Lemont Weekly Observer from Lemont, Illinois on March 23, 1894 · 1
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Lemont Weekly Observer from Lemont, Illinois · 1

Lemont, Illinois
Issue Date:
Friday, March 23, 1894
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I 7 SOUVENIR EDITION it mm (meftet VOL.2. LEMONT. ILL, FRIDAY, MARCH 23, 1894. NO. 38. LEMONT, ILLINOIS. A City of Great Resource and Brilliant Prospects. Admirably Situated in a. Beautiful Co mi try Wits Unexcelled Facilities Air Transportation by Water and by Rail. largest Pure Aluminum Factory in the World, and Greatest Lime Stone Quart-tea in the West. Educational Facilities and Religions Adrantagea. A CITY OF PEACE, PROSPERITY AND PLENTY. fNTLUEXCES which were to lead in direct sequence to the founding and upbuilding nf Lemont were actually at work more than two centuries ago when M. Louis Joliet in 1673, suggested to Father Claudius Dablon the idea which has since materialized in the Illinois and Michigan canal, and which is being still further developed in the construction, by the Chicago drainage canal commissioners, of the great drainage canal from Lake Michigan to the Illinois river, and then down the Illinois and the great Father of Waters to the Gulf of' Mexico. It was during the construction 1 of the Illinois and Michigan canal, and due. to this improvement, that the village of Lemont had Its birth about the year 1846. The first inhabitants were work- ers on the canal and in the Lemont quarries, which were opened and first worked about that time, and which have since became famous as among the great est limestone quarries in the Unit-ed States. The real development, of the quarries did not, however, begin until about 1854 when east- ern capitalists became interested and readily placed thir money in an enterprise, so certainly promising large returns, as were promised here, where the stone was in every respect equal to that of the most famous eastern quarries. The first permanent white set- . tier in Lemont township, is said to have been Jeremiah Luther, who took up a claim on section 34 in 1883. The Luther family afterwards became one of the must prominent of Lemont. Job , S. Luther, a son of Jeremiah; lived, until a few years ago on the old homestead. His son, Seth Luther, resides a short distance from Lemont and is probably the oldest resident in Lemont township. Another son and namesake, at one time conducted the lumber business now owned by A. M. Farnsworth, and ' resides at present at Evanston, I1L F. II. Miner also moved to this vicinity in 1833. William R. Derby, Orange Chaunoey and Joshua Smith came in 1834. In 1837 N. J. Drown first came to Lemont under contract for the excavation of two sections of one-half mile each of the Illinois and Michigan canaL These sections ran through what is now the village of Lemont With a keen eye to business Mr. Brown bought up a major portion of the quarry lands which he still owns and from which he receives a royalty of something like 35,000 per annum. On completing his contract he settled down and remained here. He is now eighty-two years old aud lives In comfort in a commodious country residence about one-half mile from town. Augustus Dolan, Joshua Bell and Richard Cleveland, were also early settlers of Lemont township. In the early days this section of Cook county was known as Athens precinct and was quite a factor in the political affairs of the county. . According to the first plat of the village Lemont was called Keepotaw after a chief who commanded a tribe of Indians in this locality. It was not until 1873 that the village had any distinctive organized govern ment of its own when (quoting from Ordinances of the Village of Lemont) "On the 9th day of June 1873, an election was held by the electoiB residing within the following described area of contiguous territory, to wit: Commencing at the southeast corner of section 20, running thence east 80 rods, thence north to the south bank of the Des-plaines river; thence in a westerly direction, along the south bank of the said river to the west line of section SO: thenoe south on said section line to the southwest corner of said section 80; thence south 80 rods; thence east to the place of beginning; all of the above described territory being in township 87, north of range 11 east in the town of Lemont, county of Cook and state of Illinois. This election was held for the purpose of deciding whether the citizens residing within the territory as described should organize as a village, under an act of the legislature, entitled, "An act to provide for . the incorporation of cities and villages," approved April 10, 1872. The result of such election was as follows: The whole number of votes cast was 243, of which 843 were for village organization." Lemont township contained, in 1870, The yards of these companies are located in various parts of the city of Chicago and from them the stone is distributed. The dressed stone weighs 100 pounds to the cubic foot and according to tests made by W. Shippen, of the Smithsonian Institute, has an average resistenee to direct pressure of. 17,309 pounds avoirdupois to the square inch. Underlying the valley of the Des Haines in this vicinity is an apparently inexhaiutable supply of artesian water which is reached at a depth of from WOO to 1,400 feet. The surrounding country is fertile and productive is admirably adapted to general farming, dairy farming, stock raising and gardening. . . The annual water fall is sufficient to keep the land well watered for agricultural purposes. ' INDUSTRIES. In industries, stone quarrying, in points of number of men employed and value of product, comes first. It is estimated that the value of stone annually taken from Lemont quarries is 91,300,-000. The industry making the widest distribution of its product is that of the II- Alton railroad routes with their many connections all over the country afford facilities of railway transportation unexcelled anywhere. Lemont is 89 miles from Chicago, near enough so that she can secure in" many ways the advantages of a great metropolis and with factories and industries that are even now seeking location here, is bound to be an important manufacturing city. She is situated near the great bituminous coal fields of Illinois, which makes the question of fuel an easy one to solve. The location of factories in Lemont will be much easier accomplished than in Chicago, with much less expense and with all the main advantages that are to be gained by going to the larger city. TIIK DRAINAGE CANAL is a growth from the seed that first found lodgment in the brain of the intrepid and illustrious M.Louis Joliet, who, however, never foresaw nor could foresee, the difficulties that were to be encountered and overcome before the great canal that would float on its placid bosom the magnificent steamships of the last decade of the nineteenth century, could finally become an ac complished fact This canal the new v t -' " Alii . :- i f ' lllp 6 LEMONT CITY HALL. ERECTED IN KM. according to Rand & McXally, 8,733. in habitants. In 1880 the village of Lemont had grown to over 8,000, and the census of 1890 gave us in the neighborhood of 8,000 people. Lemont still exists as a village though she has arrived at that stage of growth and development when she should, long since, have thrown off the habiliments of a municipal child and assumed the dress and aspect of a flourishing, adult city, and there is no question that it is only a matter of a little time until city organization will be acted upon. NATURAL RESOURCES. Of the principal wealth producing natural resources of Lemont is the almost inexaug table supply of lime stone of fine grain and even texture, than which none better for building purposes is produced in the west This stone is quarried principally by the Western Stone company and the Illinois Stone company, market for nearly all the out put of all the quarries being found in Chicago, The annual output is about 1,600,000 cubic yards. About 1,800 men are employed in the work of quarrying and loading the stone into the barges by which it is transported to Chicago and many more a employed in unloading and handlingthe stone after it reaches it's destination. linois Pure Aluminum company, which operates the largest pure aluminum factory in America and markets its product not only all over the United States and Canada, but in Liverpool, London, Paris and all the principal markets of the world. Kitchen and household utensils of all kinds are manufactured. Besides these, there are two pop factories doing a lucrative business, a general machine shop and a plumbing establishment Temporarily the drainage canal furnishes .employment in Lemont and vicinity fur nearly five thousand men. It is, estimated that this work will last front too to five years. Lemont is essentially a manufacturing town, and, as a MANUFACTURING TOINT has every advantage and facility that can be reasonably asked, for almost any line of manufacturing. Water, fuel and transportation are the three principal requisites of a location for manufacturing. Of these Lemont has an abundance of water for all purposes. Facilities for transportation by water and rail are unexcelled since there is direct water communication with Chicago and the great lakes and also with St Louis, Memphis, New Orleans and all Illinois and Mississippi river town? The great Santa Fe and Chicago an A canal can not help but add to the im porta noe of Lemont With the ships of the lake, the great river craft and possibly the magnificent trans-atlantic ocean steamers finding harbor-at the wharves of Lemont, she will find herself at the dawning of a new era an era to be ushered in at the very threshold of the twentieth century. Lemont will grow out of the valley and will spread out over the confines of the hills, and develop like the unfolding of a beautiful flower. The great drainage canal will soon begin its double mission and the territory of the valleys of the Des l'laines and Illinois rivers will begin to realize the value of one of the greatest of artificial waterways on the globe. BUSINESS. Through all the long, dark months of the extreme national financial depression that is just passing into history as one of the darkest seasons in the industrial and financial history of America. Lemont has suffered comparatively little. Certainly the effects of the general depression were felt but only in a degree. No failures, no serious crippling of business interests have been experienced here. Business has been maintained at a standard that has made it t self-supporting at all seasons and at all times. This fact has attracted the attention of business men from other localities with the result that there is hardly a question about the starting of a number of new enterprises before the close of 1894. Among these likely to come are a large sugar refining factory that will employ from 150 to 800 men, a tile and pressed brick factory, a large hotel, which is badly needed, and one of the largest department stores in Cook county outside of Chicago. These things will all add to the business importance) ' of Lemont bring in new people and infuse into the whole social and intellectual fabric still more of that spirit of aggressive enterprise which has characterised it from the very beginning. Merchants report that spring trade is starting out briskly with the prospect of a larger volume of business in 1894 than ever before. TOPOGRAPHY. The business portion of Lemont lies in the valley of the Des Ilaines river and is skirted on either side by bluffs that rise gently to a height of about eighty feet Back of the bluffs lie, for miles in every direction, as beautiful stretches of rich rolling prairie as the eye ever rested upon,' fringed here and there by miniature forests, which, to all intents and purposes, might have been planted with the sole object of enhancing the beauty of an already charming landscape. Fertile lands and beautiful landscapes, dotted everywhere with the homes of the husbandman that labor for the fruits of the soil are the characteristics of the country surrounding Lemont. It is a beautiful and productive country. In the summer time it is a veritable garden of the gods, garnished and made rich with the verdure of the trees, the shrubs, the meadow grass and the growing corn. aWce. nrosnerffv and han- UlUess'VeiBii ovrs!li!r!!r north 4f the village jumper runs the channel of the lies l'laines river which, however is being slightly diverted by the construction of the canal. The site on which Lemont . is one among ten thousand for the upbuilding not only of a large and prosperous city, but of a beautiful city. ' SCHOOLS. A great primary blessing in every community lies in good facilities for education. The educational advantages of Lemont are first class. Taking first rank in this matter are the public schools, of which the town supports -three which are at present under the management of Prof. L. B. Esst-on, superintendent gentleman of marked ability in his particular field of work. The public schools employ, besides Prof.. Fasten, seven teachers, in the various departments. Besides the public schools there are St James Academy, under the auspices of St. fttrick's church and four parochial schools, all of which are well conducted and well attended. That the common school education is the corner stone of American civilization and independence is a fact to which the people of Lemont have always been wide awake, and ample provision for education from the kindergarden to the high school lias been made. o'j.V CHURCHES. RELIGIONS privileges as offered , by various churches and church organisations arc also of importance in every community. Lemont has a number of churches, more particulars of which may lio found mi pages 4, 8 and 9 of this edition, nntl is well qualified to minister to tin-welfare of her people. There arc a number of church relief and other societies with charitable and benevolent objects, by which a good work in being constantly carried on. IMPROVKliKXTS. The last four or five years have seen til genuine spirit of improvement actively at work with the result that many substantial improvement have been made, notable among which is the new city hall, which war completed last year at a cost of 18,-000. It is a beautiful structure, a cut of which is herewith presented, built nf Lemont limestone, known to many as Athens marble. More o'f Lemont may be found on another page. 1 1 v..

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