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                                     ROBERT A. WALLER
                                    Cook County, Illinois


Information contributed for use in Cook County ILGenWeb by
        Sherri Hessick, added May 2001.


Source: Album of Genealogy and Biography, Cook County,
Illinois with Portraits 3rd ed. revised and extended
(Chicago: Calumet Book & Engraving Co., 1895), pp. 43-44

ROBERT ALEXANDER WALLER is one of the men whose enterprise,
intelligence and foresight have combined to place Chicago
among the foremost cities of the world. Not only has he
encouraged and sustained the intellectual and moral culture
of its citizens, but he has been identified with some of the
most magnificent public enterprises known to modern times.
For more than a half-century the physical, commercial and
mental powers of this great city have been constantly
re-inforced by the accession of progressive and energetic
men from every part of the civilized world.  Among this
cosmopolitan people are many prominent representatives of
the Blue Grass State, a region which has long been famous
for the activity, refinement and intelligence of its

The subject of this notice combines the zeal and valor of
the typical Kentuckian with the confidence, discernment and
patriotism which characterize the true Chicagoan.  He was
born in Lexington, Kentucky, June 2, 1850, and a few years
later, with the other members of the family, became a
resident of Chicago.  Extended notice of his parents, James
and Lucy Waller, will be found elsewhere in this volume.
After a primary course in Chicago, Robert A. Waller entered
Washington and Lee University, and completed his course in
that institution at the age of twenty-two.  He returned to
Chicago, and in the spring of the following year  entered
the insurance office of D. L. Bowmar as office boy.  Two
years later he became a partner of his former employer, and
when Mr. Bowmar retired from business, owing to ill-health,
in 1879, Mr. Waller became the sole proprietor.  Since that
date the enterprise has been conducted under the name of R.
A. Waller & Company, which is one of the best-known firms in
that line of business in the city.

In 1892 he organized the Ashland Block Association, of which
he has ever since been President.  The structure erected by
that association in the same year is one of the finest and
most conspicuous office buildings in the city.  When it was
first proposed to hold the World’s Columbian Exposition in
Chicago, he became one of the most enthusiastic supporters
of the movement.  He was elected one of the Board of
Directors, and afterward became the Second Vice-President of
the Exposition, which honorable position he continues to
hold.  He helped to organize the Sheridan Drive Association,
which has been active in securing the establishment of a
pleasant road along the lake shore north of the city, and
leading to Milwaukee, as a continuation of the famous Lake
Shore Drive of the city.

He is the founder of Buena Park, one of the finest residence
suburbs on the north shore, which is now within the city
limits, and resides there with his family.  In February,
1893, Governor Altgeld appointed Mr. Waller one of the
Lincoln Park Commissioners, and he soon afterward became the
President of that body, succeeding Mr. W. C. Goudy, at the
death of the latter.  Many valuable plans of improvement
were executed under his administration.  Because of his
refusal to introduce politics into the management of the
park, he incurred the displeasure of the Governor, who asked
his resignation.  With true and manly independence, he
refused to resign, thus compelling Governor Altgeld to show
his hand as a small politician by his removal.  Though a
life-long Democrat, Mr. Waller preferred removal to meddling
in petty politics.  He has always stood above mere
partisanship, and has used his utmost influence to have the
affairs of every department of the city administered for the
general welfare of its people.  By refusing to prostitute
his official position to political uses, to the detriment of
the public service, he earned the respect and warm regard of
large numbers in all political parties.  In July, 1895, he
was appointed by Mayor Swift one of the Civil Service
Commissioners provided for in the laws of March 20, 1895, to
secure classification and promotion for merit alone in the
departments of the City Government.

In June, 1876, Mr. Waller married Miss Lina Swigert Watson,
of Frankfort, Kentucky, daughter of Dr. Edward Watson, of
that city.  Mr. and Mrs. Waller have one son, Robert
Alexander Waller, junior.  No family in Chicago stands
higher socially than that of Mr. Waller.  He is a member of
the Presbyterian Church, and is identified with many of the
most prominent clubs and associations.  His breadth of
character and restless activity make him a useful and
popular member of each of these organizations.

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