Official Map of Chicago and Suburbs


Massive and unique city plan of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.

1 in stock

A high-resolution image is available for purchase. Email me for inquiries.

This immaculately detailed city plan of Chicago, Illinois was first published locally by Rand McNally in the mid-1930’s (dated using the orientation of Museum Campus and the presence of Brookfield Zoo). It shows the city and surrounding suburbs, with inset maps of the Loop District, Evanston and the North Shore, and the area around nearby Gary, Indiana. A comprehensive legend in the center right identifies the symbols used to distinguish primary transportation routes, forest preserves, cemeteries, parks, beaches, swamps, airports, and more.

This particular copy of the map has been customized for use by the office of the Vice President of Traffic, an Industrial Department within the Pennsylvania Railroad. For preservation and ease of storage, the sheet has been dissected and mounted to linen with custom leather covers. Colored lines applied to the image by hand outline track ownership of specific railroad operators, and a custom legend has been affixed to identify the 27 companies in operation within the city.

The diverse array represented within the legend is indicative of Chicago’s central location and its role as a critical rail hub for passenger and freight service traveling from East to West. Yellow color has also been applied by hand to indicate the city limits.

Because of its customization and working history, the map must be considered “unique” (though there were likely other, similar, versions in use by other departments) and shows an interesting snapshot of the city’s transportation configuration into the mid 1950’s. It’s also a fascinating reminder of the intimate association between the growth of Chicago and the spread of the railroad across the United States.

Map Details

Publication Date: c. 1936

Author: Rand McNally

Sheet Width (in): 44.75

Sheet Height (in): 66.25

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Dissected into 30 panels and mounted on linen, with black leather covers. Some discoloration along the lower edge of the sheet, and a few panels have edge curling and minor offsetting. Remains in excellent condition, given its age and use.


1 in stock