The Illinois Building

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Written By HistoryCop

HistoryCop was founded by Ray Johnson, a life-long Chicago area resident and history buff who is a former criminal investigator.

The Illinois Building

The Illinois Building was the largest state building at the fair. It was designed by William W. Boyington who designed, among many other things, The Chicago Water Tower, The entrance to Rosehill Cemetery, and the old Joliet Prison. C.B. Atwood who designed the nearby Palace of Fine Arts hated this building. He did not like the double dome on the top of the building and was quoted in the press as saying it was a "spectacle of political debauchery". He probably wasn't far from the truth. He also didn't like the building because it blocked the view of his "great" building from the south. Inside the building stood the statue, "Illinois Welcoming The World". It was designed by a Chicago female sculptor named Julia Bracken. Following the fair, the statue was sent as a gift to the Illinois Capitol building where it remains to this day.

The Shootout at the Delaware Building

After the fair, everything was for sale including the Delaware State Building. Ellis Bennett, a local con-man, purchased the building for $400 using a bogus promissory note backed up by land that he didn't own. He then hired a man named John Jaman who owned a barge to remove the building from the fairgrounds and transport it to the area of 130th and Wolf Lake to property that he didn't own. He never paid Jaman the $1,500 he promised him. Cyrus Roys, then president of the Union League Club, did own the property and all three, Delaware, Jaman and Roys, sued Bennett in the Cook County Courts. After six years deputies finally went to evict Bennett but they entered into a 36-hour gun battle that ended in no injuries. They booked Bennett downtown where he bonded out the next morning for $50, returned to the building and lived out the rest of his life there. The building was demolished in the 1950s.

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The Illinois Building

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