Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy

By Louise W. Knight | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 9
HALSTED STREET
1889–91

Addams and Starr awoke the morning after moving in—it was a Thursday—to the workaday sounds of Halsted Street. These started early; the street was, in Addams's words, “one of the great thoroughfares of Chicago.” Straight as a rod and thirty-two miles long, it was a major north-south artery and, in the six-mile section closest to downtown, the business district for the West Side. The sounds of commerce filled the street, which was lined with butcher shops, clothing and grocery stores, and numerous saloons. Peddlers and newsboys shouted, shoppers' feet drummed on boardwalks, and streetcar bells clanged. A steady stream of wagons and carriages rumbled and rattled up and down the street to the clatter of horses' hooves hitting wooden pavement, for unlike some streets in the neighborhood, Halsted Street was paved.1

If the windows were open, then the smells of Halsted Street also came wafting in, intensely pungent in the warm weather of mid-September. Those smells—of rotting food, animal carcasses, spilled beer, and human and animal waste—mingled in an indescribable mélange of aromas. Stinking refuse was a serious problem in the Nineteenth Ward. Garbage piled up because the city emptied the ward's large wooden garbage boxes too infrequently. When the boxes were full, the garbage went into the streets, where, pressed down over time, it became part of the pavement. The Sanitation Department was supposed to remove the animal bodies and waste but often did not. The human waste was in the streets because the usual systems were not working. Most houses were not connected to the city sewer system. Outhouses were used during the day, but chamber pots were popular at night; their contents were dumped in the streets every morning. At night, big black rats scurried about, dining out in the dark streets and alleys.2

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Citizen: Jane Addams and the Struggle for Democracy
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents ix
  • Illustrations x
  • Acknowledgments xiii
  • Introduction 1
  • Part One - The Given Life 1860–88 7
  • Chapter 1 - Self-Reliance 1822–60 9
  • Chapter 2 - Three Mothers 1860–73 34
  • Chapter 3 - Dreams 1873–77 56
  • Chapter 4 - Ambition 1877–81 80
  • Chapter 5 - Failure 1881–83 109
  • Chapter 6 - Culture 1883–86 130
  • Chapter 7 - Crisis 1886–88 158
  • Part Two - The Chosen Life 1889–99 177
  • Chapter 8 - Chicago 1889 179
  • Chapter 9 - Halsted Street 1889–91 199
  • Chapter 10 - Fellowship 1892 229
  • Chapter 11 - Baptism 1893 260
  • Chapter 12 - Cooperation 1893–94 282
  • Chapter 13 - Claims 1894 306
  • Chapter 14 - Justice 1895 334
  • Chapter 15 - Democracy 1896–98 363
  • Chapter 16 - Ethics 1898–99 384
  • Afterword : Scholarship and Jane Addams 405
  • Abbreviations 413
  • Notes 417
  • Bibliography 523
  • Index 565
  • Captions 583
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