Making the City Work

The City That Works

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One of his top priorities as mayor was to improve the delivery of city services to all of the neighborhoods and to all of the people of Chicago. When you look at the city’s Capital Improvement Program during his administration and the emphasis that was placed on constructing new facilities for every city department, you get a clear picture of the mayor’s priorities. As the City Architect, I had the opportunity and responsibility for the design and construction of these new facilities. New Police, Fire, Health, Senior, Community Service, Library, Streets and Sanitation, and Transit facilities were completed in neighborhoods throughout the city. All designed to improve the delivery of city services.

Jerome Butler, City Architect, interview excerpt, July 8,2002

Richard J. Daley onstage at what is probably a 911 kickoff event. Chicago adopted 911 for all emergency calls in 1976. RJD_04_01_0067_0002_005

Richard J. Daley onstage at what is probably a 911 kickoff event. Chicago adopted 911 for all emergency calls in 1976. RJD_04_01_0067_0002_005

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William Daley explains why providing city services was so important for the mayor. Click on image to play video.

Video: William Daley, son of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, December 5, 2008

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I think that you can see how development helps a community. That’s not only from providing amenities in that area that will serve the people long after it’s built, but also the jobs it creates to build that amenity.

Patrick Thompson, grandson of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, June 13, 2002

This undated video shows garbage removal services from the early years of Richard J. Daley’s mayoral administration. Click on image to play video.

Video: Excerpt from “Miscellaneous Footage” (no sound), RJD_04_02_0000_0000_049

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Mayor Richard J. Daley to William L McFetridge of the Chicago Park District, 1967. RJD_01_01_0058_0004_020

Mayor Richard J. Daley to William L McFetridge of the Chicago Park District, 1967. RJD_01_01_0058_0004_020

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Those filtration plants are the lifeblood, not of the city, but of this region. Well, that wasn’t popular. It wasn’t popular at all. Build something in the lake? How could you do that? How could you even conceive that? But he knew that was right. He knew that we had to have clean water, if we were going to have cities in the surrounding areas. The foresight that he had was always, “What’s good for the city? And what’s good for its people?” Politically, at times, it was difficult.

Ed Bedore, City Budget Director, interview excerpt, May 18, 2009

Mayor Daley inspects Chicago’s new water filtration plant. Click on image to play video.

 Video: Excerpt from “Miscellaneous Footage” (no sound), RJD_04_02_0000_0000_208

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Daley expanded and professionalized police and fire services.

We re-did the headquarters. We built a communications center. We worked with O. W. Wilson in the reorganization of the Police Department and built a series of area headquarters, which were never built before, after Wilson came in. We started with the Area 4 Police Headquarters, then Area 6, and then the Police Training Academy. The city never had a police training academy until Wilson came in. Here’s the fire department. They never had a fire academy until Daley came in. They built a new fire academy.

Jerome Butler, City Architect, interview excerpt, July 8,2002

Promotional piece on Chicago’s police force. Click on image to play video.

Video: Excerpts from “Miscellaneous Footage” (no sound), RJD_04_02_0000_0000_049

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This photo from 1967 shows the snow accumulating at the Wavers Apartment Buildings, at Lamont and Archer. RJD_04_01_0026_0005_001

This photo from 1967 shows the snow accumulating at the Wavers Apartment Buildings, at Lamont and Archer. RJD_04_01_0026_0005_001

 In 1967, 23 inches of snow fell within 35 hours — the largest single snowfall in the city’s history. Businesses closed, roofs collapsed, cars were abandoned, and many Chicagoans were stranded.

 

Citation to Richard J. Daley for efforts during 1967 snowstorm from Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, 1967. RJD_06_01_0014_0002_001

Citation to Richard J. Daley for efforts during 1967 snowstorm from Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council, 1967. RJD_06_01_0014_0002_001

 

 

 

We didn’t have the power. We didn’t have the strength. We didn’t have a good plan. We didn’t have anything. And Mayor Daley pulled it off because of his charisma on television, telling everyone how good we were doing. We really weren’t doing so good.

James McDonough, Commissioner of Department of Streets and Sanitation, interview excerpt, September 17, 2003

 

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The city had a number of programs for youth.

 

Richard J. Daley pours milk with Scouts on lakefront

Richard J. Daley pours milk with Scouts on lakefront, 1962. RJD_04_01_0020_0019_011

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Youth Foundation award winners at Presidential fitness award event, 1966. RJD_04_01_0025_0009_016

Youth Foundation award winners at Presidential fitness award event, 1966. RJD_04_01_0025_0009_016

 

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Services for the neighborhoods and the wards.

I was Alderman of the Ninth Ward from 1971 to 1979—8 years.  The Ninth Ward, under the leadership of Mayor Richard J. Daley, received many important improvements including: a new library in West Pullman, a new grammar school in West Pullman, a new high school in Altgeld-Murray Homes, addition to Curtis Junior High School at 115th Street and State Street, building Chicago Police Department Area 2 Headquarters at 111th and the Calumet Expressway with a City of Chicago Court, City of Chicago Landmark status for Pullman in 1972, and a new roof for Hotel Florence in 1975.

Alexander A. Adduci, Alderman, interview excerpt, July 18, 2014

Commissioner of Parks Ed Kelly with Mayor Richard J. Daley at Neighborhood Program event,

Commissioner of Parks Ed Kelly with Mayor Richard J. Daley at Neighborhood Program event, ca. 1972-1976. Photo: László Kondor. MSLasz13_0003_0003_002

 

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Civil Defense. Mayor Daley inspects canon drills near Michigan Avenue, 1960. RJD_04_01_0018_0004_002

Civil Defense. Mayor Daley inspects canon drills near Michigan Avenue, 1960. RJD_04_01_0018_0004_002