The Devil Baby Appears: Hull House to Close

The Devil Baby Appears: Hull House to Close
Hull House de Chicago (Chicago Historical Society, Barnes Crosby foto)

“Look in the window on the second floor,” said the Fat Man.  “That’s where you will see the Devil Baby.”

We stared at the empty Victorian-style house’s upper floors.

No Devil Baby stared back.

“Well, it’s a ghost,” said the Fat Man. “They don’t always operate on our schedule.”  He laughed.

We had paid good money to ride around Chicago looking for ghosts, which by their very nature, can’t be seen.  Suckers!  This tour originated at Goose Island Brewery and managed to find a ghost in nearly every eating establishment where the host of the tour got a comped meal.

Hull House is where the Devil Baby supposedly made its after-life home, after being spawned by a down-on-her luck working woman, or such.

Hull House is closing.  You can read the Trib story about it.

Jane Adams, the first woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize, founded the social charity institution 123 years ago, but due to less charitable giving  and higher operating costs, this rare Chicago institution, founded by an equally rare and advanced (for her time) woman, will close.

There will be some long faces and some tongue-clucking and some “that’s too bads”, but in the end we figure some government agency will step in and fill the void.

It is ironic that Hull House, founded by a iconic Nobel Peace Prize winner, will shut its doors when another ironic Peace Prize winner, Barrack Obama, who nominally calls Chicago home when not screwing up traffic on Disney’s Main Street, is guiding with economy with a not-so-invisible hand.

Ironic and sad.

Maybe the old victorian house can become the city of Chicago near west side office for city services? Or maybe a convenient Department of Motor Vehicles location?  Or maybe a quaint office for the newer and friendlier, but ravenous,  IRS?

Welcome to the new Government Services Building: Obama House.

On future tours the Fat Man can come along and point to Hull-cum-Obama House as the new Government Services House (nice poetic ring to it, no?) and tell a bunch of mouth breathers like myself that if we look hard we will see ghosts.

Ghost employees, maybe.  Operating, as usual, on their own schedules.

The devil is in the economic details, baby.




Leave a comment
  • The "old Victorian house" will remain open as UIC's Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, as it has been for many years, to tell the story of Addams and other reformers. The Jane Addams Hull House Association, the social services agency, moved out during the 1960s.

  • So the Devil Baby will not be evicted?

    Too bad for those others who needed the Association's help.

  • fb_avatar

    I can't believe how many tours are still going around saying the Devil Baby was a real thing, not just a rumor from 1913 (the same story went around in MANY other cities). There may have been a deformed baby in the neighborhood who started the rumor, but there's no evidence of it, and it was certainly never hidden in Hull House (or, if it was, no one from Hull House ever changed their story and admitted it). That a second floor room was haunted was a real story in Addams' day, though it seems to have been more of a running joke than something that actually scared them.

    It drives me nuts when tours don't get the history right - the real stories are good enough! Then I get people coming on MY tours expecting me to spout nonsense about Indian wars that never happened, Indian burial grounds that don't exist, and portals to the netherworld (which everyone knows are in the back room at K-Mart, not in the garden next to Hull House).

    But, yes, the museum operated independently and won't be affected.


  • Adam, I thought the portals to the netherworld were located at White Castles... you know, a portal for men and a portal for women.

Leave a comment