Saturday, February 18, 2017

February 18, 1862 -- Camp Douglas Re-Defines Its Role

February 18, 1862 – Withdrawal of United States troops from Camp Douglas begins and the Chicago Tribune reports that it will “speedily be cleared of soldiers.”  [Chicago Tribune, February 18, 1862] Word comes that the camp will “soon undergo a complete change of tenants” [Chicago Tribune, February 19, 1862] as Captain Potter of the United States Quartermaster’s Department reports that “as soon as the regiments now in Camp Douglas shall have departed, their place will be occupied by seven thousand confederate prisoners, captured by our forces at Fort Donelson …  All the rolling stock of the Illinois Central Road is now being collected at Cairo as expeditiously as possible for the transportation to this place of the prisoners alluded to, and it is now confidently expected that their arrival here will not be delayed beyond Saturday of the present week.”  Before the end of the Civil War nearly 26,000 Confederate prisoners-of-war would be incarcerated at the camp.  It is estimated that somewhere around 4,000 of those men died in the cramped and unsanitary conditions there.

Also on this date from an earlier blog entry . . .

February 18, 1945 -- It is announced that the Chicago Title and Trust company has finally, after a 54-year buying program, gained control of the largest single piece of privately owned property in the Loop since 1897. The firm originally intended to locate its offices in a new building on the site at the corner of Washington Street and Dearborn, but opted instead to purchase the Conway Building ablock west and sell the large corner block next to the First United Methodist Church of Chicago for a development deemed "proper for such a big and strategic location." Ultimately, the Brunswick Corporation purchased the property, and in 1965 the SOM-designed headquarters for Brunswick was completed, at the time the tallest reinforced concrete structure in the world. The photo above shows the Brunswick Building (now offices for Cook County) under construction across the street from the Daley Center, completed in the same year.  The spire of the First United Methodist Church of Chicago separates government from the private sector.

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