“Mount Prospect Stories”

Excerpt from “10 Things You Didn’t Know About William Busse”

The following is an excerpt from the next edition of “Mount Prospect Stories,” which will be held at the Mount Prospect Public Library on Thursday, November 17th.

William Busse fought corruption: Even during the reign of President Busse in the early 1900s, corruption was an issue in Chicago and Cook County government. Busse found that despite the old adage, thieves were stealing even what was nailed down: “You might not think it, but some of the cheapest thieves in town are to be found in the new county building,” he told The Chicago Daily Tribune shortly after his election to the board presidency in February of 1908. “What will you think when I tell you some low down persons have been stealing the nickel plated and brass features from the washrooms.” He continued: “Looks pretty cheap, eh? One of those nickel brackets might bring the price of two drinks. But to replace them, I must make a requisition through the sheriff’s office, the superintendent of public service, and finally it is brought up before the county finance committee.” Busse vowed to station plain clothes men throughout the building, and also vehemently defended the building’s “scrub women” from the accusations: “No, sir. Judge Barnes left his gold watch on his desk the other day when he left the building. A scrub woman brought it to me the next morning.”

It further appears that the Tribune was having a particularly bizarre news day. An article which ran directly below this one bore the title of “‘What is a Sausage?’ Solved By Federal Food Experts” (In case you’re curious: “Comminuted meat from cattle or swine…contain(ing) no larger amount of water than the meats from which it is prepared, and if it bears a name descriptive of composition or origin, it corresponds to such descriptive name. All animal tissues used as containers, such as casings, stomachs, etc., are clean and sound.”) Another nearby piece reported: “The Lutheran clergy of Milwaukee has denounced (William Shakespeare’s) ‘Merchant of Venice’ as against Christian principles, tending to demoralize the church, and without literary value.”

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