For question one regarding the Hull House ethnic diversity, I found that New Encyclopedia listed that the ethnicity surrounding the area were Italian, Irish, Greek, German, Russian, and Polish immigrants. One map I found showing the diversity of ethnicity was from the Encyclopedia of Chicago which can be viewed here. Another map I found was from Digital Public Library of America which sourced a map from The New York Public Library. That map can be seen here. Some maps on where certain people lived was found here at Mapping the Nation. The University of Minnesota share that same map, and have listed under it a book that contains more maps and information about the Hull House. Urban Experience in Chicago offers these maps as a downloadable PDF. And, lastly, the University of Chicago has ethnicity maps and general maps of Chicago at the time listed here with sources.
The Chicago River flows backwards because of canals built to make the river flow away from the lake to ensure that sewage dumped into the rivers wouldn’t pollute the lake, which was Chicago’s resource for drinking water. About 12 percent of Chicago’s population had died from the water being infected due to the sewage brought in by the river. The canals also allowed Chicago to have better shipping by water for the economy. Barges and other ships would have an easier time transporting supplies to and from Chicago, boosting the economy. The canals still to this day help with sewage control, shipping, and keeping the city from becoming flooded.
Websites with information on this was The Reversal of the Chicago River, Chicago Tribune, St. Patrick’s Day Cruise has a list of dates, and Encyclopedia of Chicago also has more detailed information. But, changing the natural flow of the river has allowed invasive species an easier time to populate the area, as City Lab reports.