V27-4 Chicago History Book Club Chugs Along

Vol. XXVII No. 4 - WINTER 2016

By Robert Remer

The Chicago History Book Club continues to meet bimonthly exploring titles of Chicago history that frequently have great relevance to Edgewater.

In October we explored three titles under the topic of electricity, its impact on Chicago’s development and transit, and two immense characters who shaped the finances and structure of transit and electrical distribution in Chicago and the country. The titles included: The Electric City: Energy and the Growth of the Chicago Area, 1880-1930 by Harold L. Platt, Robber Baron: The Life of Charles Tyson Yerkes by John Franch, and A Spirit Capable: The Story of Commonwealth Edison by John Hogan.

Author Harold Platt gave Edgewater’s founder John Lewis Cochran much credit for his vision and development template by forming the Edgewater Light Company that gave our community street lights that were wanting in much of the city.

The December 10th session was scheduled to cover the history of Native Americans in Chicago, with titles including City Indian: Native American Activism in Chicago, 1893-1934 by Rosalyn LaPier, Native Chicago, edited by Terry Straus, and Masters of Empire: Great Lakes Indians and the Making of America by Michael McDonnell.

On August 24, 1816, what is now Edgewater was ceded by Native Americans under the Treaty of St. Louis. Edgewater appeared much differently than what we now know. The area east of Broadway was largely sand dunes with a creek(s) running north and south where we now have Kenmore and Winthrop; these “swales” had once been a source of wild rice. There had been a seasonal village near Foster between Broadway and Sheridan with a burial ground south of that, near Carmen and Sheridan. We are always on the lookout for more historical information about the Native Americans whose land we now occupy in Edgewater.

We thank the Edgewater Branch Library for co-sponsoring the book club and hosting our meetings, greeting us with hot coffee as we get ready to dissect and disseminate the information we gathered. Joanna Hazelden, the outstanding branch manager is also a great member of the board of EHS and we thank her for support of these events and making sure there are plenty of books available for our avid readers.