Despite all the changes in the world some things still occur, including the annual chalk art festival at the Easton Shopping Center. While I did not attend on the official times during the weekend I was there very early Monday morning before anyone else arrived so I had the place to myself.
A recent trip to Buckeye Lake was planned as a day of sending the drone up for birds eye views, but the weather did not cooperate.
The fog was obscuring the tops of the trees, so that choice was unavailable. But the fog also provided an interesting touch to the ground level photos.
As we continue to be restricted to any travel the ‘virtual travel’ series is continuing with some history. This posting will detail the history of Chicago through maps and photographs, and take a look at what it looks like now.
In 1840 when New York City already had over 300,000 people, Chicago was just starting as a town with just a few thousand. By 1860 is was in the top 10 with over 100,000, and just 30 years later there was 1.1 million people and Chicago was ‘The Second City’, doubling in population from 1880 to 1890.
Celebrating Chicago through World’s Fairs
It was around this time that Chicago decided to make it’s presence known on the world stage by hosting a World’s Fair. Local leaders lobbied hard to land the right to host this fair with the federal government, winning out over New York, Washington and St Louis.
The site chosen, Jackson Park, provided the 600 acres required. The lead architect was the famed Daniel Burnham, who was a proponent of the ‘City Beautiful’ movement.
While most of the buildings were designed and built to be temporary, there are a few that remain to this day.
With all of the buildings built in a neo-classical design and painted the same color, it became known as The White City.
Getting to the Fair
With the incredible growth of the city from the end of the Civil War to 1890, Chicago’s transit struggled to keep up. Initially private companies had built horse drawn trolleys downtown. In 1892 the first of the famed El’s was completed from 39th Street (Pershing Road) to the Loop. The next year the Chicago and South Side Elevated Railway extended this to the fair site at Jackson Park.
The map below dates from the 1930s but clearly shows the line going south before turning left towards the lake, ending at Jackson Park. (Red Lines denote the El). This company failed not long after the fair ended because there was not enough ridership to maintain financial stability, being sold under foreclosure.
Of note this line was originally not electrified, the coaches were pulled by an engine.
The Chicago History Center has one of the original cars on display.
Green Line Train today
Also note the Midway Plaisance connecting Washington Park and Jackson Park (Green strip on map between the parks). This area was the Entertainment section of the park (more on this below).
Today the Green Line takes a very similar route, although the spur towards the lake only goes to Cottage Grove Avenue, and the southernmost branch is gone.
As noted in the photo description this is the entrance at the Midway Plaisance.
The map detail shows some of the highlights of this area, including the famed Ferris Wheel. While there had been a wooden wheel built in Atlantic City in 1891, but it burned down the next year.
Ferris’s wheel was to be Chicago’s answer to Paris’s Eiffel Tower. It was massive – 264 feet high, with a capacity of 2,160 passengers. So renown was this feature that for many years Ferris Wheel’s were known as ‘Chicago Wheels’
Today Chicago’s Navy Pier has one that, while impressive, is shorter than the original.
The Midway Plaisance today serves as a park area next to the University of Chicago. There are a few reminders of the fair.
The grounds and buildings were magnificent.
The Palace of Fine Arts was one of the few buildings built to remain after the fair.
It serves today as the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry
The Statue of the Republic Was the Centerpiece of the Basin.
While no longer surrounded by water it is one of the few remaining structures from the fair.
But Chicago had a second chance at a World’s Fair just 40 years later, when they hosted the Century of Progress, which ran from May 1933 until October 1934, taking the winter off.
But the city, and world, has had significant change since 1893.
The Auto Club sponsored ‘Routes’ with fair themed names for automobile travelers to come to the city. In addition they sponsored ‘Motor Villages’, campgrounds and motels on the outskirts of town,.
Despite the introduction of the automobile, train travel was still the primary way to get to Chicago.
This Conoco map shows an Illinois Central Railway Station at the entrance to the fair.
In addition to the station at the fairgrounds entrance, there were another 6 train stations downtown, including the commuter rail stations.
Today there are 3, two for the commuter rail and Union Station, and even that station is just a portion of what it was.
Union Station is still very nice, but this grand space above was torn down in 1969.
Once you were in town the El or streetcar network would take you to where you needed to go.
Including directly to the Fair.
Welcome to the Century of Progress World’s Fair entrance.
The skyride took passengers from the main entrance on Columbus Drive to the lake shore. In this photo the Field Museum and the skyline of downtown is clearly visible.
One of the features of the 1933 fair compared to 1893’s is that it was essentially downtown, whereas the Columbian Exposition was a couple of miles south of downtown.
The 1930s was the height of the Art Deco movement (a favorite of mine), and the advertising for the fair highlighted this.
The industrialists of the day had major exhibits. GM even built an assembly line.
You could see the homes of tomorrow.
After the fair an investor purchased the homes and moved them by barge to nearby Indiana, and placed them along the lake shore as an attraction to the community he was building.
Time was tough on the homes, but over the last 20 years or so the state of Indiana has sponsored a program where you can lease them for $1 with the stipulation you fix them up (which costs $1m +). The results are fantastic.
Many Chicago landmarks were part of the fair including Adler Planetarium
as well as the Field Museum and Soldier Field.
Chicago has always used their lake shore for the public’s enjoyment, never more so than during the two World’s Fairs. Part 2 of this series in a few days will focus more on the development of the transportation in the city.
I have been fortunate enough to have been in all 50 states, and all but 2 provinces of Canada – Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Today’s visit takes us there (obviously all photos will be from the Internet).
Manitoba is home to 1.4 million people, most of which live near Winnipeg. The city has long, cold winters with November through March all having average HIGHS below freezing (32 f/0 c). It is listed as the second sunniest city in Canada, so you have that going for you.
But eventually it does thaw out!
It has a very diverse economy, with no one industry being dominate.
It is the capital of the province, so government is big business.
Winnipeg has the highest population of aboriginal people in all of Canada. The city is 12% Native Canadian
The small, far northern town of Churchill each fall has a migration of polar bears pass through town as they migrate from their summer home to their winter home.
Tours are apparently very popular
Riding Mountain National Park is also in Northern Manitoba, just not nearly as far north.
It is known for it’s bison
As well as the moose
Our final stop – an Indiana Jones nightmare – is the Narcisse Snake Dens. Tens of thousands of red sided garter snakes reside here during the winter before migrating to a nearby swamp.
Let’s move westward to Saskatchewan.
Mining is the largest industry in the province, whereas the finance and insurance industry makes up the largest white collar sector.
As the Guess Who sang, it is time for ‘Running Back to Saskatoon’.
Saskatoon is the largest city with a population of nearly 300,000. The population is fairly diverse.
Much like Winnipeg it is bitterly cold in the winter.
But it too eventually thaws out.
For a city of it’s size it has an excellent collection of architecture.
Regina is the 2nd largest city in the province. It is the provincial capital.
The Prince Edward Theater is a classic old hall.
The First Nations University has incorporated a tepee into the building design.
But our prairie time has come to an end, time to move further west to Alberta tomorrow.
Welcome to Ontario – Canada’s largest province by population, and the center of the country’s media.
It is also home to more NHL hockey players than any other place in the world.
1931 1946 1948 1952 1955 – Parliment Buildings 1968 1970 1973 1996 – Yonge Street
The Canadian National Capital is in Ottawa. The collection of buildings are on what is known as Parliament Hill. They were built between 1859 and 1927.
The metro area is the 5th largest in the country with 1.3 million people.
Many of the buildings are open for tours. The main assembly hall has started a 10 year reconstruction effort, so a new hall was built in what was previously an open space between buildings.
The city is located at the confluence of the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River.
During the summer the buildings are lit up in the evenings with an impressive light show.
Roads and Bridges
1957 1958 1959 1960 1962 1964 1965 1967 1986 – Ivy Lea Bridge 2010 – Highway 406 St Catharines
Toronto is by far the largest city in Canada, and one of the major cities in North America. It is also one of my favorite cities in the world.
The CN Tower was completed in 1973 as the worldest tallest freestanding structure, a record it held until 2007.
The railroads and the lakes built the city. Today the city still has long distance train travel, as well as an extensive subway and streetcar network.
The lakeshore was once an industrial area, but is now filled with luxury condos and apartments.
The entire downtown area is filled with great architecture.
Toronto is the center of the hockey universe, including the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Hamilton is located 50 miles from Toronto, but it is one continuous city. Once a steel town, it still has some industry, but has transition to a more diverse economy today.
It is also home to Tim Horton’s #1!!
Windsor is across the river from downtown Detroit.
1966 1974 1978 1980 1990 – Highway 17 – Wawa 1992 – Algonquin Provincial Park 2001 – Algonquin Provincial Park 2003 – Pancake Bay 2005 – Pancake Bay Provincial Park 2006 – Highway 118 Muskoka 2008 – Highway 141 – Muskoka 2014 – Highway 69 French River
Niagara Falls is shared with New York, but the Ontario side is much nicer.
Scarborough is now part of the city of Toronto but was for many years a separate suburb. It is home to Guild Park – home of relics from down demolished buildings in downtown Toronto.
It is also home to the RC Harris Water Treatment Facility AKA – Palace of Purification.
You are in Wisconsin doncha know. Our state tours are coming to an end but there is plenty to see and do in Wisconsin, and beyond.
1947 1953 1966
Madison is the State Capital. The Capitol building dates from 1917.
State Dance – It seems nearly every state has square dancing as the state dance, but not Wisconsin. Let’s play the Beer Barrel Polka
State Pastry – Kringle
Madison is a pretty city situated between two lakes. The state animal, and nickname for the University of Wisconsin sports teams are the Badgers.
Towns and Cities
1940 1967 1972 1983 1997 2001 2003 2008 2017
Milwaukee – Wisconsin’s largest city is a Lake Michigan port city. There are a number of museums and parks along the lakeshore.
Racine is a smaller port city near the Illinois border.
Ashland is located in northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior.
1948 1958 1969 1987
The Northern Great Lakes visitor center celebrates life on the Great Lakes.
The German culture thrives throughout the state. Beer, brats and cheeseheads! (photos from the internet)
Wisconsin Roads and Attractions
1970 1971 1973 1976 2006 2010 2011 2012 2013
Wisconsin Dells – A popular tourist attraction in south central Wisconsin. While there is natural scenery there is an abundance of man made attractions. (photos from the internet)
Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee
Wingspread – A Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece in Racine.
House on the Rock is located in Spring Green. This amazingly quirky structure was built as a result of a feud between a man named Alex Jordan and Frank Lloyd Wright. When Wright told him he wasn’t qualified to build a crate, Jordan set out to build this home.
Many question if this story is true or not, but regardless this place is like nowhere else. It is filled with automated musical instruments, strange collections, circus features including a massive carousel, and many other collections. The highlight is the ‘Infinity Room’, cantilevered out over the valley below.
Take Me Home Country Roads – to West Virginia.
While I have more years of Texas maps, I have more overall West Virginia maps as they published monthly in the 1940s.
1949 1958 1960 1963 1992 2010
West Virginia State Capitol (Photo from whereverImayroam.com)
When West Virginia was formed during the Civil War, it took years for them to settle on a permanent state capital Finally they decided Charleston is the place, and in 1932 completed this building.
State Firearm – Hall Flintlock Model 1819. This weapon was produced in Harpers Ferry.
Rivers and Streams
1937 – Potomac River South Branch 1940 February – Kanawha River 1941 September – New River Gorge and River 1954 – Randolph County Lake 1967 – New River Gorge and River 1986 1994 – New River Gorge and River
West Virginia has a number of rivers that served the coal industry for decades. One of those coal towns was Thurmond. Today it is a ghost town, but at one time was a center of coal production.
It is situated on the New River, which is an attraction for tourists and adventurers.
Huntington is the 2nd largest town in the state. It was founded as a railway center, and that history is celebrated with decorated model engines around downtown.
The most noteworthy is the one dedicated to those who died in the Marshall University Football team’s airplane crash in 1970.
Point Pleasant is an Ohio River town that live on the legend of the Mothman.
1939 January 1939 February 1940 May 1974 – White Sulfur Springs 1983 2002 – Coopers Rocks 2017
Cooper’s Rocks is a scenic area above Morgantown, near the Maryland border.
Helvetia was originally a Swiss colony far back in the Appalachian Mountains.
The Greenbrier has been a premier resort since 1778, with 27 of the 45 Presidents having visited.
West Virginia is all mountains and hills, with unique histories. One of those interesting places is Matewan, where a famed labor battle occurred.
Roads and Bridges
1940 January – Canaan Valley Route 32 1962 – Interstate 77 1965 1980 – New River Gorge Bridge 1990 2011 2014
The New River Gorge Bridge is one of the highest bridges in the world.
The Ohio River Valley has a collection of old, cool and quirky bridges. Not all are still in use.
West Virginia Culture and Sights
1940 June – Rhododendron Festival 1940 August 1940 September 1940 December 1941 January – WVU Martin Hall 1943 1947 1968 1976 1978 1988 1998 2005 2006 2008
Green Bank, West Virginia is home to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. As such it is in an area known as a National Radio Quiet Zone – no cell phones, radios, etc.