Encyclopedia o f Chicago
Interpretive Digital Essay : Water in Chicago
Essay: People and the Port
Photo Essays:
Solitary Lives
City of Bridges
Chicago Harbors
Essay: Using the Chicago River
Photo Essays:
Goose Island
Indiana Dunes
Essay: Sanitation in Chicago
Photo Essays:
The Sanitary and Ship Canal
Water-Related Epidemics
Essay: Water and Urban Life
Photo Essays:
Houses and Water
Shoreline Development
Growing Up Along Water
Goose Island

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Goose Island Residents and Residences

Street Scenes on Goose Island, 1909 and 1911

Despite the fact that many industries were noxious (and sometimes toxic) neighbors, a small residential area developed just south of Division Street on Goose Island. Nearly one hundred homes were built primarily along North Branch, Cherry, and Hickory Streets. Most were two story frame houses on 25"x 115" lots. On many of these long lots, front and back homes were built, making a very dense three-block settlement. While the Irish continued to live on Goose Island, they were joined during in the closing decades of the century by Polish workers drawn to the many new industries on the island.

In contrast to the 1850s squatters on Goose Island, those who called the area home by the 1880s demanded services and improvements as property holders in the City of Chicago. While the area had no street lights (except kerosene lamps) and no paved streets, the 1886 Fire Insurance map shows that the homes in the small residential district were connected to city water and sewers. Nevertheless, the established press in the city still sought out barnyard animals for their street scene from Goose Island.

See also: Housing Types; Streets

Taverns, Workers, and Prohibition

Alongside the many industrial establishments and the small residential district, a string of taverns was established along Division Street on Goose Island. These taverns became centers of island life by the turn of the last century. They served as lunch rooms for many of the island workers and evening destinations for residents. Prohibition did not end liquor sales on Goose Island. While one source counted eleven taverns with padlocks on their front doors, others remained open as private clubs. Illegal liquor sales took the life of at least one resident on Goose Island. On August 10, 1932, Joseph F. (Big Rabbit) Connell, stepped outside his restaurant at 1140 Hickory Street at 11 p.m. He was gunned down in a flurry of gunfire from a passing car. Police claimed that he had sold beer in defiance of the syndicate and lost his life because of his attempted independence.

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