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.

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

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Green Line Train today

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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.

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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’

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

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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Many Chicago landmarks were part of the fair including Adler Planetarium

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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 – Texas

Texas!

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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.

 

 

Parks and Rec  Houston also provided some unique ‘park’ experiences – from going under the Buffalo Bayou Park to see the Cistern, to the Botanical Gardens, and finally inside for some baseball.

 

 

Galveston     Another pleasant surprise was Galveston. It seemed like 3 cities in one – the typical seaside resort with amusement rides and motels, a great state park natural area, and finally the historic area on the bay side.

 

 

Dallas – Fort Worth    While Houston gained lots of photos on this posting I have actually been to Dallas far more, just some time ago and without a camera.

Dallas is corporate, Fort Worth is cowboy (I know – stereotypes, but it seems to fit).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – New Hampshire

Welcome to the Granite State – New Hampshire.

Daniel Webster stands guard over the state capitol in Concord.

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The city of Concord is one of the smaller state capitols, with only 43,000 residents. (photo from Wikipedia)

 

 

New Hampshire has their fair share of unique State Symbols. (photos from Statesymbols.org)

State Amphibian – Red Spotted Newt

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State Beverage – Apple Cider

 

 

 

Mountains & Seasons

1962     1973     1977     2001     2010

 

 

Most of the small state of New Hampshire is mountainous, as a northern portion of the Appalachians. Being just a few hours drive from Boston, the state has been a tourist attraction for 150 years.

The maps have often celebrated this physical feature of the state.

The highest, and most famous is Mount Washington. At 6288′ (1918m) it is one of the tallest mountains in the east. It is legendary as having the strongest recorded wind in the country, 231 MPH (372 KPH) before the anemometer blew away. (all photos from Wikipedia)

Driving Mt Washington Auto Road, New Hampshire: The surprising ...

 

The Mount Washington Cog Railway has been a tourist attraction since 1868. This was the world’s first cog railway, and remains to this day as the 2nd steepest railway in the world, having some grades as steep as 37%.

Worcester Living: The Cog Railway celebrates its 150th year of ...

 

 

 

A much smaller mountain in the far southern part of the state is home to the Andres Art Institute. Since 1996 Paul Andres has invited artists from all over the world to come to this former ski area to create their stone and metal sculptures.

It is a workout to see them all, but well worth the effort.

 

 

The most popular tourist season is fall, with the changing of the leaves. The Kancamagus Highway is one of the most scenic routes in the state, having been designated as a National Scenic Byway. (photo from Tripsavvy.com)

 

Among the attractions along this route are the Albany Covered Bridge.

Autumn at Albany Covered Bridge, Albany, New Hampshire, USA

 

The Flume Gorge

Flume Gorge, New Hampshire

 

Sabbaday Falls (photo from NewEnglandWateralls.com)

Sabbaday Falls, New Hampshire

 

Finally – we visit Rocky Gorge. (photo from Alltrails.com)

Photos of Rocky Gorge Scenic Area Trails - New Hampshire | AllTrails

 

 

 

Lakes and Rivers

1970     1972     1974     1976      2006

 

 

There are numerous lakes and rivers throughout the state. The largest, and most popular is Lake Winnipesaukee. This lake is 69 square miles, and has over 250 islands scattered throughout it. (photo from Wikipedia)

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There are a number of large rivers throughout the state including the Connecticut River – separating New Hampshire from Vermont. This river travels 406 miles from it’s start at the Quebec border to the Long Island Sound.

There are an amazing 15 dams in the 406 miles, most in the upper areas of the river. The largest of these is the Moore Reservoir Dam, providing electrical power, flood control and recreation. (photo from EcoPhotography.com). Interestingly the dam, and many others, are owned by a Canadian company.

The Moore Dam and Moore Reservoir on the Connecticut River in ...

 

New Hampshire has a small, but well developed, Atlantic Coastline. The shore is only 13 miles long, wedged between Massachusetts and Maine.

The largest town along the coast is Portmouth. (photos from Boston Magazine.com)

 

 

Non Natural Attractions

The largest city in the state is Manchester. In the early 1800s a canal was opened around a natural waterfalls that spurred the development of water powered cotton mills, prompting one of the early developers to proclaim it is ‘The Manchester of America’ . The former mills line the waterway to this day. (photos from Wikipedia)

Clockwise from top: Manchester skyline from above Amoskeag Falls, Hanover Street, a Fisher Cats game at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium, the Arms Park Riverwalk and Millyard, the Mill Girl statue at the Millyard, and City Hall.

 

The small town of Warner is home to the New England Telephone Museum. This small, but comprehensive museum has a large collection of telephones, and telephone company equipment from the earliest days through the 1990s.

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Bay Colony was established in 1628, with the initial towns being located in Salem and Boston. This colony was established 8 years after the Plymouth Colony, but the name they chose stuck.

The state has numerous locations of historical importance, but it does not live in the past. With colleges like MIT it is at the forefront of technology.

But you have to travel to get around the state so we start with:

 

1971 – 1999 – 2012  Transportation in Massachusetts

 

According to some statistics Massachusetts drivers are statistically the worst drivers in the country.  But if you leave the hotel at 5 AM on a Saturday you get a tunnel that looks like this…

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Instead of this….

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Boston does have an extensive subway system.

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There are two major train stations in the city, including South Station

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Logan Airport is just 3 miles from downtown Boston, but it is across the harbor.

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The MTA also has a fleet of ferry boats, however most are very small.

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2009  History in Massachusetts

Government State Massachusetts 2009

 

As previously noted, Massachusetts has a lot of history. Below is a actor playing the part of Paul Revere

 

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Salem – House with 7 Gables

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Salem Harbor

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Lowell – Historic Cotton Mills

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2001 & 2007 – Boston

 

 

Boston is a city where the latest is next door to the historic.

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Historic Waterworks

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North End

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Fenway Park – the legend

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MIT

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Boston Main Library

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2003 – 2011  Cape Cod & The South Shore

 

The Massachusetts coast has numerous small towns with harbors.

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Plymouth Rock – pure fiction, but pure American.

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Lobstah

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Cape Cod National Seashore

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Shack where the first transatlantic cable terminated. At one time this was high tech.

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Virtual Travel – Hawaii

Because of the uniqueness of Hawaii I have no state highway maps in my collection. For this trip we will use a National Geographic Map from 1976.

Having spent an amazing 3 weeks in the islands, there are plenty of photos of the highlights. As a result this is a very long posting full of photos.

 

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Hawaii – The Big Island. Covering over 4000 square miles, it is slightly smaller than Connecticut.

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Big Island HI Pu’uhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park

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Big Island South Point

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Southernmost point of any U.S. State – take that Key West

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Green Sand Beach

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Black Sand Beach

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Volcano National Park

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Kaimu Bay

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McKenzie Park

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Hilo – One huge banyan tree

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Akaka Falls

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Hilo (again)

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Waipio Valley

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Pololu Valley Overlook

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Kapaau

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Kona Cultural Festival

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Off Kona

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Maui

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Views from the water

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Lahania