This lithographed folding map of Chicago, published by Hall & Co. in 1855, and printed by Ed. Mendel at 170 Lake Street, is one of the very first maps of that city published in the city itself.
The map covers the area from Fullerton Avenue in the north to roughly 38th Street in the south. It is bounded in the west approximately by present-day California Ave.
Under the index, the map lists the city's population from 1840 to September of 1855, during which time it surged more than 17 times from 4,479 to 80,028. Indeed, it had grown from 65,872 in 1854, to over 80,000 in September of the next year.
Shortly after the completion of the Illinois and Michigan Canal (illustrated on the map), Chicago's transportation boom went into overdrive. Chicago's early canal connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River watershed was the first step in establishing its importance as a national hub. With the introduction of extensive rail infrastructure, Chicago solidified its role as the capital of the Midwest. The map delineates and labels numerous early railroad lines:
- Chicago St. Charles & Mississippi Railroad
- Fort Wayne & Chicago Railroad
- Northern Indiana Railroad
- Rock Island Railroad
- Wisconsin & Illinois Railroad
- Chicago & Milwaukee Railroad
- Chicago Galena Union Railroad
- Michigan Central Railroad
- Illinois Central Railroad
According to our records, the map was last offered publicly by Goodspeed's in 1960. No other copies recorded at auction or in dealer catalogs. WorldCat records five institutional copies, only one of which, at the Newberry, is in Illinois.
As far as we have traced it, the earliest map of Chicago printed in Chicago, is A. H. Burley's Map of the City of Chicago. 1852.