Early Chicago, 1833–1871
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives
DOCUMENT 32ESTIMATE FOR STREET CONSTRUCTION
September 14, 1855
In 1852, the Chicago Drainage Commission was incorporated by the state legislature and the council established new gradings in 1855 and 1856 which required buildings to be elevated above the water level of the Chicago River. Various types of street surfaces were experimented with including wooden planks, cobblestones, and macadam. John Loudon McAdam (1756-1836) was a Scottish engineer who had invented a street surface that provided a well-drained roadbed. By his method, layers of small broken stone were compacted into a convex form. Those whose property adjoined streets paid for their improvement.
Points to Consider
How was this street physically to be constructed?
Who was going to pay for this work?
How was the collector going to be paid?
Why would this type of street be an improvement over a street of wooden planks?