Chicago – History Through Maps and Photographs – Part 1 The World Fairs

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.

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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.

el 1893

 

The Chicago History Center has one of the original cars on display.

2019 02 17 106 Chicago History Center

 

Green Line Train today

Green_Line_at_51st_Street

 

 

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).

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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.

green line

 

 

As noted in the photo description this is the entrance at the Midway Plaisance.

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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.

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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’

Original_Ferris

World's_Columbian_Exposition_Ferris_Wheel,_Chicago,_United_States,_1893

 

Today Chicago’s Navy Pier has one that, while impressive, is shorter than the original.

2018 10 14 713 Chicago Open House

 

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.

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It serves today as the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry

2017 12 27 22 Chicago Museum of Science & Industry

 

 

The Statue of the Republic Was the Centerpiece of the Basin.

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While no longer surrounded by water it is one of the few remaining structures from the fair.

2018 09 02 33 Chicago Jackson Park

 

 

 

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.

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But the city, and world, has had significant change since 1893.

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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.

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This Conoco map shows an Illinois Central Railway Station at the entrance to the fair.

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In addition to the station at the fairgrounds entrance, there were another 6 train stations downtown, including the commuter rail stations.

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Today there are 3, two for the commuter rail and Union Station, and even that station is just a portion of what it was.

1933-New-Union-Station-Building-Canal-Clinton

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Union Station is still very nice, but this grand space above was torn down in 1969.

2019 02 14 37 Chicago Union Station

2019 02 14 17 Chicago Union Station

 

 

Once you were in town the El or streetcar network would take you to where you needed to go.

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El to Fair

 

Including directly to the Fair.

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Welcome to the Century of Progress World’s Fair entrance.

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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.

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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.

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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.

2016 10 15 128 Indiana Dunes Century of Progress Homes

2016 10 15 94 Indiana Dunes Century of Progress Homes

 

 

Many Chicago landmarks were part of the fair including Adler Planetarium

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2018 10 14 607 Chicago Open House

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as well as the Field Museum and Soldier Field.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Prairie Provinces

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

 

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.

Why The Forks in Winnipeg has it all this winter - Blog Viarail

 

But eventually it does thaw out!

Winnipeg

2019 Winnipeg Food Truck Guide | Peg City Grub | Tourism Winnipeg

 

It has a very diverse economy, with no one industry being dominate.

Packers to play in Canada: How much it will cost and places to go ...

What does the future hold for development in Winnipeg? - Winnipeg ...

 

It is the capital of the province, so government is big business.

File:Manitoba Legislative Building.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

 

Winnipeg has the highest population of aboriginal people in all of Canada. The city is 12% Native Canadian

Annual Festivals & Events | Tourism Winnipeg

 

 

 

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.

Why this town on the edge of the world is the greatest place to ...

 

Tours are apparently very popular

Northern winter safari to see polar bears, northern lights in ...

Churchill Sunday Photo - Polar Bears | Churchill Polar Bears

 

 

 

Riding Mountain National Park is also in Northern Manitoba, just not nearly as far north.

Riding Mountain National Park closed to visitors over long weekend ...

 

It is known for it’s bison

File:Bison herd - Lake Audy - Riding Mountain National Park.JPG ...

 

 

As well as the moose

BULL MOOSE, RIDING MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK – Lone Pine Photo

 

 

 

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.

Narcisse Snake Dens – Gimli, Manitoba - Atlas Obscura

 

Narcisse Snake Dens Update Page!

 

 

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.

Welcome to Saskatoon | Hotels, Restaurants, & Things To Do

 

 

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.

Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds National Historic Site of Canada-1534691.jpg

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Quebec

Bienvenue au Québec

 

 

2019 07 30 71 Ottawa - Copy

 

Quebec is 2 1/2 times the size of Texas, and nearly as large as Alaska, stretching from the USA border to past the Arctic Circle, with nearly all the people living within 100 miles of the American border.

With French being the primary language it truly feels like you have arrived in Europe, only it looks ‘North American’. I have always enjoyed visits to Quebec and look forward to going back.

 

Quebec City is the capital of the province. It is one of the oldest towns in North America, having been first settled in 1535, and founded as a town in 1608.

2011 05 29 Jill Road Trip Day 4 10

 

 

Nearby is Montmorency Falls, one of the largest volume waterfalls on the continent.

2016 09 09 68 Montmorency Falls PQ

 

 

Canyon Saint Anne is another impressive natural setting, with a series of waterfalls dropping over 200′ through the canyon.

2016 09 09 49 Canyon Sainte Anne PQ

 

 

 

Pohenegamook is a small town on the Maine border, where some houses literally are sitting in both countries.

2016 09 09 27 Pohenegamook PQ

 

 

Montreal is the 2nd largest French speaking city in the world.

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Old Montreal was the original setting for the town. Today it is the tourist center.

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2019 07 31 340 Montreal

 

 

Montreal is home to a number of impressive cathedrals.

 

 

Parc Jean Drapeau is on a couple of islands in the middle of the St Lawrence River. It is home to, among other things, the Formula 1 racetrack. It is easily accessible via the Metro.

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2011 05 28 Jill Road Trip Day 3 12

 

 

The Montreal Botanical Gardens is one of the finest in the world.

 

 

Montreal was host to the 1976 Olympics.

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Olympic Stadium was home to the Montreal Expos until left town to move to Washington DC

 

 

The city has a great collection of architecture.

 

Au revoir du Québec, c’est parti pour l’Ontario

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Wisconsin

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.

 

2015 09 06 108 Hurley WI

 

 

State Capitol

1947     1953     1966

 

 

Madison is the State Capital. The Capitol building dates from 1917.

2012 07 15 1 Madison WI

 

 

State Symbols

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.

2014 09 20 8 Milwaukee

 

 

Racine is a smaller port city near the Illinois border.

2014 09 20 96 Racine WI

 

 

Ashland is located in northern Wisconsin on the shores of Lake Superior.

 

 

 

 

Wisconsin Cultures

1948     1958     1969     1987

Government State Wisconsin 1948

 

 

The Northern Great Lakes visitor center celebrates life on the Great Lakes.

2015 09 06 146 Ashland WI

 

 

The German culture thrives throughout the state. Beer, brats and cheeseheads! (photos from the internet)

Bavarian Bierhaus | © VISIT Milwaukee

look at that cute cheesehead!"-a packers fan #greenBAE #greenbay ...

 

 

 

Wisconsin Roads and Attractions

1970     1971     1973     1976     2006     2010     2011     2012     2013

 

Government State Wisconsin 2006

 

 

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)

Trips on a Tank: Wisconsin

Facts | Wisconsin Dells | Media Information

 

 

Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee

2014 09 20 34 Harley Davidson Museum Milwaukee

 

 

Wingspread – A Frank Lloyd Wright masterpiece in Racine.

2014 09 20 102 FLW Wingspread House Racine WI

 

 

 

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.

2012 07 14 92 Spring Green WI House on a Rock

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Texas

Texas!

2015 09 22 35 Amarillo TX

 

Texas is a big state with a great variety of places for photography, therefore this is a LONG posting.

 

 

 

 

Texas Culture

1952     1958     1991     2007     2009     2011     2012     2016

 

 

Austin – State Capital

2009 08 27 63 Austin

 

The Texas State Capitol dates from 1885. The land it is on was acquired in a barter deal, 3 million acres of Texas Panhandle for this land!

Texas shows it’s Tex-Mex history in the state foods…

State Pastries – two – Strudel & Sopiapilla

Apple strudel     

 

State Small Mammal – Armadillo

 

 

 

The city of Austin is proud of it’s motto – Keep Austin Weird.

With the music scene, including a statue of Stevie Ray Vaughan, and the Congress Street bats it is a great place to be.

 

 

 

Prairies

1949     1969     1972     2013     2014

 

Roads & Bridges

1954     1964     1974     1975     1977     1978    1983     1987

 

I have more Texas Official Highway Maps than any other state. So many this section has combined the Prairies with the Highways which is appropriate because it features Amarillo and Route 66

 

Amarillo

You are half way there – IF you are going from Chicago to Los Angeles, or vice versa.

 

 

The legendary Cadillac Ranch. For more than 40 years people have been spray painting these cars. The good folks of Amarillo liked the planted Cadillacs they have expanded (in different parts of town) to VW Beetles and Combines.

 

 

Mountains

1953     1959     1970     1993     2017

 

 

Terlingua  – The ‘ghost town’ of Terlingua is a former mining town, but is not vacant, as it is a destination for tourist from Big Bend National Park.

Once a year they hold the world’s largest chili cook-off.

 

 

Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. These two parks cover much of the Rio Grande Valley of West Texas. Their natural scenery is stunning.

A plus is being able to take a row boat across the river to Mexico for lunch in Bouillas.

 

 

Marathon – Gage Hotel   We had the good fortune of spending the night in this crossroads town on the way to Big Bend. The Gage Hotel is a historic property that attracts people just for the atmosphere and food.

 

 

Langtry – Made famous by Judge Roy Bean and his Law West of the Pecos, and even more famous when Paul Newman starred in a movie of the same name. The town is pretty much vacant, but the area is scenic.

Nearby is Seminole Canyon State Historic Park. This park holds significant cave art.

 

 

 

Cities & Beaches

1961     1968     2015     2019

 

 

San Antonio. While the city is large, it has a feel very different than Houston or Dallas. The downtown is much more compact, with a significant amount of Art Deco architecture.

 

 

Missions – There are five missions in San Antonio, and four of those are maintained by the National Park Service (the 5th is the Alamo). Mission San Jose is the most impressive architecturally.  Our day in San Antonio included a visit to Mission Concepcion.

 

Alamo – The most famous mission in the state, and likely the country, it is not known for it’s service as the Mission San Antonio de Valero, but more so it’s use as a fort in the Mexican independence effort when a group of Texas soldiers died defending it.

 

 

Houston – The city is the 4th largest city in the country, with 2.3 million people in the city. It is the 5th largest metro area (by some calculations) with 7 million people.

The city has more buildings over 150m (492′) than any city in the United States other than New York, Chicago and Miami.

There are still a few historic buildings downtown, but many have been destroyed over the years as they went taller and newer.

 

 

Houston Art – One of the great finds in our travels was the very cool, quirky art of Houston. From top to bottom. Giant Presidential Heads – Sanctioned Graffiti – Beer Can House – Luck Land – Smithers Park.