When a neighborhood was named after one of our biggest fraudsters
In the 1880s, a Michigan man named “Captain” George Streeter devised a brilliant plan: he pretended to crash his boat into the shoreline at Superior St, obtained permission from Nathaniel Fairbank to leave his boat on Fairbank’s land -- and never left. When Fairbank returned and asked Captain Streeter to leave, Streeter chased him off with a shotgun. For the next 35 years until his death in 1921, Streeter and his wife squatted on the land and used violence and committed various acts of fraud in order to stake claim against 186 acres of prime real estate that wasn’t actually his. Despite his horrendous behavior, the area was eventually named Streeterville, and there’s even a statue of Captain Streeter on the corner of Grand and McClurg. Meanwhile, Fairbank -- the original landowner -- only has a measly street named after him.
That time over 100 waiters exacted revenge on bad tippers by poisoning them
It seems as if going out for drinks in Chicago in the early 1900s was a fairly risky activity. In 1903, a bartender named Mickey Finn was allegedly found to be, well, giving his customers “the Mickey Finn” in order to incapacitate and rob them. In 1918, over one hundred followed suit, using “Mickey Finn” powder -- purchased at the waiters’ union headquarters -- to poison bad tippers, resulting in the deaths of at least three people. Suddenly, having a waiter spit in your soup doesn’t seem that bad, now does it?