Early Chicago, 1833–1871
A Selection of Documents from the Illinois State Archives
DOCUMENT 4SUGGESTIONS FROM FIRE WARDEN CONCERNING STOVEPIPES AND CHIMNEYS
October 11, 1841
The city's charter of 1837 empowered it to issue regulations "to prevent the dangerous construction and condition of chimneys, fire places, hearths, stoves, stove pipes, ovens, boilers, and apparatus used in any building or manufactory." In November of 1835, a fire warden was appointed for each of four fire districts established in the city. Their duties included directing volunteer companies and bystanders at fire scenes and inspecting homes and businesses for potentially dangerous fire producing conditions. Most dwellings and businesses were constructed of wood.
Points to Consider
What was the chief source of fuel in Chicago during the winter months of 1841?
What was the job of a fire warden?
What common occupation is suggested by the proposed regulations in this communication?
Considering this document, what degree of anxiety did Chicago citizens have regarding fires?