Charles H. Wacker

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Charles H. Wacker
Chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission
In office
Appointed byFred A. Busse
Preceded byoffice established
Succeeded byJames Simpson
Personal details
Charles Henry Wacker

(1856-08-29)August 29, 1856
Chicago, Illinois
DiedOctober 31, 1929(1929-10-31) (aged 73)
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin
Resting placeGraceland Cemetery
Alma materUniversity of Stuttgart
University of Geneva
OccupationBusinessman, philanthropist

Charles Henry Wacker (August 29, 1856 – October 31, 1929) was an American businessman and philanthropist. He was vice chairman of the general committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago, and in 1909 was appointed chairman of the Chicago Plan Commission by Mayor Fred A. Busse. As commission chairman from 1909 to 1926, he championed the Burnham Plan for improving Chicago. His work to promote the plan included addresses, obtaining wide publicity from newspapers, and publishing Wacker's Manual of the Plan of Chicago (by Walter D. Moody) as a textbook for local schoolchildren.


Wacker was born in Chicago, Illinois on August 29, 1856.[1] His father Frederick Wacker, a brewer, was born in Württemberg, Germany.[2] Charles Wacker was educated at Lake Forest Academy (class of 1872) and thereafter at the University of Stuttgart and the University of Geneva.[3] He worked in a commission house until 1880, when he started work in his father's malting firm. After his father died in 1884, Wacker became president of the Wacker and Birk Brewing and Malting Company. He was later president of the McAvoy Brewing Company, and director of the Chicago Heights Land Association, Corn Exchange National Bank, Chicago Title and Trust Company, and South Elevator Company,[3] and was part of a consortium of Chicago brewers who underwrote the methods that facilitated the commercialization of refrigeration machines.[4]

Wacker's grave at Graceland Cemetery

Wacker was a director of the 1893 Columbian Exposition held in Chicago.[1]

He died at his home in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, on October 31, 1929, and was buried at Graceland Cemetery in Chicago.[5]

Wacker Drive, built as part of the Burnham Plan, and Charles H. Wacker Elementary School are named in his honor.[6]


  1. ^ a b A History of the City of Chicago: Its Men and Institutions. Chicago Inter Ocean. 1900. p. 293. Retrieved November 20, 2021 – via Google Books.
  2. ^ Alfred Theodore Andreas, History of Chicago from the Earliest Period to the Present Time, Vol. III -- from the Fire of 1871 until 1885. A.T. Andreas Publishers: Chicago. 1886, p. 578 Google Books
  3. ^ a b "Charles H. Wacker Dies at Lake Geneva". Abendpost. November 1, 1929. Retrieved March 3, 2017.
  4. ^ Eds. Grossman, James R., Keating, Ann Durkin, and Reiff, Janice L., 2004 The Encyclopedia of Chicago, p. 92. The University of Chicago Press, ISBN 0-226-31015-9
  5. ^ "C. H. Wacker Dies; Leaders Praise Work". Chicago Tribune. November 1, 1929. p. 1. Retrieved November 20, 2021 – via
  6. ^ "Wacker Drive's namesake lived under this roof". Crain's Chicago Business. July 14, 2020. Retrieved March 24, 2024.

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