Chicago Tribune, April 1, 1906
The last dinosaur had been slain. The people of Chicago crept out into the sunshine fom the cellars in which they had been living for weeks and gazed, amazed and helpless, at the debris of demolished skyscrapers and factories, and wandered aimlessly through ruined, disheveled parks and boulevards.
The soldiers and the artillery, brought from far away army ports to do battle with the antediluvian monsters that had swarmed down upon the city from the north, had departed. The torpedo boat destroyers and submarine boats sent by the government to destroy the monster ichthyosauria, which swarmed in Lake Michigan, had returned, through the lakes and the Welland canal, to the Atlantic seaboard. The dynamite corps, organized by the committee of public safety, had been disbanded.
City Devastated and Left in Ruins.
Chicago was again at peace after five weeks’ combat with the most terrifying enemy that ever threatened the destruction of mankind. The combat had cost thousands of lives and left the city practically in ruins. Huge skyscrapers had been crushed by mighty blows from monster dinosauria, the towering hulks of which reached to tenth stories. Great factories had been crushed under the weight of pterodactyli; parks had been ruined; railways had been torn up; the Chicago river was choked with the debris of torn and twisted bridges and the battered hulks of big lake steamers, lumber schooners, grain barges, dredges, and tugs, all destroyed by monster ichthyosauria which swarmed in the waters of Lake Michigan.
Never in 6,000 years of history had so terrifying a combat been forced upon a people.
Chicago Jests at Awful Warnings.
The first warnings of the approach of the hoardes of antediluvian monsters were treated with levity by press and public. A Chicago newspaper one morning in May printed the following dispatch:
DULUTH, Minn., May 1.—Capt. Scott of the whaleback No. 13 of the Rockefeller ore carrying fleet reports that sixty miles from Duluth he sighted a sea serpent. The monster had a huge alligator shaped head eight feet long, with eyes as big as the head of a barrel. Only thirteen feet of its neck could be seen above the surface of the water. The first mate and the engineer saw the sea serpent and vouch for the correctness of Capt. Scott’s story.
Startling Dispatch from Northwest.
The newspaper printed the dispatch with facetious headlines, and the funny editors wrote jeering paragraphs, asking Capt. Scott what particular brand of grog he served on board his ship.
A few days later another Chicago newspaper printed the following:
WINNIPEG, May 4.—A dispatch from Sifton, in Northwest Manitoba province, brings an extraordinary story, told there by Lieut. Chivers of the Canadian northwest mounted police, who has just returned from Red Deer Point, in Lake Winnipegosis. Lieut. Chivers reports that two weeks ago he saw flying in the air, a huge, batlike bird, whose wings stretched fully eighty feet from tip to tip. Its head was felly five feet long, with a pelicanlike bill. Two days later Lieut. Chivers and his escort distinctly saw six of these monsters flying in the air. Trappers up and down Lake Winnipegosis are coming into Sifton by the score, fearing destruction from the huge, batlike birds. Great excitement prevails here.
Terror and Panic in Canada.
There were more facetious paragraphs in the newspapers, and in a day or so the public forgot all about the batlike birds seen flying over Lake Winnipegosis. Then came a more disquieting dispatch from far Northern Ontario province, on the Canadian Pacific, to the following effect:
WAHNAPITAC, May 6.—John Anddrson, a prominent and prosperous farmer living south of Lake Wahnapitac, arrived here with his family and a few household goods in a wagon. Anderson fled from his farm last Tuesday in terror after seeing a huge monster 120 feet long prowling around his cattle yard. The beast had a head and neck like snake. Its body, eighteen feet thick, was covered with scales. Its fore legs were shorter than its hind legs, and it had a tail forty feet long, crusted with scales. The monster demolished Anderson’s barn with one sweep of his mighty tail. Anderson gathered a few goods and his family into a wagon and dove his frightened horses on a run into town. Hundreds of farmers are coming into Wahnapitac in terror. They report that the huge beasts are roaming the forests by scores. The excitement is intense. The population of the whole country is fleeing southward.
The story from Wahnapitac seemed so extraordinary that the general manager of the Canadian Pacific made inquiries. The response was startling. From every station agent along the line in northern Ontario province came the news that strange huge monsters were ravaging the whole country north of the railroad. Agents at Turnbull, Eureka, Lake Pogamasing, Larehwood, Sudbury, Warren, and Verner sent the same reports, and in two days the Canadian Pacific trains were filled with refugees fleeing from the terror that had come down from the woods of the north in such hideous shape.
Newspapers Become Less Flippant.
The Chicago newspapers no longer discussed the stories from the north flippantly. The monsters which the Canadian farmers were seeing seemed preposterous, impossible—but the terror of the people was genuine. There was no gainsaying that fact. All over southern Canada the people were fleeing by tons of thousands. The railroad abandoned its freight traffic. It made no attempt to sell tickets or to collect fares. Every locomotive, every passenger, freight stock, and flat car the company could find was impressed into service in order to carry away the terror stricken population.
The panic, however, did not reach Chicago. The daily newspapers printed pages of the strange news from the north to the exclusion of all other news and every line was eagerly read, but business went on as usual. The board of trade and the stock exchange held their daily sessions. State street was as full of shoppers as ever. Big factories were working as usual. No one thought of his own danger while reading of the awesome events transpiring in the far north.
Sea Serpent Saw Tug First.
Then suddenly came the awakening. tug chartered by an enterprising newspaper had started for Lake Superior with a full corps of reporters, artists, and photographers in an endeavor to sight the sea serpent and obtain accurate pictures and descriptions. It happened, however, that the tug did not find the sea serpent. The sea serpent found the tug first. Late in the afternoon, while artists and reporters were lounging idly along the rail, there came a sudden boiling, foaming upheaval of the waters close to the bow of the boat. A huge bulk appeared in the waters, and a long, snakelike neck raised a great head, with staring eyes, far above the tug. The newspaper men gave one affrighted yell as the monster swayed its head, with its ferocious jaws, from side to side over the deck. Then, with a sweep of its powerful tail against the side of the tug, it disappeared beneath the surface of the water. The blow smashed the propeller and steering gear and stove in the stern planking, letting in a flood of water, which put out the fire under the boilers and left the little vessel drifting helplessly and slowly sinking.
But the of the destruction of a tug in Lake Michigan by a huge and unheard of monster did not create so much of a sensation in Chicago as its authors had anticipated, for Chicago had even greater sensations of its own within its own observation. On the same morning that the story of the destruction of the tug was printed, a telephone message from Racine reported that half a dozen monster, batlike birds, with wings spreading nearly 100 feet across, had been seen flying over that town on their way southward. The news spread from mouth to mouth as a prairie fire spreads across the western plains. “The monsters are coming!” “The monsters are coming!” were excited cries heard on every side.
The people poured into the streets. Tall office buildings were deserted, factories shut down, stores closed. Nobody wanted to work, or to buy, or to sell. Everybody wanted to be in the open air to catch the first glimpse of the huge batlike birds which had terrorized the north, and which were lazily winging their way toward Chicago. The streets were so choked with people that all traffic was suspended, and the electric and cable cars were unable to force a way through the crowds. Never had Chicago witnessed so exciting a day.
Just before noon a cry arose from the hundreds of persons who had been lucky enough to secure places of vantage on the top of tall buildings.
Far to the north, hovering above Evanston, could be seen a half dozen huge “birds” swooping in broad circles over the town. The great “birds” came nearer and nearer. Although their movements seemed cumbrous and slow, yet they really were flying with almost incredible speed. As they came nearer to Chicago their great batlike wings beating the air were plainly discernible; but even more terrifying were the huge heads and terrible jaws of the strange creatures. The head was shaped like that of a monster pelican.
Wings 40 to 60 Feet Long.
The great jaws were six or seven feet long and armed with formidable teeth. The body was shaped like that of a bird, although as big as that of a horse. From the body, extending forty to sixty feet on each side, were broad, membranous wings. THe creature’s legs were ridiculously out of proportion to the rest of its body.
The city was thrown into a state of indescribable panic by the appearance of the strange monsters flying in the air. The tops of the high buildings were quickly emptied of the throngs of persons who only an hour before had been so eager to catch a glimpse of the creatures. The streets were cleared as if by magic and in an incredibly short time were deserted. Every man, woman, and child in the city had hurriedly sought for shelter in cellars and basements, in houses and big buildings. Everywhere doors and windows were barricaded to ward off a possible attack from the great winged monsters which were lazily circling over the city, like birds of evil omen. No one knew for certain whether these unheard of beasts of the air would attack human beings or not, but no one took any chances.
Greater Terrors Were in Store.
But still greater terrors were awaiting the people of Chicago on the following day. Few persons in the city slept the night after the arrival of the pterodactyli. There was too much to worry about. In fact, no one went to bed at all, and the streets, usually deserted, were filled all night by men who already had overcome their first fears.
Shortly after 3 o’clock in the morning there came the far away sounds of tremendous commotion in the northwest part of the city, where people began fleeing from some new and strange terror. The crowds assembled within the loop district heard the sounds coming nearer and nearer. Suddenly in the darkness just before dawn there was a tremendous crash and a great splashing at the Dearborn street bridge. A great hideous beast whose bulk almost filled the street from curb to curb had attempted to cross the bridge. The timbered and steel frame of the structure crunched beneath the weight of the beast as if built cardboard and matches. The monster, whatever it was, plunged into the Chicago river with a mighty splash; but seemingly not at all disconcerted, scrambled out on the south bank and ambled slowly down the street toward the Tribune building.
The crowds in the streets fled in terror, but there were so many people fleeing from other streets that there was a tremendous crush at the corner of Dearborn and Madison streets in which thousands of men were crushed and trampled by the crowds.
The monster dinosaur diplodocus (that was the name given to the beast by the university professor the next day) heaved its way southward in Dearborn street toward the postoffice, leaving wreck and ruin behind it.
Dinosaur Amiably Disposed.
Suddenly some one made the astounding discovery that the dinosaur, terrible as he appeared, was inclined by nature to be amiably disposed toward man. The huge beasts which filled several downtown streets with their bulks regarded men and women, horsed, carriages, and street cars with seemingly indifference. Noticing this fact exceedingly bold and brash citizen and taxpayer walked up close beneath the huge bulk of one of the beasts and rapped its tail sharply with his walking stick. The crowds expected a demonstration of anger from the dinosaur, but nothing happened. After that the citizens, men and boys alike, were no more afraid and once more business was resumed. Men and even women, after the first hour of panic had passed, walked by and around—and even under—the huge brutes with contemptuous indifference which only increased when it was noted that the clang of a street car gong or the “honk, honk” of an automobile filled the dinosaur with evident terror. Man became so accustomed to dinosaurs that policemen even clubbed them off the streets when they blocked traffic.
Learned professors from the Chicago university explained that the dinosaur, although a tremendously huge beast, had a brain not much larger than a cow. This explained its stupidity at the sight of man. Again, it subsisted entirely on vegetable food. This explained its lack of ferocity.
But each succeeding hour brought other huge terrifying beasts, some of them docile like the dinosaur, but others more ferocious and a constant menace to the lives of the citizens.
In the first place there were many species of dinosaur. There was the carnivorous dinosaur which wreaked fearful havoc in the stockyards district; the armored dinosaur, built like then others except that its neck was lacking, its short snoutlike head protruding only a short distance aheas of its forelegs.
Some Triceratops Were Docile.
A particularly hideous monster that came with the rest of the prehistoric collection was the triceratops. This beast was only thirty-nine feet long and stood only nineteen feet high. It resembled much the rhinoceros of the present day, except that instead of one horn it had three, a short one over the lip of its nose, and two long ones projecting upward and forward from above its little twinkling red eyes.
But most terrible of all was the carnivorous dinosaur, or as scientists have named it, the tyrannosaurus rex, or the “tyrant king saurian.” This beast seemed to be the deadly foe of all the other grass eating dinosaurs, as well as of its own species, a fact which caused wide consternation in Chicago, which led to the destruction of the Montgomery Ward building in Michigan avenue in the afternoon of the first day’s invasion. The destruction of this building, and the fall of its high pinnacle like tower beneath the weight of two struggling fighting dinosaurs was witnessed by a vast concourse of people which completely filled Grant Park from the Art Institute to the Illinois Central depot.
Havoc on Michigan Avenue.
The battle between the tyrannosaurus and the dinosaur diplodocus took place about 4 o’clock in the afternoon and began in Michigan avenue near the Auditorium Annex. The dinosaur diplodocus had been eating off the tops of the tall trees in Grant Park, and a great crowd of people has been drawn to the vicinity, filling every point of vantage on the Auditorium and the Annex, the Congress theater, and the Studebaker building, while the Railway Exchange was black with sight seeers.
All at once the dinosaur diplodocus was seen to turn uneasily toward the south, where a great commotion in Michigan avenue could be heard. With curious eyes the thousands of spectators turned to seek the new sensation, and all at once there across the general exclamation, “Look at that thing coming down the street on two legs!”
The newly arrived beast was not so large as the dinosaur diplodocus which had been feeding in Grant Park. Its body was not more than eighty feet high. It was advancing north in the boulevard at a rapid pace, moving with kangaroo like jums on its powerful hind legs, each spring covering a hundred feet. Its head was larger than any of the dinosaurs that had been seen and terminated in two powerful jaws instead of the rounded muzzles of the grass eating beasts of its species.
Tyrannosaurus Starts a Fight.
Every one who saw the gigantic beast and noted its ponderous frame and it powerful jaws with their double rows of wicked teeth, realized at once that it was an enemy of the dinosaur diplodocus in the park and that a battle such as civilized man had never witnessed was about to take place.
The dinosaur diplodocus had taken the alarm and was moving in mighty springs northward toward the Art Institute; but its speed was handicapped by its ponderous body, and the spectators saw that it would be overtaken quickly. With a wild bellow of rage such as the the ears of mortal man had never heard the tyrannosaurus overtook the fleeing dinosaur diplodocus and with a mighty swing leaped upon its back. Its powerful jaws closed down on the columnar neck of the dinosaur and instantly the battle was on.
The dinosaur, has not yet weakened by the unequal coming of its assailant and then with tremendous swing of its scale-armored tail rained crashing blows on the tyrannosaurus. Thunderous roars of pain reverberated through the city and the brutes battled in their life and death struggled combat covered the entire Lake Front park, from the Art Institute to Park row, between the Illinois Central tracks and Michigan avenue, and as the throng be moving from side to side they tore great channels in the earth, smashed trees and crushed in steel viaducts and smashed locomotives and cars. The Logan Square trolley was shivered in fragments by one sweeping of the dinosaur’s tail.
Hundreds Buried in the Ruins.
Nor did the buildings on Michigan avenue escape. The entire fronts that make up of the Studebaker theater and the Fine Arts building caved in, the Victoria hotel was completely destroyed and the avenue was filled with debris and twisted steel girders, and broken plate glass covered the hundreds of men who were buried in the ruins of established buildings.
Back and forth on the lake front the two monsters struggled and blood poured from mouths of is flowing as string as streams from a hydrant and filled in with reddish black, sluggish streams. As horrible as the appearance of Michigan avenue as it was with the debris of demolished and of the hundreds of dead bodies of spectators helplessly in the mighty meshes of the battle was ever witnessed.
The struggle was drawn out, but it was easily to be seen and that the tyrannosaurus would be more than ever defeat the dinosaur. The trunk-like legs of the diplodocus were becoming weaker and weaker. Several legs gave way, and the huge monster seemed helpless and defeated upon the earth. One time it seemd to gather renewed strength it struggled to its feet.
Finally, at the corner of Michigan avenue and Madison street, the dinosaur endeavored to escape and with a mighty spring it began climbing the side of the Montgomery Ward building, smashing the windows and pulling off hundreds of square yards of brick facing. The exposed cross sections of the inner structure gave the monster better foothold and it climbed higher and higher. The tyrannosaurus followed and the dinosaur made a last frantic effort by springing up to the top of the tower, 250 feet above the ground while thousands in the street gazed with the fascination of knowing how the struggle would end.
Pterodactyl and Carrion.
The end, however, ended in an unexpected catastrophe. The high mast of the building rocked and trembled under the strain, bent slowly to the eastward, and in an instant’s hesitation, toppled into space toward the tyrannosaurus and tye dinosaur, and with a tremendous crash to the pavement below.
That ended the battle as the huge monsters were killed by the fall while their bodies were yet the quivering flocks of the great vulturelike pterodactyl flew over the scene, ready to swoop down and feast upon the flesh of the carrion.
But while the duel and such fearful havoc on the lake front was a scene of wilder devastation and more that was being enacted in Lincoln park. The dinosauria to arrive in the city on that moment were the herbivorous species, and comparatively harmless. Their numbers were by hordes of huge, slimy, horrid looking half lizard, half beast, which swarmed in from Lake Michigan.
Of these new visitors were a number which did not make their appearance in the downtown districts at all. Among them were specimens of the plesiosaurus and the ichthyosaurs, both submarine monsters most repellant and more formidable than the more repellant and still amphibious dinosaur brontosaurus, or least which flourished during the jurassic period of the age of reptiles, some 8,000,000 years ago. They had a long thick tail and had a flexible neck, a thick, short, slabsided body, but massive, postlike legs, suggesting that it was a herbivorous brute, feeding mostly on vegetation and spent most of its time in the water.
Another particular brute which had invaded Lincoln park was the hadrosaurous mirabillis. This beast when it crawled of the water was about forty feet high, while its lizardlike tail followed along the ground fifty to sixty feet.
Height, 50, Length 100 Feet.
Then there was the dinosaur, a carnivorous, ugly, quarrelsome beast, fifty feet high and 100 feet long, whose body was not only incrusted with scales but surmounted with a ridge of hornlike scales.
There various sorts of monsters had filled Lincoln park on the morning of the first day’s invasion. There were so many if them that in a comparatively short space of time they completely destroyed the park, eating first the tops of the trees and then uprooting even the trees themselves. Then, for lack of other food, the beasts turned their attention to the zoo.
A great crowd of the braver part of the population around Lincoln park watched the terrible battles between the antediluvian monsters and the beasts of the modern era. It was a scene which will never be forgotten.
“Zoo” Animals Fight Intruders.
Long before the dinosauria attacked the animal houses the affrighted roars and screams and trumpetings bellowing of the buffalo could be heard all over the northern part of the city. The lion and tiger cages were attacked first. A giant dinosaur, seemingly impelled more by curiosity than anything else, heaved its way along the walk in front of the cages and with a sweep of its formidable claws tore the iron gratings from before the lions and tigers. The latter, although terror stricken, did not hesitate to fight. With one awful roar the big male lion leaped at the throat of the dinosaur and he was followed almost instantly by the two female lions and three of the tigers. All six of the jungle beasts landed upon the one dinosaur. It was the carnivorous type and a battle royal in which the dinosaur was slain followed; but other huge monsters crowded up and took part in the unequal combat, wnd within a few minutes the carcasses of the lions and tigers were trampled and torn to pieces. The elephants fell easy prey to their larger antagonists, and in less than an hour the zoo had ceased to exist and the antediluvian monsters ruled supreme in Lincoln park.
The battle on the lake front and the destruction of Lincoln park marked the climax of the second of the invasion of prehistoric monsters. The first day had brought the pterodactyl and terror but no loss of human life or destruction of property. The second day had brought scores of dinosauia of all species, and while the gigantic beasts showed no disposition to attack man, yet they were immensely destructive of property. Every time a dinosaur hulked up its way through a street it left a wake of demolished buildings and ruined pavements behind it.
Pavements Were Ruined.
At the end of the second day all of the downtown district looked like the aftermath of a terrible earthquake. Michigan avenue from Park row to the river was a mass of ruins. Of the Montgomery Ward building nothing was left but the skeleton of steel. Madison street had suffered severely, the Heyworth, Chicago Savings, and Tribune buildings alone escaping serious injury. The Hartford building was untenable. The First National Bank building had been preempted by the pterodactyl and had been let alone by the monster dinosauria, but the postoffice was partly wrecked under the weight of a score of dinosauria, who seemed to be attracted by its low structure and glittering dome.
The elevated loop structure had been smashed in a dozen places. Most of the bridges over the Chicago river were only masses of twisted steel and swinging low in the water, all having been crushed by the dinosauria in their stupid efforts to cross the stream on structures not built to withstand their weight.
Out in the stockyards district property had not suffered so severely as might have been supposed. Up in the evening of the second day the only attack upon the live stock pens was by the pterodactyli and these beasts destroyed only a few hundred head of live stock.
Business Was Forgotten.
Of course all idea of business in the downtown district was abandoned. The streets were full of the débris of demolished buildings, the pavements were torn up, electric light and trolley masts were thrown down, and the streets filled with tangled wires. All the surface and elevated cars, of course, had stopped running.
Early in the afternoon, before the battle between the tyrannosaurus and the dinosaur had resulted in the ruin of the lake front and Michigan avenue structures, a proclamation signed by the mayor had been posted in conspicuous places in all parts of the city. In the proclamation the mayor recited briefly the necessity of taking prompt steps to rid of the city of the monster and unwelcome visitors. Upon his own volition he named 100 leading citizens to serve as a committee of public safety. He requested all the men so named to meet immediately at Pullman to device ways and means for rescuilg the city and protecting its inhabitants.
It was 10 o’clock that night before all the members of the committee on public safety reached the opera house in Pullman. The mayor presided, and in a few words detailed the awful destruction already wrought in a single day by the giant antediluva monsters and outlining the grave peril which threatened the people on the next day.
Public Safety Committee Meets.
There was little speechmaking. Prof. Dryasdust of the University of Chicago attempted to launch a learned description of the monsters. He started in to give their scientific names and to tell of the millions of years which had elapsed since the huge beasts roamed the earth. But his learned disquisition was cut short by the mayor, who exclaimed:
It matters little what these monsters are called or how long ago they lived upon the earth. The question is how do we get rid of them as quickly as possible.
Now, there are three problems to solve. First, we have got to kill these monsters. Second, we must take steps to prevent famine among our people. Third, we must clean the city to prevent an awful epidemic.
The first problem will be the most difficult to solve. There are hundreds of these gigantic monsters already in our city. How many hundreds or thousands more may be coming we have no means of knowing. But we have got to kill them. The only weapons I can think of is cannon. Ordinary rifle bullets will not avail.
Appealed to the Government.
Obviously, then, we must appeal to the government. We cannot look to our own military post for aid, because I am advised by telegraph that Fort Sheridan already has been destroyed. Therefore we must look to outside military posts. To save time I telegraphed to the president of the United States today, telling him of our predicament, and asking for help. The command of Fort Sheridan has added his entreaties to mine. I have a telegram from the secretary of war, which I will read:
To Mayor of Chicago, Pullman, Ill.: First, Third, and Seventeenth batteries field artillery, with eighteen guns, en route Chicago from Fort Crook, Omaha; Thirteenth, Twenty-first, Twenty-third, and Twenty-fifth batteries, with twenty-four guns, en route from Jefferson barracks, St. Louis; First, Third, and Eighteenth regiments of infantry en route from Fort Crook, Fort Thomas, and Jefferson barracks. All should arrive Chicago tomorrow. Keep me advised.
SECRETARY OF WAR.
The reading of this telegram from the secretary of was received with cheers. It restored courage. It gave the committee of safety a basis to work on. Plans were carefully laid. Work was mapped out. Committees were named, and at 8 o’clock in the morning the committee of one hundred adjourned for a few hours’ rest. It had already decided to divide into two bodies in order that its committee of public safety should be in constant session day and night.
Artillery Made No Impression.
The first battle between the dinosaurus and the artillery, which reached Chicago from St. Louis on the morning after the committee of public safety had assembled in the opera house at Pullman, made no impression on the invading monsters.
The various batteries of artillery came by special train on the Chicago and Alton and detrained some distance from the center of the city.
The horses, however, scenting the strange and terrible danger almost instinctively became unmanageable through fear at its start. The cannon, therefore, had to be hauled by hundreds of men, who lugged enthusiastically at long ropes attached to the field pieces.
Taking its position on Lake Front park, in front of the Illinois Central passenger station, the Seventeenth battery of artillery prepared to give battle to the monster dinosauria which was roaming in the park.
The first shot, aimed at a huge dinosaur diplodosis in front of the Auditorium hotel, found its mark, and the monster leaped high in the air as a three inch shell, the fuse timed to a dot, exploded near its shoulder. The great beast was killed almost instantly.
Recognized Man as Enemy.
The shot, however, produced unexpected results. In the park between the Illinois Central station and the Art Institute were a score of more dinosauria, many of them of the ugly carnivorous species. Instead of taking to flight, as had been hoped they would, the monsters seemed to recognize man as their enemy for the first time, and prepared to do a little fighting on their own account. Almost with one accord a dozen of the huge beasts, insensible of danger, began leaping in great, terrifying bounds toward the battery of khaki clad artillerymen. The battery worked its six guns with feverish energy, but many of the shots went wild. It was not to be expected that soldiers—even regular army soldiers—from St. Louis could remain cool and fire accurately at so strange a foe, and long before the dinosauria reached the battery the men had turned and fled in a panic of fear.
The First battery, which had reached Lincoln park by a wide detour to the west, had a similar experience. The soldiers declared they would fight Dutch, English, French, or Spaniards one to four, but that it was not to be expected they could do their best against so strange an enemy.
Pterodactyli Hard to Shoot.
Out in the stockyards district the Third artillery had a better time of it. There were few dinosauria there but many pterodactyli, and these offered a poor mark, for they hovered high in air and the muzzles of the guns could not be elevated high enough to bear upon them.
The infantry regiments which arrived during the day were of little service. The bullets from their Krag-Jorgensens made little impression on the thick, armor plated sides of the beasts.
The committee of public safety telegraphed to the president for more troops and more batteries of artillery. At the same time the committee informed the president of a new danger, and this time from Lake Michigan itself. Incoming steamers had reported that the lake was swarming with huge monsters, which Prof. Dryasdust promptly identified as the ichthyosaurus, a monster beast, 100 feet long, with huge jaws armed with great teeth. That the t\ichthyosaurus was an ugly, dangerous brute was proved by the destruction of a tug near the Hyde Park crib on the first day the monsters were discovered in the lake. These beasts in a single day swept commerce from the lower lakes.
President Sends Submarine Boats.
The president acted promptly, as became a chief magistrate of a great nation. He not only ordered all the available batteries of artillery in the country to Chicago on special trains, but he sent six submarine boats and eight of the swiftest torpedo boat destroyers in the navy up the St. Lawrence, through the Welland canal, and into the great lakes.
In the meantime the people of Chicago were not idle. Under direction of a subcommittee of the committee of public safety all the cattle, hogs, and sheep in the stockyards were driven in small bunches to the outskirts of the city and concealed, in order to save the animals for food. Great temporary buildings, too were erected near the railroads to serve as storehouses for provisions and food. Flour was shipped to the storehouses by the train load and made into bread by bakers working in hastily improvised ovens. Bakers, butchers, provision men, helpers, and delivery men were organized by companies under militqry discipline, and by this wise precaution a great famine was averted.
Another subcommittee organized thousands of men into military brigades. Devices for the throwing of dynamite bombs were improvised and small companies of cool headed men sent into the heart of the city to do hourly battle battle with the dinosauria.
Sanitary Committee Kept Busy.
Still another subcommittee took country of the sanitary work. The huge carcasses of dead dinosaurs quickly putrified in the sun and the city was face to face with a frightful epidemic. But the sanitary corps, working in relays, night and day, burned the huge carcasses as rapidly as the monsters were killed, and in this way the epidemic was averted.
Artillery poured into the city and the day and night were filled with the din iof battle, the reverberating crashes of artillery, the explosion of dynamite bombs, and the hoarse, wild, unearthly screams of dinosauria and pterodactyli. A cordon of thousands of determined citizens, reinforced by thousands of troops, was drawn about the central part of the city and in the and in this circumscribed area the dinosayria were finally confined. The great beasts for weeks, however, kept coming from the lake, as most of them were fully at home in the water as on land.
Tugs Towed Carcasses Away.
The arrival of the submarine boats and destroyers, however, put a new phase on the battle. The destroyers, darting over the surface of the lake, were of little use until it was discovered that the monsters themselves were frightened by the submarines. A submarine boat, with its electric headlight flashing along the bottom of the lake, drove the monsters to the surface, where they were quickly destroyed by the rapid fire guns of the torpedo boats.
As quickly as one of the monsters floated dead on the surface it was taken in tow by a tug boat, hauled over the sand dunes on the Indiana shore, drawn up on land by block and tackle worked by donkey engines, and cremated. This wise precaution thus prevented the water of Lake Michigan from becoming contaminated. Big lake steamers, especially fitted up for the purpose in the shipyards of South Chicago, served as tenders to keep the fleet of torpedo boat destroyers supplied wit ammunition and provisions.
Finally, after weeks of the battle, there came a day when reports from the north indicated the migration of the great beasts from the forests of Canada had ceased and that the country was clear. The news brought renewed courage to the great army of men in Chicago and they redoubled their efforts to exterminate the monsters that still held possession of the city. The work of the submarines and the fleet of torpedo boat destroyers, too, was beginning to have its effect. The monsters in the lake were beyond question diminishing in numbers.
Meanwhile the cordon of men and guns around the monster infested center of the city was drawing closer and closer every day, and the battle was a losing one as far as the dinosauria were concerned. The huge beasts fought desperately, but against unequal odds, and there came a day finally when they gave the fight. They made one last effort to escape, however, and by a device showing a cunning which no one dreamed they possessed.
Last Dinosaur Killed—O Joy!
It was a day of great rejoicing in Chicago when the last dinosaur had been slain. The sounds of artillery firing ceased. Then dense clouds of smoke which has hovered over the city for weeks were dispelled. The sun shone, and the sky never looked so blue. With one accord the people flocked into the city to gaze at the ruins wrought by the invading monsters.
Few of the skyscrapers had been injured beyond being stripped of their facing of brick and stone. The Montgomery Ward building, of course, was the most notable wreck, because it had been the scene of the most exciting event in the first day’s invasion. The wreck on Michigan avenue already has been described. The post office building was only partly destroyed. The smaller four and five story buildings in La Salle, Madison, Clark, Monroe, Randolph, and Washington streets were in ruins. All the downtown streets were piled ten feet deep with the débris of ruined buildings.
The work of rebuilding the city began at once. The committee of public safety was kept intact, but reorganized on different lines. It assumed charge of the work of rebuilding the city. Ruins soon gave place to new and modern structures, greater, handsomer, and taller than the ones razed in those terrible days of the dinosaur visitation.
Whee did the prehistoric monsters which descended upon Chicago on that eventful May day come from? The question has not been satisfactorily answered, but Prof. Dryasdust is of the opinion—and Prof. Oldashills shares the belief—that the long lost prehistoric city and land of Atlantis had held these great monsters in safety against the warring elements of time. There in Atlantis secure from the destroying march of the ages, the dinosaur and other monster reptilians had been conserved.
Came From Long Lost Atlantis.
Some mighty convulsion of nature, some earthquake shock of more than ordinary severity may have thrown fabled Atlantis to the surface of the earth. Prof. Dryasdust opines (and Prof. Oldashills agrees) that if Atlantis existed, and if, as they believe, Atlantis was brought to the surface of the earth’s crust by some mighty convulsion of nature, the contact would have taken place somewhere in the arctic circle, near King William’s Land, near the north magnetic pole of the earth. The monsters thus thrown upon their own resources in a barren, bleak, ice incrusted land and instinctively sought food and warmth where food and warmth were to be found—to the southward.
The Inter Ocean, April 19, 1906