chicago daily tribune, wednesday morning, july 12th, 1854, page two, column one.
The worst is probably over. Our citizens begin to breathe more freely, the panic which began on Friday last and continued up to Monday morning, has very materially died away; the delightfully cool and pleasant weather which we now enjoy has brought fresh life and hope to everyone; business begins to recover from the momentary depression which it endured; the health of the city is decidedly better; and Chicago is herself again. On the whole, people begin to believe that they were worse scared than hurt, and that there are a great many worse places both to live and die in, than the Garden City.
But because[?] this is overdue[?] [two doubtful words - jr], and because we have most probably passed through the worst portion of the sickly season, it will not do for our Board of Health and City Fathers to sit down quietly and hug themselves with the reflection that they need no longer trouble themselves about the sanitary conditions of the city, and that Chicago is big enough to take care of herself. Their work is but just begun, and they will be most cruelly and culpably negligent, should they not continue to exercise the utmost and most unceasing vigilance in the discharge of their official duties for at least two months to come. They have enough to do to keep them very busy, at least until the middle of September. For we cannot, with truth, attribute the present comfortable condition of the health of the city, and the late abatement of mortality to any effort of either the Board of Health or the City Fathers in our behalf. Had the terrible and excessive heat which raged from the 1st of July to the evening of the 8th, during which period the mercury rose in the shade, to 102 degrees above zero,—had this weather continued up to the present time, instead of now congratulating ourselves and the city on its recovering health and happiness, we should be publishing the mournful chronicles of a decimated and bereaved town. For notwithstanding something has been done to cleanse the city, and although it undoubtedly is much cleaner than it was three weeks ago, still it is yet yet [sic] in so very bad order; so many of the streets, the alleys, and the gutters, are ankle deep in festering corruption and rottenness; there are so many choked up drains and unmanageable sewers; there are such immense piles of garbage and filth at the back of Hotels Restaurants and Oyster Saloons; and there is yet so much suffering and destitution among the poorer portion of our citizens and the emigrants daily arriving here; there is, in one word, so much of what ought not to be, and so little of what ought to be, in the sanitary condition of our city, that we can only ascribe our present comparatively comfortable and healthy condition, to the merciful and timely interposition of an overruling Providence. The storm of Saturday evening, and the cool weather which has thus far succeeded it, has been indeed a God-send, and has saved the lives of many of our citizens. But we cannot expect this to last. We have yet before us ten or twelve weeks during which we must expect to again swelter under an atmosphere of 102 degrees. If, at that time, our city is not better prepared for heat than it is now, we may expect a repetition, and it may be an addition, to the distressing scenes through which we have just passed. If things are permitted to remain in their present condition, or if even only ordinary measures are taken to clean up the city, we will suffer terribly from it, both in the loss of life to our inhabitants and the loss of our good name as a healthy and safe city. We conjure those in authority to do their whole duty to put on extra forces and do the work up rapidly and thoroughly and make the city as clean as she now is filthy. This is the right time for action, we have obtained perhaps a week’s respite from the ravages of disease and the burnings of a tropical sun, and let that week be improved. “There is time in three days to win three battles, Ruy Gomez says, and in seven days there ought to be time to do much toward cleaning and purifying the seven wards of the city. Let not the work be for a moment delayed or hindered, or on any account carelessly performed. Do it at once and do it well.
chicago daily tribune, thursday morning, may 31st, 1855, page three, column four.
Efforts will be made we learn to defeat the city authorities in the establishment of the new street grade, by injunction sued out of one of the Courts. It is contended that the city is responsible for all damages that may be done to private property by altering grades; and that, in this case the damage will be so large that the city will be unable to pay the demands that will necessarily exist, hence the parties aggrieved are about to take the step we have indicated.
chicago daily tribune, friday morning, april 18th, 1856, page three, column two.
AT NOON yesterday we saw a large frame dwelling house traveling along a street, while the family were eating their dinners, with as little concern as when the house stood on its original foundation. The art of house moving has been brought to great perfection.
putnam’s monthly magazine, volume seven, (june 1856), page 610.
[…] Both carriage-way and sidewalks are planked—stone being as yet too expensive a material, and too slowly laid for this new and fast metropolis. In the spring of the year, the ground asserts its original character of a swamp. The planks actually float, and, as the heavy wagons pass along, ornamental jets of muddy water play on the every side.
The sidewalks of Chicago are as remarkable, in their way, as the bridges. With almost every block of buildings there is a change of grade, sometimes of one foot, sometimes of three feet, sometimes of five. These ascents or descents are made by steps, or by short, steep, inclined planes of boards, with or without cleats or cross-pieces, to prevent slipping, according to the fancy of the adjoining proprietor who erects them. The profile of a chicago sidewalk would resemble the profile of the Erie Canal where the locks are most plenty. It is one continual succession of ups and downs. The reason of this diversity is, that it was found necessary, at an early period in the history of the place, to raise the grade of the streets. It was afterward found necessary to raise the grade still higher, and again still higher—as each building is erected, its foundation and the sidewalk adjoining have been made to correspond with the grade then last established, and so it will not happen until the city is entirely rebuilt, that the proper grade will be uniformly attained. […]
chicago daily tribune, thursday morning, march 12th, 1857, page two, column one.
Side-Walks---A Uniform Grade.
Mayor WENTWORTH has promised the city good side-walks and as suggestions are invited in the Inaugural, and are now in order, we have one to make on the subject of side-walks.
Our motion is that, all the side-walks within specified bounds be brought to some uniform grade, some common level, so far as practicable. For instance State street side-walks as far south as Twelfth street; Dearborn to Madison street, and Clark south to Twelfth, and north to Chicago Avenue; LaSalle to the Depot; Wells from the bridge to Monroe street; South Water from the Richmond House to the South Branch; Lake from the Illinois Depot to the bridge; Randolph from South Market to West Market; and Kinzie street, North side, from the bridge east to the Galena Freight Depot.
On the streets within these limits, nearly the whole population of Chicago pass and re-pass, daily. These are the great travelled thoroughfares. The tens of thousands of strangers who ebb and flow through our city confine most of their walking upon them. And did one of them ever omit to complain of the disagreeable ups and downs that obstructed his progress at almost every step? No man is justified in impeding the free right of way for pedestrians. But take for instance Lake or Clark street; 20 feet forward you go down four steps; 30 feet further ahead you meet a steep inclined plane, over which you scramble, and a rod forward you slide down a corresponding grade; then perhaps the navigation is tolerable for half a block when your further progress is suddenly stopped by a flight of steep, narrow steps, carrying you up to the second story of the adjoining building; one rod and a quarter of locomotion brings you safely to the brink of the precipice on the other side, down which you have the choice to crawl or fall, and so on, and so forth, to the end of your walk, up and down, down and up, steps narrow and high—inclines slippery and steep. In fine, dry summer weather, during daylight hours, a careful, circumspect person may get along with comparative safety. But in winter and spring, when wet, rain, mud, snow or ice covers those walks the danger is vastly increased; and at night it becomes positively unsafe. Who has not received a fall or a sprain or a fright in trying to avoid a fall? Ask everybody. Those sidewalks are public nuisances, as well as reproaches upon the city in the eyes of strangers.
When a man builds a house he fixes the grade of the sidewalk to suit his private interests, paying not the slightest regard to the convenience or rights of the public, and city officials have paid no attention to this conduct. The result is, what we see. The government of no other city on the American Continent would tolerate such sidewalks.
We are aware that the new grade which is being adopted, is claimed to be the cause of the irregularity. But it is not necessarily so, altho made the ’scape goat. Four out of five of the “ups and “downs could be abated at a moderate cost, without interfering with the new grade.
Now, if the new Mayor is sincere in his professions concerning sidewalks, here is an opportunity to exhibit it. Let him make smooth these paths of the people, and he will earn the daily thanks of tens of thousands, and do the city a real service.
chicago daily tribune, wednesday morning, march 25th, 1857, front page, column two.
ANOTHER CHANGE OF GRADE—THE SIDEWALKS TO BE RAISED STILL HIGHER.—In 1855 our city was all excitement over the proposed change of grade of the streets and many animated and angry discussions were had over the matter. The friends of the “new grade, as it was termed, finally carried their point and the change was made and everybody was congratulating his neighbor that the vexed question was finally disposed of and the grade of our streets determined for all future time. Possibly the grades of the streets are permanently fixed, but the sidewalks—those ingenious combinations of man traps and stairways, are about to be favored with another elevation. […]
chicago daily tribune, thursday morning, april 9th, 1857, page one, column two.
A Higher Grade---An Important Question to House Owners.
We fear that a very large majority of the owners of Chicago “inside property, do not fully comprehend the practical working of the proposed “new grade, of thirteen or fourteen feet above low water. The present grade of Lake street is about ten feet above low water. The proposed change would render it necessay [sic] to raise that street between three and four feet. The present grade was established about two years ago, and people thought st [sic] was permanently fixed; but not so, individuals are again tinkering at it. The excuse for ripping up and changing it given by those urging a higher grade is, that eight feet cellars may be made and drained into the sewers.
A dry-bottomed eight foot cellar would be a very nice luxury, providing it did not cost too much. But what effect is this new grade going to have on buildings already erected in this city? The streets and sidewalks must be raised some seven feet above the natural surface level. In other words, every house now built must be raised about the hight [sic] of the Mayor above its present foundation, or be entered through doors cut in its second story. The proposed grade would damage immensely all our citizens who have built those magnificent brick, stone and iron blocks within the past three years. These buildings have been erected to correspond with the present grade. The “new grade would throw their first floors some four feet below the sidewalks, while their second floors would be five or six feet above the street surface, and their cellars would become dark pits or dens underground. The older buildings erected on a level with the natural surface, would fare much better than any of the great blocks constructed to suit the present grade. Frame houses could be set up on blocks, while brick ones, such as the Tremont House, might be entered from the street through the second story windows, by building two or three short steps upon the proposed sidewalks.
We should say that two millions of dollars would be a low estimate of the damage that would be done to present structures! Who must pay it—or would the owners have to lose it? But that is not all. It will be a costly job to raise all the streets and sidewalks of Chicago six to eight feet, within the whole space to be drained by the sewers—a space of more than 1200 acres. Where are the millions of cubic yards of earth to come from to fill them up to the second stories of present buildings? And how many millions of money is it going to cost the tax payers? What sort of up and down sidewalks will the establishment of this “new 13 or 14 feet grade create during the next twenty years? because [sic] it is all bosh to say that a uniform system of level sidewalks, corresponding with the proposed grade, can be established short of many years.
The Committee appointed by the Council to report on the subject of grades, consists of the City Surveyor, GREELEY, Superintendent BOUTON, and Aldermen KENNEDY, LONG, KENDALL and JOY. They will report next Monday evening. Those opposed to the new grade had better be stirring themselves before it is too late. Now is the time to speak, or forever hold your peace.
chicago daily tribune, thursday morning, october 1st, 1857, front page, column two.
RAISING BRICK BUILDINGS.—The contract has been let for the raising of the brick block north east corner of Randolph and Dearborn streets up to the grade of Randolph street. A Boston firm have the contract. The block is to be raised six feet at a cost of about $3,000.
chicago daily tribune, wednesday morning, december 2nd, 1857, front page, column two.
RAISING A BRICK BLOCK.—Workmen are engaged in undermining the brick block, corner of Dearborn and Randolph streets, preparatory to raising it up to grade. It is to be raised six feet.
chicago daily tribune, thursday morning, december 17th, 1857, front page, column two.
[…] Grading streets; 8,100 lineal feet of paving; 27,550 lineal feet of macadamizing; 21,000 lineal feet of planking; culverts, crossings, &c., $275,023. Of this sum, $60,000 was not raised by assessment but paid directly to the contractors by the property owners.
chicago daily tribune, tuesday morning, january 26th, 1858, front page, column two.
THE HOUSE RAISING ON RANDOLPH STREET.—The raising of Mr. Newhall’s brick block, on the corner of Randolph and Dearborn streets, has excited the public curiosity for some time past, and crowds of persons were constantly collected about the building to watch the operation. Yesterday the raising of the building was completed and the masons were at work putting in the foundation. The building is of brick, four stories high, forty by seventy feet, and its estimated weight is about seven hundred and fifty tons. The building was raised up bodily six feet and two inches, some two hundred screws and fifteen men being employed in the operation. The cost of the raising is $2,700 and the whole cost of the improvement, including a fine cellar, will be some $5,000. Mr. James Brown, recently from Boston, was the contractor for the job, and it has been executed in the best manner and without the slightest injury to the building. Mr. Brown is making arrangements to raise other brick buildings up to the new grade. Chicago presents the finest field of any city in the Union for such an enterprise as that in which Mr. Brown is embarked, and we trust that all the valuable brick structures, now below the new grade, will be speedily raised, as the cost of doing so is but a trifle compared with the benefits accruing to the owner. As soon as the “hard times become easier we shall doubtless see many such sights as that now to be witnessed on the corner of Randolph and Dearborn streets.
chicago daily tribune, friday morning, january 29th, 1858, front page, column seven.
Raising Business Blocks.
THE SUBSCRIBER WOULD ANNOUNCE that he is ready to make contracts for RAISING BUSINESS BLOCKS TO GRADE, and all other operations pertaining to the removal or raising of Buildings of wood, brick or stone, of any size, to any desired height or to any distance.
A long residence in this city, enables him to refer with confidence to many of our best citizens, for all indorsements as to character and reliability.
May be found at the of [sic] J. S. Wright Esq., No. 51 Clark street [persons advertising in the Tribune often gave the newspaper’s office address as a point of contact - jr], between the hours of 9 A. M. and 4 P. M., daily.
Chicago, Jan. 29th, 1857 [sic].—2w-j94
chicago daily tribune, monday morning, february 1st, 1858, front page, column three.
RAISING BRICK BUILDINGS.—By an advertisement in the TRIBUNE, it will be seen that Mr. James Hollingsworth is prepared to make contracts for raising and moving business blocks. Mr. Hollingsworth is well known to our citizens as a gentleman thoroughly competent for the business in which he is engaged. He is one of our oldest citizens and best mechanics. Since the fact has been demonstrated here that brick buildings can be readily and safely raised up to the new grade, there will, doubtless, be an abundance of this work to do, and Mr. Hollingsworth deserves a liberal patronage.
chicago daily tribune, monday morning, march 8th, 1858, front page, column three.
BRICK HOUSE RAISING.—Two heavy four-story brick buildings, at the south end of Madison street bridge, are being raised to the level of the bridge grade.
the daily chicago times, tuesday morning, march 9th, 1858, page three, column six.
DUDGEON’S PATENT PORTABLE Hydraulic Jack, In general use throughout the Eastern States, each one LIFTING FROM 8,000 TO 120,000 LBS., Varying with their size, perfectly simple and plain, taking the place of the screw. One man can handle and work from the smallest to the greatest weights. Ship, Locomotive and Car Builders, House Raisers and Machinists, all who want power saving time and labor, are invited to call.
51 South Water street, Chicago.
fe26 3m
chicago daily tribune, thursday morning, march 18th, 1858, front page, column three.
TO BE RAISED TO GRADE.—Messrs. Brown and Hollingsworth have just taken the contract to raise the four story brick block on the corner of Clark and South Water streets, to grade.
chicago daily tribune, wednesday morning, march 31st, 1858, front page, column two.
RAISING BRICK BLOCKS.—We understand that Messrs. Israel C. Ely of New York and Mr. Abbott of Massachusetts, have taken the contract to raise the brick block of four stores on Randolph street, between Dearborn and Clark streets—two stores known as the “Odd Fellows Hall, owned by Judge Manierre and C. B. Hosmer, Esq., and the two adjoining on the east owned by M. C. Stearns—and have already commenced operations. There will be an abundance of this sort of work to do in our city during the next year or two.
chicago daily tribune, saturday morning, april 17th, 1858, front page, column two.
HOUSE RAISING.—Yesterday afternoon the workman [sic] having completed their preparations, commenced raising Odd Fellows [sic] Hall block on Randolph Street, and lifted it nearly a foot before night. There are 600 screws under it, each with a lifting power of ten tons. The building is very large and heavy, but no trouble is anticipated in bringing it up to grade.
chicago daily tribune, saturday morning, may 8th, 1858, front page, column three.
TO GRADE.—The eight brick stores on the south side of Randolph street, next west of the Metropolitan Hotel, are about being [sic] raised to grade.
chicago daily press and tribune, wednesday morning, july 28th, 1858, front page, column two.
TO BE RAISED TO THD [sic] GRADE.—The City Hotel at the corner of Lake and State streets has been closed for the purpose of raising it to the latest grade.
chicago daily press and tribune, monday morning, october 4th, 1858, front page, column two.
TO BE RAISED TO GRADE.—Messrs. Brown & Hollingsworth, the enterprising contractors in that line of business, are immediately to commence several heavy jobs in the way of raising buildings, to be finished this fall, to the great improvement of their several localities.
On Lake street, the block of four-story brick stores opposite the Tremont House, owned by Judge Dickey and Mrs. Clark, 80 feet in front, are to be raised five feet to the street grade.
On South Water street, the brick warehouse of Mr. Pardee, adjoining Wells street bridge, 80 feet front by 45 feet deep to the river, is to be raised eight feet to grade.
On the same street, the four brick four-story stores between Clark and Wells street, owned by Tertius Wadsworth, 80 feet front by 120 feet deep, are to be raised five feet six inches to grade.
We hope Messrs. B. & H. will be encouraged to give us numerous other lifts of the same sort.
chicago daily press and tribune, friday morning, november 19th, 1858, front page, column two.
TO BE RAISED.—We notice that the block of stores on the north side of Lake street, near State, are to be raised to grade, by rebuilding their fronts.
chicago daily press and tribune, monday morning, december 20th, 1858, front page, column two.
CITY IMPROVEMENTS—HOUSE MOVING.—Five years have seen a very marked change in the business centre of our city in the driving to the outskirts the old-time wooden buildings to give place to permanant structures of brick and marble. There are many yet left, but more are gone. Within the past three years J. S. McIntire, Esx. [sic], the veteran among compeers in this branch of enterprise, has moved between four and five hundred buildings, mostly small frame structures. Quite a village, that.
He is now at work moving a building on Wabash avenue, forty feet front by thirty deep, for J. M. Marshall, Esq., to be located on Clark street, near Van Buren. And here, by the way, we may mention that he has applied the principle of elastic supports to the moving of buildings, resting them upon hickory springs, thus entirely doing away with the jar, and damage therefrom, be the surface the most uneven possible. It is a novel and ingenious, and, withal, as simple and valuble an application of a familiar principle.
House moving has proven a most useful adjunct to our improvements. The ease with which structures could be mounted on rollers and trundled away to a new site, has done much toward replacing them on the more important sites with a better class of edifices.
chicago daily press and tribune, thursday morning, december 23rd, 1858, front page, column four.
CITY IMPROVEMENTS.—Messrs. Brown & Hollingsworth have contracted with Dr. Evans to raise to grade (five feet) on Clark street, the block of four story brick buildings, on the east side of the street, from the alley to Randolph street, two hundred and fifty feet front. The buildings will be elevated sufficiently high for basements throughout. The work will commence next month.
chicago daily press and tribune, wednesday morning, december 29th, 1858, front page, column two.
CITY IMPROVEMENTS.— [paragraph three] The owners of the Empire Block, on Clark street, between Lake and Randolph, are going to “make a raise, and place that time honored edifice on a footing with the new grade to which Clark street is to be subjected the coming spring.
The former old “Tribune Buildings, now the “Herald Buildings, are to be raised to the new grade, together with their Southern neighbors, reaching to Randolph street. These buildings are the property of Dr. Evans.
These improvements are all “put down for the coming spring, and they show pretty conclusively that the “bottom has not yet dropped out of Chicago, our Eastern neighbors to the contrary notwithstanding.
chicago daily press and tribune, saturday morning, january 1st, 1859, page three, column six.
[paragraph five] In the numeration of building expenditures[,] has been given the large sums required in the completion of costly residences and business blocks commenced in 1857, also the Court House improvement, and the new feature inaugurated here by the change of grade, the expenditure for raising business blocks to grade, from four to six feet. Within the past year from fifty to sixty brick stores, in blocks of two to five or seven in number, have been thus raised […].
chicago daily press and tribune, saturday morning, january 22, 1859, page two, column six.
The lumbermen and capitalists of Richmond, Maine, have lately opened a new branch of business. They have set mechanics to work building houses for exportation. They entirely complete the houses, even to the finest of the finish, and box them up and send them to Boston.
chicago daily press and tribune, saturday morning, february 5th, 1859, front page, column two.
COMING UP TO THE GRADE.—The Garden City House, on Madison street, is being raised to the grade. The whole of Madison street is now nearly raised to the grade, and there is a prospect that this thoroughfare will soon become as much an object of admiration as it has heretofore been of abuse.
chicago daily press and tribune, wednesday morning, february 16th, 1859, front page, column four.
TO BE RAISED TO GRADE.—We learn that contracts have just been made with Messrs. Brown & Hollingsworth, the well known building raisers, to raise to grade the four story brick block one hundred and twenty feet front on Randolph street, by one hundred on State. The work has already been commenced.
We further learn that it is in contemplation to raise the Matteson House to grade the present spring. Other important building improvements are being talked of.
chicago daily press and tribune, saturday morning, february 19th, 1859, front page, column three.
IN NEW QUARTERS—H. H. TAPPEN AT HOME ON RANDOLPH STREET.—The great change which Randolph street, from Clark east to the Lake, has witnessed within two years past, has developed it into a first-class business thoroughfare. It comes nearer being finished to-day than any other street of equal importance in Chicago. It is even with the last high grade, its old business blocks have been raised to grade, many of them, and other fine blocks have been built, and thus Lake st. has lost laurels it will never recover from the portion of Randolph street between State and Clark [streets]. […]
chicago daily press and tribune, thursday morning, february 24th, 1859, front page, column two.
RAISING BUSINESS BLOCKS TO GRADE.—We have now rising to grade in our city within two blocks of where we write, about five hundred feet front of four story business blocks being raised each from four to six feet. These heavy contracts are in the hands of one firm, that of Brown & Hollingsworth. There are two other firms in our city engaged in the same business. The demand for undertakings of this kind is of course somewhat temporary, and now brought upon us by the sudden change of grade. The business is one which requires considerable capital and large mechanical skill. One of the firm named, Mr. Hollingsworth, is himself the inventor of a system of railways and tracks for conveying dirt and material to any point desired, greatly expediting the work at an economy of labor.
chicago daily press and tribune, thursday morning, february 24th, 1859, front page, column five.
UNPRECEDENTED QUICK TIME!—On the 25th day of January, Messrs. Brown & Hollingsworth took up the sidewalk in front of the block of stores on Clark street, between Randolph and Lake, one hundred and eighty by an average of sixty five feet deep; excavated one thousand yards of earth; raised the block to the six foot grade and completed the whole this day, being two days less than a month. They have not only the materials and experience, but the improved machinery, and more than this the men to put work through. They certainly deserve much credit for perseverance and quick work.
chicago daily press and tribune, monday morning, february 28th, 1859, front page, column three.
THE MATTESON HOUSE, “GOING UP.”—Messrs. Pullman and Moore, recently from Albion, New York, have made contract to raise the Matteson House, and have already commenced operations. They come highly recommended, and as this is the largest building yet raised in the city, if they succeed well, it will be an excellent card on which to base future operations. It is to be completed in forty-eight days. The fact that the whole matter is in the hands of our fellow citizen, S. B. Cobb, Esq., the executor and manager of the Matteson estate, is a sufficient guarantee that the work will be pushed forward with all possible dispatch. The Matteson House will be all in order, painted and brushed up generally in time for the spring travel.
chicago daily press and tribune, tuesday morning, march 1st, 1859, front page, column three.
RAISING BUSINESS BLOCKS.—The Garden City Hotel on the corner of Madison and Market streets has been raised to grade, by Messrs. Ely & Smith. The firm are also about to commence raising to the new grade of Lake street, the marble dry goods palace of Wm. M. Ross & Co. It is to be raised twenty inches.
This business of raising business blocks to grade has already called into the field several firms, among whom a competition for jobs has left little profits for any. The general results tell well for the city however.
the press and tribune (chicago), thursday, march 17th, 1859, front page, column two.
CITY IMPROVEMENTS.—We notice that the Exchange Building on the corner of Clark and Lake street is being brought to grade by raising the floors of its principle stores, the walls remaining the same.
the press and tribune (chicago), tuesday, march 22nd, 1859, front page, column three.
CITY IMPROVEMENTS.—As the season advances we notice an increased bustle and stir, in favorable weather, as of several days of last week, amounting to anything we have ever seen in Chicago. The season improvements in the line of first class business improvements either in the way of raising buildings to grade, or replacing old structures with new, will, from present appearances, take rank in amount and value with any of several preceding seasons for years pass. The season has opened earlier by two weeks than for the past two or three years and already the low rates of labor and material are being successful inducements to capitalists and moneyed men here and owning real estate here to improve the same in a permanent and substantial manner. Every day we hear and are called on to chronicle some new enterprise projected or already under contract, and many of these in the very heart of our city.
Take the block, probably the most valuble in the city, bounded by Randolph, Clark, Lake and Dearborn streets; let us review the improvements which will be the results of the present season.
Commencing at the Matteson House, on the corner of Randolph and Dearborn streets, that structure is being raised to grade five feet or more, to the great enhancement of the value of its stores on both streets.
Next adjoining, the old Donnelly & Ring stable has been finely rebuilt, and is now near completion, giving two handsome stores with offices above.
Farther on, the four story brick block of stores and offices commencing on Randolph street and running round to the alley on Clark street, owned by Dr. Evans, has been raised, and is now being finished off beneath for airy basements.
Persons doing business with the PRESS AND TRIBUNE offices in these days have no need of the information that a most chaotic state of affairs prevails in the approaches thereto. Clark street, between Lake and Randolph streets is, in fact, “closed for the season.”
On the north side of the alley on the east side of Clark street, Snow’s five story marble front block is to be raised to grade about six feet high. Next adjoining, the four story brick building of Dr. Brainard is to follow it to an equal altitude. The bank building of Geo. Smith & Co., next north is to be entirely demolished, and replaced by a first-class business structure.
The marble front building next north, the old Merchants and Mechanics Bank, is also to be raised, or the project is under contemplation.
On State street we notice, at the Randolph street corners on the east side, both business blocks on the opposite corners have been raised to grade and are being finished beneath into basements. These we have before referred to.
The Milwaukee brick front block of George Smith, between Randolph and Lake streets, and extending north from one of the blocks last referred to, to the alley, one hundred feet front, is also in the charge of Messrs. Brown & Hollingsworth, the enterprising contractors, and “upward bound a distance of six feet.
We might thus go on and fill a column or two with references to what is going on here. We have only noticed what lie within a few blocks from our own office, nor have we fully explored prospects as to even these.
the press and tribune (chicago), monday, march 28th, 1859, front page, column three.
FOUR CHICAGO BANKERSGONE UP.”—Four of our Chicago Bankers, Messrs. Aiken and Norton, A. T. Sherman & Co., F. G. Adams, and J. C. Barbor, have all “gone up. They are all close neighbors, occupying the block on Clark street, opposite our office, and yet they did not attempt to assist each other. With Roman firmness they asked for no sympathy, and though crowds daily witnessed their dilemma, no one whispered a kind word in their behalf. The entire community, business men and bankers, saw them “going, and yet, clever gentleman though he was, not a man in all the city seemed willing to do the least thing to prevent it. They paid checks regularly up to closing hours on Saturday evening; and yet getting the money was decidedly an “up-hill business. Holders of demands alike with depositors had to climb the “cob-house in front and “walk the plank, and a shaky one at that.
Wishing to maintain the reputation of the PRESS AND TRIBUNE as good authority in financial matters, we have examined the whole subject carefully, and we find that our friends, the bankers, have “gone up just five feet two inches and a half. The cause of this rise in their “money matters”—for vaults and all have “gone up together—we have traced to Messrs. Brown Hollingworth [sic], who have remorselessly applied for three or four days, five hundred and eighty-seven screws, turned by Celtic and other power, to “foundations of these banking institutions. The bankers aforesaid can console themselves with the fact that though by no means the oldest houses in the city, all the rest are forced to “look up to them. How long this unusual state of things must continue will depend upon the time it takes to raise the side-walk. We shall see.
the press and tribune (chicago), monday, april 4th, 1859, front page, column five.
MATTESON HOUSE.—The Matteson House is now raised to grade. The proprietors are prepared to receive their old customers and friends, as usual.
the press and tribune (chicago), saturday, april 9th, 1859, front page, column four.
STREET IMPROVEMENTS.—We notice that South Wells street is being filled to grade, also on Market street that area walls are being put in.
On Randolph street two large brick blocks, the Clarendon House near Wells, and the block east, adjoining the Briggs House, are being raised to grade.
the press and tribune (chicago), friday, april 29th, 1859, front page, column two.
TO BE RAISED.—The large brick block on the corner of Wells and South Water streets, embracing Nos. 209 to 215 inclusive, is to be raised to grade.
the press and tribune (chicago), wednesday, may 4th, 1859, front page, column three.
[paragraph thirteen] We notice that the block of four brick dwellings of C. R. Starkweather Esq., on State street, corner of Adams, are being raised, and to be furnished below into iron front stores.
[paragraph nineteen] The screws are being put to the five story marble block of George W. Snow on the corner of the alley on Clark street, between Randolph and Lake street. It is only twenty-five feet front by eighty feet deep.
the press and tribune (chicago), thursday, may 5th, 1859, front page, column five.
CITY IMPROVEMENTS.—We learn than arrangements are now being made to raise the entire block of stores on South Water street, between Wells and Franklin streets. This mammoth block comprises 16 stores, and is to be raised five feet. Messrs. Brown & Hollingsworth have the contract for the raising. Ten of these stores are owned by Tertius Wardsworth, Esq. [sic, should be - and elsewhere is - “Wadsworth” - jr], and one by Geo. F. Foster, Esq., making a front of 242 feet on South Water street, by 115 feet on Franklin street. This is probably the largest job of raising buildings with screws ever attempted in any city, and throws all other works in that line, executed heretofore, into shade. Our friend, Otto H. Matz, architect, is the superintendant for the owners […].
the press and tribune (chicago), friday, may 13th, 1859, front page, column two.
[paragraph two] The screws are being put to the wooden row on the corner of Clark and Lake streets.
the press and tribune (chicago), tuesday, may 17th, 1859, front page, column two.
[paragraph four] Messrs. Pullman & Co. have just taken the contract to raise the Democrat building to grade. The contract to elevate the tone of that paper and its morals, remains untaken.
the press and tribune (chicago), wednesday, june 15th, 1859, front page, column two.
NARROW ESCAPE.—Yesterday morning, between the hours of 9½ and 10 o’clock, the ponderous vault on the first floor of the bank building of J. M. Adsit, 39 South Clark street, which is being raised to grade, fell with a tremendous crash, through the floor into the chasm intended for a cellar, and out of which the whole building had been raised. The vault, which is now a perfect wreck, has been built on the floor, and was much too weighty to attempt to lift without some extra propping and securing. A great number of men were working all around it when it fell, and we need not say were much alarmed. The boss of the job was struck on the arm, but fortunately escaped without injury.
the press and tribune (chicago), thursday, june 16th, 1859, front page, column two.
[paragraph nine] The vault which fell on Wednesday morning was in Dr. Brainard’s building, the former banking house of Greenebaum Bros. and not in Adsits’ [sic] Bank as erroneously stated by us in yesterday’s paper. The latter has been raised to grade for some days.
the press and tribune (chicago), saturday, june 18th, 1859, front page, column five.
[paragraph six] Our visitors expressed themselves in admiration of our buildings […]. There was a brick building being raised by screws and this the visitors ferrited out and saw. […] They tumbled over the chaotic part of Clark street, where the filling in is going on […].
the press and tribune (chicago), tuesday, june 21st, 1859, front page, column two (piece taken from the cincinnati commercial of the previous day).
[paragraph two] The elevation of the houses is accomplished by screws placed under beams on which the houses are made to rest. When the desired height is gained, the gap is bricked up and the house is all right. They do this elevating without cracking the ceiling! Yankees do it—Boston men. They learned how in the city of Notions [that’s Boston - jr]. The first building elevated was raised at an expense of $2,800. It could be done now for $800. All the “raisers in Chicago have contracted to raise the Tremont House “without cracking the ceilings. This building is so large that the lifting screws and the co-operation of all the builders are needed […].
the press and tribune (chicago), thursday, july 14th, 1859, front page, column five.
RAISING BUILDINGS BY HYDRAULIC POWER.—We had a call yesterday from A. W. Stratton, Esq., of the firm of Lane & Stratton, of San Francisco, California. He explained to us the principles by which this firm have been engaged in raising buildings in San Francisco by hydraulic power. The firm have shipped their machinery for this city, where it will arrive in a few months. Mr. Stratton is satisfied that his plan of raising buildings is cheaper and more effective than any other, and that he can compete successfully with the modes now in use in this city.
We take the following from the San Francisco Times:
In raising the Exchange, not a wall has cracked, nor has there been the least warping of the door sills or other parts of the woodwork. So silently and beautifully has the machinery done its work, that an occupant might have remained in ignorance that the raising was going on from any jarring or any other indication of motion. Indeed, any breaks caused in the walls of a building by its settling after being erected, are remedied by the restoration of the edifice to its original exact level, thus closing up any cracks which may have existed. This hydraulic machinery has been in use in this city since 1853, and some thirty buildings have been raised with it to grade. No accident has ever yet occured, nor does it seem probable.
the press and tribune (chicago), monday, august 8th, 1859, front page, column five.
STREET IMPROVEMENTS.—The process of paving Clark street with Nicholson blocks progresses apace. The walling and filling have been completed to Twelfth street—one mile from Randolph. The sidewalks and buildings have nearly all been raised to grade, and nothing remains but the completion of the block, and the process, to make Clark street the finest thoroughfare in Chicago […].
the press and tribune (chicago), friday, october 14th, 1859, front page, column three.
CITY IMPROVEMENTS.— [paragraph five] South Clark street as now completed to the present lower extremity of the Nicholson pavement, is a noble avenue and hardly recognisable as the distressed thoroughfare, a nuisance to itself and everybody else these five years preceding its redemption. We are glad to notice that the property owners along the whole extent of the improvement have very generally responded in the matter of sidewalks and building changes. For entire blocks the old grade is a thing of history merely.
the press and tribune (chicago), wednesday, january 4th, 1860, front page, column five.
[…] A very large amount of expenditure has been made in the repair of buildings, chiefly business blocks that have been raised to grade, in some cases amounting to rebuilding, as is true of numerous Lake street improvements west of Lasalle.
the press and tribune (chicago), friday, january 6th, 1860, front page, column three.
[paragraph eighteen] The building raisers are beginning to bestir themselves for the years campaign. Messrs. Pullman & Moore have commenced to raise to grade the brick store on the corner of South Water and Dearborn streets, belonging to J. H. Dunham. On the north side of Lake streets [sic] between Clark and Lasalle, several four story stores are to “go up higher this spring.
the press and tribune (chicago), tuesday, january 10th, 1860, front page, column two.
THE CHICAGO MECHANICS’ INSTITUTE.—The annual election of the Chicago Mechanics Institute takes place this evening at their rooms. The year past has seen an improvement in the affairs of this organisation; It has been wretchedly accommodated for the past year or two, and we trust will not be very remotely hence, restored to light and life above ground. Its present accommodations, with the change of grade, are suitably [sic] only for root cellars. [they went on to elect architect W. W. Boyington president, as reported the following day - jr]
the press and tribune (chicago), friday, january 27th, 1860, front page, column three.
TO BE RAISED.—The building raisers are going to work again as soon as the season permits. The four story store of Mr. Forter on the corner of Lake and State street is to be raised twenty inches. Several of the stores in the block between the Marine Bank and the corner of Clark, on the north side of Lake, are also to be raised.
the press and tribune (chicago), friday, march 9th, 1860, front page, column four.
City Improvements.
A most notable improvement is in progress on the best business portion of Lake street, where under contracts taken seperately, but being conjointly performed by several firms, the Marine Bank building, which is of Athens marble and five stories high, is being raised to grade, together with all the stores of the four story brick blocks adjoining on the east. This is the heaviest undertaking of its class ever attempted in this city. The entire front extending on the north side of Lake street, from Clark to La Salle street, is to be raised to grade at once. This row contains some of the heaviest buildings in the city, and the task will be one of no ordinary proportions. During all the time of its performance, the business of the numerous stores and offices will be but slightly interfered with.
Ely & Smith have the contract for raising the east 140 feet; Pulman [sic] & Moore, the west 100 feet; and Brown & Hollingsworth, the remaining 80 feet. Workmen are already engaged in placing the blocks under the stores Nos. 136, 138 and 140, and under the Marine Bank building. The cost of raising the entire block to grade will be about $16,000, exclusive of the masonry required. Messrs. Carter & Bauer, architects, superintend the entire work. It is to be pushed with all possible dispatch, and by early in the summer a permanent and durable flagged walk will extend along the entire front. The basements under the whole will be of the first class. On the opposite side of Lake street, the old “rotten row of wooden structures is being removed, to give place to permanent first-class business blocks worthy of that site.
This block, to be erected by Messrs. Magee, Blackman, and Dr. Sawyer, is to have a front of sixty feet on Lake street, making three stores, two of which, lying nearest to La Salle street, having a depth of ninety-three feet, and the third a depth of one hundred feet. The entire block will be four stories high, with basement; the front to be of pressed brick, with stone window caps, sills and cornice. The lower story will have an ornamental iron front, with patent rolling shutters. The whole is to be fitted up in first class style. Messrs. Carter & Bauer are the architects. The contract for the mason work has been taken by Messrs. Wallbaum & Baumann, and the carpenter work by Boggs & Son, for Magee & Blackman, and by Campbell & Heiney for Mr. Sawyer. The cost of the entire block will be about $20,000.
the press and tribune (chicago), saturday, march 24th, 1860, front page, column three.
CITY IMPROVEMENTS.—Messrs. Pullman & Moore have commenced to raise to grade three brick stores on Wells street, between Lake and the alley, belonging to P. & J. Casey and Edward Taylor. The workmen have commenced operations.
the press and tribune (chicago), monday, march 26th, 1860, front page, column five.
ON THE RISE.—The great Lake street job of building raising takes the upward start to-day. There will be some 600 men employed, and about 6,000 screws. This is the largest piece of work ever done of its class.
the press and tribune (chicago), thursday, march 29th, 1860, front page, column three.
The Great Building-Raising Contract.
The entire front of first class buildings on the north side of Lake street, between Lasalle and Clark streets is now rising to grade at the rate of about twelve inches per day. It will be at its full height by to-morrow night, when it will constitute a spectacle not many of our citizens may see again, if ever, a business block covering nearly one acre, and weighing over twenty-five thousand tons resting on six thousand screws, upon which it has made an upward journey of four feet and ten inches. Probably its parallel enterprise cannot be found the world over. It will be worth seeing tomorrow, and the contractors are, we learn, preparing to accommodate the public and give them an opportunity of looking and passing in among the forest of iron screws. Then we propose to say something more in detail regarding this notable and wonderful enterprise, to which we have often made reference.
the press and tribune (chicago), monday, april 2nd, 1860, front page, column three.
The Great Building-Raising.
For the past week the marvel and the wonder of our citizens and visitors has been the spectacle of a solid front of first class business blocks, comprising the entire block on the North side of Lake street, between Clark and La Salle streets, a length of three hundred and twenty feet, being raised four feet by the almost resistless lifting force of six thousand screws.
The block comprises thirteen first class stores and a large, double marble structure, the Marine Bank building. Its sub-divisions are a five story marble front block of three stores; a four story block of three stores; a second four story block of three stores, and a five story block of four stores, at the corner of Clark street—these all presenting an unbroken front, in the heart of our city, and filled with occupants. It presents some of the best retail establishments in the city, and some of the heaviest stocks of Drugs, Dry Goods, &c. Its upper stories are full of offices, and contain millinery rooms, printing establishments, binderies, &c., &c., and yet, so admirably has the work been conducted, the ceaseless daily tide of pedestrians has not been impeded, but rather increased, from the novelty of the sight, and the merchants and others even speak of an improved trade, though they will welcome the completion of the work none the less.
This absence from annoyance to the merchants and the public, is due to the skill with which the contractors have hung the sidewalks to the block itself, and carried up the same with the rise of the building. The block has been raised four feet eight inches, the required height, in five days, ending with Friday last, and the masons are now busy putting in the permanent supports. The entire work will occupy about four weeks.
An estimate from a reliable source makes the entire weight thus raised to be about 35,000 tons. So carefully has it been done that not a pane of glass has been broken nor a crack in masonry appeared. The internal order of the block has prevailed undisturbed.
The contract was taken not jointly, but so carried out, by the several firms of Brown & Hollingsworth, Pullman & Moore, and Ely & Smith, and for an aggregate price of $17,000. That sum will be nearly doubled by the entire improvements contemplated on the block.
The process of raising, as indicated above, is by the screw, at six thousand of which three inches in diameter and of “three-eighths thread, six hundred workmen have been employed, each man in charge of from eight to ten screws. A complete system of signals was kept in operation, and by these the workmen passed, each through his series, giving each screw one-quarter turn, then returning to repeat the same. Five days labor saw the immense weight rise through four feet and eight inches to where it now stands on temporary supports rapidly being replaced by permanent foundations.
The work, as it stands, is worth going miles to see, and has drawn the admiration of thousands within the week past. It is of a class of improvements peculiar to our city, in the change of grade adopted, and the block in question will stand as a marvel for years to come, a monument to this gigantic enterprise of our young city.
Probably only two cities on this continent will have a similar record Chicago, and—prospectively we learn—New Orleans, extensive portions of which it is said will be submitted to this process, to the improvement of the health and welfare of its citizens. We are it will be seen, educating men and firms here who will do the work of the Crescent City, but we are not ourselves quite done with them yet.
A sketch of this great work, and photographs have been taken for the London Illustrated News, also for our own Illustrated weeklies. A fine lithograph is also under progress, as a faithful souvenir of the work. The contractors deserve all praise for the skill and faithfulness with which they have brought the great undertaking so near its end.
the press and tribune (chicago), friday, april 6th, 1860, front page, column two.
SUNDRY MENTIONS.—[…] Messrs. Pullman & Moore are raising to grade the four story brick block on Wells near the corner of Madison street […].
the press and tribune (chicago), saturday, april 7th, 1860, front page, column three.
HOUSE MOVING.—We saw yesterday the large old frame building “Tippecanoe Hall, which has stood time out of mind on the corner of Wolcott and Kinzie street, moving westward to a new location on Kinzie street to the corner of Dearborn, while to save time a bevy of carpenters were at work on a staging rigged in usual form, putting on the siding upon one side, as it passed along.
the press and tribune (chicago), thursday, april 12th, 1860, front page, column three.
CITY IMPROVEMENT.—The wooden buildings, Nos. 22, 24, 26, 28, 30 and 32 North Clark street, extending from North Water nearly to Kinzie street, are being removed, to give place to a fine block of brick stores, three stories high, to be erected by J. W. Ewen, Esq., the owner of the land.
the press and tribune (chicago), friday, april 13th, 1860, front page, column three.
A NOVELTY IN HOUSE-RAISING.—We call the attention of property owners, and all others who have buildings to raise, to the advertisement of John C. Lane, Esq., in another column. He has had several years experience in this business in San Francisco, and invites attention to his machinery at his office in the rear of No. 187 Clark street.
the press and tribune (chicago), friday, april 13th, 1860, front page, column five.
The undersigned would respectfully notify those interested in the Raising of Brick, Stone or Iron Buildings, That he has now arrived in this city from San Francisco and is prepared to take contracts in the above line and would most respectfully invite patronage, &c., from the citizens of Chicago. The power used being HYDRAULIC, And far superior to the present method adopted here.
I feel warranted, after eight years experience, in asserting that for ECONOMY, DISPATCH AND CONVENIENCE To occupants, the power and method adopted by me stands UNRIVALED.
Shop in the rear of Marble Yard, corner of Clark and Express Court, between Adams and Monroe streets.
Room No. 78 Tremont House.
the press and tribune (chicago), saturday, april 14th, 1860, front page, column four.
MORE RAISING TO GRADE.—We learn that it is in discussion though not yet definitely settled to raise to grade the Tremont House and put in elegant new store fronts on its Dearborn and Lake street fronts. It is not definitely settled, but is likely, and indeed necessary in view of the prospective completion of the new Sherman House, which latter, by the way, has not yet been leased.
The row of nine four-story brick stores on Lake street between Clark and Lasalle, opposite the block recently raised, are to be forthwith brought up to grade.
the press and tribune (chicago), monday, april 16th, 1860, page four, column five.
THE NEW BUILDING RAISING ENTERPRISE.—We referred yesterday to the fact that the eight four-story brick stores on the south side of Lake street between Clark and Lasalle were to be raised to grade. We now learn the well-known firms of Brown & Hollingsworth, and Pullman and Moore [sic], have taken the contract, each having four stores. The work is to be commenced forthwith, and the block is to be up to grade by the 1st of May. The amount of the contracts is about $8,000.
These gentlemen have all attested their skill in divers and manifold instances, and have never had a misadventure or mistake mar their heavy undertakings.
the press and tribune (chicago), monday, april 30th, 1860, front page, column two.
Raising Buildings by Hydraulic Pressure—A Card.
The public are respectfully invited to be present between the hours of 1 and 3 o’clock P. M. on Monday, to witness the process of raising buildings by Hydraulic Pressure, at the four story brick buildings known as the Franklin House, opposite Setz Foundry [sic - probably Letz, not Setz; see rough notes - jr], now being raised to grade, and at that hour the machinery will be in operation.
the press and tribune (chicago), thursday, june 14th, 1860, front page, column three.
J. S. MCINTYRE—Long known here as one of our most successful house-movers, has, in addition to his city business, contracted to raise a flouring mill at Oswego, Kendall County.
the press and tribune (chicago), tuesday, june 26th, 1860, front page, column three.
[…] The block of four story buildings on the northwest corner of Clark and North Water streets is to be raised to grade. A fine basement and iron front will complete the improvement.
the press and tribune (chicago), monday, july 23rd, 1860, front page, column four.
CITY IMPROVEMENTS.—On Randolph street, east of Dearborn […] Doty’s Hotel building is to be raised to grade and to be finished below into first class stores. [the tribune went on to report on may 10th, 1861 that “the old Doty House” on randolph street, possibly near state street was one of a number of buildings “being torn down”, casting - i suppose - some doubt as to whether or not it ever was raised - jr]
the press and tribune (chicago), tuesday, august 7th, 1860, front page, column five.
OUR BUILDING RAISERS ABROAD.—We learn from the Lafayette (Ind.) Journal, that a Chicago company has taken a contract for raising the brick building of Mr. Shrively in that city.
chicago daily tribune, saturday, november 3rd, 1860, front page, column four.
A MOVING CONTRACT.—John S. McIntire, one of our citizens has just taken a contract to move the large structure known as the “Aqueduct Mill at Ottawa, across the canal at that place, and carrying it about one mile. He will do it too, or for that matter would bring it to this city without breaking a pane of glass.
chicago daily tribune, tuesday, december 4th, 1860, front page, column three.
GETTING HIGH.—The old postoffice [sic] building is being raised to grade. Workmen commenced operations thereupon yesterday.
chicago daily tribune, monday, december 17th, 1860, front page, column four.
THE TREMONT HOUSE IMPROVEMENT.—The old and always popular Tremont, it is finally settled is to undergo a thorough system of internal and vital improvements before another season. The entire building is to be raised to grade, six feet, and the stores be entirely remodeled, with new and handsome fronts. […]
chicago daily tribune, friday, january 4th, 1861, front page, column three.
[…] Raising Marine Bank Building &c. Cost $10,000. Same architect [E. Burlington - jr] […] Raising 11 stores on Lake street for different parties, $31,400; same architects [Carter & Bauer - jr].
chicago daily tribune, tuesday, january 22nd, 1861, front page, column five.
The Tremont House Improvement.
The contracts for raising, building addition, and other alterations to the Tremont House has been closed, and work will be commenced about the 1st to the 10th of February, and be completed from the 1st to the 10th of May.
The following are the names of those associated with the architect in this sterling improvement: Wm. Cornelius Price, mason work; Jno. Solitt, carpenter work; Letz & Johnson, iron works; A. B. Cook & Co., stone work; Jno. Hughes, plumbing; Ely, Smith & Pullman, raisers. […]
chicago daily tribune, thursday, january 24th, 1861, front page, column six.
THE TREMONT HOUSE IMPROVEMENT.—In our late extended notice, it should have been stated that it is proposed to keep the House open, and its business as usual […].
chicago daily tribune, tuesday, february 12th, 1861, front page, column five.
PROGRESSING.—The Tremont House improvement is progressing as fast as money and men can make it. The excavations and embankments environing Messrs. Gage & Drake are a sight to see; and yet business there abouts goes on as usual.
chicago daily tribune, friday, february 22nd, 1861, front page, column eight.
New Advertisements
Either brick or wood. Apply at 169 West Madison street, or arrange through Floyd’s Penny Post.
chicago daily tribune, monday, february 25th, 1861, front page, column four.
TREMONT HOUSE IMPROVEMENT.—The work on this improvement made rapid strides last week. The rear walls adjacent to other buildings, were loosened and a supporting superstructure was erected around the brick smoke stack to prevent it from falling. The aid of the screws will soon be invoked, and then the Tremont will get high—in other words, slightly elevated.
chicago daily tribune, tuesday, february 26th, 1861, front page, column five.
AT THE TREMONT.—Gov. Randall, U. S. Senator Howe, and Luther Hanchette, M. C., all of Wisconsin, were at the Tremont House yesterday.
chicago daily tribune, tuesday, february 26th, 1861, front page, column six.
One, Two, Three, and Up She Goes!
To fully appreciate the immense power of the screw, one should visit the vicinity of the Tremont House, and observe the slow but sure and steady process by which that solid mass of six story brick buildings, covering over an acre of space, is being hoisted into the air. Five thousand screws, each ten of which has the entire attention of one man, a few simultaneous turns of an iron lever, and up she goes!
The power was first applied to raising the Tremont building yesterday forenoon about ten o’clock, and at six last evening, when the workmen departed, it had gone up just one foot, and that without a single crack in the great wall surface, or an accident of any kind to mar the entire success of the operation.
It required the strong arms of a small army of men, to be sure, as five hundred were alone employed to attend the screws. Several were also busy tearing down one of the rear buildings upon whose ruins the new and commodious kitchen and dining rooms, covering a space one hundred and eighty by one hundred feet, are to rise.
In addition to lifting the immense weight of the building proper, in commencing operations yesterday another feat was accomplished going far to show the tremendous power of the screw. A portion of the foundation wall, six feet in depth, laid with water proof cement, resting upon oaken planks, and then upon a bed of tenacious clay, was torn loose as easily as one would break brittle glass. This part of the foundation had not been disconnected from the wall of the building itself, and was consequently drawn up with it.
It is said by the contractors that they propose having the Tremont House up to grade—and it must be lifted full six feet to accomplish this—by Saturday night next. And should no untoward accident happen, it looks now as though they might keep their word. The job, thus far, has been entirely satisfactory to both contracting parties.
chicago daily tribune, wednesday, february 27th, 1861, front page, column four.
COMING UP.—The Tremont House stood just twenty-six inches nearer grade last night than ever before, the progress yesterday having been fourteen inches. Thus far no cracks have been made in the walls, and no material accidents have transpired to mar the entire success of the most stupendous lifting operation ever performed in this country.
chicago daily tribune, thursday, march 7th, 1861, front page, column five.
GOING UP TO GRADE.—H. O. Stone’s four story brick building, occupied by Andrews Head Quarters Saloon, is in process [sic] of going up to grade. It is to be raised about six feet, adding another story. Everything within goes on as usual.
chicago daily tribune, friday, march 15th, 1861, front page, column four.
THE TREMONT HOUSE IMPROVEMENT.—We notice the contractors are making rapid progress with this improvement. The entire south wall now rests on solid piers of masonry, the screws having been removed. Twelve years ago the present contractor, Cornelius Price laid the walls of the Tremont House. That he did his work faithfully then, is abundantly attested by the present condition and solidity of the walls, which have been raised without cracking in the least. The foundation for the new wing and dining hall is being laid. Everything looks to the early completion of the work. Meanwhile a thorough repair and rejuvenation is in progress, commencing in the rooms of the Dearborn street front. The business of the Tremont goes on as usual.
chicago daily tribune, saturday, april 6th, 1861, front page, column four.
Business Improvements.
We are glad to have continual occasion to notice fresh tokens of business improvements. Several first class structures other than the Tremont House are being raised to grade. On Dearborn street between Lake and South Water, the fine marble fronts owned respectively by the Couch estate, and Messrs. Walter & Rodgers are being raised, and excellent store basements are to be put under them.
On the corner of Lake and State street, H. Porter Esq., is raising to grade his four story store […].
chicago daily tribune, friday, may 10th, 1861, page four, column two.
Building Improvements.
[…] The extensive improvements in raising and rebuilding the stores forming, with the Tremont House, the entire block on the south side of Lake street, between State and Dearborn, is giving a handsome result in neat, modernized fronts, uniform in grade.
Much more full notes might be made of the enterprises of this class that indicate life, even in a war period. Probably there are few cities in the United States where half the amount of employment in building is furnished to mechanics that is at the present time keeping them busy in Chicago.
chicago daily tribune, friday, june 14th, 1861, page four, column one.
BUILDING IMPROVEMENT.—A substantial brick block is going up on the corner of North Clark and Kinzie street.
chicago daily tribune, friday, july 26th, 1861, page four, column one.
The Reopening of the Tremont House[.]
In the outset [sic] of the enterprise, we gave a detailed description of the plans devised for the enlargement and improvement of the Tremont House. It stands completed, and was last evening formally re-opened in a brilliant and splendid Ball given in honor of our Cincinnati visitors. It is something notable and praiseworthy to have carried out this expensive enterprise in a season of b[u]siness depression like the present, and it may be added that only the most consummate tact in hotel management could have kept the Tremont open, its business only moderately diminshed, while these operations were in progress.
The house has been raised bodily to grade, a height of six feet. An ample and fine wing has been built east of the area, which wing contains the elegant new dining hall, and excellent appointments of cuisine, &c. The house is now a quadrangle of 180 feet on each side, the inner windows looking out upon a roomy court spanned by a light covered way connecting the office and the dining hall, the area containing a handsome rotunda on the Astor House plan, where is accommodated the bar and lunch room. […]
chicago daily tribune, tuesday, november 19th, 1861, page four, column three.
Monroe Street.
Editors Chicago Tribune [sic]:
Is Monroe street ever to be improved? I mean the portion thereof, two blocks long, connecting Clark with State street, and by the presence and location of the Post Office, made the very heart and centre of our city. It is now the second season past, during which time the street has been only passable, safely, for mule trains. In summer weather there is less fault to find perhaps in the score of variety, and for rough riding this may challenge competition. But when mud prevails, the depth of the evil, and the nuisance inflicted is beyond all computation; it certainly cannot be measured by a foot rule or plumb line.
And now look at the real meanness of this thing, as relates to the owners of property on Monroe street. Without expense to them, a splendid improvement, paid for by the Government, has advanced their property from third rate to first class. From a residence street it has become a choice business thoroughfare. And yet a petty picayune policy has kept down improvements and retarded the attention the street demands, from month to month, with a persistence [sic] and wrongheadedness that has become a habit.
It is understood that the hitch now is, that these property owners have agreed upon a cheap pavement, and will have no other. The Common Council insists on having the best, and only the best put in, but the property owners hold back; they wish to wait until the street is built up before the street improvement goes forward. The sapiency of this is wonderful. In its present condition it is very likely [sic] that any one would choose to put up a first class building on Monroe street. It would be accessible only by scows in the rainy season.
But for gratifying the meanness of those who are perhaps hoping to spare their pennies by such a step, the city itself could better afford to go on and thoroughly finish up this work, and pay for it, rather than delay it a year longer. The niggardliness of these men should fail of its object. The street should be improved in the best manner, and they be made to pay the bills. It should have been done months ago. Must it remain over the winter as it is? The proper penalty and a just one for this small wagon load of men who have perpetrated this great wrong upon the public, would be to sentence them to two hours exercise daily, up and down, and through Monroe street, in a springless wagon. I would volunteer as driver, and not spare them a gully or hummock of this the worst piece of street in the city, just where the street should be the best.
X. Y. Z.
chicago daily tribune, monday, january 6th, 1862, page four, column two.
no fewer than fifty seven chicago buildings are listed in this article. the word “raised” is used only only a small number of times, instances of which are quoted below. it seems reasonable to discount the possibility that “raised” means other than “raised to grade”, whereas it might otherwise be conjectured that it could mean “built” or “erected”. my chief reasons for drawing this conclusion are that:
1) the article is for the most part a long list, and contracted phrases are not uncommon in lists;
2) the tremont house was certainly raised to grade, and is one of this relatively small number of buildings listed in this long article to be described as having been “raised”.

Reports from the Architects.
Block of two stores, raised on Dearborn street[,] marble front, four stories high, for Walter & Rodgers. Cost $5,000.
Block of two stores, raised on Dearborn street, four stories high, of pressed brick, for Hon. I. N. Arnold. Cost $2,000.
[…] [column three] J. M. VAN OSDEL, NO. 8 MASONIC TEMPLE.
Owing to the temporary absence of Mr. Van Osdel from the city, we have only been able to obtain a partial exhibit of the work done by him during the past year, and present it as an incomplete statement:
[…] Tremont House and adjoining stores, raised and improved. Cost $100,000.
Stores on Dearborn street adjoining American Express Co.’s office, raised. Cost $5,000.
McCord’s stores on Lake street, raised and improved. Cost $4,000.
united states supreme court, chicago city v. robbins, volume 67 U.S. 418. judgment of mr justice davis. december 1862.
[…] Robbins, owning a lot in Chicago, on the southeast corner of Wells and South Water Streets, on the 20th of February, 1856, contracted in writing with Peter Button to erect a building thereon […].
[davis refers to the “large iron building” later in the judgment - jr]
chicago daily tribune, thursday, january 1st, 1863, page four, column three.
Reports from the Architects.
[…] Besides these, Mr. Burling designed and superintended the raising of several stores […].
[column four] […] A four-story store, on South Water street, between State street and Wabash avenue, 22 feet front and 140 feet deep, and two adjoining stores raised to grade and improved, owned by J. Y. Scammon—aggregate cost $6,000.
Two stores for Wm. H. Eddy, on Randolph street, east of Dearborn—new fronts and other improvements—cost $4,500.
Six stores raised to grade on Lake street, between Wells and Franklin streets, with new fronts and additions—owned, one by the heirs of S. J. Sherwood; one by J. McCord; two by D. C. Thatcher; one by S. B. Cobb, and one by Thomas Hoyne—aggregate cost $16,000.
Three stores raised to grade on South Water street, between Clark and Lasalle streets, new sidewalks and basements—owned by estate of Ira Couch—cost $6,000.
A store corner of Clark and Lake streets, raised to grade and otherwise improved—owned by H. Porter—cost $3,000.
A store raised to grade corner of [sic] Lake and South Water streets—owned by William Jones—cost $2,500.
chicago tribune, monday, january 2nd, 1865, page two, column three.
A characteristic feature of the year has been the extensive improvements which have been made in the city to buildings already erected. A large number of buildings and an infinite number of dwellings have been raised to grade or otherwise improved, at a great expense. Among the long list we notice the raising to grade and improvement of Metropolitan Hall, at a cost of $40,000; of the Bank of Montreal, on LaSalle street, at a cost of $6,000; and also Nos. 241, 243, and 245 Lake street, owned by the Garrett Biblical Institute, costing over $13,000. […]
chicago tribune, thursday, september 14th, 1865, page four, column one.
Expensive and Vexatious to Builders—Quicksand Foundations in the South Division.
[…] On State Street, near Harrison, a single, five story brick building, erected some years since, is now resting on screws, while its foundations can be taken out and relaid, a dangerous tendency to settle having manifested itself. It is provoking and serious, but the fact must be publicly noted, and heeded by architects and builders[.] Nothing but deeply driven piles, with the precautions engineering has provided for such cases, will answer for the support of heavy buildings in the quicksand localities, and to disregard the necessity has already been signally shown to be foolish and expensive.
chicago tribune, tuesday, october 31st, 1865, page four, column one.
BLOCK RAISING.—Probably the most difficult feat ever undertaken in the way of raising buildings, has just been undertaken [sic] by Messrs. Hollingsworth & Coughlin, the lifting to grade of the large iron front block, 80 by 150 feet, five stories high on the corner of Wells and South Water streets, the fronts filled in with twelve inch brick walls, and the floors filled with heavy goods, which will not be taken out. It is probably the heaviest structure in the city for the ground covered.
chicago tribune, tuesday, november 14th, 1865, page four, column one.
THE IRON BLOCK.—The work of raising to grade the iron block on the corner of South Water and Wells street, will be commenced on Wednesday morning. It is the intention of the contractors to give access to the basement to ladies and gentlemen accompanying them, while the work is in progress, affording an opportunity of witnessing the interesting process. It is the heaviest block ever raised in this city or in the world.
chicago tribune, thursday, november 16th, 1865, page four, column one.
CHURCH REMOVAL.—The South Presbyterian Church, Rev. W. W. Harsha, pastor, [sic] is being removed from its old location on the corner of Jackson street and Third avenue, to the corner of Wabash avenue and Congress street. It is expected that the work of removal will occupy about a month, the task being one of unusual difficulty, owing to the fact that Jackson street, along which the structure is being moved, is but a trifle wider than the building.
chicago tribune, friday, november 17th, 1865, front page, column eight.
The Iron Block!
We now extend an invitation to all Ladies and Gentlemen desirous of seeing the progress of raising this heavy block, to call at the basement entrance on South Water street, from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. to-day, and from 9 a.m. until 12 to-morrow.
chicago tribune, monday, november 20th, 1865, page four, column four.
The largest job of building raising ever effected has just been completed in this city by Messrs. Hollingsworth & Coughlin, in the elevation of the Robbins [sic] iron block, corner of Wells and South Water streets, to grade, a height of twenty-seven and a half inches. The block is very solidly constructed, of iron and heavy masonry; is five stories in height, eighty feet in width, and one hundred and fifty in depth, and with the immense stock of merchandise it contains, is calculated to weigh at least twenty-seven thousand tons. In addition to this mountain weight, the stone sidewalks, two hundred and thirty feet in length, have been raised with the building, and the whole has been done without the slightest crack or damage, and so quietly that there has never been apparent any evidence that its foundation consisted of jackscrews and not of solid stone and bricks. To effect this truly Herculean task, the contractors have employed no less than one thousand five hundred and eighty jack-screws and four hundred thousand feet of lumber, and with these appliances have done it all in the short space of twenty-one days from the time when they first got possession of the premises. This positively wonderful feat well establishes the confidence hitherto felt by the property owners and builders of Chicago in the ability of Messrs. Hollingsworth & Coughlin, to move anything moveable and its success has already brought them offers to make a trip to Paris, France, for the moving of some heavy blocks of buildings there which European mechanics frankly confess to be beyond their power. It has often been said that American mechanics only wish to know what is to be done, and they will find a means for doing it, but a stronger exemplification of this has never been offered than in the present instance, and after this the story of the man who “went back and drawed the cellar too can scarcely be deemed improbable.
It may not be out of place to say, as showing the confidence reposed in the contractors, that the architect of the work—J. M. Van Osdel, Esq.—than whom there is not a more particular man in the business, has only visited the scene three times since the commencement of the work.
the times (london), tuesday, december 12th, 1865, page nine, column three.
[…] [column five, paragraph ten] In Chicago a building 80ft. by 160ft., five stories high, and weighing 27,000 tons, has recently been raised 2ft. from its original foundations. It was done by means of 1,580 screws placed underneath the building and turned simultaneously. The work occupied three days.
chicago tribune, friday, december 29th, 1865, page two, column two.
[…] The establishment of the grade has, too, attracted much more attention than formerly, and within the year, a great number of buildings, among them some of our largest blocks have been raised to place [sic]. […]
[…] [column four]
In the matter of corporate improvements, Chicago compares, at first view, very unfavorably with the progress of her people. The character of buildings erected by individuals has all along the short stream of our civic history been far in advance of that of the streets on which they have been placed. It has been no uncommon thing in the history of our city to see the mansion of imposing exterior and magnificent internal finish, approachable only by an avenue of mud, damp for want of drainage, and unlighted save by candle or kerosene, and where contiguous buildings emulate each other on so-called streets the grades embrace every imaginable altitude, completely destroying everything like symmetry in the mass.
These conditions are of course due to the low situation of the city, and the peculiar spread-out-a-tive-ness of the people. We are only now just beginning to fill in that magnificent outline which at first laid on a grand scale, has since been expanded again and again to meet our growing ideas of importance. The work of draining the city is necessarily a very difficult one. There is no natural drainage, because there is no slope, and unless where carried off by artificial means, the water lies on the soil till exhausted by percolating through the soil or evaporating into the thin air. It is not long since the whole country around us was one continuous swamp, like the Calumet of to-day, and the work of redemption is being slowly accomplished by the tedious operations of street filling—contemporaneous elevations of grade and sinking of ditches. And while each square mile of ground requires much more labor here than in other cities to bring it to a tenantable condition, there are much fewer people to the mile of area. We have about twenty-four square miles of territory within the city limits, with a population of not more than two hundred thousand, and averaging but about eight thousand to the mile, not quite two thousand to the mile of those of proper age and sex to earn money and pay taxes for internal improvement. This scattering of the people, while it conduces largely to our healthfulness, by admitting of free ventilataion stands very much in the way of street improvement nevertheless, we have done a great deal since the time when sportsmen stood on the steps of the Tremont House and shot ducks on the marshy surroundings. We should have done much more during the past four years but for the war, which heavily taxed the energies of our people. It is rather a wonder that we have done so much. Within a very short space of time our principal thoroughfares have been lifted from the mud, properly drained and supplied with gas and water, the old rotten planking removed and the substantial wooden block pavement laid in their stead. The rivers have been bridged, and the work on a tunnel nearly set in motion, besides the carrying out of one of the most stupendous public works ever undertaken—the tunnel under the lake.
chicago tribune, wednesday, february 7th, 1866, page four, column one.
THE BRIGGS HOUSE.—The Briggs, which has ever succeeded in uniting those rare elements of hotel character, popularity and respectability, [sic] is about to materially increase its claims to public patronage. During the coming season it will be raised some four feet two inches to grade, the lower part completely remodelled, and the entire house refurnished at an expense of some fifty thousand dollars. […]
unable to ascertain the identity of the lithographer.
click this for a larger—but slightly clipped—image.
chicago tribune, thursday, july 19th, 1866, page four, column three.
THE STREET IMPROVEMENTS IN THE WEST DIVISION.— [paragraph three] Simultaneously with these improvements, the work of grading Randolph street has been pushed forward as far as was practicable, without interfering with the horse cars. The curb walls west of Desplaines street have been finished, and all the buildings raised to the new grade […].
chicago tribune, thursday, august 9th, 1866, page four, column one.
MOVING A BRICK HOUSE.—A few years ago the idea of such an undertaking as the removal of a brick house, except by tearing it down and clearing away the rubbish, would have been considered a preposterous one, and no man in his senses would have suggested such a thing. But, among many other discoveries some of them of even a still more wonderful character, elevating brick buildings, whole blocks of them, and moving them to other localities are accomplished facts. John V. Farwell, Esq., owns a two-and-a-half story brick dwelling which is now being removed from Madison street between LaSalle and Clark, to Monroe street, and has already been conveyed one half the way. The house is placed upon greased ways, and propelled over them by means of jack-screws.
chicago tribune, monday, august 20th, 1866, page four, column one.
NEW WAY OF HOUSE RAISING.—A house near the corner of Randolph and Canal streets, some distance below grade, was raised a day or two since by placing the blocks on the floor instead of under it, and raising the upper part alone. This may not be a novel way of raising the wind [or ‘making a fast buck’ - jr], but it is a new kind of balloon (frame) raising, and as such we notice it.
the times (london), monday, december 3rd, 1866, page seven, column two.
CHICAGO, Nov. 14.
[paragraph four] […] With money and determination the people of the North-West believe everything to be possible. They raise blocks of houses as large as Buckingham Palace six feet, and do not put the inhabitants of the houses to the least inconvenience. The “Tremont House, in which I am writing—an immense building—has been so raised, so has nearly half the old portion of the town. The streets were raised in order to secure more perfect drainage, and in order to prevent the houses being below the level of the streets it was necessary to raise them likewise. The inhabitants think but lightly of these performances, and smile at the astonishment of strangers.
the times (london), wednesday, october 20th, 1897, page nine, column six.
[reporting on the death the previous day of George Pullman - jr] At the age of 22 [he was born in 1831 - jr] he successfully undertook a contract for moving warehouses and other buildings along the line of the Erie Canal, then being widened by the State. In 1859 he removed to Chicago and engaged extensively in the then novel task of raising entire blocks of brick and stone buildings. […]
bessie louise pierce, as others see chicago; impressions of visitors, university of chicago press, 1933, reprinted 2004, page 100, passage taken from john lewis peyton, over the alleghanies and across the praries. personal recollections of the far west one and twenty years ago, second edition, london, skimpkin, marshall & co., 1870, pages 323-353.
To render the streets and side walks passable, they were covered with deal boards from house to house, the boards resting upon cross sills of heavy timber. This kind of track is called “the plank road. Under these planks the water was standing on the surface over three-fourths of the city, and as the sewers from the houses were emptied under them, a frightful odour was emitted in summer, causing fevers and other diseases, foreign to the climate. This was notably the case during the summer of 1854, when the cholera visited the place, destroying the population at the rate of one hundred and fifty a day. It not unfrequently happened that from the settling or rolling of a sleeper, that a loose plank would give way under the weight of a passing cab, when the foul water would spurt into the air high as the windows.
david macrae, the americans at home: pen-and-ink sketches of american men, manners and institutions, volume two (of two), edmonston & douglas, 1870, pages 190-193, and reprinted by lost cause press, louisville, 1964.
many years later macrae said that the account appearing below is taken from a stay he had in chicago in 1868. see macrae, america revisited, and men i have met, 1908, john smith and son, ltd., glasgow, reprinted by lost cause press, 1965, beginning of chapter two.
[…] It was early morning when I entered Chicago from the Rocky Island road, and the great city was just wakening into life for the day. The first thing that attracted my attention when driving from the station to one of the hotels, was the sight of a two-storey house moving up the street before us. I pointed it out in amazement to the driver.
“Did you ever see a house moving before? said he unconcernedly.
“No. Do your houses move about like that?
“Well, he said, “there’s always some of them on the move.”
Which turned out to be the fact. Never a day passed during my stay in the city that I did not meet one or more houses shifting their quarters. One day I met nine. Going out Great Madison Street in the horse-cars we had to stop twice to let houses get across. All these were frame houses, and in some of them I could see the people sitting at the windows. One of those crossing Madison Street was a double shop—cigars at one end, confectionery at the other, and as it moved along the shopkeeper stood leaning against the door-post smoking a cigar. The way in which these houses are moved is this:—After being screwed up to let a platform with wheels or rollers be placed underneath, they are drawn along by means of a windlass, fixed on the street at some distance ahead, and turned by a horse. When the house has been drawn near the windlass, the machine is shifted forward, fixed, and set in motion again.
But it is not only frame houses that are moved. Great blocks of masonry in some parts of the city have been lifted up from four to fourteen feet. The Brigg’s [sic] House, a gigantic hotel, five storeys high, solid masonry, weighing 22,000 tons, was raised four and a half feet, and new foundations built in below. The people were in it all the time, coming and going, eating and sleeping—the whole business of the hotel proceeding without interruption. The Tremont House, another large hotel, was lifted in the same way. The work was done so smoothly and so gradually, by 500 or 600 men working in covered trenches below, that Mr. Beecher, who was a guest in the hotel at the time, said the only personal knowledge he had of the process of elevation, was derived from the fact that the broad flight of stairs from the street seemed to be getting steeper, and that the lower windows, which were on a level with his face when he arrived, were three or four feet higher when he went away.
The process of lifting these blocks is ingenious, and yet simple enough. The foundations are laid bare, and the trenches, if necessary, concealed by awnings. Logs are laid along the foundations, inside and out; holes cut at short intervals, and transverse logs passed through, with jackscrews beneath. This being done all round, several hundreds of workmen flood the trenches within and without, put their levers in the jackscrews, and at a given signal turn all the screws simultaneously, gradually pressing the transverse logs up, till the building rests upon them. As the screwing goes on, the whole mass of masonry moves up hairbreadth by hairbreadth. New logs are continually inserted as the space admits of it; and so the building rises in the air day by day till it stands on this log-foundation at an elevation five, ten, or fifteen feet higher that it did at first. In the meantime, the new stone foundation is being built in the interstices, and is ready, when the building has been screwed up to the height desired, to receive its weight on the slackening of the screws. The log-foundation is then, bit by bit, drawn out, and stone substituted; so that, by the time the wood is entirely removed, the building stands on its new stone foundation as on a rock, without a joint dislocated, or its stone, plaster, or furniture disturbed.
The stone foundation is generally in the form of an under-storey. Sometimes a dwelling-house is lifted, and shops put in below. I was told of a congregation in the city which, being in want of money, had their church lifted so as to allow the insertion of shops below, got these let, and speedily relieved the church of its embarrassments.
In other cases large blocks of building—warehouses and the like—have not only been lifted, but moved back to widen the street. The process in that case is the same, except that the log-foundation is made more in the form of a sliding platform,—like that from which a ship is launched, but of course with the incline less, and the motion so gradual as to be imperceptible except from day to day.
The reason for all this house-lifting in Chicago is that the city was found to be on too low a level, exposing it to inundation from the inland ocean, along whose flat shore it lies, and also making proper drainage impossible. The people had therefore to choose between three things—(1.) to submit to these inconveniences, which must yearly become more disastrous, or (2.) to pull down their city, raise the level, and rebuild, or (3.) to contrive machinery that would lift the city, and let the new level be drawn underneath. The last expedient was adopted, and ever since then the city has been in the process of elevation. The machinery thus called into existence makes house-moving so easy that the Chicago people think nothing of it. If a man with his frame-house and cigar-shop at one corner finds business dull, he moves house and all away to some other street, where he thinks it will be brisker. The reason, however, why so many frame-houses are continually on the move at present, is, that the ground is wanted for stone-buildings and warehouses; and it is found cheaper to move the wooden houses away to the suburbs than to pull them down and have to re-erect them.
House-moving is occasionally to be seen in other parts of America; but Chicago, owing to its circumstances, has been the great nursery-ground and arena for it. Even there it will become less common by-and-by, as the city is now for the most part graded, and new houses are built on the new level. But house-moving is only one of the wonders of that great city […].
sturgis’ illustrated dictionary of architecture and building. an unabridged reprint of the 1901-2 edition. richard sturgis et al. volume three, o-z. dover publications, inc., 31 east 2nd street, mineola, new york 11501, 1989, columns 495-505.
SHORING. The process of supporting a building or part of one upon Shores.
Under this head will be included the process of raising buildings, and the process of moving buildings from place to place.
figure 1
The ordinary method by which buildings are shored is shown in Fig. 1, which is a cross section of a wall held by needles through the medium of jack screws resting upon temporary wooden blocking. In supporting a small weight,—as in the case of removing a single pier between two windows,—one or two upright timbers may take the place of the crib work shown. Many other methods of shoring parts of buildings are used, such as by pumps, or large square timbers having jack screws inserted in the lower end, which bear on temporary foundations of timber, their upper ends being inserted either under the walls, or in notches cut in them. It is also customary to hold isolated piers or iron columns by cramping them with timbers and belts, depending upon friction and utilizing any convenient indentation, or bars passing through holes that have been drilled.
figure 2
A part of a building raised to position with the screws removed is shown in Fig. 2. If the wall is only to be underpinned, the new substructure is built up between the needles, which are about four feet apart, according to circumstances; then wedged with iron or slate and left for the mortar to harden until the needles can be removed. The holes thus left are then filled in with masonry.
If the building is to be removed, long intermediate needles are introduced, running from wall to wall so as to hold the building together. These are supported on very heavy string timbers, shod with hardwood saddles on the under side. Rollers of beach or maple are inserted, resting on the temporary platform or wooden cribbing, and then the screws and short needles are removed. If there is room enough to get them in, the long needles are inserted first, and the raising is done by screws under them until the proper height is reached for inserting the stringers and rollers. These expedients have to be varied constantly according to circumstances, and it is necessary always to bring the whole weight upon the long stringers, so that when the power is applied to them they will carry the building along without straining. Allowances are always made for settlement in the foundation platform over which the building is to be moved, so that it is always going slightly up hill. The apparatus generally used for moving is a capstan or windlass operated by one or two horses, and sometimes two capstans are used. The chain, which is given a good hitch around the windlass, is a long one, running through many pulleys fastened to iron bars which are driven in the ground. This equalizes the strain on all parts of the building and furnished the multiplication of power that is necessary.
Shoring is oftener required for making repairs or alterations to buildings than as a preliminary step to moving them. The alterations may involve a considerable raising of the whole superstructure. The trussed roof of a beer storage house in Milwaukee was raised 30 feet, the masons following the house raisers until the desired height was reached. Some extraordinary alterations have been made in buildings that have been shored up. The entire original Chamber of Commerce Building at Chicago was held on temporary foundations and steel needles until the steel and concrete foundation of the present fourteen-story building were put in. In the Chicago Opera House block, which is a comparatively new twelve-story building, but was built with coursed foundations of concrete and stone under the interior columns, a tier of iron columns was held up and new foundations of concrete and steel built under them, so as to insert basement columns and provide a clear open cellar, without disturbing the business of the first story.
figure 3
For the shoring and raising of wooden buildings, wooden screws were first used about 1840; the method in which these were employed is shown in Fig. 3. The post shown performed the office of the modern pump, and was placed under any part of the building requiring temporary support. This primitive apparatus was supplanted by the use of wrought-iron screws about the year 1850. It was soon found that, by reason of the softness of the metal and the knocking about and rough handling to which they were subjected when not in use, the threads became injured and would not work in the nuts or sleeves, and they were abandoned. Next, cast-iron screws came into use, and as they were rough and the joining of the mould had to be obliterated to make them work, their threads were cut by machinery. But this was too expensive, and some one invented a way of casting seamless screws which were so smooth and perfect that they could be used just as they came from the sand. These screws are still the standard for all ordinary work. An illustration is given in Fig. 4. They are 2¾ inches in diameter and 2 feet long; the pitch is ¾ inch, and they have a raising distance of 14 inches without shifting. Their lifting power is five tons to one man with a 4-foot lever, which is an ordinary iron bar with one end slightly bent to regulate the distance that it enters the head. It is only in exceptional cases that steel screws with cut threads are used for lifting; but long steel screws 2¾ inches in diameter have been used with pumps during the last ten years for pushing horizontally, in cases where buildings have to be turned on a pivot, or pushed into places where a windlass cannot be used.
figure 4
Hydraulic jacks are used only in connection with screws at extra heavy points. The most expert house raisers will not use them unless they can catch the weight on screws in case of accident to the jacks. They were employed many years ago at San Francisco for raising entire buildings. In 1862 the Franklin House at Chicago was raised with hydraulic power. One pump was used for all the jacks, which were set in the walls. This method has gone entirely out of use.
The moving of frame houses through the streets has been a matter of very common occurrence, especially in the large cities of the western part of the United States which have grown so rapidly during the last forty years. Where property increased so rapidly in value and there was always a demand for cheap buildings in outlying districts, it was very economical to move the light balloon frame buildings occupying central lots which demanded improvements. The construction of elevated viaducts for railroads has been the cause for moving great numbers of buildings of a heavier character.
The new foundations of the Chamber of Commerce Building, at Chicago, were put in in the winter of 1890 and 1891, and this is the first time that steel beams were used for needles. They were 27 feet long between bearing points and the following sizes were used: 15-inch, 50 lbs. per foot, regular pattern; 8-inch, 60 lbs. per foot, special pattern; 12-inch, 60 lbs. per foot, special pattern; and 15-inch, 80 lbs. per foot, special pattern. Iron beams had been used for this purpose as long ago as 1875, the contractors preferring Belgian beams rolled to extra thickness so as to provide against the possibility of their breaking down in the web.
figure 5
One of the most important uses of shoring is in preventing the settlement of old buildings caused by the erection of new ones on adjoining lots where the soil is compressible. When this is done a new foundation is built for both buildings, after shoring up the old one in the usual way: Fig. 5. The weight of the old building is then transferred to the new foundation by placing a row of short pumps and screws on it, directly under the wall and as the new building settles the screws are turned upward from time to time until all the settlement has ceased. Then the pumps are gradually removed and the wall underpinned: Fig. 6.
figure 6
It is believed that brick buildings were first moved in 1850 at Boston, Massachusetts, in the widening of Tremont, Washington, and Hanover streets. This work was done by James Brown. He afterward took into partnership James Hollingsworth. Together they first devised the method now in use for turning buildings on pivots. Buildings are not supported entirely on pivots for this process, but the pivot is used for keeping them in position, the main weight being on the rollers. The power used is mainly applied by long steel screws, set at various points about the building. Brown and Hollingsworth moved to Chicago in 1857, and the first brick building raised in Chicago was the Thayer building in Randolph street, between State and Dearborn, in that year. The third brick building raised and underpinned in Chicago was the Commercial College building, State and Randolph Streets, in the spring of 1859, and was done under the direction of the writer of this article. The Tremont House, the largest hotel in that city, was raised 9 feet [the Tribune says otherwise - jr] in 1861; and this was the largest undertaking of the kind up to that time. This feat was described and published all over the civilised world. After that nearly all of the brick and stone buildings then standing in the buisness section of Chicago were raised to the new grade of the city, which was established to admit of effective sewerage.
Many buildings have been moved over water. Frame buildings at Chicago are moved on floats across the rivers that intersect the city and to considerable distances on the same. At Eureka, California, also, many buildings have been moved across the water. Many of the state buildings at the World’s Columbian Exposition were moved away entire, and the Delaware state building was moved across Lake Michigan on floats.
The following are among the most remarkable instances of house moving :—
In the winter of 1887-1888, the Brighton Beach Hotel at Coney Island, near New York, which was gradually being undermined by the sea, was moved back from the beach 595 feet. This building was of wood heavily framed, three and four stories high, and weighed 5000 tons. It was 460 feet long and 210 feet deep, and was broadside to the sea. It was first raised by screws and then lowered upon 112 flat cars standing on 24 parallel railroad tracks which were built between the blocking. To each of these cars was given a nearly equal weight of 44 tons. The 24 trains of cars were coupled together rigidly. The transfer of the weight to the cars was made by hydraulic jacks. The building was moved by an arrangement of falls and sheave blocks, there being 34 of the latter and 12 sixfold purchases, the main block of each purchase being attached to the cars, while the opposite block was fastened by chain slings to the track on which the car rested about 100 feet distant from the building; the power employed was from six locomotives standing on two tracks in trains of three each. Six ropes were attached to each train. The building was moved 117 feet on the first day, and on the other days at about the same rate. The whole was planned and executed by Benjamin C. Miller, of Brooklyn, New York.
figure 7
In October, November, and December, 1895, the Emmanuel Baptist Church on Michigan Boulevard, Chicago, was moved 50 feet south. It was built of stone, covering 93 by 161 feet, the greatest height of the roof being about 100 feet. The stone tower with slated wooden spire was 24 by 24 feet and 225 feet high, weighing 1430 tons, the whole weight being 6652 tons. It was first raised by 175 30-ton steel screws under the tower and 1100 5-ton cast-iron screws under the rest. The bed on which it was moved was formed of 60-lb. steel rails on a heavy grillage of timber. The rails were bunched in threes, fours, and fives. Sixteen hundred steel rollers were used, and this was the first use made of them for the purpose, as hard wooden rollers would have been crushed. They were 25 inches long and 2 inches in diameter, being tempered to correspond with the rails. The weight of the building was carried on 15-inch I beams, in bunches of two and three respectively, but the rollers were not in contact with the under side of these beams. They were seperated from them by linings of Bessemer steel ½ inch thick by 12 inches wide and 2 feet long. These linings were forged with a bevel of 2 inches at each end so as to permit the feeding of the rollers, and were cushioned to the I beams with heavy carwheel paper. The illustration (Fig. 7), which shows two sections of the work under the tower, will serve to show these dispositions, as well as the method of applying the motive power. The steel rail runners had a rise of 1 to 360 to allow for settlement. Extra heavy timbers were fastened parallel to the north wall of the church to serve as a resting base to moving force. Heavy iron chains at 10 feet intervals held these to the ground sills, transferring the moving force to the compressed ground under the building. Sixty long steel screws, in pumps, with capacity of 5 tons each, were used to apply the moving force, with one man to each screw. They were placed between the abutting timbers and the upper timbers of the superstructure. The 50 feet of movement was covered in 6 days with 60 men. After moving, all the parts of the church which were out of plumb before anything had been done were straightened and the whole left better than ever before. The contract was taken by H. Sheeler, and the calculations and supervision were by Charles H. Rector.
In 1893 the Normandy apartment building, a three-story brick and stone structure at 116 to 122 Laflin Street, Chicago, which happened to be on the right of way of the Metropolitan Elevated R. R. Co., was moved backward, turned 90 degrees, and made to face on Van Buren Street, which is at right angles to the street on which it stood. The building was 94 by 84 feet and estimated to weigh 8000 tons. The work was successfully done by L. P. Friestedt.
One of the most remarkable instances of house moving was in the case of the three-story apartment building at Chicago, moved from 147 and 149 Centre Street, to 171 and 173 Sheffield Avenue. It was on the right of way of the Northwestern Elevated R. R. Co. There was no possible direction in which the building could be moved as a whole on account of obstructions, for it was 49 by 72 feet in size, so the building, which was a comparatively new one, was cut in two vertically through its greatest axis, and moved in two sections, one following the other, on the same platform; the aggregate distance travelled was nearly 800 feet and three corners had to be turned by each section. The sections had brick walls only on one side, and it was necessary to load the floors of each with one hundred tons of sand to balance them. They were successfully put together on the new foundation, anchored, and finished off as a new building which has never shown any effects of the operation. The necessity for preserving the proper level of the platform and providing against its gradual settlement in this case will be readily appreciated, but the whole operation was conducted without failure or accident. This is the first time that a brick building has been cut in two and united again. This work was done by L. P. Friestedt under the direction of the writer.
There are two remarkable facts connected with the art of house shoring and moving. One is that it is purely an empirical art. Those who have practised it most and brought it to its present condition are not what are considered scientific men, or men of mathematical or theoretical training. The most of mathematics that is employed is in estimating the weight to be lifted and the necessary area of the temporary foundations required. Everything else is the result of repeated experiment. Another fact is that there are no records of any disasters that have followed attempts to move or raise heavy structures. One reason for this is that the system followed is such that, if any piece of material used fails, there is always another to take the strain, and it is one that necessarily requires the constant shifting of loads from one point to another in order to carry on the work. When it is understood that a large part of the work of house shorers is to make safe buildings which give evidence of insufficient supports or foundations, it will be realized that the house raiser is constantly obliged to face dangers caused by the mistakes of others, and caution is almost an instinct with him.
Very little work of this kind has been done in European countries, though the greatest interest in what has been done in the United States has been excited abroad, and the most reliable accounts of them can be found in foreign journals. Notwithstanding many instances in which American contractors have been consulted in other countries, where their services might have prevented much destruction of property, there is no record of any of them having been thus employed.1 The reason is that such matters are first referred to engineers, who cannot understand, without mathematical deductions, how the American operations have been carried on, and consequently cannot be convinced that they are safe.
Furthermore there are no published treatises on this subject to which reference can be made. […]
—Peter B. Wight
1 Since this was written information has been received that in carrying out the extensive municipal improvements lately instituted in Budapesth, Hungary, there has been secured the assistance of L. P. Friestedt, of Chicago, who performed the remarkable feat of moving a large brick building, in two sections, and reuniting the same. The changes in street lines included the ground occupied by several important buildings, some of them monuments of mediæval art. These have been successfully saved by moving them, while others at this writing are being moved and reconstructed. The authorities would not allow the work to be done until very heavy surety bonds were given.
—P. B. W.
emmett dedmon, fabulous chicago, random house, 1953, page ten, quoting artist george healy who, according to dedmon, was in chicago in 1850.
The streets were abominably paved; the sidewalks, raised high above the level of the streets, were composed of rough planks, often out of repair so that one had to pick one’s way carefully for fear of accidents. Big nails seemed placed there on purpose to catch in the women’s [sic] dresses; and as the hideous fashion of crinolines or hoops as they were called, had just reached the Far West, many were the falls occasioned by these nails. The mud was so deep in bad weather that from side to side rickety boards served as unsafe bridges and the unfortunate hordes waded laboriously along as best they could.
bessie louise pierce, a history of chicago, the university of chicago, 1937: volume one, page 44, and volume two, page five.
Professor Pierce gives Chicago’s population statistics derived from various, named, sources:
1829 30
1830 40-50
1831 60
1832 150
1833 350
1834 1800
1835 3265
1836 3820
1837 4170
1838 4000
1839 4200
1840 4470
1841 5752
1842 6248
1843 7580
1844 8000
1845 12088
1846 14169
1847 16859
1848 20023
1849 --
1850 29963
1854 60652
detritus, and the odd nugget here.