Tie on Widening Plan, November 27, 1906 (fragment) Also known as: Tie Vote in Council on Halsted Street, November 27, 1906



Attempt to Block Halsted Street Project in Council is Defeated


Opponents of Scheme See Hope of Success When Final Action Is Taken.


Halsted Street-- Declined to suspend rules to pass order to stop the widening of the street and referred it to the special assessment committee.

Telephones-- Referred an order for a quick report from the gas, oil and electric light committee on telephone franchise; passed an order for an opinion as to whether the Chicago company has the right to charge tolls within the city limits.

Bridges-- Referred a resolution and order for an investigation of bridges turned over to the city by the drainage board.

Weights and Measures -- Passed three amendments providing better protection for [illegible] buyers.

Halsted street--shall it be widened or not?--was the question of primary interest before the city council last night. The element that is arrayed solidly against the improvement was out in force, and in each man's hand was a paper streamer upon which was written in large red letters the legend:

Let Halsted Street Alone.

While decorum prevented the waving of these pennants in the council chamber, the spirit of the gallery occupants was manifested several times in lusty "hoorahs" and full-voiced cheers which the mayor's gavel, hammered actively upon the executive desk, could hardly check.


The battle virtually was a draw. The issue was pivoted on the point: Shall the council instruct the board of local improvements to make no further expenditures looking toward Halsted street changes? After a sharp debate the alderman refused to suspend the rules and pass the order, and finally, much against the wishes of the "antis," referred the subject to the committee on special assessments. The West Siders who were fighting the improvement wished it to go to the committee on streets and alleys west. Although they lost, they had reason for joy when the test roll call ended, as the vote stood 34 to 34. As it requires a two-thirds majority to suspend the rules, the council declined to vote on the question, but the large number of aldermen who thus announced their feeling in in opposition to the improvement caused rejoicing.

"The vote clearly shows that half of the alderman are unequivocally opposed to the widening of Halsted street," said Attorney Sidney Alder, representing the opposing element, after the council had adjourned. "It also indicates that the other half is unwilling to act until after the board of local improvements has rendered its report. When this decision is made the question probably will come up again and will draw out the full strengh of the opposition to the project."


The feeling of the "antis" was that even if the board of local improvements flatly approves of widening the thoroughfare the opposition need obtain only two votes more than it secured last night to defeat the plan irretrievably. As the situation stands, the boad [tomorrow] may decide for the improvement, report to this effect to the council, see its report sent to the committee-room, debated there and brought out for a final test. The last trial will demonstrate whether thirty-six alderman--a majority--will fight the board's dictum.

Alderman Cullerton assumed the role of chief spokesman for the adversaries of the change, and in a wordy fulmination he presented a long resolution. The preamble set forth that the board of local improvements had received an appropriation of $15,000 for a survey and that a certain part of this money had been expended. It further stated that the tax would be inequitable and that the majority of the frontage owners had announced themselves against the widening plan. An order signed by Alderman Cullerton, Fick, Hart, Harris, Scully, Bowler, Powers, Sitts, Dever, Nowicki, Schermann and Hoffmann was worded as follows:

"Be it ordered that the city council instruct and direct the board of local improvements to make no further widening of Halsted street and advise the board to abandon all further proceedings relating to the proposed widening."


"This is the third effort looking for the widening of Halsted street," said Mr. Cullerton. "Should the proposed improvement, as it is dubbed, extend as far south as Forty-seventh street, there might be some reason for giving it consideration. As it is, the plan is to widen this street from Chicago avenue to the river. No ordinance is here before you. And there never should be such an ordinance--at least, none along the lines advocated by the board of local improvements. This order which is offered simply advises the board of local improvements not to proceed with the matter further. This Halsted street question should be wiped off the legislative slate."

Alderman Cullerton moved that the rules be suspended and that a vote be taken at once upon the question.

Forty-seven votes were needed to suspend and the alderman divided evenly. The order to suspend was lost.

Alderman Brennan instantly suggested that the resolution be referred to the committee on special assessments. Alderman Powers shouted: "To the committee on streets and alleys west." Here was another chance for a battle, and Mayor Dunne looked into the book on rules. There being several paragraphs in the book that seemed to be slightly contradictory, the mayor announced that he would the council decide, and another roll call was taken.


This time the alderman, by a vote of 28 to 40, refused to affirm Mr. Powers' suggestion, and accordingly the matter was dispatched to the committee on special assessments. The test vote, however, was on the suspension of rules and was as follows:


Kenna, Coughlin, Harding, Dixon, Dalley, Richert, Harris, Fick, Scully, Hart, Cullerton, Hoffman, Zimmer, Uhlir, Beilfuss, Nowicki, Schermann, Sitts, Dever, Powers, Bowler, Reese, Werno, Krumholz, Lipps, Reinberg, Larson, Herlihy, Wendling, Golombiewski, Fisher, Bihl, Kohout, Nolan--34.


Pringle, Foreman, Martin, McCormick, Young, McCoid, Bennett, Snow, Moynihan, Derpa, Riley, Considine, Harkin, Maypole, Smith, Brennan, Stewart, Finn, Foell, Sullivan, Dougherty, Jacobs, Hahne, Dunn, Williston, Siewert, Blase, Burns, Bradley, O'Connell, Roberts, Badenoch, Hunt, Race--34.