Place:Waukegan, Lake, Illinois, United States

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NameWaukegan
TypeCity
Coordinates42.373°N 87.861°W
Located inLake, Illinois, United States
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Waukegan is the largest city in and the county seat of Lake County, Illinois, United States, a part of the Chicago metropolitan area. The city is located 35 miles north of the Loop and 10 miles south of the Wisconsin state border, approximately halfway between Chicago and Milwaukee. As of the 2013 United States Census estimate, the city had a population of 88,826,[1] which makes it the ninth most populous city in Illinois. Waukegan is a predominately working-class community with a size-able middle-class population.

Contents

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Beginnings, Founding, and 19th Century

The site of present-day Waukegan was recorded as Rivière du Vieux Fort ("Old Fort River") and Wakaygagh on a 1778 map by Thomas Hutchins. By the 1820s, the French name had become "Small Fort River" in English, and the settlement was known as "Little Fort". The name "Waukegance" and then "Waukegan" (meaning "little fort"; cf. Potawatomi wakaigin "fort" or "fortress") was created by John H. Kinzie and Solomon Juneau, and the new name was adopted on March 31, 1849.

Waukegan had an abolitionist community dating to these early days. In 1853, residents commemorated the anniversary of emancipation of slaves in the British Empire with a meeting. Waukegan arguably has the distinction of being the only place where Abraham Lincoln failed to finish a speech; when he campaigned in the town in 1860, a fire alarm rang, and the man soon-to-be president had his words interrupted.

During the middle of the 19th century, Waukegan was becoming an important industrial hub. Industries included: ship and wagon building, flour milling, sheep raising, pork packing, and dairying. William Besley's Waukegan Brewing Company was one of the most successful of these businesses, being able to sell beyond America. The construction of the Chicago and Milwaukee Railway through Waukegan by 1855 stimulated the growth and rapid transformation and development of the city's industry, so much that nearly one thousand ships were visiting Waukegan harbor every year. During the 1860s, a substantial German population began to grow inside the city[2]

Waukegan's development began in many ways with the arrival of industries such as United States Sugar Refinery, which opened in 1890, Washburn & Moen, a barbed-wire manufacturer that prompted both labor migration and land speculation beginning in 1891, U.S. Starch Works, and Thomas Brass and Iron Works. Immigrants followed, mostly hailing from southeastern Europe and Scandinavia, with especially large groups from Sweden, Finland, and Lithuania. The town also became home to a considerable Armenian population. One member of this community, Monoog Curezhin, even became embroiled in an aborted plot to assassinate Sultan Abdul Hamid II, reviled for his involvement in massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Curezhin lost two fingers on his right hand while testing explosives for this purpose in Waukegan in 1904.


20th and 21st Century

1900 to 1990

By the 1920s and 1930s, African-Americans began to migrate to the city, mostly from the south. The town was no stranger to racial strife. In June 1920, an African-American boy allegedly hit the car of an off-duty sailor from nearby Great Lakes Naval Base with a rock, and hundreds of white sailors gathered at Sherman House, a hotel reserved for African-Americans. Although newspaper reports and rumors suggested that the officer's wife was hit with glass from the broken windshield, subsequent reports revealed that the officer was not even married. The sailors cried "lynch 'em," but were successfully kept back by the intervention of the police. Marines and sailors renewed their attack on the hotel several days later. The Sherman's residents fled for their lives as the military members carried torches, gasoline, and the American flag. The Waukegan police once again turned them away, but not before firing and wounding two members of the crowd. The police were not always so willing to protect Waukegan's citizens. The chief of police and the state's attorney in the 1920s, for example, were avowed members of the Ku Klux Klan, facts that came to light when a wrongfully convicted African-American war veteran was released from prison on appeal after 25 years. Labor unrest also occurred regularly. In 1919, a strike at the US Steel and Wire Company - which had acquired Washburn & Moen - led to a call for intervention from the state militia.

Noted organized crime boss Johnny Torrio served time in Waukegan's Lake County jail in 1925. He installed bulletproof covers on the windows of his cell at his own expense for fear of assassination attempts.

The city has retained a distinct industrial character in contrast to many of the residential suburbs along Chicago's North Shore.[3] The unequal distribution of wealth created by the disappearance of manufacturing from the city in part contributed to the Waukegan Riot of 1966. Central to this event and the remainder of Waukegan's 20th century history was Robert Sabonjian, who served as mayor for 24 years, and earned the nickname the "Mayor Daley of Waukegan" for his personal and sometimes controversial style of politics.

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