Chicago can't stop growing... the view from 1909

Vol. XII No. 1 - SPRING 2001

The following excerpt is from a Civics Manual for Chicago and Cook County by Winchell. It was printed in 1909.

The following facts have been gathered from various sources. They present some of the most striking features of the city in a concise form. The figures have been made to agree with the latest statistics available. They are for the year 1909 when not otherwise stated.

Chicago ranks fourth (possibly third) among the cities of the world, the others having been founded from 285- 1000 years ago, while Chicago, as a city, is only 72 years of age.

In 1833 (within the lifetime of several persons then and now living in Chicago) the 600-acre tract bounded by State, Madison, Halsted and Twelfth Streets, was sold for $6.75 an acre.

More than 60 pct of the manufactured product of the state of Illinois is made in this city. The first manufactory of any note in Chicago was erected in 1847 while in 1909 there were 8, 159 establishments employing 241,984 wage-earners, who were paid annually $136,404,686.

In 1837 there were 308 dwelling-houses in Chicago, but in 1908 there were 229,000.

In 1837 Chicago had 10 hotels, but in 1908 she had 478.

In 1833 Chicago had one church (a Presbyterian) but in 1909 the number had increased to 1,407.

In 1848 the total enrollment of pupils in the public schools was 410 and the number of teachers was 5; in 1909 it was 296,427 pupils and 6,296 teachers. The number of high schools 19. (ed. note: none in Edgewater in 1909)

Taxes collected by the county according to the 1909 tax rate of 6.391 percent (average) are based on an assessed valuation of one third of the full value of the property.”

My how Chicago has changed!