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Lake Street between Clark Street and Lasalle Street

Photo credit: Chicago History Museum
Photo credit: Chicago History Museum
Photo credit: Alan Brunettin
Photo credit: Alan Brunettin

In 1855, the city council ordered all downtown streets raised up out of the mud, which meant the existing buildings had to be elevated to the new street level — a job that took nearly 20 years. One amazed British traveler wrote home in 1867, after watching workmen raise a hotel 4½ feet: “The people were in it all the time, coming and going, eating and sleeping  — the whole business of the hotel proceeding without interruption!”

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