The Ruin and Desolation of Chicago.


The ruins of Chicago after the Great Fire of 1871.

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This print of Chicago in the days after the Great Fire of 1871 was issued less than a month after the blaze consumed much of the city’s commercial district, leaving over 90,000 homeless and claiming upwards of 200 lives. A split image shows the northern and southern divisions of the former downtown, populated by a few pedestrians and rows of burned-out buildings.

The upper scene shows an armed soldier, emphasizing that martial law had been declared. Despite the grim image, numerous temporary structures were erected by the time of publication, and much of the debris had been cleared to allow for more permanent structures.

Woodcut engraving based on photographs by Thomas Sweeney. Published in the November 4, 1871 issue of Harper’s Weekly.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1871

Author: Harper's Weekly

Sheet Width (in): 21.75

Sheet Height (in): 15.8

Condition: A-

Condition Description: Lightly toned in the margins, consistent with age, and about 2" of separation at the bottom of the centerfold that has been repaired on the verso with archival tape. Very good overall, with attractive hand color.


1 in stock