Blanchard’s Map of Chicago with the New Street Names

Chicago near the turn of the century by a prominent local cartographer.

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Rufus Blanchard first began publishing maps in Chicago in the early 1850s and is commonly considered the producer of the city’s first street guide (1857). He saw the Second City grow from a riverside cluster of wooden buildings to one of the premier metropolises in the world.

This map of Chicago highlights the longevity of the cartographer’s career and was published over four decades after his earliest works were produced locally. The image shows the city between 71st and Diversey, with an inset in the upper right corner including an extension to Lawrence Avenue.

A confusing array of red lines shows the myriad of transportation options available to a Chicago traveler in the late 19th century. Horse-drawn lines, cable cars, electric railways, elevated lines, and steam railroads are all shown. Green wash color, applied by hand, highlights the system of connected parks and boulevards known colloquially as the ‘Emerald Necklace.’

Contemporary locations of interest like the Union Stockyards, Drainage Canal (construction ongoing), and Illinois Central Depots are also shown and labeled throughout. In addition, the map sheds light on the old system of street naming; with north, west, and south divisions each having their own scheme. Further information is shown below the title and supplemental text identifies the various changes in street names that took place to avoid direct conflict between divisions.


Map Details

Publication Date: 1897

Author: Rufus Blanchard

Sheet Width (in): 23.5

Sheet Height (in): 35.75

Condition: B

Condition Description: Former pocket map with heavy wear, discoloration, and creasing along fold lines. Holes at intersections and separation at creasing has been repaired on the verso with archival tape. Affixed to blue paper covers which include a 20 page street index and single page map of the railroads entering Chicago.

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