June 29, 1891 – Chicago’s Health Department files six suits against the establishment of Benzo and Pieper, a livestock fattening concern located at the intersection of Addison Street and the north branch of the river. Benzo and Pieper, situated on nine acres, is typical of many such enterprises located all along the river. The Chicago Daily Tribune describes the grounds, “In a long, low shambling shed there are now kept eighty head of steers, though as many as 250 are at times fattened in this one building . . . rows of fattening bullocks, standing ankle deep in filth, bloated through overeating until they can hardly stand, and chained to one spot for five months without being able to take exercise.” One thing that made this particular company noteworthy was that it held a contract for removing the garbage from “all the principal hotels” in the city with six teamed wagons collecting refuse from the alleys of those establishments. In front of the cattle shed described earlier stood a building with nine tanks, each holding 45 barrels. Again from the Tribune’s copy, “The garbage wagons drive alongside these tanks and empty their contents into them. Water from the river is pumped into the tanks until the mass reaches the required consistency when fires are started underneath and the swill is kept boiling for some ten hours . . . And this is the stuff which goes to put flesh on the lean bones of scraggy steers . . “ The article points out the incredible fattening qualities of this concoction by describing one of those scraggy steers, “ . . . so fat, in fact, that its legs could not support its body for any length of time, and in consequence it lay down nearly the whole time, this proving no interference to its eating, as the troughs are so low that they can be reached by the cattle without getting up.” Such a bull would gain 100 pounds a month during the time it was confined. August Benzo, one of the owners, “a good-natured German who owns a saloon at Clybourn place and Elston avenue” says that he will fight the cases in court. The photo above shows the same area as it appears today.