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The [Thursday] Papers

"Peoples Gas says it plans to retire and remove the oldest gas pipe in the city of Chicago on Friday," AP reports.

"The utility says the 20-inch, cast-iron gas main has delivered natural gas to home and businesses in the River North neighborhood since 1859, or before the Civil War.

"Chicago's official historian will be present at Friday morning's removal to provide facts of life in the city in 1859."


Life In Chicago, 1859.

Last summer at about this time of year, I bought a lot where I have built a house. The lot cost around $1,400. I owe some money still, but I shall certainly get enough money to pay for it in time and so it will be good to own property free and clear. I have rented out the house for $12 per month, but I also have many expenses and heavy taxes (fire tax, water fees and municipal tax). Taxes are around $30 a year, so you can understand why people here must earn a lot.

So that you can understand why we need to pay water fees, I must give you a short description of the town of Chicago. It lies at the southern end of the large inland waterway called "Michigan" and it lies in the northern part of the State of Illinois.

The town's length is easily three quarters of an [old] Norwegian mile [i.e., 5.25 U.S. miles] and its width is one-half of an [old] Norwegian mile [i.e., 3.5 miles], but it is so long that it is not built out very far in width.

The river that is the town's harbor divides the city in three parts. The whole area is a big plain that extends so far that the eye can see no elevations at all.

The city is supplied with water by a steam engine that pumps water out of the lake and then goes through pipes that are buried in the ground in all parts of the town. Those who want water inside their homes must pay a yearly fee based on the size of the building. (The water quality is fine.)

The pipe, I'm told, is good for 160 years!


Also from 1859 - March 16 to be exact - Mayor John Charles Haines gave his inaugural address. Excerpts:

"The aspect and condition of our national affairs also call for at least a passing notice. I regret to be compelled to say that they are anything but flattering to our pride as a nation. Bribery and corruption of the worst descriptions appear to have taken deep root in the Federal Capital; while the entire energies of the general Government, its purse, its sword, and even its tribunals of justice, seem to be devoted to one sole object, and that, the spread of human slavery.

Every aspirant for office is tried according to his faith upon this question, and reward or punishment meted out accordingly. Is it to be wondered at then, that in reference to our national affairs, the country teems with accounts of frauds, embezzlements of the public moneys, squanderings of the revenue and other crimes and misdemeanors?

With the existence of such a condition of our federal relations but few measures for the common good can be accomplished; while those of an individual and special character, or for the benefit of particular sections have precedence.

Thus the Homestead Bill, almost the only one before Congress for the benefit of the masses of the people, designed to rescue the remaining portion of our public domain from the hands of speculators, and set it apart wholly for the benefit of the people, has been defeated by pro-slavery sectionalism.

In my former address to you, I called attention to the beneficence of this great measure, especially in its effects upon the poor in our large cities, and I need not now enlarge upon it. A pro-slavery sectional vote also came very near depriving the masses of that great boon of modern legislation - cheap postage. I regret to say, I see no prospect of an end to these assaults upon the rights, liberties ad interests of the masses, as long as our Federal Government is under the control of a party which legislates wholly for the benefit of a class, and is deadly hostile to any measure having for its end and aim the good of the people generally, and the conservation and elevation of the free labor of the country.

And then he spit on Eric Drumpf.


"As regards our State, under the former rule of the same party that controls our National affairs, I regret to say that we also witnessed a condition of things anything but pleasing or satisfactory to those who take an interest in the welfare and prosperity of Illinois. Frauds, to the amount of hundreds of thousands of dollars have been discovered in our finances; a most disgraceful scheme of legislation, as respects the State apportionment, was only prevented from becoming a law by the interposition of the executive veto; and an act in the form of an exceedingly obnoxious series of amendments to our City Charter was only defeated in our Legislature by the most strenuous exertions and determined attitude of the Republican members."


And oh how familiar does this sound:

"On entering upon the duties of my office, at the commencement of the past year, I was informed by my predecessor that there were no outstanding debts or contracts on the part of the city.

"In accordance with this supposed condition of the finances, I recommended a greatly reduced scale of taxation, understanding, as I then stated, that all that would be required for the, then, coming year would be a tax sufficient to meet the expenses of that year.

"But the result turned our otherwise; assets did not prove available, as expected; claims appeared for which no provision had been made . . . "


Speaking of familiar . . .

"The Police Force is a most important arm of the Administration of the city, and should be carefully and properly regulated and controlled.

"The territory to be guarded by the patrol force is very extended, and a smaller number of men than now employed would, I am satisfied, fall short of fulfilling the wants and satisfying the expectations of the public.

"The Bridges, Bridewell, and the Courts, also, require quite a number of men.

"Without impairing the utility of the Department, I will make it my earnest endeavor to economize, as far a as possible, its expenses and shall be ever ready to cooperate with you and my fellow citizens generally, in every measure for the reform of abuses, and the increase of the efficiency of the force."


Our infrastructure was already - always - crumbling . . .

"That there is need of much work upon the streets and alleys of the city, is beyond a question; that the leading thoroughfares need large repairs, or otherwise new work entire . . .

"The following planked thoroughfares are in such bad condition that they need to be planked entirely anew, or else Macadamised or paved: State street, from Twelfth street to the Archer road; Clark street, from Madison street to Liberty street, and perhaps further south; Kinzie street, from the North Branch eastwardly to its intersection with North Water street, and from the North Branch west to Halsted street; Canal street from Kinzie to Lake street, and from Randolph street to Van Buren street; and Madison street, from Sangamon street west to the city limits."


Taming trolls:

"I have, during the past year, received a large number of anonymous communications, containing complaints upon various subjects, which, from the fact of the writers withholding their names, could not receive any attention at my hands.

"To obviate this in future, I will direct that a Complaint Book be opened in the office of the City Marshal, in which all persons can enter their communications over their proper signatures.

"Such a book will obviate this defect in future, while citizens feeling aggrieved at any want of attention on the part of the Chief Magistrate to any abuse, can have no excuse when they fail to inform him of the existence of such."


There's a lot more, check it out.


Chicago was 26 years old in 1859, by the way.

Abraham Lincoln was nominated for president at the Republican National Convention in Chicago in 1860.

The Great Chicago Fire was 12 years away, in 1871.


Now, about Haines:

"Haines worked to organize the Chicago waterwork beginning in 1854," according to his Wikipedia page.

"In 1848, he was elected to the first of six terms on the city council and two terms as the water commissioner.

"He was elected mayor in 1858 as a Republican, defeating Democrat Daniel Brainard with 54% of the vote.

"He ran for re-election the following year against Marcus D. Gilman, winning with about 53% of the vote."


There is a John Charles Haines Elementary School in Chinatown.


Now let's jump ahead to current-day Peoples Gas:





See also:

* Struggling Peoples Gas Pipe Program Once Again Over Budget, Behind Schedule.

* Peoples Gas Journal, rated F for Funny and E for Exasperating.


New on the Beachwood . . .

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A sampling.







The Beachwood McRipTipLine: Spit take.


Posted on June 27, 2019

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
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BOOKS - All About Poop.


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