The dignified old building hulking over Hubbard Street at Dearborn was once the Cook County Criminal Court. It also contained the county jail, and that's the setting for our story.Tommy O'Connor was a young punk who specialized in armed robbery in the Maxwell Street area.
I first heard the story at one of the Duke's Halloween parties. That would make it when I was in college, in the late 'sixties.The way the Duke told it, this guy he knew had been driving north on Milwaukee Avenue near Lawrence, by the Holiday Ballroom.
Chicago history is more than just a fire. But sooner or later, there's bound to be a story of the Great Conflagration of 1871. The house at 2121 North Hudson Avenue is at the center of this tale.The Chicago Fire started on the Near South Side.