Family research / history & places / Chicago


Otto Teuthorn arrives at Chicago at 1890

When one nice day in 1890 Ottto Teuthorn arrived at Chicago he did not come to any American Middle West settlement but he entered the second largest urban agglomeration of Germans outside Germany.

In this year the developement of German population in the city had reached its peak with more than 350.000  foreign born and 2nd generation Germans [i] .
30% of the city´s inhabitants were German, felt German and lived their lives the German way. Ten years later German population had even strongly surpassed 400.000. But in the continuously growing city, the German element had already decreased to  o n l y  25%, due to stronger immigration from eastern and southern Europe (Polonians, Italians).

Otto must have felt familiar with Chicago being situated at the shore of a lake, for he found there almost the same geographic pattern he knew from his home town Kiel. Not only the near distance of  water was familiar to him. In the same way as Lake Michigan touches Chicago from the East so also  the “Förde” had done with Kiel. Like there he was able to observe ship traffic at the shore of what was soon to become his second home town. Surely, there was a decisive difference. All things measured bigger, higher, wider. But he must have felt at home  with forms and atmosphere. So imagine I, … at least.

Peter Teuthorn, 12th May 2003

[i] In the same year (1890) Germans und their descendants of New York and Brooklyn  reached 500.000 or 18%.

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