You, Me, and All of the Above

Old Cap Streeter

Kristin Lems
Kristin Lems


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!


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