Sunday, October 23, 2016

October 23, 1913 -- McWeeny Walks

October 23, 1913 – I will admit this up front -- every time I see a news report about the Chicago police commissioner of this era, I have to cover it.  I love this guy’s name.  It was on this day that the city’s top cop, John McWeeny, walks off the job after Mayor Carter Harrison fails to support him in a controversy that has developed between McWeeny and Major M. L. C. Funkhouser, newly installed in the department to take charge of morals investigations, efficiency reports and business affairs. Funkhouser’s seventh report, printed in the Chicago Daily Tribune, alleges that “. . . there were more than 100 objectionable houses operating openly.  In the old red light district there were more than thirty resorts running without concealment, although the district is supposed to be ‘closed.’  Along State street and adjoining thoroughfares ‘wide open’ conditions prevailed from Sixteenth street to Thirty-First street.”  [Chicago Daily Tribune, October 24, 1913]  McWeeny’s response to the report was, “I have had Funkhouser’s report investigated.  Some of it is stuff we have known right along and some of it we can’t verify at all.  If I were investigating serious matters I wouldn’t tell the world about it, as some people do.  Funkhouser can’t give me any orders.”  That was probably the last straw for Mayor Harrison, who chose to back Funkhouser, prompting McWeeny to walk.

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