Family research / history & places / Chicago
Industries and labour (Chicago IV)
By 1850 Chicago had become the “hub of the nation”, at first by rapid
and effective construction of channels connecting the Lake District with
the East Coast and its most important immigration harbour New York, then
by the rapidly growing net of railroads. Due to Chicago’s central role
in the development of the Middle West there were all sorts of possible
Factories and industrial production were to be found in the centre
 and at the banks of Chicago River. Within the industrial
belt along the northern branch of the Chicago River existed numerous
wood and coal depots, brick works, saw mills, construction firms, supply
companies, stock buildings, rolling mills, metal working industries, furniture
factories, tanneries, clothing industries, bakeries and breweries
The almost unlimited growth and expansion of all these industries was
the main reason that forced residential areas to move to outlying districts.
The other was new immigration from the surroundings and from abroad.
German foreign born immigrants earned their money as craftsmen, tradesmen
and labourers. In comparison to the Irish and Italians they were to a
great extent well trained and skilled workers and found employment where
qualified labour was needed. On the other hand did they suffer more than
others from wages being reduced when mass production made special skills
less important. Because of the language barrier they mostly were dependant
on physical work, whereas e.g. administrative tasks, where domination
of the English language was precondition, were reserved to the second
generation, already born in their new home country.
But obviously not all cases suited into this pattern.
For example Otto TEUTHORN. I still ignore how he earned his living
in Chicago. But in fact he chose the North Side as his district
 and he tried to integrate more quickly by longing
for domination of the English language. “He taught himself to read
American papers and learn to speak basic English in order to assimilate
more readily into his new homeland”
 . Of course the single fate always depends on individual
incidents. For example you must not underestimate the influence
of a wife and her family. So at the moment I speculate, that Otto’
s marriage with Auguste Janssen definately strongly influenced his
Developing industries and growing population formed a fertile
ground for a lot of small businesses within the neighbourhood itself.
Characteristic for the district were trades of construction and food,
home industries such as tailor’s shops, shoe manufacturers, cigar makers
and all sorts of services.
”Chicago’s Germans, who quickly moved up the economic ladder, became the
backbone of late nineteenth-century Chicago.” 
©Peter Teuthorn, 2003-08-15
 In the 80ies 40 % of all employment were situated in the city centre.
 “Wilhelm Haas and Lill
opened Chicago’s first brewery in 1840; it grew to the largest brewery
west of Cincinnati by 1857.” Taken from Shaw, Stephen J.: The Catholic
Parish as a Way-Station of Ethnicity and Americanisation, Chicago´s
Germans and Italians 1903-1939, Brooklyn, New York in Jerald C. Brauer,
Martin E. Marty (Hrsg.) Chicago Studies in the History of American Religion,
 Dawn Teuthorn told me.
 Also from D. Teuthorn.