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Title: Rand McNally, & Co.’s Bird’s-Eye Views and Guide to Chicago
Chicago’s Rand McNally, & Co. published a wonderful guide book for tourists that was the predecessor to the popular Frommer’s and Follett’s guides of today. With elegantly drawn illustrations of the entire Loop area as well as detailed descriptions of attractions, hotels and restaurants, this was an indispensable book.
Chicagology has taken a few of these illustrations and matched each with an aerial shot of current Chicago using Apple Maps’ flyover rendering. In most cases, the differences are striking, while a few others, very similar.
Looking west from Michigan Blvd (Ave)
Keys to the Drawing:
① Auditorium Extension, ② Auditorium, ③ Studebaker Building, ④ Chicago Club Building, ⑤ Victoria Hotel, ⑥ Kimball Hall, ⑦ Isabella Building, ⑧ Richardson Building, ⑨ Siegel, Cooper & Co.’s Building
1400 N block of Lake Shore Drive
This is the 1400 N block of Lake Shore Drive, surrounded by Astor on the west, Schiller on the south and Burton Place on the north. On the left side is Potter Palmer’s mansion, which remained till about 1954 when it was replaced by the dual towers of 1350/1360 N Lake Shore Drive.
North Avenue, Dearborn Street, Clark Street and Banks Street
The Heart of River North.
Vicinity of the Board of Trade
The region graphically portrayed on the opposite page is doubtless the most striking one in the city, for the visitor can not approach it from any direction without adding to the scene many other notable buildings. The head of La Salle Street,” as late as 1868, included no good building of any size whatever. Jackson Street, the avenue in front of the Board of Trade, and Quincy Street, the alley or narrow street one block north, were densely populated with the worst elements of the city. The Van Buren Street Station was then the head of La Salle Street, and La Salle had not been shortened to make a place for the Board of Trade. The Grand Pacific Hotel was built and burned in 1871. It was reproduced in 1872. The grand transformation of this locality came in 1883 and 1884, when the earliest group of Chicago’s high buildings was erected. The rise in value of property on Jackson Street was sometimes from one to twenty in a year’s time. The block directly to the right of the Grand Pacific Hotel, composed of the Royal Insurance, Mailers, Gaff, and Counselman buildings, made the most rapid progress in 1884. The Rand McNally Building is seen in the foreground. In addition to the sterling character of its architecture, , it has become very famous as the headquarters the World’s Fair.
Keys to the Drawing
① Lakeside Building, ② The Rookery, ③ Insurance Exchange Building, ④ Rand McNally Building, ⑤ Royal Insurance Building, ⑥ Mallers Building, ⑦ Gaff Building, ⑧ Counselman Building, ⑨ Grand Pacific Hotel, ⑩ Hotel Grace, ⑪ Phoenix Building, ⑫ Board of Trade Building, ⑬ Brother Jonathan Building, ⑭ Medinah Temple
Washington Square was Chicago’s first public park. The Newberry Library flanks it to the north, which is on the lot that Mahlon D. Ogden’s mansion stood, and was the only building outside of the Water Tower to have survived the Great Fire.
Region of the 12th Street Railway Station
The view before us presents the new and magnificent Illinois Central Station, at the south end of the Lake Front Park, and graphically gives the relative situations of the world-famous Michigan Boulevard and Wabash Avenue, once the aristocratic thoroughfare of Chicago, but now a rapidly extending business street. The general view in this region is very beautiful, either looking toward the blue lake or westward on the throngs of fine carriages and well-dressed pedestrians continually passing northward and southward. The remarkable Twelfth Street viaduct may be seen to begin at Wabash Avenue.
This elevated thoroughfare crosses twelve or more great trunk railway lines ere it descends to grade at Canal Street, on the West Side. The Manual Training School is also in sight, and the World’s Fair may be seen from any point south of Van Buren Street along the lake shore.
Keys to the Drawing, ① The Twelfth Street Station, ② The Kimball Building., ③ The Bordeaux Hotel, ④ The Chicago Manual Training School, ⑤ The Hotel Stamford, ⑥ The Hotel Imperial, ⑦ The Hotel Martinette, ⑧ John Brown’s Fort, ⑨ The Veteran Protective Association, ⑩ The Fourteenth Street Pumping Station
Chicago Sunday Tribune, January 28, 1934
Top: A Bird’s Eye View of Lake Shore Drive 1889
From the Top of the Water Tower (From an aquatint by R. Varin, reproduced by courtesy of Ackerman Galleries).
Middle: Looking Toward the Drive, 1934:
View From the Water Tower
Bottom: Looking North From Water Tower, 2020