Wednesday, October 19, 2011
First Mayor of Chicago
William Butler Ogden (June 15, 1805 – August 3, 1877) was the first Mayor of Chicago.
Ogden was born in Walton, New York. When still a teenager, his father died and Ogden took over the family real estate business. He assisted Charles Butler, his brother-in-law, with business matters related to opening a new building for New York University, attending the law school for a brief period himself. In 1834, he was elected to the New York state legislature, where he helped build the Erie Canal.
Ogden designed the first swing bridge over the Chicago River and donated the land for Rush Medical Center.
Ogden was a leading promoter and investor in the Illinois and Michigan Canal, then switched his loyalty to railroads. Throughout his later life, Ogden was heavily involved in the building several railroads. "In 1847, Ogden announced a plan to build a railway out of Chicago, but no capital was forthcoming. Eastern investors were wary of Chicago's reputation for irrational boosterism, and Chicagoans did not want to divert traffic from their profitable canal works. So Ogden and his partner J. Young Scammon solicited subscriptions from the farmers and small businessmen whose land lay adjacent to the proposed rail. Farmer's wives used the money they earned from selling eggs to buy shares of stock on a monthly payment plan. By 1848, Ogden and Scammon had raised $350,000—enough to begin laying track. The Galena and Chicago Union Railroad was profitable from the start and eventually extended out to Wisconsin, bringing grain from the Great Plains into the city. As president of Union Pacific, Ogden extended the reach of Chicago's rail lines to the West coast."
In 1853, the Chicago Land Company, of which Ogden was a trustee, purchased land at a bend in the Chicago River and began to cut a channel, formally known as North Branch Canal, but also referred to as Ogden's Canal. The resulting island is now known as Goose Island.
Read more: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Butler_Ogden
at 6:45 PM