Old Cap Streeter
words and music by Kristin Lems
© 2015 Kleine Ding Music (BMI)
Chicagoans can find a local inspiration on “Talk like a Pirate” day – Cap Streeter fit the bill as well as any. Here’s his story. Go to sources at the Chicago History Museum to see photos of Cap and his 3 different wives, his fortress, and the statue of him at xxx park, with his everpresent dog tucked under his arm. Cap was “an original!”
1. You can talk about pirates on the Caribbean Sea
Or Corsairs lurking in the Mediterranee
Or the Persian Gulf, where pirate crews roam
But one Chicago pirate is a case all his own!
Old Cap Streeter lives in infamy
2. A 30 year reign in the 1870’s
His steamboat ran aground on Lake Michigan's shore
Claimed the land as his own, set out to get more!
It’s old Cap Streeter, the pirate of Chicago!
Old Cap Streeter, the pirate of Chicago!
Raise a glass to Cap Streeter, do!
Yo ho ho --- Arrrrrr! Yo ho ho --- Arrrrrr!
Yo ho ho and a bottle of Chicago brew!
3. Cap made his fortune plundering cargo
When ships made ports of call to Chicago
With his pirate crew, his riches grew
The cops couldn’t touch him - and he shot a few!
4. The city wanted him out, so the rich could move in
Prime lakefront land, the obstacle was him
He held them at bay with forgeries and suits
And Ma Streeter came after them in combat boots!
5. He built a two story “Castle” on an old boat frame
He’d pull up the ladder when the marshals came
What happened on his turf was soon renowned
For people and treasures it was “lost and found”
6. Like other outlaws of fame and renown
They finally got him on tax evasion grounds
After his jail time, now a free man
Cap opened a Chicago hot dog stand!
7. When his time was up, they finally got the land
Built the finest hotels and brought in yellow sand
But Old Cap Streeter's name is alive:
Streeterville's got the Hancock and Lake Shore Drive!