March 4, 2008
Happy Birthday, Chicago!
Chicago is 171 years old today. On March 4, 1837 Chicago became a city. The population at the time was 4,170 and William B. Ogden would become its first mayor, 1837-1838. "[Ogden] was a founding father not only of the city (because he wrote its first charter) but of the Chicago & North Western Railway, and was a principal in the nation's first transcontinental railroad. He built the city's credit reputation as well as his own by keeping the city solvent during the depression of 1837." (Encyclopedia of Chicago)Read more on the Panic of 1837 at Wikipedia.
It's interesting to note that the Act of Incorporation for the City of Chicago contained a provision whereby the city government could require adult male citizens to give three days of service each year to fix and maintain the roads. In light of the number of potholes being reported in Chicago this year, perhaps this is an idea to revisit. Alas, the busy men in old Chicago found it to be an extremely inconvenient chore and many preferred to pay a fine. And thus was born the idea behind property taxes.