I ran across an opinion piece in the Quad City Times by former State Rep. Jim Nowlan, who was selected by GOP Governor Dick Ogilvie as his running mate in 1972, when I first ran for State Representative. Having taught at Knox College, he now is a Senior Fellow at the University of Illinois’ Institute for Government.
He has a part that starts with a big crook with a Crystal Lake connection, William Lorimer.
Lorimer was the Republican boss for Northeastern Illinois. He’s buried in Evanston, but he had a summer home overlooking Crystal Lake.
It is east of the north on the Dole Mansion, the big one built with undersized concrete blocks (or oversized brick-looking concrete blocks, if you prefer). It’s the one with the pillars overlooking the Crystal Lake Park District’s Main Beach. (While I was attending Crystal Lake Community High School from 1958-60, we lived at 800 Broadway, which was built of the same material.)
With that introduction, here is the paragraph:
“Our history provides examples to rival our more recent lapses in public integrity.
“In 1912, Illinois U.S. Sen. William Lorimer (R) was ejected from the Senate by his peers for allegedly bribing up to 40 Illinois state legislators to vote for him (which prompted a constitutional amendment on popular election of senators).
“In the 1920s, duly elected Frank L. Smith (R) was denied his seat in the U.S. Senate by a vote of the senators because of unseemly, huge contributions from utility magnate Samuel Insull.
“Also in the 1920s, we had the outrageous, thrice-elected Chicago mayor Big Bill Thompson, who brought live rats onto his speaking platforms to represent his opponents and turned a blind eye to gangster Al Capone.”
I would point out that this is not an all-encompassing list.
While I don’t subscribe to all Nowlan’s prescriptions for cleaning up Illinois politics, it is an interesting read.
To date, there is no historical plaque in front of this mansion. One could be put on the property maintained by the Crystal Lake Park District.