Economy and Real Estate

Thursday, October 19, 1871

Mayor Mason discharges all city employees whose services are not absolutely needed, advising department heads to observe “the most rigid economy.”  John M. Van Osdel, the architect of many major pre-fire buildings, moves into an office in Nixon Block on the northeast corner of Monroe and LaSalle.  This building, which is still not quite finished, is virtually the only structure in the burnt district of the downtown that made it through the fire.  The first major post-fire real estate transaction takes place amid the ruins of the Fidelity Safe Depository, across the street from the Court House.  H. W. Hinsdale sells T. B. Bryan a corner lot at Randolph and Dearborn streets for $50,000.  Its estimated value just before the fire was $10,000 higher.  Meanwhile, Potter Palmer, Cyrus McCormick, Farwell & Company, and others announce that they will rebuild their businesses right away.  Col. J. H. Wood, who has lost his museum and theater on the north side of Randolph Street just east of Clark, takes over the Globe Theatre on Desplaines Street in the West Division.  The only article he has salvaged from his museum’s immense collection of natural specimens and oddities of all kinds is the silver-coated revolver used by the notorious Mollie Trussell in June of 1870 to murder her lover in a Randolph Street saloon.