Sunday, June 11, 2017

June 11, 1892 -- Benjamin Harrison Carries a Cargo of Coincidences

June 11, 1892 – A curious coincidence is noted in the Chicago Daily Tribune, “remarked upon by numerous people in marine circles ...” [Chicago Daily Tribune, June 11, 1892] On the previous day in Chicago as Benjamin Harrison was being nominated for re-election as President of the United States at the Republican convention in Minneapolis, “the schooner Benjamin Harrison was passing through Harrison street bridge in Chicago, the Protection towing her and the Union astern, with the barge Sunshine following in tow of the Satisfaction.” 

June 11, 1861 – An editorial in the Chicago Tribune once again screams at the foulness of the Chicago River . . . “Cross the river at nightfall and see what an odor of nastiness prevails there.  It will breed a pestilence, this huge, filthy ditch, which reeks with the garbage of distilleries and slaughter houses, sewers, and cesspools, and the odorous refuse of the Gas Company.  We do not remember to have ever before seen it as abominably unclean as now.  The hot season is at hand.  What shall be done?  The question is an easy one to answer.  Set the big pumps at Bridgeport at work, and in twenty-four hours time, fresh, pure water from the lake will take the place of this infamous broth concocted of all uncleanness and pent under the very nostrils of our citizens.  Let the river be pumped out; it is high time.”  [Chicago Tribune, June 11, 1861]  It would be another 39 years before the river would be “pumped out” with the opening of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, but this piece does show that the idea for reversing the river had been under consideration for decades before the 1900 completion of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal.

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