119-21 North Wabash Avenue.
Vintage candy tin from Mrs. Snyder's Candy Shops. The tin features a Noblewoman being serenaded by the court musician.

In addition to her business, Snyder helped found the Associated Retail Confectioners of the United States, serving as their President between 1930 and 1932. She was also a Chicago Business and Professional Woman’s Club member and regularly gave speeches to similar groups.

By 1932, Mrs. Snyder's Candies had eleven downtown stores:
  • 2030 East 71st Street, Chicago.
  • 20 South Dearborn Street, Chicago.
  • 61 West Jackson Boulevard, Chicago.
  • 8 South LaSalle Street, Chicago.
  • 331 South LaSalle Street, Chicago.
  • 222 West Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago.
  • 406 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago.
  • 218 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago.
  • 1813 West Montrose Avenue, Chicago, IL. (H.Q. & Kitchens)
  • 65 West Randolph Street, Chicago.
  • 119-21 North Wabash Avenue, Chicago.
  • 130 South Wabash Avenue, Chicago.
  • 79 West Washington Street, Chicago.
  • 104 North Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, IL.
  • 716 Church Street, Evanston, IL.
  • 1739 West Howard Street, Evanston, IL.
Ora Snyder's business instincts kicked in when she set up five shops at the Century of Progress International Exposition for the fair's second year in 1934. One was on the western approach to the 23rd Street bridge, and the four other shops were on the south of the wide promenade connecting the mainland with Northerly Island, just east of the Streets of Paris. 

Each store featured a candy kitchen in full operation, separated by large plate glass windows for visitor viewing. The favorite feature of the stores was the cutting-edge air conditioning and an ice cream machine. Air conditioning was still a novel feature in 1934, and it drew large crowds seeking relief from the summer heat, but it also kept the candy from melting and the workers from heatstroke.
Shoppers at Mrs. Snyder's Candy Shop on South Michigan Avenue, Chicago. 1927

Soon after, newspaper headlines announced, “Mrs. Snyder Decides to Air Condition all of her Stores” after her success at the World's Fair.
Ora Snyder (far right) built a candy empire earning the monicker "Chicago's Candy Queen."

Ora Snyder continued to be active in the business until 1947, when she stepped down as head of her company due to illness. She died in Chicago in 1948 at 72, leaving behind sixteen shops in the Chicagoland area and hundreds of employees.

William Snyder served as Chairman of the Board for Mrs. Snyder’s until he died in 1955. The business remained in the family with son-in-law Seymour W. Neill and grandson William J. Neill until it became part of Fannie May in 1967.  

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Chicago's Love Affair with Live Oysters Began in 1835.

New Englanders settled in Chicago, bringing with them a taste for oysters. Chicago had become a huge oyster town, with sizeable multilevel oyster houses. These houses would have a dance hall, lunchroom, formal dining, and taprooms in one massive building.
Shell Oysters.
Delivered by sleigh from New Haven, Connecticut, the first fresh oysters in Chicago were served in 1835 at the Lake House Hotel on Kinzie Street. The Lake House Hotel establishment was our city's first foray into (5-Star) fine dining and offered these East Coast imports to their well-heeled clientele. It was the first restaurant to use white tablecloths, napkins, menu cards, and toothpicks. 

This spurred Chicago's earliest love affair with the oyster. By 1857, there were seven "Oyster Depots" and four "Oyster Saloons" in the city. 

Chicago's population in 1860 was 109,000. Peaking in the Gilded Age of the 1890s, with a population of just over a million people and waning with Prohibition, oyster consumption was plentiful in old Chicago.

The Boston Oyster House in Chicago offered no fewer than 42 oyster selections, divided among "Select," "New York Counts," and "Shell Oysters." In 1893, a dozen raw oysters were 25¢; if you ordered the same dozen fried, the price doubled to 50¢. The most expensive was broiled oysters (60¢ a dozen with celery sauce or 75¢ with mushrooms).
Oysters Six Ways.

Believe it or not, Ice Cream parlors also served oysters because they had all that ice.

In the 1890s, express-service refrigerated train cars shipped oysters and other perishable foods nationwide. The vehicles did not come into general use until the turn of the 20th century.

The oysters were kept alive on ice while being transported. If an oyster's shell opens, they die. Dead oysters carry some very dangerous bacteria for humans.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Lost Towns of Illinois - East Wenona, Illinois.

The Village of East Wenona was a village in Osage Township, LaSalle County, Illinois. East Winona was located on the eastern border of the city of Wenona (Wenona was incorporated in 1859) which is in Marshall County.

The village was incorporated on May 7, 1908. Wenona had a population of 367 in 1910 and 333 in 1920. The post office address was in Wenona. Between 1925 and 1927 the village of East Wenona was annexed by Wenona.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.

Lost Towns of Illinois - Shermerville, Illinois.

In 1833 Joel Sterling Sherman and his family bought 160 acres of land in the northwest quarter of Section 10 for $1.25 per acre; Northbrook's downtown is now located on this site.
Soon after Mr. Sherman bought that land the area was named Shermerville after Mr. Frederick Schermer who donated the land for the first railroad station (Schermer Station and later Shermer Station). By the 1870s, the region was a farm town with well-established brick yards which prospered during the rebuilding that followed the Great Chicago Fire in October of 1871.

In 1901 following a close referendum, the town was incorporated as the Village of Shermerville with about 60 homes and 311 residents. The village had five saloons, a meat market, a coal and feed store, a general store, a harness store, a stonecutter, and a railroad station. Shermerville gained notoriety during its early years for boisterous gatherings at its inns and taverns. By 1921, residents felt that the Shermerville name had a bad reputation.

In 1923 the Citizens Club of Shermerville started a movement to change the name of the village and asked residents to submit new names for the village. A postcard listing several choices was then sent to residents for them to vote for their favorite. Northbrook, the name submitted by Edward Landwehr, was the one chosen. A petition signed by one hundred twenty-six residents was presented to the Board of Trustees asking them to change the name of the Village to Northbrook. At that time there were 500 residents.

Compiled by Dr. Neil Gale, Ph.D.