Archive for the 'THIS DATE IN CHICAGO HISTORY' Category



The Chicken Thieves (10-25-1908)

There had been a series of chicken thefts at the South Water Market. So when the night watchman heard the excited clucking coming from a basement, he flashed his light down the steps toward the noise. What he saw was two brown bears, calmly eating chicken.

The watchman called the fire department. The firemen came, took a look down the stairs, and said they only fought fires.

South Water Market---now Wacker Drive

South Water Market, 1908—now Wacker Drive

Now police were summoned. After surveying the situation, the cops suggested that the owner of the bears should be contacted. The owner arrived, went down into the basement, and kicked the larger bear in the rump. The bear galloped up the stairs and into his cage, followed quickly by his smaller buddy.

Thus the story was reported in the next day’s Tribune. But no mention was made of what two bears were doing in the middle of a large city in the first place. Perhaps they were a common household pet in 1908.

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