Der Westen -- September 19, 1875[The Viaduct] Must Be Built
A meeting was held yesterday evening at Ruehl's Hall, where citizens of the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth Wards voiced their protests at the delay in constructing a viaduct at the corner of 18th Street and Blue Island Avenue. About sixty people were present and formed an organization. Henry Valk was elected president and Otto Hagist secretary.
Henry Pilgrim, the first speaker, explained the purpose of the meeting and declared that there is vital need for the construction of such a viaduct, because Blue Island Avenue is the main thoroughfare for the southwestern part of the city.
"The lives of the people are in constant danger because of the numerous trains of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Company. Accidents are frequent.
"The City Council and the Bureau of Public Works have recognized the need for this 2viaduct, and the railroad company is willing to start construction at any time, but Comptroller Hayes resorts to the hackneyed excuse that the city treasury is too low at present to defray the cost of approaches and of any filling-in of the street that may be necessary.
"Comptroller Hayes is the only stumbling block in this matter of the viaduct, particularly in view of the fact that the contractors are willing to perform the work on a credit basis.
"It is, of course, true that the Blue Island Avenue district is not as wealthy as other parts of the city, but the inhabitants consider their lives just as valuable as those of others.
"We must see to it that construction and filling is started in the fall; otherwise an entire year will pass before the viaduct can be finished.
"Furthermore, we must prove to the Comptroller that he must respect the demands 3of the community, and that the viaduct is a vital necessity."
Mr. Ruehl concurred in the first speaker's remarks and added: "It is up to the Comptroller to find the funds; the citizens will gladly bear the expense for street improvements, but they wish to be assured, first, that work on the viaduct will be actually started!"
Mr. Lawler was more outspoken about the Comptroller. He said: "When the Railroad was built, that district was desolate and sparsely inhabited. Today it is different.....The same Comptroller, who now constantly advocates saving, saw to it that his salary was raised to eight thousand dollars at the very beginning, when he was inducted into office. And the same applies to the City Council--formerly a police superintendent and a deputy were considered sufficient, but now the office of city marshal has been created, which mulcts the taxpayers out of about four thousand dollars. Why? Did it improve the police department? I hardly think so! If a viaduct had to be built on Randolph or Madison Street, the Comptroller would find some way of obtaining the necessary 4funds.
"It is plainly evident that the demands of the people of the Southwest Side are being deliberately ignored.
"No alderman is present at this meeting, which shows definitely that they feel little concern for such an important question, which affects the interests of the people of the West Side. But we'll show them--when they run for office again. However, the purpose of this meeting is to convince the Comptroller that we consider this a serious matter, and that he must solve the problem of obtaining money for the approaches to the viaduct."
Pilgrim then moved that a committee of ten be nominated to interview the Comptroller and Bureau of Public Works tomorrow at three o'clock in the afternoon. Pilgrim's suggestion was accepted, and a committee, consisting of the following gentlemen, was nominated: Messrs. Wm. Ruehl, Henry Bartels, John Chip, Fred Myers, Henry Valk, Henry Pilgrim, J. G. Schaar, Commissioner Burdick, Samuel Johnson and Christian Schulz.5
The committee will meet tomorrow at S. H. Kerrfoot's office, at the corner of Randolph and Dearborn Streets, at two o'clock in the afternoon, and will proceed from there to the Comptroller's office.
The meeting was adjourned. The committee will submit its report next Tuesday at eight o'clock in the evening.
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