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Historical look at the natural history of the Chicago area beginning as far back as the 17th Century when European explorers and settlers first arrived. Along the way Greenberg introduces the physical forces that have shaped the area from southeastern Wisconsin to northern Indiana and Berrien County in Michigan; the various habitat types present in the region and how European settlement has affected them; and the insects, reptiles and amphibians, birds, fish, and mammals found in them, then amidst the settlers and now amidst the skyscrapers.
While I lay sick...in December 1833, the town was thrown into a great commotion by a report that someone had seen a bear cross the prairie from the Oak Woods to the South Branch timber.... The hunter's dogs and guns of the town were soon astir.... At last the motley pack gave tongue as near as I could understand near where the Rock Island Passenger Depot now stands and there on a good size cottonwood tree bruin was found perched as he no doubt thought secure from his enemies, however, he was soon brought to grief and cut up into small pieces that all in the town who were fond of bear meat might have a taste. - Judge John Dean Caton of the Illinois Supreme Court, on one of the last bear hunts in the city of Chicago
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