7 Cautions for Chicago Tourists From an 1888 Visitor Guide

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

With an amazing lakefront, world-class museums, and unparalleled architecture, it's no wonder some 50 million people visit Chicago each year. Prudent advice for these tourists ranges from the obvious (prepare for the weather) to the regionally arcane (don't ask for ketchup on your hot dog).

In 1888, R.S. Rhodes published The Visitor's Complete Guide to the City of Chicago, and while there's nothing about hot dogs or ketchup, it does include a list of seven cautions for tourists:

If you can't read the text above, here it is:

1. Always make a bargain beforehand. 2. Take number of expressman, hackman, or cab-driver, in case of any difficulty, and report at office and to the police, at the City Hall. 3. Never repose confidence in strangers. 4. Hotel proprietors, according to the laws of Illinois, are not liable for guests' valuables unless placed in their care at the office. 5. Look out for the "elefant." Keep to the right. 6. Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut. Keep your feet from stumbling and your ways from the guile. 7. Buy and use our "Chicago History and Guide."

The "elefant" referred to in tip No. 5 is most likely a cable car or electric trolley from one of the city's early passenger railways, seeing as the L didn't debut until 1892. Meanwhile, we recommend highlighting item No. 6 for posterity—keeping your eyes open and your mouth shut will never go out of style.