6 True & Strange Stories of Weird Chicago History

6 True & Strange Stories of Weird Chicago History: Musings of a Museum Fanatic

Hull House Devil Baby
In 1916 people started visiting Hull House saying they wanted to see the Devil Baby that Jane Addams was keep secret inside. While there was no Devil Baby this didn't stop people from visiting. Check out the link to Jane Addams own account of what seems to have been a crazy few weeks.

River Reversal 
The Sanitary District of Chicago decided that in 1900 it was going to completely reverse the flow of the Chicago River. At the time anything and everything from people's personal garbage to leftovers from the stockyards was being dumped into the river. It was not pleasant! So with the help of canal locks we sent it towards St. Louis.

Ice Cream Kills
In 1892 French immigrant Gombien Jean was working as a yard man at the Leland Hotel. He just happened to be helping out in the kitchen and discovered the ice cream in the icebox. It was so delicious that he just kept eating ... he ate ice cream for six days! On the sixth day he doubled over in pain and was taken to the hospital. Soon after reaching the hospital Gombien passed away. While the doctors couldn't figure out how he died the other servants said he had eaten so much ice cream his stomach froze.

No Kite for You
Until the 1970s it was illegal to fly a kite in the city of Chicago.

Drunken Elephants
Supposedly Lincoln Park Zoo resident, Princess Alice the elephant, became an alcoholic in 1902. After an injury she was given whisky by her keeper to help with the pain and liked the taste so much she needed a pint each day!

The Importance of Tipping
Now we just need to worry about a waiter spitting in our food if we don't tip well but in 1918 you needed to worry about much more. Over 100 waiters were arrested for putting "Mickey Finn Powder" into customers food and drink of those they felt didn't tip well enough. This powder could induce vomiting, headaches along with potentially being lethal in a large enough dose! Makes you think twice about that tip doesn't it? 

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