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Old 05-18-2017, 03:43 PM   #1
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Fuller, Henry Blake: The Cliff-Dwellers. v1. 18 May 2017

Henry Blake Fuller: Born : 1857 Chicago, Illinois, USA: Died : 1929

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Between the former site of old Fort Dearborn and the present site of our newest Board of Trade there lies a restricted yet tumultuous territory through which, during the course of the last fifty years, the rushing streams of commerce have worn many a deep and rugged chasm. These great canons—conduits, in fact, for the leaping volume of an ever-increasing prosperity—cross each other with a sort of systematic rectangularity, and in deference to the practical directness of local requirements they are in general called simply—streets. Each of these canons is closed in by a long frontage of towering cliffs, and these soaring walls of brick and limestone and granite rise higher and higher with each succeeding year, according as the work of erosion at their bases goes onward—the work of that seething flood of carts, carriages, omnibuses, cabs, cars, messengers, shoppers, clerks, and capitalists, which surges with increasing violence l for every passing day. This erosion, proceeding with a sort of fateful regularity, has come to be a matter of constant and growing interest. Means have been found to measure its progress — just as a scale has been arranged to measure the rising of the Nile or to gauge the draught of an ocean liner. In this case the unit of measurement is called the “ story.” Ten years ago the most rushing and irrepressible of the torrents which devastate Chicago had not worn its bed to a greater depth than that indicated by seven of these “ stories.” This depth has since increased to eight—to ten—to fourteen—to sixteen, until some of the leading avenues of activity promise soon to become little more than mere obscure trails half lost between the bases of perpendicular precipices.
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