S.W. 1/4 and Parts of N.W. 1/4 and S.E. 1/4 Section 30.40.14 [Chicago]


The northern extent of Chicago prior further incorporations.

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This fabulously detailed map of several city blocks at the most northern part of the Chicago city limits was published in response to the devastating fire that rampaged through the city between October 8-10, 1871. Elisha Robinson, its creator, was one of the numerous publishers who issued atlases specifically for the fire insurance industry. In order to properly assess risk, insurers needed information on building size, construction material, and the availability of water. Surveys were painstakingly performed, usually on foot, and the results are among the most complete snapshots of the city’s physical makeup in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

In theory, every single building that existed at the time of publication is outlined within the borders of the map. Color was applied by stencil and shows the construction material of each structure; pink is brick, yellow is wood, brown is stone, and blue is iron. Crosses on a building footprint indicate its use as a stable, or otherwise likely to hold combustible materials. Water and sewer lines, street elevation (which affects the flow), fire hydrants, and cisterns are also all noted.

The image is bounded by the north branch of the Chicago River, Western Avenue, and Fullerton Avenue. Adjacent townships of Jefferson and Lake View would be annexed by the city three years after publication. The area is largely vacant, with a handful of scattered houses on the plotted residential divisions and a few large industrial buildings near the river’s edge. The largest has a set of team tracks leading to the lines of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.

The map was issued as plate 29 from Volume IV of Robinson’s Fire Insurance Atlas. Published in Chicago by Elisha Robinson in 1886.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1886

Author: Elisha Robinson

Sheet Width (in): 32.6

Sheet Height (in): 22.75

Condition: B

Condition Description: Moderately worn across the upper margin, including tape repairs, wrinkling, and several small tears. Slightly brittle paper is lightly toned, consistent with age, and shows a bit of wear elsewhere in the margins. One 1" tear, left side, has been repaired on the verso with archival tape.


1 in stock