Tuesday, October 21, 2008
No, not that Lincoln. In the summer of 1835, Solomon Lincoln, who had up until then made his living principally as a tailor in Chicago, opened the city's first saloon at this location on the corner of Lake and LaSalle Streets, known as Lincoln's Coffeehouse. The coffeehouse quickly became the most popular drinking establishment in the city, which wasn't saying much since Chicago's population was under 4,000 people at the time.
Unlike the tattooed and pierced barista at your nearby Starbucks, Lincoln was a noted hunter of wolves, which at that time were a persistent nuisance in Chicago. In fact, the area around the confluence of the Chicago River, just three blocks west of the Coffeehouse, was known in the 19th century as "Wolf Point," for the ubiquitous animals. In Gem of the Prairie, Herbert Asbury quotes an "old-time Chicagoan" as saying: "Many a time, I have seen Mr. Lincoln mount his horse when a wolf was in sight on the prairie toward Bridgeport, and within an hour's time come in with the wolf, having run him down with his horse and taken his life with a hatchet or other weapon."
No wolf sightings at this Bank of America, which currently occupies the site.