Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Augustus H. Burley School in Chicago's West Lakeview Neighborhood

Burley School

Here in West Lakeview, we're fortunate to have one of Chicago's more well-regarded grammar schools - Augustus H. Burley school.

Over the years we've wondered about the namesake.  Who is Augustus H. Burley?  Other namesake schools in Chicago are easy to recognize: William B. Ogden; Walter Payton; Disney Elementary.

Well, the geniuses at Google have helped again.  They've been busy scanning and converting to text the contents of the entire Library of Congress.  Lo and behold a new title popped up in their search results:  "Chicago Yesterdays: A Sheaf of Reminiscences" by Caroline Kirkland from 1919.  Since the copyright has expired, the entire contents of the book are available online.

From the book:

Two of Chicago's early and eminent citizens were Arthur Burley and Augustus H. Burley, brothers, who in 1837, the year Chicago became a city, came from Exeter, N. H., by rail, Sound steamer, river boat, canal boat, lake ship, and horse and wagon to the uncouth, unkempt frontier settlement that sprawled along both banks of a shallow stream. The new town had been in turn a halting place for wandering Indians, a fur-traders' camp, a military outpost of civilization, and now was fast becoming a business center for a rapidly developing agricultural district. The two Burley s were preceded by their half-brother, Stephen Gale, and followed later by their younger brother, Charles. From the beginning Augustus, and later his wife, Harriet, kept up a continuous correspondence with their eastern relatives — a correspondence which gradually unfolded a graphic picture of the conditions of life in this part of the world.

Read the letters at Google