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Unknown Variant - One of the Earliest Printed Maps of Chicago Published in Chicago.

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 Chicago published in Chicago. This is the only known example of the map to include a decorative border.

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. The map includes a pastedown list of Railroads, noting also Ticket Offices and Depots in Chicago.

The map identifies the names of hundreds of property owners.

In addition to railroad lines, the South Western Plank Road and Milwaukee Plank Road are illustrated.

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.

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. 

Variant State

The present example includes a decorative floral border which is not present on any other surviving example of the map.  It also includes a slightly smaller area than the other known examples.  

The previously known example can be seen here:


The present map is a unique survival, with no other known examples located.

The edition of the map without decorative borders 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. 

Condition Description
Dissected and laid on linen, with time table pasted down.