The City of Chicago, Illinois, where the Republican Nominating Convention will meet on May 16, 1860.

Bird’s eye view of Chicago from 1860.

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It is the author’s personal opinion that Chicago’s most important contribution to the development of United States history took place between May 16 – 18, 1860. During those hot summer days, delegates at the Republican National Convention met to nominate a presidential candidate for the critical upcoming election.

A special building, known as the Wigwam, was erected to house the estimated 10,000 attendees. New York Senator William Seward comfortably led the first ballot, but the winds of political favor were changing, in addition to the attitudes of the raucous crowd. By the time voting was complete on the third ballot, the winning candidate’s name was on lips across the city – Abraham Lincoln. The rest is history…albeit the tragic one of America’s greatest president.

This view of Chicago, printed in Harper’s Weekly the week before the convention, sadly lacks any building that could be definitively labeled as the Wigwam. But it does show a fascinating snapshot of the rapidly growing city on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. Numerous ships crowd the harbor, and a further forest of masts are shown peeking out of the South Branch. A train from Illinois Central is shown pulling away from its depot, with pleasure craft on the lagoon opposite the trellis bridge.

Map Details

Publication Date: 1860

Author: Harper's Weekly

Sheet Width (in): 15.5

Sheet Height (in): 11.5

Condition: A

Condition Description: Single sheet from Harper's Weekly. Lightly toned and a little soiled around the outer edges, consistent with age. Very good overall.

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