Monday, December 10, 2018

December 10, 1872 -- Union Stockyards Gets a Proposal
December 10, 1872 –The heart of the report of the Board of Health, delivered on this day, concerns the businesses of slaughtering and rendering hogs and cattle.  In 1851 the city packed 22,936 hogs; through December 1 of 1872 that number had grown to 999,120 for the year.  The same growth occurred in beef … in 1856 a total of 9,488 head of cattle were slaughtered in the city.  In 1872, through December 1, the number was 185,000.  The report states that there are 92 rendering tanks in operation at the Union Stock Yards, and another 55 scattered throughout the city and that there has been a “steady increase of complaint with regard to the nuisances arising from the business.” [Chicago Daily Tribune, December 11, 1872]  The report asserts, “These facts must make the necessity of a radical change in the mode of conducting the business apparent to all.” The report suggests that a model rendering plant be built within the confines of the stockyards, so that “before another year has passed … all the slaughtering and rendering [will be] done in the territory west of the Stock Yards.”  The proposal goes on to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear, basically, citing the amount of money that could be made by properly managing the business. The value of the offal from cattle, hogs, and sheep as fertilizer could amount to $213,220.  The value of the blood of the animals as fertilizer could be $117,751, and the value of the “tank water” used in the rendering process could be valued at $143,793.  That’s a grand total of $474,764.  At the time of the report only half of the offal and blood was being used with the remainder, including the tank water from the rendering process, “absolute waste,” dumped into the river, “not alone a waste of valuable material that can be utilized, but the cause of great injury to the public health.”  The above illustration gives some idea of the size of the Union Stockyards in the 1870's. 

December 10, 1883 -- The Illinois Supreme Court affirms the decision of the lower court in the case of A. C. Hesing vs. W. L. Scott et al., a suit that seeks to prevent the vacating of LaSalle Street for the purpose of constructing a new headquarters for the Chicago Board of Trade.  Hesing, the plaintiff, asserts that he would “suffer an applicable loss in the reduction of the rents of his property” [Chicago Daily Tribune, December 10, 1883] if the street is vacated between Jackson and Van Buren so that the building can be constructed.  The decision of the Supreme Court rules against any injunction to stop the work, stating that the plaintiff “does not allege that it will impose on him a particle of loss, nor that he has or will sustain the slightest injury or inconvenience distinct from the general public.  He has therefore shown no right to the relief sought, and the court below did not err in sustaining the demurrer and dismissing the bill.  The decree of the court below is therefore affirmed.”  On April 29,1885 the seventh headquarters the board of trade has occupied since its formation on April 3, 1848 opens on LaSalle Street.  Designed by W. W. Boyington, the same architect who designed Chicago’s beloved Water Tower, the building lasted into the late 1920’s when it was razed to make way for the Holabird and Root design that stands on LaSalle today, all of this made possible by the decree of the Illinois Supreme Court in 1883.

December 10, 2010 – Following a federal judge’s refusal to close Chicago’s locks as a result of an emergency suit five Great Lakes states have filed out of concern over Asian carp, the Chicago Tribune offers this opinion, “We hope this ruling . . . will persuade our Midwestern neighbors to abandon their money-wasting, finger-pointing lawsuit.  It isn’t helping anything.”  [Chicago Tribune, December 10, 2010]  The paper concedes that the fish do pose a threat although there is little evidence that they have made it close to the lake – or that they even want to head there.  Yet, the editorial states, “The consequences of closing the locks, meanwhile, would be devastating and immediate.  More than $29 billion in goods move through the locks each year on barges.  Tour boats and recreational boaters also pass through on their way to and from the lake . . . Nobody on this side of the locks wants the carp to get into Lake Michigan, either.  Illinois has spent more than $13 million to keep them out, not counting the resources wasted on this ridiculous legal fight.  We’re all in the same boat, neighbors.  Drop that suit.”

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