George Wellinging “Cap” Streeter ran his boat ashore n 1888, started charging people money to dump their garbage near the boat, and eventually created a 186 acre landfill that we now know as Streeterville. He spent more than 30 years battling with the city over ownership of his new land, which he claimed as his own country.
We’re finishing up the book now, and I’ve been trying to find a good source on the story that he put a curse on the land on his deathbed. Other than some stories that his last words may have been “damn ye,” I haven’t found much yet. I maintain, in any case, that if he DID put a curse on the land, he must have sucked at cursing things. Sure, there have been some odd deaths in the neighborhood, but no more than in any other neighborhood when you get right down to it. I’m starting to think that the curse is one of those stories that someone made up circa the 1970s – there’re many such stories floating around in the realm of Chicago ghostlore. Most of them are going in the book anyway – people would throw a fit if we left a couple of them out – but we try to flag the stories that we have our doubts on.
However, in my digging, I DID run across this terrific picture of Cap Streeter’s funeral, with his plug hat resting on the coffin: