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Noted organized crime boss Johnny Torrio served time in Waukegan's Lake County jail in 1925.He installed bulletproof covers on the windows of his cell at his own expense for fear of assassination attempts.The construction of the Chicago and Milwaukee Railway through Waukegan by 1855 stimulated the growth and rapid transformation and development of the city's industry, so much that nearly one thousand ships were visiting Waukegan harbor every year.One member of this community, Monoog Curezhin, even became embroiled in an aborted plot to assassinate Sultan Abdul Hamid II, reviled for his involvement in massacres of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.Waukegan arguably has the distinction of being the only place where Abraham Lincoln failed to finish a speech; when he campaigned in the town in 1860, a fire alarm rang, and the man soon-to-be president had his words interrupted.During the middle of the 19th century, Waukegan was becoming an important industrial hub.
Central to this event and the remainder of Waukegan's 20th century history was Robert Sabonjian, who served as mayor for 24 years, and earned the nickname the "Mayor Daley of Waukegan" for his personal and sometimes controversial style of politics.
Males had a median income of ,556 versus ,632 for females. About 24% of families and 24.7% of the population were below the poverty line.
54.4% of the people in Waukegan identify as religious.
Industries included: ship and wagon building, flour milling, sheep raising, pork packing, and dairying.
William Besley's Waukegan Brewing Company was one of the most successful of these businesses, being able to sell beyond America.
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Waukegan is on the shore of Lake Michigan, about 11 miles (18 km) south of the border with Wisconsin and 35 miles (56 km) north of downtown Chicago, at an elevation of about 715 feet (218 m) above sea level.