Chicago's buried treasures and the pigeons who lived among them





Little did the pigeons at the dilapidated warehouse on Chicago's South Side know they were roosting near historical treasures.

Sadly, no one else knew either.

These long-lost riches included virtually every letter, ordinance, election return, permit and scrap of paper that the Chicago City Council received or generated between 1833 and 1940. Here were the original 1833 town incorporation vote (12-1), city physician reports from cholera epidemics, building blueprints and requests from citizens that ran from the silly to the poignant--like the man begging the city to cover his wife's medical costs after a fire truck ran her over in 1854. The papers form a diary of Chicago's birth and formative years and are crucial to understanding the city's history.

[HNN Editor: This article goes on at great length to describe the discovery of these documents in the 1980s by state archivists and the ways in which Chicago history had to be rewritten.]



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