Thus Power Passes

Monday, December 4, 1871

The last meeting of the old Common Council and the first meeting of the recently elected new one are held.  Outgoing Mayor Roswell Mason endorses his successor Joseph Medill’s desire to consolidate more power in the mayor's office, and he defends his own actions during the fire.  In his inaugural address, Medill calls for economic retrenchment and a strict fire code. “The outside walls and the roof of every building, to be hereafter erected within the limits of Chicago,” he maintains, “should be composed of materials as incombustible as brick, stone, iron, concrete, or slate.  Self-preservation is the first law of nature.  So the preservation of the city is the highest duty of its rulers.”  He also proposes that there should be a separate water supply specifically reserved for fighting fires.