Paddy Bauler

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Paddy Bauler
City of Chicago Alderman
from the 43rd Ward
In office
Preceded by James B Waller
Succeeded by George McCutcheon
In office
Preceded by James B Waller
Succeeded by James B Waller
Personal details
Born Mathias Bauler
January 27, 1890
Chicago, Illinois
Died August 22, 1977 (age 87)
Chicago, Illinois
Nationality German American
Political party Democratic

Mathias 'Paddy' Bauler (January 27, 1890 – August 22, 1977)[1][2] was an American saloonkeeper and alderman of the 43rd ward of Chicago[3][4] from 1933 to 1967. He was known as a corrupt, controversial and charismatic Chicago political boss and is famous for the quote, "Chicago ain't ready for reform yet",[5] or "Chicago ain't ready for a reform mayor"[6] which he exclaimed many times over while dancing a jig[7] in his saloon upon the news of Richard J. Daley's first election as mayor of Chicago in 1955.[8] Mayor Daley banned Bauler from attending public functions for a time shortly after the quote was published.[9] He was the brother of Herman J and John Bauler, who had respectively been aldermen from 1909 to 1911 and 1912 to 1920 when the area was part of the 22nd ward.[10][11]

Early life[edit]

Mathias Bauler's father was born in Germany and his mother was born in Illinois of German descent.[12] He weighed between 225[13] and 275 lbs.[14] and claimed that he did not know that his real name was not 'Paddy' until he was six years old.[13]

Saloonkeeping and politics[edit]

Bauler operated a speakeasy at Willow and Howe streets during prohibition and once prohibition was repealed became the first person to obtain a liquor license in Chicago[15] His two story political office on North Ave. and Sedgwick avenues was also a saloon called De Luxe Gardens.[16][17][18][19][20]

Bauler was known as a corrupt politician and against reform. In addition to his infamous assertion of Chicago's unpreparedness for reform, has been quoted as saying that one reformer was "[...] so dumb he probably thinks the forest preserve is some kind of jelly."[8] He had been accused of being a "political power that protects graft, gambling, vice and other lawlessness."[21] In 1933 he shot two Chicago police officers[22] (non-lethally) because, in his words "...they swore at me and called me a fat Dutch pig".[23] Bauler was cleared from any wrongdoing. Mayor Kelly was quoted as saying that Bauler "Was a real straight-shooter".[18] He was also friends with Charlie Weber, who was alderman for the nearby 45th ward from 1955 to his death in 1960.[24][10]

The former two story office and saloon on Sedgwick and North Avenues as photographed circa 1966 after a fire. A painted advertisement for Bauler can be seen in this photo on the wall above the building.

He was also known for his charisma. Despite being himself of German extraction, he would often play the role of a "Jolly Irishman" to further his political ambitions.[25] On his retirement as an Alderman in 1966, he was asked how he stayed in office so long and replied "There ain't a thing they ask me that I don't try to do." [26]


Bauler Park, Chicago


  1. ^ "St. Petersburg Times – Google News Archive Search". 
  2. ^ "Mathias J "Paddy" Bauler (1890–1977) – Find A Grave Memorial". 
  3. ^ "February 9, 1947 – VOTE TO KEEP BAULER OUT IS WALLER PLEA | Chicago Tribune Archive". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  4. ^ "February 12, 1967 – 2 in Lead for Paddy Bauler's Seat | Chicago Tribune Archive". 1967-02-12. Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  5. ^ "Good Government Movements". Retrieved 2015-06-02. 
  6. ^ "Challenging the Daley Machine". 
  7. ^ "Ebony". 
  8. ^ a b "American Pharaoh". 
  9. ^ "Mayors and the Challenge of Urban Leadership". 
  10. ^ a b "Centennial List of Mayors, City Clerks, City Attorneys, City Treasurers, and Aldermen, elected by the people of the city of Chicago, from the incorporation of the city on March 4, 1837 to March 4, 1937, arranged in alphabetical order, showing the years during which each official held office". Chicago Historical Society. Chicago Historical Society. Retrieved 3 September 2018. 
  11. ^ "Paddy Bauler - Alderman, Saloon Keeper, Pretend Irish, Big Fat Guy: Part 2". Renown Old Town. Blogspot. Retrieved 6 September 2018. 
  12. ^ "Chicago". 
  13. ^ a b
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Chicago Politics, Ward by Ward". 
  16. ^ "Hidden History of Old Town". 
  17. ^ Sean Parnell. "De Luxe Gardens in Memoriam: Chicago Bar Project". 
  18. ^ a b "To Serve and Collect". 
  19. ^ Chicago Tribune. "Alderman Mathias". 
  20. ^ "LIFE". 
  21. ^ "BAULER NAMED IN CRIME QUIZ (January 29, 1953)". Retrieved 2015-06-16. 
  22. ^ "BAULER ARRESTED; BAR SHUT (December 20, 1933)". Retrieved 2015-06-17. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^ "Paddy Bauler - Alderman, Saloon Keeper, Pretend Irish, Big Fat Guy: Part 1". Renown Old Town. Blogspot. Retrieved 6 September 2018. 
  26. ^ "Chicago Politics In The Grand Style Of `Paddy` Bauler (September 11, 1988)". Retrieved 2016-04-16. 
  27. ^ "The Funniest One in the Room". 
  28. ^ "Bauler Playlot Park". 
Preceded by
James B Waller
Member of the Chicago City Council
43rd Ward

1933 – 1943
Succeeded by
James B Waller
Preceded by
James B Waller
Member of the Chicago City Council
43rd Ward

1947 – 1967
Succeeded by
George McCutcheon