Healy Slough, Scanlon Slough, Ogden Slips
Life Span: 1850-1915
Location: Archer Avenue and Halsted Steet
Chicago Tribune, December 15, 1885
There will come up for argument in the United States Supreme Court sometime this week a venerable Chicago case which has been handed back and forth in the City Council and in the courts for the last nineteen years. It is that of Healy Slough. The Healy Slough is, or was, a muddy and uncertain stream which started near Thirty-first and Lyman streets and meandered in a northeasterly direction across Deering and Main streets and Archer avenue, entering the South Branch between Quarry and Salt streets. It never was much of a stream apparently at any time, and of late years has amounted to nothing since the Chicago & Alton Railroad put a permant bridge where it crosses it, Along back about 1866 an effort was made in the Council first by the heirs of the late Mr. Healy to have a swing bridge put in by the Alton and the slough dredged out so that it might be made what they claimed the Lord made it in the first place—a navigable stream. They owned considerable property down there, and if the stream could have been made navigable its value would have been materially increased. The Council passed resolutions of orders at one time and another declaring the Alton bridge a nuisance. Some of these were vetoed by the Mayor. Finally, seeing that the Council could do nothing the heirs took the matter into court and filed a bill in the Circuit Court against the Alton to force it to put in a swing-bridge. The case was decided against them in the lower court along about 1877, but the Appellate Court reversed it in 1878, and directed the Superior Court to comply with the request of the petitioners. The railroad, however, carried the case up to the Appellate ook the matter into court and filed a bill in the Circuit Court against the Alton to force it to put in a swing-bridge. The case was decided against them in the lower court along about 1877, but the Appellate Court was in turn reversed.
Justice Scott, in the course of his opinion, said that the courts did not think that the body of water spanned by the railroad bridge was navigable, in the legal sense of the word. One allegation in the bill upon which right to relief was based that the “Healy Slough” was a natural stream forming the western boundary of the premises, emptying into the South Branch, and thereby as an arm and affluent connecting it with the canal and Lake Michigan. The “Healy Slough,” the Justice held, was not a stream, it had no current, but was simply a depression filled in by the waters of the South Branch. Since 1836, when the Archer road was laid out, it was not claimed that vessels of any kind had passed the bridge. The bridge built over the slough in 1848 was removed in about a year, but not because it obstructed a navigable stream. The slip was clearly private property, and had so been treated by the State officers and original riparian owners. There was no navigable channel and a swing-bridge could serve no useful purpose, therefore the opinion of the Appellate Court would be reversed.
Fro the Supreme Court of the State of Illinois the case was taken up by the Healys to the Supreme Court of he United States, on the ground that it related to navigable water-courses, and that, therefore, the Federal Court had jurisdiction. What the result of the appeal to this court of last resort will be will probably be known within a few weeks. If it is decided to be a navigable stream it will put the railroad to considerable expense, but will and materially to the amount of dock property in that part of the city.
Chicago Tribune, January 8, 1896
The United States Supreme Court has decided the Healy slough case against the Healy heirs and in favor of the Alton Railroad Company, which will continue to maintain a permanent bridge across that stream on Archer avenue.
Chicago Post, January 31, 1866
The Scanlon Slough.
After passing a number of ordinances regarding the repaving of streets, the Scanlon slough question came up for consideration. An ordinance on the subject, which had been under consideration at the last meeting, was, after some discussion, passed. It provides that the slough shall be excavated, and the nuisance thus removed. The estimated cost of the work is $20,450, which shall be borne by the property-holders interested, and the work will not be commenced until the assessments are all paid in.
Chicago Tribune, January 31, 1866
The Haley or Scanlon Slough.
Ald. Russell mored to refer the whole matter back to the board of Public Works, for them to report a suitable ordinance.
As two sections of the ordinance had already beca passed at a previous meeting, the Chair ruled the motion out of order.
Ald. Carter had prepared an estimate on the subject, which, in comparison with the estimate of the Board ot Public Works, stood as follow:
The estimate of Ald. Carter based on the plan was as follows:
Upon the reading of the section of the ordinance authorizing an assessment of $29,450 upon the real estate interested in the work in question, the section passed, Ayes, 16; noes, 10.
An additional section, providing that before the work la commenced, the property holders in question shall pay into the city treasury the amount to be assessed, or guarantee the same, was drawn up by the Corporation Counsel and passed.
Ald. Russell moved to refer the whole matter back to the Board of Public Works with instructions to prepare an ordinance to fill up the slough. Lald on the table.
The ordinance was then voted upon as a whole. The ordinance provided that the slough be dredged out to a depth of twelve feet, fifty-five in width and seventy-five feet at the water line.
The vote on the passage stood ayes, 15, noes, 11, and the chair declared the ordinance passed.
Chicago Tribune, June 30, 1872
The Healy Slough.
The annual pestilence of the Healy Slough is upon the city. Every train of cars entering the city or leaving it by the southwest has to pass through a current of fetid air that is horrible to endure, and fatal to health. The people of the Sixth and Seventh Wards, and of all that part of the city lying to the east and northeast of this abominable nuisance, are subjected, by day and by night, to an air-bath of this terrible stench and of this polluted wind, which leaves a greasy, sickening deposit upon all things over which it passes. The Healy Slough, and the no less offensive nuisances by which it is supplemented, are not new inventions.
They are of age. Their precise locality is as well known to the Board of Health as that of the Court House. Nevertheless, sereral successive administrations havo failed to mitigate the abomination. The great argument, some years ago, in favor of establishing a Health Department was, that, if it did no other good, it would abate the Healy Slough. Scientific attainments, aided hy investigations in foreign lands, have failed to meet the difficulty of the Healy Slough. Chicago has overcome great natural difficulties, and now draws from the bottom of Lake Michigan, far from shore, her supply of water; but Chicago can neither drain nor fill up the Healy Slough. Chicago has reversed the great law of Nature which leads water to run down hill, and now pours her stream into the Illinois River, sending it to the Gulf of Mexico; but the science that could accomplish all this stands baffled at the precincts of the Healy Slough. We can disinfect and deodorize the accumulated filth of ages, outside of the Healy Slough. We can overcome all geographical, geological, and topographical dificulties, except the Healy Slough. We can drain the whole North-west; we can call, as if by magic, living streams of pure water from the remote bowels of the earth; but we can do nothing with the Healy Slough. We have lifted Chicago from a marsh; we have made great highways upon ground once covered by water; we have filled up holes and ravines, and made all things smooth, firm, and dry; but we have not yet been able to drain, fill up, disinfect, deodorize, or molest the Healy Slough. We have, from the ruins of our burned city, extended its eastern boundary out into the lake, the filling being hard, firm, and enduring; but we have not yet had the courage or the intelligence to “tackle” the Healy Slough.
If the Board of Health have the courage appertaining to men holding such a place, let them rescue the city from the further disgrace of this mammoth nuisance. Let them take the legal steps at once to have that slough condemned as a pestilential hole, and have it filled with broken bricks, chloride of lime, ashes, copperas, and other materials from its source to its month. The objection that there are private rights opposed to any meddling with the Healy Slough, has no strength. No man has a right to maintain a public stench. No man has any right which militates against the public health and comfort. Let the city at once proceed to close that slough permanently. Let it be filled up with solid material and disinfectants, and, if there be any person who is injured by such a proceeding, let him be compensated. The public will cheerfully pay the bill. But the nuisance must be abated.
Chicago Tribune, June 20, 1873
Healy Slough—A $30,000 Suit.
Another Healy Slough suit was yesterday commenced in the Circuit Court. Benjamin and Samuel Schoenernann the owners of Lot 1 in Bamard & Evans’ Subdivision of Block 2, of south fractional part of Section 29, T. 39, N. R. 14 E. of 3 P. M., file their bill against the Chicago & Alton Railroad Company, and allege the facts, already generally known, with regard to the Healy slough; the original contract of the Joliet & Chicago Railroad Company to bridge it with movable bridges, the absorption of that railroad by the present defendant; the building of the fixed bridge, and the subsequent uselessness of the Slough as a dock. The complainants claim that they are damaged to the extent of $30,000, their bill winding up with the usual demand that the defendant may be ordered to specifically perform the contract entered into with Messrs. Barnard & Erand, the original owner of complainants’ property.
Chicago Tribune, July 28, 1889
NO CABLE FOR ARCHER AVENUE YET.
Superintendent Holmes Says the Improvement Must Await New Viaducts.
One of the advantages which was to follow the granting of an ordinance to the Illinois Central’s Madison & Northern Line was that Archer avenue would immediately have a cable road. This was to be brought about in consequence of the closing of Healy’s slip by the building of the railroad, this slip being the obstacle wich had blocked the South Side company in its intention to make the improvement.
Superintendent C. B. Holmes was asked yesterday if the company would put in a cable on Archer avenue it ibe Council allows the Madison & Northern to come in and the Healy slip in consequence is closed. Mr. Holmes said:
- We haven’t even considered the matter. The Healy slip has been only one of the obstacles. We shall be glad to have the slip closed. It should have been closed long ago out of consideration for the public health. But Archer avenue can never be cabled until there are viaducts over the many lines of railways. A cable could not be successfully operated crossing so many railway tracks. There is yet no general movement to have these viaducts built. Only one or two roads are doing anything in that direction. If viaducts were put over all the tracks and the Healy slip closed we would then consider the question of cabling the avenue.
Healy Slough Site
Chicago Tribune, May 26, 1885
Board of Education.
The Board of Education met last evening. It was decided to name the new school to be erected at the corner of Thirty-first and Wallace streets the Heal School, in honor of the late Robert Healy.
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