H I C A G O
R I B U T E
Lawyer and Governor of Illinois
The child of a German
Altgeld moved to Chicago in 1875 and
established a law practice. His career in
public service began in 1886, when he was
elected judge of the Superior Court of Cook County.
Elected governor in
1892, Altgeld confronted a wide range of controversial social issues. During
his four years in office he actively supported prison reform, the abolition
of child labor, the expansion of the state university and the appointment
of women to positions of authority in state government.
rests largely on his decision in 1893 to pardon the three surviving defendants
in the Haymarket trial of 1886 on the grounds that they had not received
a fair trial.
Equally notable was
his opposition to President Grover Clevelands decision to send federal
troops to Chicago to break the Pullman strike of 1894.
Although motivated by
constitutional and humanitarian ideals, Altgelds decisions caused
a large segment of the public and press to regard him as a political renegade,
thereby ending his political career. Returning to private life in 1897,
he moved into this stone-fronted apartment building at 504 West Diversey
Parkway and attempted to re-establish his legal career with his partner,
It was not until decades
after his death in 1902 that Altgelds principles and courage became
more widely appreciated.