Tag Archives: Chicago

Did Grandpa Darling ride the first Ferris Wheel?

In 1893 Chicago hosted the World’s Columbian Exposition. There were many inventors and exhibits. Among them was engineer George Ferris who introduced the world to his soon-to-be iconic Ferris Wheel.

The Wheel stood 264 feet high and had a diameter of 250 feet. Each of the structure’s 36 cars could hold 60 to 65 people. Folks stood in long lines to pay 50 cents each to ride on the slowly spinning marvel.

My great-great grandfather was living in the city, in Little Italy. He was studying to become a dentist. My great grandmother was a toddler.

Oh, how I wish I could sit with them both and talk about their memories of this time.

ajh

This is why so many us are sick of the status quo!

A $138,400
annual paycheck

from the feds
for corrupt
Jesse Jackson Jr.!?

From the front page of The Chicago Tribune. An investigation shows disgraced, criminally convicted former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. is being paid $138,400 every year from the federal trough. That's taxpayer money!

Despite having been convicted and imprisoned for corruption, former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. collects a hefty salary, milking the taxpayers for even more. Meanwhile, shootings and murders in Chicago continue to plague the populace, the homeless and the poor continue to struggle, and the politicians continue to bilk the system.

ajh

$312.32 for a map on canvas of Chicago in 1893! I thought Walmart was supposed to be cheap!

$312 and 32¢

I’d love to have one of these on my walls. But three hundred dollars! Why so pricey?

Sure, it’s nice and big at 36 by 54 inches, which translate to three by four and a half feet. The entire piece is actually a little bigger than that, but the image dimensions appear to be 36 by 54.

I wonder where it is made. China? Wouldn’t surprise me. What is the mark up? What does it cost to produce and how much money is the retailer, in this case Walmart, make off of a sale?

ajh

Never send the original!

The site where Abraham Lincoln’s parents, Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln, lived during the 1840s is planning a celebration of his birthday. They lived near some of my ancestors, the Parkers and the Goodells.

I learned something, a historical sidenote, that I did not know.

The original cabin was disassembled and shipped to Chicago for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition and was never seen again.”

Why would anyone dismantle and send the cabin to Chicago? Why not just make a replica?

I am convinced that some of my relatives knew Thomas and Sarah and possibly Abraham as well, when he was working as congressman and then a lawyer in Illinois.

And another strange fact is that a great-great grandfather and his family lived in Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition.

So don’t forget, everyone is a witness to history— you, me, every single one of us.

 

ajh

The Chicago River, 1895

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A ship belching out a lot of smoke and soot ambles down the Chicago River somewhere downtown. Pollution was a serious problem at the time.

Discovered a photo of Chicago from the time when my great-great grandfather, Dr. Jerome Darling, lived there. It’s from 1895.

He had been studying dentistry. A son, Leslie Warren Darling, was born in August of that year in the city. My great grandmother, Geneva, was a toddler, three or four years old.

They lived in what she described as the Italian section of the city.

ajh

Little Italy, Chicago

pilsen-little-italy-and-university-village

The story goes that when my great-great grandfather lived in Chicago, during the 1890s, the family lived in a tenement house in the ‘Italian’ section of the city. I am assuming this is the Little Italy referred to on maps and in histories of Chicago.

My great grandmother, born in rural Iowa in 1891, was just a baby. I wish I had the chance to talk with her about any experiences she remembered from that time. She died in 1983 and I was just a kid, and it was before my interest in the family history blossomed into a sincere passion, which I started compiling in 1989.

ajh

Ogden, Iowa in 1920

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In 1920, my great-great grandfather, Jerome Darling, lived in Ogden, Iowa, surrounded by a lot of Swedes. He was a dentist, studying the trade as a young man in 1890s Chicago.

I was looking for where in Chicago the family lived and came upon the 1920 census.

All I know is what’s been passed down through oral tradition: that they lived in the “Italian” section, apparently a rough, seedy neighborhood. My grandmother recounted a story of a drunk and rowdy man trying to get into their apartment. Whether he was confused or had evil intentions isn’t known. Thankfully, he didn’t succeed, only putting a big scare into the kids.

After learning about Chicago during this time, it is understandable why Grandpa Darling wanted to return to Iowa, preferring rural life to that of the big, smelly, dangerous city.

ajh