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
Water-Related Epidemics

Back | Page 1 | Page 2 | Forward


Advertisements in December 1893 Chicago Medical Recorder

The December 1893 Chicago Medical Recorder included reports, articles and discussion proceedings on water and disease in Chicago. In addition, the journal contained a series of advertisements for water-related products, including disinfectants, bottled water, Labatt’s beer, and hydrochlorate of cocaine.

Official Directory of the World’s Fair, 1893

This excerpt from the official directory of the World’s Fair was part of the section on the Bureau of Public Comfort. It assured fairgoers that water for drinking fountains at the Fair was filtered or sterilized, showing a general lack of confidence in Chicago’s tap water to stave off disease.

See Also: Water Supply; World’s Columbian Exposition

Typhoid Fever and the Water Supply, 1902

By 1902, the opening of the Sanitary and Ship Canal had allowed for the permanent reversal of the Chicago River. As water flowed out of the lake in the river, it was assumed that the overall water supply for Chicago was improved. However, by the early twentieth century, scientists understood more clearly that bacteria contaminated water and caused diseases like cholera and typhoid. In this report by Edwin Oakes Jordan, a professor of bacteriology at the University of Chicago, filtration is raised as a means to eliminate bacteria that could not be tasted or smelled. Jordan argued that Chicago’s place as a rail center made the need for a safe water supply even more essential.

See Also: Public Health

Typhoid Deaths, 1870-1926

The director of the Sanitary and Ship Canal District stands before a graph of typhoid deaths in Chicago, 1870-1926. Deaths decreased over time, in part because of the opening of the new canal and the start of chlorination (1912).

See Also: Sanitary and Ship Canal; Water Supply

Back | Page 1 | Page 2 | Forward