Features Of Chicago
( Originally Published 1900 )
Chicago is the world's greatest grain, lumber and cattle market. It attracts immigrants from every-where, and all flourish in native luxuriance, although occasionally they are compelled to bow to the power of the law by the military arm when civil forces are exhausted. Everything seems to go on without much hindrance, and thus this wonderful city secures its rapid growth and completely cosmopolitan character. While proud of their amazing .progress, the people seem generally so engrossed in pushing business enterprises and piling up fortunes that they have little time to think of much else. Yet somebody has had opportunity to plan the adornment of the city by a magnificent series of parks and boulevards encircling it. The broad expanse of prairie was low, level and treeless originally, but abundant trees have since been planted, and art has made little lakes and miniature hills, beautiful flower-gardens and abundant shrubbery, thus producing pleasure-grounds of rare attractions. Michigan Avenue and Drexel and Grand Boulevards, leading to the southern system of parks and Lake Shore Drive on the north side of Chicago River, are the finest residential streets. The huge Auditorium fronting on Michigan Avenue was erected at a cost of $3,500,000, includes a hotel and theatre, and is surmounted with a tower rising two hundred and seventy feet, giving a fine view over the city and lake. Out in front is the Lake Park, with railways beyond near the shore, and a fine bronze equestrian statue of General John A. Logan, who died in 1886 and is buried in the crypt beneath the monument. Michigan Avenue begins at Chicago River alongside the site of old Fort Dearborn, now obliterated, and it stretches far south, a tree-lined boulevard adorned by magnificent residences.
Chicago River, with its entrance protected by a wide-spreading breakwater, is the harbor of the city, and, like its railways, carries the trade. Tunnels con-duct various streets under it, and a multitude of bridges go over it, all of them opening to let vessels pass. They are mostly swinging bridges, but some are ingenious constructions, which roll, and lift and fold, and in various curious ways open the channel for the shipping. Huge elevators line the river banks, with vessels alongside, into which streams of grain are poured, while multitudes of cars move in and out, under and, around them, bringing the supply from the farm to the storage-bins. In the business section, as elsewhere, the streets are wide, thus accommodating the throngs who fill them, and there are fine city and national buildings, a new Post-office of large size and imposing architecture being in course of construction. The Chicago Public Library, completed in 1897, is a grand structure, costing $2,000,000, and having about three hundred thousand volumes. The University of Chicago, in the southern suburbs, is des-tined to become one of the leading institutions of learning in America. It began instruction in 1892, and now has some twenty-four hundred students, and endowments of $15,000,000, largely the gifts of John D. Rockefeller. The University grounds cover twenty-four acres, and when the plan is completed there will be over forty buildings. Its libraries contain three hundred and fifty thousand volumes. The great Yerkes Observatory, adjunct to this University, is at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, seventy miles distant, and has the largest refracting telescope in the world, with forty-inch lens and a tube seventy feet long. On the northern side of the city is the Newberry Library, with $3,000,000 endowment and two hundred thousand volumes, including admirable musical and medical collections, and the Crerar Library, with $2,000,000 endowment, principally for scientific works, is being established on the south side. Chicago's greatest industrial establishment is the Federal Steel Company, having enormous rolling-mills and foundries in various parts of the city, and also at Joliet on Desplaines River. Its South Chicago Rolling Mills occupy over three hundred acres. The manufacture of agricultural machinery is represented by two enormous establishments, the McCormick Harvesting Machine Company on the southwest side and the Deering Works in the northwestern district.