Encyclopedia ofChicago
Historical Source
Historical Source
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Portrait of William B. Ogden

 

 

 

Portrait of William B. Ogden

William B. Ogden arrived in Chicago in 1835 and for decades provided a crucial link with New York capital. Among the many enterprises of which he was a part: the Illinois and Michigan Canal; Galena and Chicago Union Railroad (the city's first); the City of Chicago (first mayor); Board of Sewerage; and the Union Pacific Railroad Company. Ogden saw the important connection between rail and water transportation and ran the terminus of the first railroad in Chicago right to the banks of the north branch. He worked to gain for the Chicago Canal and Dock Company (he was a major investor) control of property along the Chicago River and adjacent Lake Michigan, even hiring Abraham Lincoln to help him gain clear title to river and lakefront property.