Rare Chicagoland Map Showing Extent of Great Fire.
This is a rare separately issued folding map by Rufus Blanchard, creator of some of the earliest maps of Chicago. This 1872 edition of the map shows the extent of the Great Chicago Fire which had burned the previous year, one of the earliest Chicago-printed maps to do so.
Two maps are included in the work showing Chicago and the greater Cook County as an already important metropolis, less than three and a half decades after the city's incorporation. On the right is a detailed map of Chicago, which details many streets and parks with great accuracy and colors the city according to wards. The map extends to the belt of parks and green spaces now including Douglass, Humboldt, and Garfield Parks, showing these with alternate names shortly after they were designated. Other interesting features include the recently completed Lake Tunnel, which served to bring clean water into the city. The map of Cook and Dupage Counties is colored according to six-mile blocks and shows early roads and railroads.
The depiction of the extent of the Great Chicago Fire from a Chicago mapmaker whose offices may have been affected by the fire adds a fascinating historical significance to the map. The damage from the fire can be seen to extend to Lincoln Park in the north and the Third Ward in the south. The fire is mostly bounded to the east by the Chicago river, though it did briefly jump the river into the Ninth Ward.
The map was published in at least several editions between 1868 and 1877, including an edition where it served as a promotional piece for an advertising firm. Blanchard would evolve this map into later maps including his New Bicycle Map Showing Carriage Roads, Map of Six Counties around Chicago, and Blanchard's Map of Chicago and Environs.
Blanchard issued some of the earliest available maps of Chicago and was one of the earliest printers to relocate to the Windy City. His offices were located at 132 Clark Street, which appears to be the present-day location of Chicago's town hall and almost certainly would have burned down.
The Great Chicago Fire was a conflagration that burned in the American city of Chicago on October 8–10, 1871. The fire killed approximately 300 people, destroyed roughly 3.3 square miles (9 km2) of the city, and left more than 100,000 residents homeless.